Here is the article and plans for the Dee-Bee semi-scale R/C model
that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the January
1968 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. You might be able to scale
up the images below if plans are no longer available. Plans for
this fine model were designed and drawn by Mr. Dario Brisighella.
All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
AN EXCITING NEW LOOK IN CLASS III
A scale-like original design modeled after the famous National
air racers of the 1930's.
By Dario Brisighella
as with most avid RC modelers (the word "addicts" would be more
appropriate), the latest copies of your magazine is just the "fix"
needed to carry you through another month. Upon its arrival, first
thing on the agenda, is to quickly thumb through the literary "masterpieces,"
to the pages devoted to the plans. (Much wear and tear on the pages
could be avoided if they were in the beginning.)
When you have found the plans a thorough evaluation is begun
(generally a two-minute expenditure of your valuable time). Then
the final analysis! With no inbetween decisions, either this designer
(crackpot) has something to offer or it's just too much work (a
dud). If the plans and the accompanying photos do nothing for you,
a few choice thoughts are quickly aimed at the editor for wasting
another issue! The designer's article is left to be read after everything
else (including the advertising), or better yet for some other day
- then only to see what some of his (hairbrain) ideas are, or whose
article he may be accused of stealing them from.
A neat-looking front end. Inside the cowl a beam-mounted Enya
.60 TV. Note optional polished-aluminum firewall face.
The cowl is made up with cross grained laminations of 1/4 in.
balsa. Interior is epoxied.
Not really that much more work in a circular crosssection using
1/4 in. sides and planking. Equipment compartment could be called
Dario proudly displaying his Dee-Bee and Vespa designs. These
models have the same aerodynamic setup. The shape and paint
scheme really make them look different.
From any angle this machine seems real. Yet it's a synthesis
of several famous Thompson, Bendix, and Greve Trophy racers.
Imagine the yards of masking tape used in the paint scheme!
The Low Bounce Du-Bro tires are a must with pants. To prevent
fairing poking wing, use two gear wires,
Very simple tailwheel installation with inserted tube-bearing
forward of the hinge line of the rudder. Note use of pushrod
However, it is my hope that something struck home during the
scrutiny of these plans and you decided to read this before reading
all that advertising! If nothing else, the nostalgia of another
era represented in this ship might have captured your attention.
National Air Race names like Thompson, Bendix, and Greve, of the
1930's come to mind. And men and planes that made headlines: Holman,
Laird, Doolittle, Gee-Bee, Wedell, Howard, Turner, Whitman, Chester,
and many more.
The Dee-Bee is a Class III job with a personality of its own.
I think it scale-like. It is more Thompson than Goodyear in appearance.
Do miniature Goodyear racers leave you cold? Too much work? Not
enough local interest - aside from the ideas of flying, stalling,
and landing or crashing all at the same (100 mph) speed? So how
about pylon racing sort of unlimited fashion "National Air Racers?"
Dee-Bee (sorry Don Brown, but I have the same initials) was not
designed with this in mind, but it has some merit, as well as size,
that many multi-flyers are accustomed to. The fuselage will accept
any equipment (even your tool box); nimble fingers are not required
for equipment installation.
Dee-Bee is a scale-like composite of many great National Air
Racers. The 1929 Thompson Trophy winner, Doug Davis's Travel Air
Mystery ship; the 1931 winner, the Granville Gee-Bee; and the 1933
Thompson and Bendix Trophy winners; the Wedell Williams Special.
(Source, National Air Race Sketch Book, Published by Floyd Clymer,
$2.00.) A little of each and, just to be sure of its flying ability,
the airfoil and moments from my contest ship, Vespa (A.M. April
1967), and, presto, an instant Dee-Bee. It not only is a crowd pleaser,
but a real performer as well - but don't try to convince someone
it's a modified Vespa.
It is a known fact that about 80% of
today's RC'ers are not contest minded, but rather fall into the
category of sport flyers, many of whom are more than adequate builders
and flyers. This model offers some qualities for both. For contest
work a trike gear is hard to beat, but those hard-nosed judges just
might overlook some of those ground handling items for a change,
and score you a little higher for your effort against those trike
jobs. In any event, the conventional gear jobs offer a lot of self-satisfaction
The first real push to build Dee-Bee came from my good friend,
John Kozieja, who was never without the same old comment, "when
you've seen one Class III ship you've seen them all." I must concur
he's almost right but with DeeBee he has changed his mind. I'm
sure you will agree with him too. I saved all the prototype work
by using my Vespa for the platform of Dee-Bee. All I needed was
a new shape. (How original can you get; they all need a wing, stab,
fin, etc.) And now after flying Vespa for over two years, I'm done
changing. Vespa flies very well, so why make Dee-Bee different?
Happily, this decision paid off.
You may wonder about the allsheathed surfaces, the extra weight.
Well, many of the National Air Racers were all plywood or aluminum
covered. Also I hate sanding dope on silk over open structures.
Sure, weight can be saved on an open structure. Also money and,
with the cost of balsa today, you could buy black walnut for less.
