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This one's a little simpler than the Hawk to build, but delivers that same thrill. Easy to build and trim. Every newcomer (or old hand, for that matter) wants three little things from a plane. It has to climb, turn and behave! The Vanguard delivers this and more.
Dimensions: Wing 45 x 11 CM, Stabilizer 22.5 x 8.5 CM. Propeller: 14 CM.
Mass is 7.5 grams when you build it light and cover with HDPE polyethylene. This gem comes with all materials you need, including propeller, rubber (about 10 feet), plywood and balsa laser-cut parts, HDPE and tissue covering material, O-rings to make winding easier, and informative, photo-illustrated instructions. It's a great value.
(Design Note: The tech committee did not limit propellers to "molded, single piece" so I think we're going to see Ikara props flying again this year--limited to the same 5.5" diameter such as included here with the Vanguard. However, as a favor to coaches, parents and students building kits for the first time, I'm going to stick with the Sig 5.5" prop-plus-hanger assembly for the Vanguard. This prop using either 3/32" or slightly smaller rubber has a proven track record with this airframe. You won't be disappointed. Want to experiment with an Ikara prop? Please do.)
AMA flyers--If you actually do intend this for flying in P-18 events, shoot me an email and I can cut you one right up against the 18" span limit. The school competition one is a couple of tenths smaller.
Build the Vanguard using CA or Titebond, and cover using glue stick or 3M 77 Spray adhesive. Wanna see another cheesy LCP video? Check this out: Vanguard at Manitou
Fits the 2016-2017 TSA rule
With apologies to Thomas Hardy, this one's a development of the Sheldon from previous years. With a simple wingmount system, smaller chords (wing and stab), but the same gentle flying characteristics, Tess makes an excellent sport ROG planes as well.
Includes prop, laser-cut wood, pre-bent wire landing gear, wheels, covering material (HDPE), rubber and nice instructions. Instructions include plenty of guidance on trimming for optimal flight.
Rumors to the contrary, kits are allowed for this year!
Props are in! I'm going to keep the "no-prop" option, but also restore the button for full kits. Please make sure you choose carefully.
Tess Without Prop
Kit for the 2015-2016 rule
Now obsolete, but still a great flyer. The rule has moved on, but the Towhee is still available. In fact, I'm going to re-release it soon as a red-prop (5.5 Sig) plane because I was so happy with the way it flew in that configuration last year. For now, it exists as it was originally. 40CM wingspan, 25CM stabilizer, 7 grams without rubber, a 20CM propeller and rubber limited to 1.5 grams . This would be the perfect kit for that Freshman or Sophomore new to flying. The kit comes with an Ikara 8.8" propset, laser-cut balsa and plywood parts, domestic tissue for covering and of course, photo illustrated instructions with plenty of information about trimming and flying. One nice upside to the small flying surfaces is that building the wings straight and true has never been easier, and the Towhee's simple wingmount system makes final assembly a snap.
The kit builds with CA, Titebond or hobby glue such as Duco, Testor's or Ambroid wood glue. Covering is attached either with a light mist of spray adhesive (3M Super 77, e.g.) or glue stick.
Sport outdoor flyer
Finally--something for the great outdoors! Here's a nice one-night build that will quickly become a local park favorite. Borrowing style cues from an old towline glider, the MSO is a 17" freeflighter that can take a little wind and live to tell the tale. Cut from a combination of basswood, ply and balsa, this one's great for out at the field during downtime or after dinner as the sun sets. Spray it with a little laquer and cover it in HDPE (or your favorite doped tissue) and it'll shrug off dewy mornings. Composite basswood and balsa motorstick gives it excellent front-end strength. Entirely capable of catching lift. Watch out!
Span: 17" Mass: 14 g
Includes balsa, ply and basswood parts, HDPE covering, Ikara 6" molded propset, 1/8" Tan Super Sport rubber and photo-illustrated instructions.
Fantastic intro to free flight
Here's the complete competition rule for the Hawk P-18 class. Whether you build using this kit or build one from plans, span and length is 18", weight is not less than 7.5 grams, and the prop is 5.5" unmodified other than by adding weight to the heavy blade for balancing. That's it! This kit uses all the Laser-Cut Planes tricks--three-panel wing construction, slotted & gussetted spars, plywood bits for a simple wingmount, detachable wing for easy transport, and builder-friendly instructions. Constant-radius curve for the airfoil makes the dihedral joints geometrically simple, and the kit includes a tip-jig to get the angle just right. Inexpensive tissue covering, propeller set, hook and rubber (12 feet) all included.
Here's a flight video taken at the Pueblo Southern Regional Sci Oly contest last year. By the way, this kit doesn't quite fit the Sci Oly rule. It's just a bit big in a couple of dimensions.
Mountain Lion Mark II
For our favorite people--Beginners
After five years a few improvements were needed! New to the Mark II: Single-piece motorstick (rather than laminated), Dihedral versus polyhedral (with a nice durable basswood joiner that self-jigs the dihedral and fuselage joint), laser-cut ply rubber hook instead of the toothpick (though I always like that toothpick!) and the covering job made easier by shortening the cuts. All in all the Mark II is a nice step forward.
