Airplanes and Rockets visitor Steven S.,
of wrote to ask that I scan the article for the
Quarter Pint and
So-Long free flight models that appeared
in the April 1972 American Aircraft Modeler. The So-Long, a basic free flight nitro
model, gets its name (partly) from using a 1/4A engine (Cox .020).
Per Steven's letter: "As a teenager I bought many issues of AAM. I built 'Quarter
Pint' from the April 1972 issue and 'So-Long' from the June 1972 issue. Every so
often I try and find any info on the magazine or plans so I could build them again
nearly 42 years later. What a treat to find your website and see the covers of those
magazines. I remember them like it was yesterday. I want to build these
two planes again. I remember in high school enlarging the planes using an overhead
projector for Quarter Pint, I couldn't wait to order the plans but did order the
planes for So Long. Of course I had the tank full and seemed the engine ran forever.
I still have the engine from from QP after all these years but So Long lived up
to its name and flew away never to be seen again on its first flight."
See Steven's Bee-Tween,
Ace Whizard, Simple
Citabria, Simple Duster,
Ace Pacer models.
An .020-powered mini-old-timer. Flies great and has a definite personality. Original
dates back to 1940.
By Robert Olsan
From out of the past came the thundering hoof
beats of the great horse Silver and the hearty cry "Hi-yo Silver, awaaay." The Lone
Ranger rides again. If you remember that coming out of your radio (that's right,
no picture tube), then you just might remember Bill Englehardt's 1940 Class B Nationals
winner, So-Long. With a screaming Ohlsson 23 up front it made three consecutive
005 flights and was the class of the field. Its descendant, presented here in miniature,
has proven to be a worthy successor even if it did take thirty years to make the
scene. In three contests to date it has two first places and one second place to
its credit. One of those first places was at the Old-Timer Championships in June
1970 where it put in three consecutive five minute maxes and a six minute fourth
flight for a four flight total of 21 minutes. It may not chase the FAI ships off
the field, but it "ain't" bad for a country boy.
I can't recall how the scaled down old-timers got their start, but happily they
did and they afford a lot of fun. Their cost is low and there's no need to go hunting
around for old ignition engines, coils, condensers, etc. in order to put an old-timer
in the air. It has been a pleasant development to see the younger modelers take
a liking to these little ships. It demonstrates their wide appeal, and practically
speaking, it provides strong young shoulders to help us ancients (30s, 40s, and
50s don't ya know) get started across the field when the thermals blow in.
So much for background, clear off the table and let's get started sticking this
All wood sizes are identified on the plan and when wood is selected for construction
it should fit its load requirements as follows:
Wing L.E. - hard
Ribs - medium
Empennage L.E. - medium
Empennage T.E. & Tips medium
All Spars - medium
Longerons - hard
Bulkheads - soft
Sheet Covering - soft
Bill of Material
6 ea - 1/16 x 1/8 x 36
3 ea - 1/8 sq. x 36
- 3/32 sq. x 36
1 ea - 3/32 x 3 x 36
2 ea - 1/16x3x24
1 ea - 1/32 x
3 x 36
Look into your scrap box for items not listed above and you'll probably find
The fuselage is the only area where you have to read the instructions quite carefully.
Once completed, the fuselage is very rugged, but until it is fully sheeted, care
must be exercised to insure proper alignment. Note that the firewall has down thrust
built in to it - this is important, as is the zero-zero alignment of the wing and
The plan shows the fuselage construction sequence. It is designed to minimize
alignment problems. The following description plus the illustrations and some patience
should make the task a pleasant one.
Build the crutch using hard balsa for the longerons. Glue the bulkheads (don't
forget the lightening holes) to the crutch. Glue the wing mount in place, and then
add the top longeron. Eyeball everything carefully to make sure nothing is twisted.
Pre-bend the 1/16 sheet fuselage bottom before attaching it to the bulkheads.
This is important if alignment is to be maintained. There are two I methods to accomplish
the pre-shaping. One is the time-honored tea kettle and its finger-cooking steam
method - very effective, but sometimes painful. Another method, which should appeal
to the more scientific-minded practitioner of our hobby, is to soak the wood for
30 min. in household ammonia. After this treatment the wood becomes very pliable
and sets permanently whichever way you bend it. (A gas mask is quite useful in this
technique, but if you can hold your breath for a long time you'll be alright.) With
the bottom sheet properly shaped and the bottom longeron glued to it, carefully
glue the assembly to the bottoms of the bulkheads. Here again, eyeball the alignment
so that twists are kept out. When dry, install the landing gear, gussets, doublers,
wing and tail wire hooks, etc.
