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Mar 12, 2019, 09:07 AM
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Looking for suggestions for a good basic kit for a 9 year old


I was wondering if people could offer suggestions for a good rubber power (or maybe even glider) free flight kit for my 9yr old neice, who's not of the engineering mindset, but she likes outdoor activities.

First, I bought her one of those cheapie Guillow's SkyStreaks. We're lucky if we can get the thing to fly more than 10ft. She gets excited if it goes 10ft, but she doesn't know what rubber powered planes can really do! I'm pretty new at this myself and despite the simplicity of these models, I feel that they require significant modifications by a knowledgeable builder/flyer before they can be made to work well.

On the other extreme, I have recently a Sig Cub and The Ritz by Easy Built Models. While these are much better flyers, now we're talking about serious kit building. Sure I could just give her one of the planes I built already so that she can fly it, but these things are too delicate for her. Pick them up / fly them incorrectly and syonara. The same could be said of the Guillow's kit, but those things are less than 5 bucks and take less than 5 minutes to put together, so it's no big deal if and when she breaks them (she already has at least once).

So... what I'm looking for: either a glider or rubber powered model that is easy and quick to assemble and flies more than 10ft. I prefer a balsa sheet model, but I suppose if something else works much better for a kid, then I'd be open to alternatives. I have also tried building a Guillow's Mini Model (the V-Tail one). It was slightly better than the SkyStreak, but the sticky film that covers the wings started shifting and got messed up very quickly. Those things don't seem to be worth the effort either - 2 hr build for 2 hr of total flying time and a 50ft run, max. Is there something that can fly for say 100+ ft. / 10+ seconds, and can last a bit longer but without the complexity of the "real" stick and tissue models?
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Mar 12, 2019, 11:09 AM
Registered User
The Sig Thermal Dart might be a good choice. I built one with a friend of mine and found that it flew quite well. Recently helped a kid with one. If it had flown any longer, it would have been lost in the trees.

You can also make a Sky Streak fly very much longer. Same tricks as covered for a Sleek Streak in Bill Warner's Hey Kid, You Wanna Build a Model Airplane? Part 1. Pester me later and I'll check the motor size on mine.
Mar 12, 2019, 11:10 AM
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duplicate post
Last edited by lincoln; Mar 12, 2019 at 08:38 PM. Reason: duplicate post
Mar 12, 2019, 11:11 AM
Registered User
BTW, Warner's article can be found on line someplace.
Mar 12, 2019, 12:59 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJesse
It was slightly better than the SkyStreak, but the sticky film that covers the wings started shifting and got messed up very quickly. Those things don't seem to be worth the effort either - 2 hr build for 2 hr of total flying time and a 50ft run, max. Is there something that can fly for say 100+ ft. / 10+ seconds, and can last a bit longer but without the complexity of the "real" stick and tissue models?
I picked up some Jetfire that can be modified, easily from the hey kid series.
Heres the post I found them on in vintage old timer designs
Mar 12, 2019, 01:37 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
As you said she's excited about just going 10 or 15 feet. So were we when we were that age.

How about rubber power without the problems of winding motors or dealing with propellers?

An elastic launched catapult glider is still rubber powered. And far less ground equipment needed to deal with it.

The usual click together stuff uses wood that is too thin to really stand up to a young one's "love". But if you make your own catapult models they can be quite durable and fly really well. But it does mean ordering up or finding a local supply of acceptable balsa.... as in not the stuff I've often seen at the local Michel's craft stores which is so heavy I'm pretty sure it won't float in water.....

If you're game it would not be hard to come up with a bird like glider or a Cessna style glider with a 10 to 12" span. You'd want a couple of sheets of 1/16, a couple of sheets of 3/32 and one sheet of good strong hard (Michel's grade ) 1/4" for making tough fuselages. If you're game we can supply building plans.
Mar 12, 2019, 02:22 PM
Registered User
I would recommend anyone wanting to experiment with model aviation, begin those efforts with Frank Ziac's wonderful" Thermic 18" all balsa hand launch glider. I built my first one when I was 9 and it cost 25 cents. (soon went to 35 cents, but came in actual box). Even built badly, it will fly successfully. I couldn't begin to count how many I've built since 1959. Last one was about 10 years ago. If you follow the trim instructions on the plan, it will launch in an overhead half loop. At top, it will roll upright and start glide. THEN YOU CHASE IT!