The Mark II is available at three quantity/price combinations: Single, Six-Pack and Group Build for any quantity 19 or greater. Six-Pack and Group build are bulk-backed (1 set of instructions + individual plans, all wood, rubber & props packaged together.)
New for the Mark II--Video construction support for coaches, builders and anyone who wants to see a truly amateur example of videography :)Building the Mountain Lion Mk II.
It's pronounced "vaya" and is German for Harrier or Goshawk. The Weihe was Hans Jacobs' contribution to soaring history, designed back in 1937. This one's rubber powered, of course, but with the long wings and distinctive shapes it's not too hard to imagine it catching some lift up there by the lights. Like the Meadowlark, this plane flies prettiest in large, room-filling circles. A plywood wing joiner guarantees just the right dihedral, and its 23" wingspan is the largest in the Laser-Cut Planes stable. On the 6" lightweight Ikara prop and 1/16" rubber, it climbs smoothly up to a cruising altitude. Get the CG right and you're rewarded with a long glide home at the end of the flight. 5 grams.
Curvy pylon-wing kit--Great for newcomers, super sport flyer
Ellipsis is an easy-to-build smaller model designed around the Ikara 6" molded prop. This may be the easiest LCP kit to build yet. Each wing panel uses only five parts, and the long tailboom permits non built-up tail surfaces. Plywood wing joiners set the dihedral just right, and the smallish wing panels' continuous curves make trimming the covering a piece of cake using nothing but scissors. Trimming is accomplished using time-honored trailing edge bending method on the stabilizers. This smaller plane would be an excellent choice for a newcomer to free flight or one-design contest, or simply as a nice, reliable plane to keep in the box.
Span: 14" Chord 5.2". Included is 3/32" rubber--just about optimal--though it will fly lower & slower with .08".
Pure fun! Jet canopy, tapered wings, easy construction.
This is one of those planes to build when you just want something that looks cool. The tapered wings (sort of like a Wildcat?), and the canopy (sort of like an F-86?) along with the generous dihedral make for a nice-flying sport plane that would be great for mass launch or one-design contests. When this one gets trimmed out, it flies very smoothly. It also gets you those "Hey, that looks like a real plane" comments from the peanut gallery! The innovative laser-cut plywood wingmounts make final assembly a piece of cake. The best-in-class 6" Ikara molded prop is a joy to fly with--nicely balanced and robust.
Span: 17" Mass: about 7 grams. All parts cut by laser. As with all Laser-Cut Planes kits, spars are cut with integrated rib gussets to ensure proper placement & alignment. Includes wood parts, Ikara moded propset, rubber, covering tissue and photo-illustrated instructions.
A sport A6 kit for the somewhat experienced builder
The Prowler spent an embarassingly long time in development. Why? With structures this light, everything matters! Wood density, wood thickness, cutting speed, cutting power--you name it, it got in the way of crafting a reliable kit. It took many more prototypes than usual, but I think it's figured out now. Another thing--with a structure this light, rubber selection can be critical. My favorite go-to size for the Ikara 6" lightweight prop is 1/16", but I'm telling you--if you wind it up on 1/16", you'd better have a tall ceiling!
So--included with the kit (As well as the usual 100% laser-cut parts, prop, hanger/hook, covering, photo-illustrated instructions) is some custom-stripped .050" as well as some 1/16th (.063) and if I were you, I'd get cozy with someone who owns a stripper. (Or just contact me--I'd be happy to cut you some more) I think the sweet spot is somewhere in between those two numbers, but life's funny that way.
The airframe itself is pretty good, and I'm seeing weights in the neighborhood of a gram before covering, and without prop/hangers/rubber. So--rig yourself a nice wood prop, cover in film or condenser paper and who knows?
Classic Beauty: Pylon-Winged ROG
All modelers owe a debt to the late Joe Elgin for his 1940 Playboy Senior design--an 80" span gas-powered free-flight model. Sooner or later you realize what a masterpiece of proportion and shape it was. Here's a 22-inch span profile version designed to use the outstanding Ikara 6 inch molded propset on 3/32" rubber in ROG (rise-off-ground) mode--or on 1/16" rubber without the gear as an indoor cruiser. Unusual engineering of the horizontal stabilizer makes it easily adjustable for getting that perfect trim. Kit includes laser-cut wood parts, HDPE covering, propset & hook, polyhedral/dihedral angle jig, 3/32" rubber, pre-bent landing gear, wheels, and photo-illustrated instructions. 9.3 grams with landing gear installed. This one's a winner--a beautiful, smooth flyer for indoor or calm outdoor conditions. Fun to watch it land, too!
What's the best way to overcome motorstick twist? Let it twist!
By letting the lower half of the motorstick twist freely, the upper half--carrying the flying surfaces--remains aligned at all torque levels. What began as a simple engineering exercise ended up to be a very nice flyer. Newly updated with better wingmount raising the wing above the motorstick by about an inch and a half. 18" span, sub-20" LOA, 12" Ikara propeller on 1/8" (.125) rubber. Detachable wing for easy transportation. This Sport Pennyplane comes in at 7g.
