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
PERHAPS, 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.
front end. Inside the cowl a beam-mounted Enya .60 TV. Note option-al polished-aluminum
The cowl is made up with cross
grained laminations of 1/4 in. balsa. Interior is epoxied.
that much more work in a circular cross-section using 1/4 in. sides and planking. Equipment
compartment could be called "space unlimited."
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.
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 fair-ing poking wing, use two gear wires,
simple tailwheel installation with inserted tube-bearing forward of the hinge line of
the rudder. Note use of pushrod exit guide.
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 Dee-Bee 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 all-sheathed 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 radio-servo 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
Dee-Bee 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
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 cross-grain 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 shop-polishing 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 cowl.
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