Begin sheeting at the front and work back to the tail. Refer to the plan for
grain direction. The last pieces to go on are the bottom-rear of the fuselage. Note
that bulkheads 3 and 4 have 1/16 square strips glued even with their outlines. This
is to provide more glue surface at sheet joints. Attach the subrudder and begin
with the sandpaper-a neat job will payoff in weight saving and flight time. Make
sure you didn't forget to put the blind nuts in the firewall for the engine screws.
For the wheels cut lightening holes in the 1/16 plywood core. The instructions
for the building of the empennage on the plan are self-explanatory, and you will
find that the leading edges of both the rudder and stab require one of the pre-bending
treatments mentioned before.
Multi-spar wings are pretty much the order of the day. The plan shows only the
bottom forward spar because it is positioned on the plan during construction, as
this helps to keep the ribs in proper alignment. It should be rein-forced with the
1/16 x 3/8 spar brace at the center section as it and the trailing edge are the
only things that make contact with the wing platform. The brace keeps the spar from
being crushed. Spar connections at dihedral breaks are left to individual taste.
I prefer overlapped spar joints for ease of construction and strength.
The entire model is covered with Jap tissue and gets four coats of thinned dope
(60/40). It is advisable to use a plasticizer in the dope to prevent or at least
reduce warps. The windshield and bay windows are installed after the ship is covered.
Finished weight should be 4-1/2 to 5 oz.
The ship should balance at 50 percent of the wing
chord. If alignment has been kept true and there are no warps, then a hand glide
will be straight and flat. First power flight should be with the prop on backwards
and the engine running rich. Increase power very slowly as test flights proceed.
The power pattern and glide are both to the left. Because of this left/left pattern
you'll have to be careful in the beginning not to wind in under power. I've built
two of these mini-So-Longs and they have flown identically with identical adjustments.
In each case I've used a wedge tab under the left wing to keep the tip from dropping
too much under power. Once you locate its groove, the ship is extremely stable.
Under full power, it should spiral up and not hang on its prop. A straight-up
climb will kill altitude and foul up the power/glide transition. When fully trimmed,
put it on its wheels and try an unassisted takeoff-it really charges into the air.
Don't forget to light the fuse.
<click for larger version>
The AMA Plans Service offers a full-size
version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They will scale the plans any size for you. It is always
best to buy printed plans because my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing
plans also help to support the operation of the Academy of Model
Aeronautics - the #1 advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this plan on file, I
will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.
Try my Scale Calculator for Model Airplane Plans.
February 4, 2011 Update:
So-Long wing ready for covering.
Note slight undercamber in ribs - that'll be fun to cover!
Fuselage and empennage covered,
bare-bones wings. (nice workshop!)
January 14, 2011 Update:
Construction continues in the frigid Canadian hinterlands...
"A few more pics of "So- Long", this is the 50" full size version. Very difficult
and time consuming fuselage to build and keep straight. Will be 3 channel e-power.
Have a door on the side for battery access."
Close-up Detail of Servo and Pushrod
Steve's So-Long Sitting on the Plans
- Before and After Sheeting
January 2, 2011 Update:
"Here is a couple of pics of "So Long", so far. The fuselage is much harder to
build and keep straight than a rectangular one, quite elegant though as it transitions
from rectangular to triangular. It gets fully sheeted so starting on that tonight.
I won a bid on a Cox .020 for QP and thanks for the eBay tip for AAM magazine. I
won a bid on lot of those several 71-72 issues. It includes the one with the 020
smaller version of So-Long but I still need to find the April '72 issue.
Lots of fun. It's so refreshing to build something from plans again that doesn't
cost mega dollars, instead of just putting expensive equipment in Chinese ARF's.
January 20, 2011 Update:
So-Long Cockpit Radio Access
Dark Green and Cream Coverlite
Rudder Hinged to Vertical Stabilizer
Elevator Half Hinged to Horizontal Stabilizer
Empennage w/Control Surfaced Mounted
A Good Shot of the Undercambered Wing
Original article Posted December 11, 2010