stick and tissue rubber powered plane to build w/ my 7 year old - RC Groups
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Aug 29, 2012, 11:40 AM
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whichwaysup's Avatar

stick and tissue rubber powered plane to build w/ my 7 year old

Okay, I'm sure this question has been asked a thousand times on this forum, so I'll beg forgiveness if I'm asking it again. I did search briefly to see if I could find a similar previous post - unsuccessfully.

My son is having his 7th birthday next week and I'm trying to track down a good quality kit for a rubber powered airplane. We built a gillow's Piper Supercub 95 (kit # 602) and it turned out beautifully and flew terribly. More importantly, it was extremely fragile - more so than I remember my models being when I was young. Perhaps I've gotten too used to foam!

Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions - and sources, for a great flying, fairly simple built rubber powered airplane to build with him. Since this question is pretty broad, here are a few "ideal" characteristics that may narrow down the choices:

1) Flight characteristics trump beauty. Don't care about scale, I want him to have something that flies.
2) Must fly outdoors, but ideally in a fairly small space.
3) Durability - quality of kit is one aspect, but a tough frame is probably a good thing too.
4) I'd prefer to avoid "profile" type of fuselages - personal preference, and I could probably be swayed if all other elements were in place.

Since I've already asked for things that are completely contradictory in the above, i might as well add that I'd also like to win the lottery, have things perpetually go my way, and never again experience a windy day. Oh, and a lifetime worth of beer would be fine too.

If you can assist in any of these requests, please let me know!
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Aug 29, 2012, 11:42 AM
when down=up, up=expensive
whichwaysup's Avatar
If it helps at all, here's a pic of our last build. Doesn't look quite as pretty now . . .
Aug 29, 2012, 12:22 PM
Registered User
Your Guillow's Piper Cub should have flown okay. I've built a few of them. Did you balance it correctly? Also, if you used the kit rubber it won't do much at all. It needs good rubber that the guys use who are seriously in to free flight, like me. I buy it from Peck-Polymers which is a branch of A2Z Corp. Once you get good rubber for it, the rubber needs to be lubricated so it doesn't stick to itself. You will get a lot of winds in the rubber and the Piper will fly longer. You could change the propeller to a 7", that would help, too. BTW, your Cub looks pretty good.

Aug 29, 2012, 12:25 PM
when down=up, up=expensive
whichwaysup's Avatar
Thanks Kevin - The Supercub was a bit of a disappointment. We replaced the kit rubber with some contest rubber and I used a better length. The airplane consistently tip stalled though. We ended up putting gobs of clay up front to get the CG right, but even with that we never got a good flight.

Any suggestions on a better model? You can read that as "something more forgiving of a poor builder".
Aug 29, 2012, 01:51 PM
Registered User
Well, the Anna Jr. flies really well. It's a small plane. But it really does fly so you will have to set it to fly in small circles and add just a tad of nose weight to keep it from climbing too high and catching a thermal, which it wants to do.

Aug 29, 2012, 02:17 PM
Registered User
My two personal favorites are the Flying Aces Moth, and the Peck Polymers Prairie Bird. Both classics that are known for their flight performance. A2Z carries both kits, and I am sure a google search would list other suppliers as well.

Aug 29, 2012, 02:54 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
When I think of 6 to 8 year old kids "stick and tissue" isn't the sort of option that leaps first into my mind.

Instead I see fleets of simple sheet balsa chuck and rubber band launched gliders. I see quick and easy to build simple designs that can be shaped by the developing motor skills of a 7 year old that does not have a lot of "sit and dwell" patience. I see models which arc up and over to do loops which try to hit the smiling kid in back of the head so he has to jump out of the way with a big giggle. I see tough and sturdy models that fly well in small confines for maybe 10 seconds at a go... which to a 7 year old SEEMS like forever. I see a table full of 10 to 14 inch span "jets", "airliners", "flying saucers" and other odd but simple to build all sheet designs decorated with the finest felt markers money can by from the dollar store.

And with the simplicity of the all sheet options I see you guiding your son's hands with a few words of instruction instead of reaching over and doing much of the work. Be honest now.... just exactly how much of the actual shaping and work did he do versus what you did with that Guillow kit?

If the goal is to let him learn the motor and hand skills to move on with modeling or some other craft style hobby is it not better that he does most, if not all, of the work?

