The PA-6 - Article & Plans
July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler
Website visitor Joshua H. wrote asking me to scan and
post this article on Bob Baron's "PA-6" control line stunt design that appeared in the July 1968 edition
of American Aircraft Modeler. Per the airplane's designer, "Cleverly blended design factors - notably
engine/prop combination - make this a truly great stunt design." Its 56" wingspan and Super-Tigre .35
BB engine with a 50-oz. flying weight on 70' lines reportedly results in a near-perfect stunter.
A Precision Aerobatic Airplane
Cleverly blended design factors - notably engine/prop combination - make this a truly great
My first thought in designing this plane was to use the maximum allowable line length of 70 ft. and
to take advantage of the lower drag of .015 lines for engines of 40 and below displacement. Together
with a flying speed below 60 mph, the apparent (angular) speed would be quite slow. The important trim
parameters - leadout sweep, center of gravity, tip weight, and handle width - were to be made easily
adjustable on the field to facilitate trimming.
Rounding an outside loop. Ship has moderate, but very steady
pull through all its maneuvers and nearly constant airspeed.
Sleek is the word! Displayed
by its designer, PA-6 shows compactly cowled nose, flowed-in canopy, and smooth surface of sheeted wing.
Provision of extra leadout
bushings permits fine adjustments. Play line rake and tip weight until ship does not yaw on sharp corners.
given two coats fiberglass resin. Tank removable. Super Tigre 35 combat engine permits 15,000 on 10-4.
Several features were incorporated to reduce
the physical effort of flying to the minimum. The wing was to be very rigid and to hold its airfoil,
which led to an all sheet wing. Ease of maintenance and everyday handling were considered desirable
assets. Most important, the prop (10-4) would be of relatively low pitch so as not to stall under loads,
and the corresponding high rpm would use most of the available horsepower of our present engines.
The resulting 50-oz. ship flies at 54 mph on 70-ft. lines and can be flown through every corner
with no tendency to yaw or roll. The pull is moderate but very steady throughout the maneuvers. The
flying speed is very nearly constant due to the low-pitch prop not stalling, as does the traditional
10-6. In the wind the low pitch tends to brake the plane. This minimizes the vicious whipping tendency
that gives stunt flyers the jitters. A balanced elevator, together with a proper CG, handle, and control
setup, reduces the physical effort at the handle, over a conventional arrangement.
wing (13.5 oz.) weighs less than the equivalent capstripped D-tube. A table of weights is provided so
the builder can guide himself toward a finished weight of no more than 50 oz. Extruded nylon bearings
were used in the hinges to eliminate a frequent trouble spot. A fiberglass cowling and strong front
end minimize the usual deterioration of the nose. This plane has a useful life of around 2,000 flights,
after which most flyers would be quite tired of it anyway.
The tank is readily removable, since
when permanently installed, it will no doubt leak due to "Murphy's Law." Aluminum plates in the bearers
keep them from crushing with age. The finish was dope, filled and colored, followed by epoxy paint.
The epoxy paint has amazing resistance to fuel, and frequently the author takes ten straight flights
without bothering to clean the ship. A stooge takes care of the dirty work, as no one would launch a
plane that filthy.
The choice of wood is vital if the weight is to be kept below 50 oz. Wood
of five- to seven-pound density will give the weights listed on the table. Wood ordered directly from
Sig with a request for medium-soft will be adequate. The solid flap and empennage are actually lighter
than a built up surface, since the finish weighs more over an open surface than a closed one. Glue is
the real culprit in the weight department. For curiosity, weigh all the ribs in a stunt wing, then hollow
them and check again. It's hardly worth the effort.
Building can be greatly speeded by assembling
all components (wing, tail, fuselage) as completely as possible separately. The fuselage in particular
is built quickly by tack-gluing the blocks and sanding everything to shape without the wing, tail, and
tank vents being in the way. After this is done, the blocks and underwing cut-outs are removed and the
wing, tail, and gear can be installed leaving relatively little construction to be done.
wing planking is spliced chordwise as shown for a specific reason. The three pieces as shown make it
possible to glue the planking with little danger of it popping up after the job is completed. First
glue the trailing edge sheet and leading edge stringer with the spar in place, but not glued. Before
the glue sets thoroughly, steam the wing as straight as possible. When you are satisfied with the alignment,
glue the main spar. Install controls and continue with the center piece. After each sheet is in place
smear each rib with glue where it meets the planking to prevent the sheet from separating from the ribs.