Well, it's true: I'm out of 12" props and won't have any until maybe 1 May. If you don't mind a 24 CM prop instead, I'll ship with the 24 CM + 3/32" rubber. It actually flies very nicely with that combo.
Long-Winged Soarer--Simple to build, elegant to fly
It's not often that a plane captures the imagination like Meadowlark. This lightweight scale-like plane flies in large, stable circles on its way up to the ceiling. The T-tail stabilizer configuration is the perfect complement to the long, slender wings and canopy-like front end. If you've ever watched a sailplane climbing on nothing but thermals, you understand the vibe. When you pull your finished Meadowlark out of the box, stand by for visits from the peanut gallery! It uses the 6" Ikara lightweight prop on 1/16" rubber. Weight comes out between 4 and 5 grams (without rubber). Comes with prop, HDPE covering, rubber, hanger, hook, photo-illustrated instructions, and of course, laser-cut parts (except for the tailboom, which is square stock.) Span is about 19.5".
Presently unavailable--Awaiting Props
Twin Wings, Twin tails, Under 7 Grams
I admit it--I stole the twin tail look from the Bobcat, but it just looked right. The prototype came out to 6.7g. Nice slow flyer that'll fly around a classroom. Keeps a nice turn even when trimmed for a tight circle. Between tailboom twist, those twin rudders, and sliding wingmount, you can trim this beauty to your heart's content. Laser-cut wing mount system take all the guesswork (terror?) out of dihedral & incidence for the four wing panels. Uses the Ikara 8.75" prop on 3/32" rubber--included of course.
Cents of Time
This Pennyplane-class sport flyer will open the door to hours of great flying
This design meets the AMA Limited Pennyplane-class rule and was designed to produce a well-flying, easily trimmed plane without the need for free flight’s arcane skills like wood selection, propeller construction, rubber choice and other challenges. Cents of Time's laser-cut structure makes this an excellent candidate for the first-time indoor free-flight flyer. Cents of Time will provide hundreds of long, inspiring flights. This kit would be a superb addition to any collection and would be a nice next step for any young person with experience in Science Olympiad flying. The aerodynamics are traditional, but the look is not! Kit includes: Laser cut wood (ribs, spars, motor stick struts, tailboom--everything), Ikara 12" propset (Update: for now the CoT ships with an Ikara 24CM and 3/32" rubber, which works very well, actually); prop hanger, motor hook, HDPE covering material, .125" Tan Super Sport rubber, and photo-illustrated instruction booklet with tips for beginners. 18" span, around 7 g.
This 20" span smooth flier is a sort-of replica of the old Jetco ROG.
Roger! is a model of a model. The overall shape was first seen in a plan offered by the long-gone Jetco company. It was a head turner-then, and it's still a very pretty, reliable flier. It's built around the SIG 5.5" propset and would be an excellent first kit or subject for a one-design contest. Comes with propset, rubber, photo-illustrated instructions, covering material and of course--every single wood part is laser cut for easy assembly.
Giving this one a rest. (Out of production for the time being. If you want one, shoot me an email and I'll hook you up.)
Designed for the 2010 student rule--Still a great flier
Twin-tailed slow flyer. Under full power, climbs hard--just on the edge of a stall, then noses over into cruise mode, making large circles up by the ceiling! Uses the Ikara 24CM prop. Comes with clear HDPE covering material, laser-cut spars, ribs, motor stick and tails. Includes rubber and photo-illustrated instructions to make your build quick and enjoyable. Wing: 45 x 14.5 CM. Not legal for this year's SO rule.
For the 2014 Student event
The rule cycle began with an 8-gram 50CM monoplane. Light enough for some nice flights, robust enough handle some hard knocks. Osprey includes everything you'll need: Laser-cut wood parts, lightweight Ikara propeller assembly (safely under the propeller span limit), HDPE covering material, rubber, plywood joiner pieces, and photo-illustrated instructions chock-full of careful guidance for first-time builders. All you need is wood glue and spray adhesive.
Already have a propeller on hand? Try the no-prop option for $5 less.
Out of production. If you really want one, shoot me an email!
This cool tail-dragger ROG's smooth as silk and climbs slowly into the air, making it all look easy. The rule says you get 1.5 grams of rubber, but the plane will carry much more. The cut-down Ikara prop has a 170mm span, and careful building will get you right down to the 7-gram lower limit. A better wingmount makes the airframe more rigid for this year's version. This plane flew the longest single flight at the 2016 TSA National contest with a 3:04.
Span: 50 CM/19.6 inches. All wood parts are laser cut, and this kit uses the same keyed rib-to-spar joints found on all kits from Laser-Cut Planes. Because it's designed for students, the directions include even more detailed description than usual, with lots of guidance for the new builder. Kit includes prop, wood, pre-bent wire landing gear, wheels, rubber and HDPE covering material. It doesn't matter whether you're a student or not--this one's a great flier!