Instead of the two of you working on ONE model pick something super simple like a basic all sheet glider and make one each. When you cut, he cuts (watch to make sure the fingers are behind the cut direction!). When you sand, he sands. When you glue and pin, he glues and pins. In the end you both have a model that you each built on your own. His own first few efforts may not be as straight and true as yours. But with each project the two of you build he'll get better and better at working with his hands.

I suspect he'll feel a lot more pride in having actually made a whole model on his own where you didn't do anything more than put the supplies and tools onto the table and lead by example only. And he'll get more out of it by learning to do each operation on his own. Fine motor skills that don't simply apply to model building but to anything he puts his mind and hands to from that point on.
Aug 29, 2012, 04:35 PM
Registered User
Gluehand's Avatar
Originally Posted by BMatthews
When I think of 6 to 8 year old kids "stick and tissue" isn't the sort of option that leaps first into my mind.
The first I saw this thread, my thoughts spontaneously went in THIS direction.....

Aug 29, 2012, 05:59 PM
Registered User
John Cole's Avatar
Lots of options here for sure.

First models that come to my mind are:

Sig Parasol
Sig Cub
Peck-P SkyBunny

Easy to build, great fliers.

Aug 29, 2012, 06:37 PM
Closed Account
I would recommend the Dick Baxter designs: the PussyCat or the Akro.
Last edited by IndoorFlyerABQ; Aug 29, 2012 at 06:45 PM.
Aug 29, 2012, 08:44 PM
Registered User

Easy build plane.

How about a Comet Flash? YOu most likely could get plans on the RC Groups and it certainly would be a easy build for your 7 year old son. I built one myself at about that age. I dont recall how or even if it flew but was a fun project.

Good luck
Aug 29, 2012, 11:10 PM
Culper Junior
I'd go along with John on the Sky Bunny. Built up wing and tail to get the 'stick and tissue' experience but a solid balsa stick fuselage for small hands to grip. I have 2 and had some very nice powered (and thermal) flights on them.

Click the link and scroll down for pictures.....

Also I know you are talking about rubber powered models but don't over look a catapult model or two. Easy and cheap, and for a 7 year old the launch speed and quick altitude is a real rush. And don't forget, it is rubber powered, the rubber just stays on the ground. :^)

And lastly, here's a link to downloadable plans of a nice all sheet rubber model. One, as Bruce says, you both can build side by side. It is so simple you each might modify your own to make them look unique. Personal experience assures it works great with 7 year old grandsons.
Last edited by aeronca52; Aug 29, 2012 at 11:24 PM.
Aug 30, 2012, 09:15 AM
when down=up, up=expensive
whichwaysup's Avatar
Wow - Thanks to all of you and points very well taken. I've been on this forum for several years now, though I only recently registered and became "active". I've always found this a great source of information - and good people willing to help. You all have, once again, proven that.

All points are well taken. Bruce, yours in particular made me re-consider a bit and reminded me how I got into this hobby. Aeronca, I like the plans for the sheet balsa builds, though the sky bunny looks like it might be a good challenge after our last build. The Pussycat and Acro will definitely be on the future list - I think we'll see how the fine motor skills handle this round. Ronrange - got your PM and would definitely be interested!

Thanks all - look forward to sharing the final decision and progress.
Aug 30, 2012, 12:47 PM
Registered User
I've built both the Big Pussycat, and the Akro at 150%. Both are good fliers.

Aug 30, 2012, 01:39 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
WhichWay', if you can't find a source for some fun yet interesting looking all balsa models and you don't feel comfy making up some designs of your own then get back to me. I'll CAD up some fun options for all sheet stuff for kid's of all ages to try....

Really there is not much to it though. The top view should be something that "looks about right" and the only other key thing is that the horizontal tail should be set to a very slightly negative angle compared to the wing. About 1/32 inch per inch of stabilizer chord is about right. Or if you must have degrees then about 1.5 to 2 degrees negative for the tail compared to the wing.

From there it's all about your imagination.

For flying wings you can get fancy or you can simply make them flat and cut and glue a portion of the rearmost part of the trailing edge so it angles up slightly.

And if they don't fly then cut and glue stuff until they do. Such is the magic of the all sheet stuff.

A book of airplanes that has a lot of 3 views can be a source for a big array of design possibilities. Simply scale the top and side views up to around 12 inch span. The fuselage can be done as a profile sheet shape cut from 1/8 balsa. The wings are flat sheet things from 1/16 and the tail surfaces from 1/32.

Or maybe look at doing a "flying wing" of a gull or eagle? You'll need to fake it with some clear plastic fins to go with the flat tail feathers but you should be able to make something that looks like a bird and flies pretty decently.

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