Wing span (flat) is 12". Wood selection is not overly critical, however lighter is better overall. I've even built them with mismatched grain wing panels. I use medium hard B grain for fuselage sticks as this takes the brunt of abuse. Ive used aliphatic and white glue, but prefer traditional model cement. I've mounted surface profiles backward and polyhedral for grins and giggles. The original configuration works best in my opinion. The rudimentary airfoil is non-critical ,symmetrical rounding, even upside down won't phase it. I painted coat of Maroon dope on the top of one my early ones, which warped the wings terribly(cupped like deep up side down airfoil) still flew great. I've used the kit clay for nose ballast, but when I switch to scratching my own I've used wound solder, masking tape and lead sheet, glued on ( balance nose heavy and sand cut or file the lead off for trim).

I've been stacking up appropriate scrap to cutout approx. 20 kits for my grand children. I'll sell you a pre-cut kit for 25.00.... or you can spend 7.50 and have enough wood to build three models from this plan.
Mar 12, 2019, 02:44 PM
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Norm Furutani's Avatar
My recommendation for a first build is the AMA Cub/Delta Dart. It's simple, inexpensive, flies very well.



Build it per plan, leave a 1/2" gap between the wing trailing edge and the stab leading edge. Use a 10-11" loop of 3/32, bend the plastic prop hanger so there is right thrust. No other trim is needed. Should be good for 20-30 second flights.


Norm
Mar 12, 2019, 05:07 PM
BOYCOTT SCAMAZON
lectroglide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by norm furutani
my recommendation for a first build is the ama cub/delta dart. It's simple, inexpensive, flies very well.



Build it per plan, leave a 1/2" gap between the wing trailing edge and the stab leading edge. Use a 10-11" loop of 3/32, bend the plastic prop hanger so there is right thrust. No other trim is needed. Should be good for 20-30 second flights.


Norm
ditto
Mar 12, 2019, 05:27 PM
Registered User
http://retrorc.us.com/katana-3-2-2.aspx
Phantom Flash

http://retrorc.us.com/phantomfury-3-3-2-1.aspx
Vartanian CLG

https://volareproducts.com/index.php...5aimlgji0b40t7
Blue Ridge Special --- a VERY good choice
Mar 12, 2019, 05:30 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Thanks. The Dart models do seem like a good start. Regarding which one - I'm not sure which would be better: bigger or smaller. Smaller probably more manageable for her, but bigger does fly better, as I've heard and noticed first hand.

I was also thinking that building directly from plans, as some suggested, might be a good idea - i.e. the ones with the balsa sheets instead of stick and tissue. I know hobby shops used to stock balsa wood (from midwest I believe) that comes with airfoils already shaped in them. I saw some of them at a hobby shop in Delaware (maybe an hour away). Might be worth me picking up a couple.

The catapult gliders had occurred to me as well. Been watching videos from Joshua Finn, in case anyone else knows his stuff. I am interested in them; however, I have never flown one myself - or even seen one in person, for that matter. Given that she's not into model building but more about the outside activity, I should probably build one and try it out myself first. Looks like fun. I just want to get the kinks out first.
Mar 12, 2019, 05:33 PM
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Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan berry
These are cool looking models. If she was a modeler, I would def try these out, but they look a little closer to what I started out with, and I have more patience. She's really just about the outside fun and being able to toss the thing into the air to watch it fly 10+ feet (she would prob have her socks knocked off to see it fly 25+ feet)
Mar 12, 2019, 06:12 PM
Registered User
Do you know about the Squirrel rubber powered airplane ? They are very easy to build and all fly Great , http://www.rubber-power.com/make-it.htm A Squirrel or a Peck ROG are sure bets.......
Mar 12, 2019, 08:30 PM
Registered User
Delta Darts are what my three kids started on . Easy to build , cheap , and fly really good .

Mike1484
Mar 12, 2019, 08:59 PM
Registered User
It's a lot easier to get 30 seconds out of a Thermal Dart than from a catapult glider. The latter, of course, are appealingly simple, IF you can make them fly well. Recommend use of Budd Kicker, but trimming will still be trickier.

I suppose Delta Darts are somewhat more damage resistant, but they won't fly as long as a Thermal Dart. Maybe better for inside flying, though.

I've attached a picture of my modified Sky Streak. Actually, it's a "Twinkle", same thing except for the unicorns I sanded off. I guess I'm not 100 percent secure about my masculinity. OTOH, the wings are smoother and lighter now. The rubber fell off, so I don't know what size I was using. Suspect between 1/16" and 3/32". It's been stored for a while by someone else and needs some warps taken out. But it flies reasonably well. The wood is all original. In case it's not obvious, I increased the dihedral.


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