Do not substitute 1/16 sheet for the 3/32 planking, as it makes the job too critical. Do all sanding
with a block to prevent sagging between the ribs. Sand only enough to smooth the seams. The inboard
tip sanded and hollowed should weigh .75 ounce and outboard one should weight 1.00 ounce. The fixed
tip weight is .50 ounce giving .75 ounce of tip weight to start. The additional .25 to .50 ounce needed
is put in the tube as determined by test flights.
TABLE OF WEIGHTS
13.5 Wing unfinished ready to install complete with all
controls and tip weight
3.0* Tail assembly including controls and rudders
.75 Three 1 7/8" diameter Williams Bros. Scale
2.0 Veco 2" spinner
Fuselage completely sanded with blocks left solid
with all formers and mounts installed
2.0 Assembly of components and installation
.5 Fiber-glass cowling
8.0 Finish from bare wood
Two thinned clear on bare wood
2.5 Paper covering + three thinned
3.0 One coat of given mixture
Two coats of Hobbypoxy color
*1/2 oz. too heavy here means 1 1/2, ounces of nose weight!
It is imperative that epoxy
glue be used for the engine bearer-doubler, nose gear mount-bearer, wing-fuselage, and main gear-fuselage
joints, as well as all horn and hinge mount installations, if the airplane is to last for a reasonable
time. The entire engine-tank compartment must be given two coats of fiber-glass resin directly over
the bare wood.
The finish was two thinned coats of clear on the bare wood, covered with Silkspan,
three thinned coats of clear. Then spray on one coat of a mixture of equal Volumes of clear, thinner,
talcum powder, and color. This last step should add no more than three ounces when sanded properly,
yet will fill all the grain. Finish the ritual with two coats of Hobbypoxy color applied with an airbrush,
not a gun.
A few words are in order on the engine. The usual plain-bearing stunt engine has
neither the power nor strength to run repeatedly at the 15,000 rpms required by the 10-4 prop. The Super
Tigre 35 BB combat mill, model G21/35, with restricter installed, shows no tendency to overheat at the
high rpms and low airspeed of this design. In addition, it is operating comfortably below its maximum
output on a very mild fuel of 75% methanol and 25% castor oil. No shaft extension is used, as this is
only a source of additional vibration.
Props must be carefully balanced to prevent excessive
wear on both engine and plane. The Tigre starts very quickly when hot, whereas many stunt engines simply
will not start until they have cooled. This characteristic makes it possible to fly seven patterns an
hour when practicing hard for a meet. This engine is particularly nasty when new, but after a gallon
of fuel is run through in five-minute periods on a 10-4 it becomes relatively docile.
trimming is essential to the success of any stunter. Our CG is very near the aerodynamic center of the
wing which means that inertial and not aerodynamic forces are those principally overcome to initiate
a maneuver. My handle is 2.5 inches in line width with the control system shown and the lines are .015
x 70 ft. as measured from center-of-plane to center-of-handle. It is very strongly suggested that the
CG and control system be used exactly as shown and that individual preferences in feel be adjusted with
handle line width only.
First determine if the engine runs exactly the same speed in both directions.
If the outsides are faster than the insides, or inverted flight is faster than right side up, the tank
is high and the engine must be raised with washers. Next establish the engine setting that gives 55
mph on a Rev-Up 10-4 prop.
Steam the wing until line tension is exactly the same right side
up as inverted. Do not adjust this tension by bending the flaps. If the ship loses tension on insides
but not outsides, then there is more tension inverted and the wing should be steamed accordingly. If
tension is lost equally in both directions on loops, try additional tip weight and if that doesn't help,
put in additional line sweep. Play with tip weight and line rake until the ship does not yaw on a sharp
comer. The actual rake angle agrees very closely with the theoretical calculations of William Netzeband
as published in the Sept./Oct. 1966 issue of American Aircraft Modeler.
I think you will find
this ship equal to the competition, and also a pleasure for everyday flying.
<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.
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Posted August 19, 2012
Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain
some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey
through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD. There
is a lot of good information and there are lot
of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might
even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around
1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server
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