Those who saw a small model aeroplane flying round and round its pylon at the Model Engineer Exhibition last January, and who watched it take off and land, probably dismissed this latest development in this field as pleasing but comparatively simple. In the past model aeroplanes have been flown using elastic, compressed-air and i.c. engines but electric motors and batteries proved too heavy for them, until the mid-1940s, and then not at all reliable. Now the staff of Model & Allied Publications, using slot-car motors, have made Frog-flite kit aeroplanes take-off and fly dependably a 30-ft. path round a Meccano pylon. But do not write this off as an easy exercise. The research required and the disappointments involved bear close comparison with those experienced in motor racing! Some nine members of the staff built about 30 models before achieving their objective. There must have been some sensational “prangs”, as props. dug in, machines flew into the pylon, and so on, before success was achieved. How to get the current to the pylon head, what weight cable to use, how big a span the model should have, whether to use a geared or non-geared motor, what sort of propeller was required, the effect of nose profile, the weight of dope, and how to prevent the electric controllers from overheating, were just some of the problems to be overcome.
How they were overcome, so that a 2-oz., 17 in.-span model of a Hawker Fury biplane, Chipmunk, Beagle, Ryan P.T.20, etc., will rev.-up its propeller, get airborne, and circle at above pylon height, is told in a fascinating duplicated 16-page booklet, “Electric R.T.P. Flying” by M.A.P. Staff, published by M.A.P. Ltd., 13-35, Bridge Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. They say they are not very proud of the production, as it was rushed out in time for the Exhibition. But its contents are great fun; copies are available for 4s., post free, on mention of Motor Sport. The booklet tells how to build aeroplane and pylon from commercially available parts, for a total cost of about £14 or a little less (the aeroplane and motor cost £2 5s.), and is a tale of true research in the model field, carried to a successful outcome.
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Those who want to know about larger, or come to that smaller, model aeroplanes than those covered in the booklet referred to above will find a wealth of information and plans in “Aero Modeller Annual—1968-69” by the same publisher, price 10s. 6d. Plans range upwards from a flying microfilm rubber model weighing less than 1/10th of a gram(!) and there are innumerable articles, including one about real light ‘planes built by modelling enthusiasts.—W. B.