The "Topper" is a general purpose control line stunter with a profile
fuselage, a built-up wing, and power provided by a Fox .25 engine.
Designed by John D'Ottavio, it originally went by the name of "Falcon,"
as evidenced by the lettering on the model flown by Eddie Elasic
in the 1961
Air Youth State Competition (AYSC) held at Willow Grove NAS.
He and John combined talents to come up with the design. It was
awarded the honor of "Best 4-Way
AYSC Plane." What are the 4 ways? I see endurance, speed, and
stunt, but I'm not sure what the 4th way is - combat, maybe?
Flash (10/27/2013): Website visitor Roger J. wrote to
tell the story of how he inherited an unfinished Topper control
line model from his uncle. He was kind enough to send a photo of
the airframe. Roger intends to complete the build based on the plans
shown at the bottom of this page. Hopefully, he will send a photo
of the completed model.
"Topper" Article and Plans
Best 4-Way" AYSC Plane
Designer of "Topper"
Eddie Elasic with Falcon, aka Topper. Flying "Topper" at
the 1961 AYSC Nationals, Eddie Elasick placed first in stunt
scoring, second in beauty and sixth in both speed and endurance.
These together added up to the grand championship. As a
capper Eddie went on to win a fifth place in Junior Precision
Acrobatics in the 1961 National competition.
Willow Grove NAS: America's Best Youthful Flyers
John D'Ottavio, interested in modeling for over 25 years, has
specialized in control-line stunt flying, winning many Eastern contests.
His designs have been widely publicized and he is an active member
of three N. J. model clubs:
Flyateers (Rich's Hobbytowne), Union M.A.C., and Garden State
Circle Burners. As if this doesn't keep him busy enough, he also
manages the Roxbury, N. J., Little League! The D'Ottavio's are another
modeling family. The older boys, John, Jr. (14), Mickey (12), and
Phil (8) are all sprouting model wings while a younger pair, Victor
(4) and Donna (2), will soon join the fun.
D'Ottavio's design is a no-nonsense profile stunter. Its built-up
wing has a thick symmetrical airfoil and flaps. Tails are sheet
balsa. Fuselage is 1/2" sheet with plywood and balsa doublers running
full length. Control system is fully enclosed for cleanness. Power
was a stock Fox .25, a year old at the time of the Nationals. Any
engine up to allowable .35's can be used. Bearer spacing may have
to be changed if you shift to a different engine.
Wingspan is 37-in.; length, 31-in.; wing area, 350 sq. in.; weight,
28-oz. Fuel tank is a standard 3-oz wedge; spinner diameter is 1
1/2 in. Top-Flite and Tornado propellers in various sizes were employed
for best performance in each flying phase. An 11D-4P prop was used
for Endurance; 8D-8P for Speed; 9D-6P for Stunt. Fox Super fuel
was in the tank.
Like to build "Topper" for that 1962 AYSC competition? Good!
Then read on. Construction starts with the wing since it must be
completed before joining to the fuselage. Begin by cutting out the
wing ribs. Make one center and one tip rib pattern from thin aluminum,
heavy card stock, or 1/16" plywood from the outlines shown on the
plan. Note the blank alignment bolt holes near leading and trailing
edge. These should be accurately spotted to insure uniform taper
of the ribs. Cut 18 rib blanks from 1/16" sheet slightly oversize.
Stack 9 blanks between the center and tip rib patterns, drill and
bolt together with two 4-40 bolts. Carve and sand the blanks down
flush with the patterns. Cut spar and L.E. notches. Repeat procedure
to make ribs for the opposite wing half. Notch two center ribs for
the 3/16" sq. spar supports and cut out one center rib for bell
crank clearance. Also punch 1/4" dia. holes through left half wing
ribs for the leadout wires. Locate the hole position by referring
to the wing plan. The right wing half is 1" shorter than the left
so the tip rib for this side should be discarded and a duplicate
of the next to last rib made. This rib should be reduced slightly
in outline to maintain taper.
Since the wing is tapered it will be necessary to block up the
tip ribs 3/32" above plan and building surface. Cut a couple dozen
scrap wedges to aid in blocking up spars and trailing edges during
assembly. Build wing UPSIDE DOWN directly over plan. This will permit
access to center section for bellcrank and control installation
later. Put down upper spar, space out ribs and add leading and trailing
edges. Align and block up carefully so that the structure is flat
with no twists. Add lower spar and let this assembly dry thoroughly.
Add 1/16" x 1" trailing edge planking and 1/16" sheet leading
edge planking. These can be one piece from tip to tip since taper
is so slight. Add 1/16" x 1/4" cap strips to ribs. Do not cover
center section now. When this assembly is thoroughly dry, it can
be taken up from the building board and turned over for additional
work. It would be a good idea to block up center and tips on the
building board again to prevent twists developing while planking
is added to the upper wing surface. Add the 3/16" sq. bellcrank
mount support and the plywood bellcrank mount piece. Install bellcrank
and leadout wires. Leave bellcrank pivot bolt loose so that flap
pushrod can be installed after flaps are assembled. Plank leading
and trailing edges and add cap strips to ribs. Here again omit center
section planking for the time being.
Make flaps from 3/16" sheet, join with wire type control horn
and assemble to trailing edges with fabric "Z" hinges. Add wing
tip outlines, contour pieces, leadout guide tubing and right wing
ballast. Carve and sand tip pieces to a smooth rounded shape. Now
bend the flap pushrod to shape and install. Be sure that bellcrank
neutral position gives flap neutral position. When this portion
of the control system is completed and working FREELY, the bellcrank
pivot bolt can be tightened down permanently and both upper and
lower center section planking can be added. Sand entire wing structure
smooth and apply two coats of clear fuel-proof dope. Sand lightly
again after doping. The wing can be covered now if desired. Silk
was used on the original "Topper." Apply silk wet and clear-dope
down. Sand lightly between coats with 400 grit wet-dry finishing
paper. Build up at least 4 coats of clear dope. Colored dope should
be applied after the wing is joined to the fuselage.
Fuselage construction is next. Cut 1/2" x 3" sheet to outline
taken from plans. Notch nose for engine bearers and plane thickness
taper toward tail. Engine bearer spacing shown on plans is for .15,
.19 and .25 engines. Space according to your engine. Make cut-out
for wing and elevator pushrod. Add two plywood braces in aft fuselage
pushrod slot. These serve to join fuselage sheet and act as fairleads
for the pushrod.
Glue hardwood engine bearers in place and cut out the 1/8" plywood
nose doublers. Glue the doublers to balsa fuselage sides with white
glue such as Elmer's Glue-all. Clamp and let dry thoroughly. Glue
the 1/8" sheet balsa doubler to ONE side .of aft fuselage only.
At this point in the construction the wing, elevator and elevator
pushrod must be installed.
Make horizontal tail surfaces from 3/16" sheet. Join stab and
elevators with wire type horn and fabric hinges. Slide wing into
fuselage cut-out and pin stabilizer in place. Enlarge wing cut-out
carefully to permit passage of flaps through the fuselage. Bend
elevator pushrod to shape, slide through plywood fairleads and join
to flap and elevator horns. Check for free movement and neutral
settings. When pushrod fit is satisfactory, wing and stab glue permanently
in place. Align wing and stab squarely with fuselage. Solder retaining
washers on pushrod ends at flap and elevator horns for permanent
attachment. When thoroughly dry complete the structure.
Additional instructions appear on the full size drawings available
from Hobby Helpers as Group Plan # 362A (see firm's advertisement
in this issue).
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 September 28, 2013