Airplanes and Rockets visitor Steve S., of wrote to ask that I scan
the article for the
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).
Steve'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."
Steve has also built the Ace Whizard
An .020-powered mini-old-timer. Flies great and has a definite
personality. Original dates back to 1940.
By Robert Olsan
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 thing together.
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
Wing & Empennage T.E. & Tips medium
Longerons - hard
Bulkheads - soft
Bill of Material
6 ea - 1/16 x 1/8 x 36
3 ea - 1/8 sq.
2 ea - 3/32 sq. x 36
1 ea - 3/32 x 3 x 36
1 ea - 1/32 x 3 x 36
Look into your scrap box for items not listed above and you'll
probably find them.
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
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
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
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
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.
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!)
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.
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