One nice thing about having a website like Airplanes and Rockets
is that every once in a while a famous person will contact me with
some great information. It happened again recently when David J.
Holland wrote about how he still has the original artwork of his
"Flying Men" models from the cover of the 1962 Annual Edition of
American Modeler. He sent a photo of the magazine cover next to
the framed original, along with a photo of his actual control line
Says Dave, "The picture is of a magazine cover and article about
my funny face models in the '50s and early 1960s. The model pictured
is the third version as I wore out the first two. The story and
cover were the result of a demonstration flight I did during the
Sunday air show at the 1961 Nationals at the Willow Grove, PA naval
air station. I have the original art work of the cover, four times
the size of the magazine."
Dave's story prompted me to obtain a copy of the 1962 American
Model Annual Edition in order to have the original article that
went along with it. It is now part of my
magazine collection that is available for article copy requests.
David J. Holland's "Flying Men" Cover Art Model
do these awesome creatures come from? Cal Smith sez that only Dave
[J.] Holland knows!
It's a bird!-It's a plane! - No, it's the Flying Man!
Take one Sterling Ringmaster kit, add a liberal helping of ingenuity,
a real kookie paint job, mix well and behold-the Flying Man. This
is the formula developed by Dave Holland of Elyria, Ohio, in creating
his series of Flying Man models. American Modeler readers will recall
Dave's "Skydiver" "Uncle Sam" and "Dennis-the-Menace" (Dec. 1959,
April 1960, May 1961 issues). There is also a "Yogi Bear" now flying
These Flying Man models are different, make no mistake, Not only
do the novel paint jobs set these models apart from the average
stunt ship, they are also capable of some unusual flight performance.
With a K&B Torpedo 29 turning a 9D-6P Nylon prop the models
can do the Saber Dance, hanging vertical and virtually motionless
on the end of the flying lines, without benefit of engine throttle
control. Dave advises that in a single flight his crates can make
VTO's and landings. They can hang on their prop anywhere from one
inch to thirty-five foot altitude. They will perform like a helicopter,
flying slowly around the circle in a vertical position. The jobs
will also do most of the stunt pattern. Dave reports he can play
tag with his son Randy. Randy also assists in making hand-held VTO's
and pick-it-out-of-the-air retrieves at the end of flights.
Dave's original cover art along with the cover of the 1962 Annual
Edition of American Modeler
THIS ARTWORK IS FOR SALE!
Please contact David if you are interested in
purchasing the original cover artwork.
Dave's modified Sterling Ringmaster
The Skydiver Flying Man has been flown for over four years, logged
over 1000 flights, used up thirty gallons of fuel. Landing gear
and control system were replaced along the way after the original
equipment wore out. But the original Torp 29 is still in use. Skydiver
has won eight trophies and mucho merchandise in balloon-breaking
The Ringmaster is the basic part of each Flying Man shown here.
Only a few changes are needed to modify the kit into these unique
designs. First, the outline on the kit fuselage top should be carved
off to make a smooth top profile. A new plywood doubler is added
to make the face outline and a plywood fin is substituted for the
balsa kit part. The stabilizer mounts in a slot in the fuselage
tail level with the wing on the thrust line instead of on top of
fuselage plank. A one ounce weight is added to the outer wingtip.
The cutout for the engine is filled in to shorten the opening; 3/8"
x 1/2" hardwood engine bearers are let into the fuselage plank between
the plywood doublers. Nylon covering is used for durability and
added strength. The Torp 29 is mounted with up to 15° off-set towards
the outside of circle to help maintain tension on the flying wires.
A 9D-6P Nylon prop is used and a 4-oz Perfect fuel tank is fitted.
Landing gear can be stiffened by adding another vee from legs to
engine mount area.
The control system linkage should be set up so that greater than
normal elevator travel is obtained. Elevator should move at least
70° both up and down (total 140°) to give the greater control needed
for the extreme attitude changes of the model during flight.
The only tricky part of the conversion is the doubler construction
for the face at the nose. One regular kit doubler is installed on
one side of the nose, the other side requires a new doubler. This
is made of 3/32" birch plywood cut to both the outline of the nose
section along the bottom and the full face and head outline. It
is also made 1-1/2" longer than the kit doubler for added strength.
The head space above the fuselage is filled with %" balsa sheet
to the same profile as the new doubler.
This construction detail and other pertinent data is shown on
the "Uncle Sam" plan. This also applies to the other designs.
The original "Uncle Sam" and "Skydiver" were rigged for clockwise
flight to take advantage of torque as an aid to maintaining line
tension. Since most stunt models are rigged just the opposite (counter-clockwise
flight) these designs can be so rigged for flyers accustomed to
the regular stunt flight direction. Randy Holland's Dennis-the-Menace
rigged in standard fashion performs well. Slightly more thrust line
offset may be needed.
To achieve smooth hovering flight the model's weight must be
just offset by engine thrust. The Ringmaster Torp 29 combination
works very well, so don't try to change things around. It is a good
idea to leave fuselage plank the full 1/2" thick along its entire
length. Test fly the model after several coats of clear dope have
been applied, then if any shaving to reduce the weight is needed
it can be done without ruining a fancy paint job.
You don't have to be a Rembrandt to duplicate the paint schemes
shown in the drawings. Note that the various colors are coded and
indicated on each drawing. Always apply the lightest colors first,
so that any overlap of darker colors will cover easily. The "Uncle
Sam" design will require the use of masking tape to achieve the
straight lines. Stars along the wing leading edge can be cut from
fuel-proof decal sheets and doped on. Face and hat detail can be
painted on free-hand and will require careful workmanship.
The hand-arm, scarf and coat detail on "Skydiver" and "Early
Birdman" are best painted on free-hand and if a few extra wiggles
develop in the process this will only add to the originality of
your artistic efforts. The outlines of all detail can be accented
with a narrow black lines, in the best cartoon fashion. This will
give the design better visibility when viewed from a distance.
The "Early Birdman" (Oily Boidman) design shown on the cover
offers a third possibility carrying Dave Holland's idea a bit further.
We substituted a real cloth scarf for a painted-on one, and this
makes the model self-wiping in flight. The real buttons on the sleeves
should be about 3/4" dia. cemented well to covering. The gloved
hands should have edges sanded to a half-round section (yes, there
are only four fingers, a la the cartoon characters).
Note that the cover drawing shows coat tails and ankles mounted
along the fuselage top. To simplify construction FOLLOW THE PLAN
DRAWING... not the cover. With stabilizer mounted level with the
wing, the space between wing trailing edge and stab leading edge
is more easily filled with sheet balsa to make coat and ankle outline.
The paint job then simply extends over wing surface onto sheet fill-in,
then on back to stabilizer.
"Uncle Sam" Flying Man
<click for larger
"Early Birdman" Flying Man
<click for larger
"Skydiver" Flying Man
<click for larger
(Full size drawings of the heads are scheduled for Hobby Helpers'
Group Plan # AMA-620.)
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.
Posted January 1, 2011