I finally got my Lazy Ace covered. I acquired the plans from a local
guy who wanted to clear a bunch of junk out of his basement a few years
ago. He had a lot of plans, but he finally admitted that he's just not
a plans builder and never will be. I was happy to take these plans off
his hands, as I had always thought about building a Lazy Ace.
I made a few alterations from the original plans, including bolt-on top
wings, cowling built from solid blocks instead of smaller sheets and
slabs, Klett tail wheel assembly, dual aileron servos, single cockpit,
and balsa front deck. Engine is a standard OS 91 Surpass. Wingspan is
6 feet, weight is 10 pounds 8 ounces.
I haven't flown it yet. I still need to put the windscreen on and
finish installing the control rods to the tail.
I would have put a purple dart in the middle of the top wing to match
the bottom wing, but I just didn't have enough Monokote. I used exactly
two rolls of metallic plum. I took them out of the plastic shrink wrap
when I started, and when I was done all I had left was a 1/2" x 12"
strip, a little piece about 2" x 5", and a small odd-shaped triangle a
couple of inches long. I was working hard to get this job done with two
rolls, and I even used Monokote hinges on the ailerons. It would look
better with a dart in the middle of the wing, but it's OK this way, too.
I'm eager to see how it flies. At ten pounds it should be a real
floater, which is the kind of plane I like. I should be able to do half
a dozen aerobatic maneuvers in a 20 foot box. And a plane like this
should do an amazing tail slide.
In quatrain 5-97, Nostradamus predicted that on Sun, 11 Mar 2007 13:33:58
-0600, in message , Robert Reynolds
Wow, it looks really nice. What did you think of the building process?
Any particular tips? I've got the plans for this plane from RCM, but
haven't gotten around to building it yet.
"Robert Reynolds" > wrote
I love a plans stick built airplane. It really is a work of art. It's a
pity to cover it all up.
I think it could benefit with a little starburst, or stripes on the plain
white part, though.
What size prop are you going to use? Let us know when it flies!
I've never been a big fan of rolled plywood, so I used 1/8" balsa for
the front decking because it's easier to sand the imperfections away.
For the turtle deck I didn't use notched bulkheads, I used plain round
ones with the sticks stuck on the outside. This sure makes it easier
to cut out bulkheads.
Other than that, there's nothing particularly tricky about it. It's a
classic Chuck Cunningham design, which means that it's straightforward,
simple, and it will probably fly great. Don't be afraid to simplify it
even more, though. I've gotten to the point where I simplify things
automatically, and I can't even remember what I did when it's all over.
I'm pretty sure on this plane I simplified the underside of the bottom
wing center section where it mates with the fuselage, which I do on just
about every low wing plan I build. On this plane I ended up with a lite
plywood fairing from the leading edge to the trailing edge that
continues the lines of the fuselage and also makes a convenient
foundation for wing bolts.
I also simplified the way the struts are held into the fuselage. I
installed the 1/2" x 3/4" hard blocks in the fuselage per the plans, and
then I drilled 1/8" holes in them with a drill press, so the strut ends
stick straight into the holes rather than being held in place with J
bolts. I made sure that I had a nice straight foot on each strut so I
could stick about 2 to 2.5 inches into the hole, and they are held in
place by friction. It helps to have a wire bender for making nice
The cowling on these plans is a great example of why I like solid wood
cowls. I happen to have a ton of balsa blocks lying around. It's super
easy to build a good airplane nose by bolting the engine in place, then
measuring how big your cowl needs to be. Glue the big square blocks on
the front of the plane with space inside for the engine, and then carve
the outside so it looks like the nose of an airplane. I use this method
all the time, and it works great.
If you want to chat about any particular detail, feel free to email any
time. I'm always happy to talk about building from plans.
Have you ever seen Cunningham's Miss Bikini, also an RCM plan? It's one
of the best flying 20 size planes I've ever built, maybe even THE best.
Check it out some time.
Another really great flier is the Sporty Ace, which is sort of a scaled
down version of the Lazy Ace:
Build the Lazy Ace first, of course. But these other two are also
really great designs.
You're right about the color scheme, of course. But after building a
plane like this it's too tempting to just cover it with white to get it
I have a 14x6 on the engine now, but I have a few others on standby in
case I want to try something else. I have a 13x6, 15x6, and I think a
13x8 in the flight box. What would be your first choice on this kind of
A couple of years ago I was flying a Gere Sport (Bud Nosen) with 8 foot
wings and a Quadra 50. I had made a modification that contributed greatly
to its flying chrematistics. I added struts to the ends of the wings. Just
a 2 inch by whatever length of 1/8 bass wood it took with 2 #8 screws in
each end into the endcap of the wing. These were used instead of the flying
wires as I was not satisfied with the top wing stability during maneuvers
and landings in cross winds. Some things I am pretty strict
about..structural integrity is high on the list. I had lots of fun with
that plane until the battery line parted just at rotation one day. Balsa
everywhere.... I have a "new" one framed up in the attic waiting for the
current 3 builds and repairs to clear the shop. Probably early this summer
as I really loved that kite.
