Rockets website visitor Peter W. (see photos at bottom) wrote to ask that I scan and post this "'The Langely' Mulvihill Winner" article that appeared in the July 1962 issue of American
Modeler magazine. Designer and flyer Frank Parmenter wrote the article. Per
the Academy of Model Aeronautics website on the history of the Mulvihill free flight
Bernard Mulvihill, born June 8, 1890, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a full-scale
and model aviation enthusiast at the beginning of the era of flight. In the model
aviation world, Mulvihill was a member of the Aero Club of America and served as
president of the local Aero Club of Pittsburgh. He helped the Pittsburgh club negotiate
permission to fly at the nearby Government Aerial Field. Mulvihill saw the value
in encouraging youth to build models, and in his capacity as vice president of NAA,
he saw to it that model airplane events would be held during the NAA's national
"The Langley" Mulvihill Winner
By Frank Parmenter
It seems appropriate to name this rubber-powered contest model "The Langley"
after one of the early pioneers of aviation. This model won one of the pioneer modeling
trophies, The Mulvihill, which has been awarded annually since 1923.
Author-Designer-National Record Holder and winner of the famed
Mulvihill award (top, right) is NASA's Frank Parmenter shown holding his hi-performance
"Langley" rubber-powered contest aircraft. Full sixe working drawings for the model
are part of Hobby Helpers' Group Plan #762.
This design is basically the same as has been used by the author since he decided
to give Wakefield competition a serious try in 1955. At the 1955 King Orange Meet
in Miami, Florida, it won 1st place in both the Wakefield and Unlimited Rubber events
with 9 maxs out of 10 flights (two fly-off rounds in Unlimited.)
Danny Sobala, hearing of my good luck, wrote and asked for my plans; he wanted
to try Wakefield and had never built one before. At the 1956 Wakefield Semi-Finals
he was in a three-man fly-off which Cliff Montplaisir won, with Danny coming in
second. I was one second out of the fly-off. At the 1957 Nationals, Danny again
came in second in a three-man fly-off in the Wakefield event.
At the 1958 King Orange Meet, the Langley won 1st in Wakefield. At the 1961 semi-finals,
the "Langley" made a very impressive showing. At 6:30 a.m., it turned in a 3:42
flight in Round #1; at 7:15 a.m., it did 3:50 for Round #2; another max for Round
#3 and then the bubble broke. In the 4th round, I made a bad hurried launch to the
left and the model looped, and lost its power burst recording a poor 1:35 flight.
The rest were maxes, but, the damage was done. It was generally conceded that the
"Langley" was getting upstairs with the best.
At the last Nationals in Willow Grove, I had high hopes for Wakefield, but wanting
to fly Unlimited also, I used my spare Wakefield in this latter event. The only
change was more power, hoping to get a longer power run and more zip. It paid off
with a 1st place and a National record of 22 minutes 49.5 seconds. It didn't get
a chance in the Wakefield event due to rain (and poor judgment of contest officials
in closing the event when only about 1 hour of reasonable flying time had been permitted).
I feel the success of this model is due to its simplicity, rugged construction
where needed, and clean design. The Langley, on occasions, has been upset in the
glide due to rough air or thermal activity and started stalling. It stays in a gentle
stall never building up to disaster, then works its way out of the stall and back
to its normal smooth glide. Build it and see for yourself.
Construction data is included on Hobby Helpers' Group Plan #762 along with full-size
"The Langley" Mulvihill Free Flight Plans
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.
Here are a few photos Peter Watt was kind enough to send:
Posted July 25, 2021