FAQ frequently asked questions
This FAQ page breaks down into 2 sections:
Day To Day Questions
Less Urgent Questions
What is Outerzone?
Why are you doing this?
What is a 'vintage' plan exactly?
What is a 'good quality' plan?
What format are the plans in?
What started the whole idea?
How does this site work, I mean technically?
How does this site work, I mean how do plans get listed?
How many plans can Outerzone hold?
What is the data model, I mean what data types are used in the database?
What about copyright?
Show me the money
What happens in the long term? Disaster recovery? Posterity?
Who are you?
Day to Day Answers
You can't. There are no paper plans here, and there's nothing to buy. Also, we don't want your money. All the plans here are in digital format - and they are all free to download.
Find the plan page that you want. Scroll down that page, and find the section headed "Download File(s)". Look for an orange/red "Plan File" button, and click it.
When we say "scroll down that page" we really do mean it. Some of the pages here on Outerzone are quite long. The "Download File(s)" section is at the bottom of the page. Here is a screenshot of how that looks for me on my PC screen here, when I use (for example) the Outerzone page for the 1947 Guillow Monocoupe Deluxe (oz1023):
Clicking the button will download the PDF file. If that doesn't work for you, then see the download help page.
Note 18/04/2015: If you have a (recent, new) problem downloading the plans, first thing to check is this: try doing a right-click on the download link and save the file, instead of the normal left-click. This fix seems to work 9 times out of 10. This is (I guess) because you won't load the file into a browser plugin to view (usually Adobe Reader), you will just grab the file, period.
Plans here at Outerzone are (supposedly) all in PDF format and full size, so you should be able to print the PDF plan immediately at full size - except that most plans here are bigger than A4, which is the paper size home printers use. There are 2 solutions to this:
1. The first (cheap) solution is to use your home PC and printer to do a 'tiled' print onto several sheets of A4 paper, then assemble those sheets together with sticky tape. Currently (Oct 2019) we recommend Acrobat Reader DC to do this. This is a free program from Adobe - you can download it here and then install and use it to print tiled PDF plans.
Let's go through an example. Say you have decided that you like the Skipper (oz1777) plan by B Murray, from MA 1954. You have located and downloaded that plan onto your home PC as a PDF file, by using the Download Files section of the page at www.outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=1777 and now you want to print it out fullsize on paper. The Skipper plan is a total of 29.01 x 22.70 inches, when printed out in full. That's far too big for a home PC printer, of course. So. Open the skipper PDF plan in Adobe Reader, and select 'Print'. In the Print options dialog window, choose the 'Poster'
option. Here is a screenshot of how that looks for me on my PC screen here:
... and then click 'Print'. The plan will then print out out as a jigsaw of 12 x separate A4 'tiles'. Assemble these tiles together into the full size plan, using some scissors and the sticky tape of your choice. Done. If this explanation has not worked out for you, then try the Adobe help pages online for more detailed help with all this.
2. The second (and less cheap) solution is to copy the plan PDF onto a USB memory stick and then take that down in person to your local print services supplier, who will happily do the printing for you, in return for some money.
For more help on working with PDF files (software to use, how to check page size, how to check scaling) see the Outerzone Knowledge Base pages.
If you have a plan you want to submit, that's great. Be aware we have no way to deal with paper copies, so plans must be scanned and emailed. Any format will do: pdf, jpg, tiff, png, whatever you've got is fine. If you are doing the scanning yourself and wondering what settings to use, then a good starting point would be greyscale and 400dpi (although we do have some tutorial pages here if you want to go into more detail). Then just email it here to firstname.lastname@example.org along with any details you have on the designer, year, etc. Also please try and keep emails under 25MB total filesize. Thanks.
If you have files that are too large to email, then we recommend the WeTransfer file service. It's simple, fast and free. Currently (Oct 2017) you can send us files up to 2GB that way.
Less Urgent Answers
Outerzone is an online community of modellers who collect and share plans of vintage and old-timer flying model airplanes. For free. We do it together. And we've been doing it since 2011.
Outerzone was originally designed as an archive repository for plans that were found on the internet. Serving as a backup against the loss of plans held on other sites that might disappear over time. If any one of those sites should cease to function, we wanted the plans still to be available for modellers to download. Since then, Outerzone has grown upwards and outwards in a slightly different direction. We don't so much go looking for plans, they mainly just arrive here. Nowadays, most plans here are direct submissions from our online community. So rather than backing up other plan sites, we tend mainly now to host plans that have been sent in to us, from modellers around the world.
Because we like old model plans. And we do not want to see public domain plans slowly disappear from the internet over time. We want to save them for future modellers, future collectors, for all time. Save them into some kind of secure depository, that will not die out, that has a workable disaster recovery plan.
The second big reason to do this is to get everything - all the titles and dates and designer information and plan descriptions - encoded into a MySQL database that allows fast, flexible search.
Also, we want to see more stick and tissue models in the sky.
This clearly is not a perfect system, but it is at least a start. We expect
this incarnation of Outerzone to be in many ways flawed and maybe also
unpopular. But the point is that it is a useful beginning. At some point
in the future we (someone?) can then take this and use it as a foundation
to build something better.
It is a plan that shows how to make a flying model airplane, using traditional
techniques. This tends to mean stick and tissue style construction. People
differ on the definition by date of what is a vintage plan. Some say 1940.
Ourselves, we'd say anything dated before 1960. But for the purposes of this
site let's say before 1970. This is flexible - often plans are redesigned
and redrawn years later on, but still have vintage styling and construction.
Let's not be too sniffy about dates. We would hate to exclude plans that
are vintage in spirit but not in date.