Since you have a 6 foot wing, you might want to think about something to
keep the upper wing from flapping around. Fly it first and see it there is
an issue. If so, then open the bottom of the lower wing and put yourself in
a pad to bolt a strut in the top of that wing to and one in the bottom of
the top wing. If you do it carefully, it will not be noticed when you are
going for show.
Please let us know how this one works...
"Robert Reynolds" wrote
I dunno. I've never had a glow engine that big. Saying that, I think I
would not go with a pitch over 5, and perhaps a 4 would be good, too.
Something like a big biplane needs a low pitch, to loaf around, but be able
to accelerate quickly, and strongly, with as much vertical as possible, and
a large disk to keep things slow on the down line.
It is my opinion that most people are running around with way more pitch
than they need.
You're probably right about pitch. I built a Big John biplane about 8
years ago and powered it with a Saito 91. It flew great, but it always
took the entire runway to land on a still day. It was a long time ago,
but I'm pretty sure I had an APC 13x8 on that engine. Now that I'm a
bit wiser, I would go with a lower pitch.
I have a drawer full of props that I've acquired from various buyouts
over the years, but I don't have a big prop with a pitch less than 6. I
don't want to go to the store and spend money on a prop when I have so
many at home...
I would really be interested in your procedure for doing the Monokote hinge
on the ailerons. If it isn't too much trouble, please describe your
procedure. Ed Forsythe and I have been discussing this, and I would really
like your take on it. I am not bored by detail.
The Big John biplane I had a few years back had a 78" wing, I think. I
built it the same way as this one, with 1/8" wire cabane struts and no
interplane struts, and it was just fine. I'm not expecting any problems
with this plane, but I suppose it's always a possibility.
aileron / ! T.E. of wing
That's a terrible diagram, but it will have to do. Notice that the
aileron is beveled so that it meets the wing only at the top, and the
gap which allows movement is only at the bottom.
With the wing and aileron flat on the table, iron a strip of monokote
over the joint, the entire length of the aileron. My strip was about
1.5 to 2 inches wide. When you have it stuck on completely, turn the
wings over and deflect the aileron until the bottom of the joint is flat
from one side to the other. In other words, you can iron a strip of
monokote on the aileron and the trailing edge of the wing with the iron
flat on both parts. As you iron the bottom strip in place, use the
point of the iron to make sure it gets all the way into the gap.
Ideally, you want the two pieces to stick together through the crack.
If you get them to stick together in the middle, they won't come off
Any time I'm applying monokote to an airplane I keep Windex and paper
towels handy. If your skin oil gets on the first piece you put on, the
next piece that is supposed to stick to it will have a harder time
sticking. To produce the best possible adhesion, I always clean the
parts that are already on the plane with Windex right before I put the
next piece on. This is especially important with monokote hinges.
In quatrain 5-97, Nostradamus predicted that on Sun, 11 Mar 2007 18:25:51
-0600, in message , Robert Reynolds
[much great information saved, but snipped solely for bandwidth purposes]
Thanks for your very gracious offer. It's going to be a while before I
get to the Lazy Ace plans. Right now I'm waiting for the right wingtip on
the Sig Kadet (Mk II) that I'm building to dry.
I hadn't seen the Miss Bikini, but you might want to also check out
Chuck's Miss Texas:
It looks very much like the Miss Bikini, only much larger.
When RCM started in with their problems, I grabbed plans for all of the
planes from "my day" that I really wanted to build back then. So, I've
got the Sporty Ace, the Lazy Ace, and Miss Texas. Over the past couple
of years, the doctor has been trying to glue my left eye back together
(diabetes), so my modeling hasn't progressed as quickly as I'd planned.
I haven't gotten my first kit-built plane together yet (but I do have my
fieldbox done), but I'm looking forward to getting everything together so
that I can start scratch building for the first time. I'll have lots of
questions for you then!!! ;->
I have seen the Miss Texas in the catalog many times, but I never
ordered that particular plan because I have a few others in that size
category already. Now that you mention it, it does look kind of like a
blown up Miss Bikini, except the tail is a bit different.
I never did get into the planes from "my day". I started building from
plans around 1990, and right from the start I went for the stuff that
was already old. I bought things that looked good at the time, like the
Cloud Dancer, but most of my stuff is from the 70s. Seems to me that
the RC planes of the 70s were just more interesting, especially in the
1990s when everybody had an Extra, a Sukhoi and a Staudacher, all of
which look pretty much the same to me.