With the space available in the tank compartment you could almost
take a crack at the endurance record, and a good definition for
the radioservo compartment would be "space unlimited."
I spent more time on the drawing board, working out the main
gear details, than on the building board. To prevent the pants and
fairings from poking holes through the bottom of the wing, there
are the extra half of a landing gear mount, and the strut braces.
The flex needed for really hard landings, is not as great as normally
had from single L.G. struts, but with the ability to hold the nose
high for three-point landings, and the slight outboard flexing of
the gear and shock absorbing wheels, no problems have been encountered.
The gear, pants, and fairings really finish off the model. The open
cockpit, large circular cowl, and classic paint schemes add to the
realism. As to the ailerons, suit yourself. I prefer strips.
Fuselage construction varies from most cylindrical types because
I don't enjoy strip planking. Who does? With the 1/4" basic sides
and the top and bottom blocks, the planking is kept to a minimum.
More importantly, these sides and blocks aid alignment and speed
construction. Excepting the cowl, the fuselage builds quite easily.
Let me add now that DeeBee was designed for flying, not crashing,
and the less experienced builders should note that the wing is rather
deep set. So get that stick or button time on a trainer type. Don't
try learning on Dee-Bee; it's no trainer by any means.
Wing construction: Horizontal alignment of the
ribs is assured by use of the sub-leading edge and sub-trailing
edge, cemented to the oversized 1/4"-thick L.E. and 1/8-thick T.E.
Select straight-grain balsa and use a straight edge for cementing
the sub-L.E. and T.E. to the center line, which should be 27/32
in. from each edge. Pin the completed L.E. and T.E. assembly to
the plan and place a 3/32 sheet or shims under the main spar location,
install the ribs, etc.; shimming under the space is necessary so
that, when the wing is turned over, it will make contact on the
building board as it did when started .
Wing sheathing should overlap the L.E. as shown. At the T.E.
on the side of the wing you start first, the sheathing should butt
the T.E. and overlap the T.E. on the last side covered. The wing
tip blocks may not be the best way to produce rounded tips, but
find me a faster way.
The wing fairing is installed after the center section is fiberglassed,
messy but worthwhile. Sharp edges on the T.E. of all control surfaces
make for better response and care should be taken to produce and
maintain these edges. Select straight-grained firm balsa for the
ailerons, the elevator, and rudder as well. Laminated Cvgrain balsa
works best. The aileron horns are longer than the stock types available
so you'll have to make your own. Horizontal and vertical stabilizers.
Construct as shown. Their construction is typical. But a word about
warping. When finishing, silking, doping, painting, etc., treat
both sides equally and at the same time; not one side first then,
when dry, the other - this is when the warps occur.
Fuselage: Alignment is a must right from the
beginning. Cement (epoxy, please) the motor mounts to Formers F-1
and F-2 using your engine temporarily bolted in place (a tri-square
will help), to hold alignment. Use centerlines! This unit determines
the fuselage accuracy. After cementing the 1/4" doublers to the
1/4" sides (right and left, don't forget) cement them to F-1 and
F-2, holding the top edges parallel to a flat surface with some
short 2 x 4 blocks for props. When dry, add the remaining formers,
checking lengthwise alignment. Add top and bottom blocks, and the
small amount of strip planking and you are home-free.
I add the cockpit and headrest just after sanding. Sanding the
cylindrical shape is easy. Obtain a sanding belt from a 4-in. portable
sander then cut it to make a long narrow strip which is used like
a shoppolishing rag. This prevents flat spots which show up when
you get started on the finish.
Cowl: It's not as hard as it looks. Cut annular
segments from 3/4" thick balsa planks, epoxy together to form rings,
which are laminated to plywood cowl ring, and shaped. I don't have
a lathe. By making a 1/4" thick plywood adaptor bolted to the cowl
attachment ring, my drill press and sandpaper got the job done in
short order. Apply fiberglass resin or epoxy to the inside of the
A needle-valve extension is not shown because I believe that
once you've broken in an engine you could just as well break off
the needle valve if you stick to one brand of fuel. The setting
doesn't change. An exhaust opening is not needed because most of
the residue clings inside the cowl. Removal for cleaning is simple
with three screws.
Landing gear, pants, and fairings: Silver
solder or "shiny-brite" is a must for joining the 5/32 main gear
to the 1/8 gear braces. Make a simple jig to assure alignment. Epoxy
these units to WP-1; laminate WP-2 and WP-3 to inboard side of the
gear. When dry, install wheels and complete assembly with the outboard
WP-2, WP-3, installing the WP-4's to each side of WP-1. Shape to
the contour shown. I was able to bend the gears and braces, solder
the joints, cut out all plywood and balsa parts, and epoxy both
gear assemblies together, less shaping, in a five-hour period.
Dee-Bee is quite groovy and responsive, an all-around flyer.
You can slow her down to a walk for landings, but you must fly her,
don't follow her, through the sky.
Dee Bee Plans (sheet 1)
for larger version>
Dee Bee Plans (sheet 2)
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.
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Posted January 3, 2012