A good quality plan is one you can immediately print out and use to build a model plane. Hopefully the plans on Outerzone are all of good enough resolution that they can be used for construction. We would call a bad quality plan one that is unclear when printed out (eg too low in resolution), and would be difficult to build a model with.
A 3-view is not a plan. A 3-view just shows the outside shape of an airframe.
A plan has detailed information and description of the materials used
and the shapes of the internal formers, and the parts that will fit together,
to make a complete flying model.
Plans are in PDF format. That's Adobe Acrobat. This is in some ways just an accident of history. Many people would say pdf is a stupid choice of format, and in many ways we would agree. But we are where we are. One good thing about using pdf as the standard is that anyone (well, anyone with a PC and an internet connection and a printer) can produce full-sized plans tiled and printed onto A4 paper. Then start building a model.
The other usable option (on this server) is zip. So if a plan cannot
(for some strange reason) be a pdf, then it must be held in a zip file.
There is a thread at RCgroups http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1265873 titled - Vintage
& Old-Timer Plans (started by Scott - Orange&White) - that as
of 24.03.11 had 197 pages and by our count about 1,600 vintage plans available
for download. That one thread on that one website was full of PDF format
vintage goodness that simply could not be allowed to fade away. That started
us thinking. Outerzone was designed to gather plans from places like that
- from any and all websites that host free plans - and to keep them safe
for the future.
It runs on a MySQL database at the back and classic ASP pages on the
Well, when I first started building Outerzone, it was obvious that we should have volunteer admins logging in and uploading plans, tagging them, uploading pics, editing the database listing, all that. But it never really worked out that way.
So after the first few months, it became routine that we do it all*. We is me and Mary. So what I mean is Mary and I do everything, at this end. All the plan uploads, all the data entry, all the photos, all the moderating, all that stuff is done by the two of us.
Basically, if you have a plan to submit - and you are of course expecting a plan upload system - there isn't one. You just need to email it to us, instead. Then we do all the work, for you :)
That's how it worked out. And it's not how we first set out to do this, but I think it's better this way, now. I am of course grateful to the good people who helped out in the beginning. But this way we have a curated style and a consistent voice across all of the (many thousand) plan pages on here. I think it is worth the work, for that. It makes the site clearer, easier to use, makes it easier to find what you need.
* For the avoidance of doubt, when I say 'we do it all' I am talking about the maintenance, the running, of this website. I don't mean that we find, or digitally clean, all of the plans. Plans come in from a surprising number of sources now, and we are eternally grateful to everyone who has helped out by finding, cleaning and submitting plans.
The database itself is industrial strength, and will hold many thousands
of records. Lets say 250,000. Safe to say we will all wear out before
the database does. But the actual PDF files are not in the database. They
sit on the server, taking up webspace. We do have only finite webspace
- exactly 20GB of it. That means we can hold 25,000 plans on here assuming
each plan (with thumbnails) is an average 800KB and assuming there's nothing
else in our space here at all. I think this is too small a limit, I want
this to be an exhaustive solution with room to spare, I think there are
more than 25,000 vintage plans in the world - but we will deal with that
issue when it arises. At the
moment I'm thinking we'll archive say the first 10,000 plans at that point,
move them somewhere we can link to, then keep rolling.
Each plan exists as a PDF (or zip) file along with a (640 x 480 pixel) JPG thumbnail image, and an entry in the database. Also if possible, there is a 2nd image that shows the finished model.
The database fields are (as of March 2012):
|PlanWingspan||int||in inches, rounded up to a whole number|
|PlanYear||int||0 if unknown|
|PlanMonth||int||1-12 or 0 if unknown|
|Formers||int||unchecked, incomplete or complete.|
|TagMulti||bool||has more than one engine|
|Filesize||int||in KB, rounded up to a whole number|
|Description||varchar(2000)||free text notes|
These will need expanding later, no doubt. There really should be more tags for sports, canard, wakefield, peanut etc...
I am not a database guru. There will be neater and more elegant ways of doing this, I'm sure. Main concern at the moment is to get a working system up and running. Can then start tweaking later. I think once we have a database that actually is full of data, it will get more interesting. We can always export the data from this table into different formats - CSV whatever - and build something else (something more elegant?) out of it.
Got requests for fields we should put in the database? email me.
It is my hope and understanding that all the plans listed here on this
site are out of copyright, and in the public domain. If you believe otherwise,
please contact me. If you own the copyright of a particular plan that
is currently listed here, let me know and I will remove that plan from
this listing. Since there will be volunteers (ie people other than me)
adding plans to this listing, they will be less worried about legal liability
than I am, so - and this is important - if I delete a plan from this listing
because of copyright concerns, that is final. It's gone. We cannot have
arguments about this.
This is a not-for-profit operation. Use of the site is free. Downloading plans is free. There are no subscriptions, no charges. Site administrators volunteer their time freely. The only money involved is the cost of hosting the site and advertising revenue. Yeah, that'll make me rich. I'll just go order an Aston Martin now.
Want to make a donation? If you want to make a small contribution then click here to donate using Paypal. And bless you.
Good question. We are hoping, after all, to save these vintage plans for posterity. Ok. There will be a weekly library backup of (1) the MySQL database (2) All the PDF plan files (3) All the thumbnail images, and (4) the ASP pages and scripts that constitute the site. If (when) this site does fail, that complete library backup will be released for download in more than one public server location, and hopefully a new group of volunteers will grab that library backup then use it to create a new (and better?) site that can carry on into the future.
I will be working on a better solution to this. Any suggestions are welcome.
Steve and Mary. I'm Steve, I live near Bradford in West Yorkshire UK, and I like old model plans. Sometime, I hope to get around to building models.
My question is not listed here. How do I get an answer?
Is there something you think should appear here? email email@example.com