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Supermarine S.5 - plan thumbnail image
Supermarine S.5  
by Gary Flandro
from RCMplans (ref:548)
February 1974
40in span
Tags: Scale IC R/C LowWing Floatplane Racer
? formers unchecked

This plan was found online 11/09/2014 at:
A backup copy has been saved as:
PlanID: 5913 | Filesize: 544KB
Credit*: Circlip
Format:  •PDFbitmap
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  Supermarine S.5 - completed model photomore pics (2)
Plan file details:
Supermarine S5. Scale floatplane racer for .15 to .25 power. Quote: "A Classic Racing Plane For .15-.25 Power. Possibly one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed, the 1927 Supermarine S.5 racing seaplane led the successful British attack in the famous Schneider Trophy Competition. The S.5 was one of a series of racing seaplanes designed by RJ Mitchell, and was the forerunner of the immortal Battle of Britain Spitfire. I trace my life-long involvement in airplanes to a Saturday afternoon towards the end of World War II when, as a youngster, I saw a motion picture entitled 'Spitfire' (original British title was 'First of the Many'), which depicted the life and times of the famous designer RJ Mitchell. I was fascinated by newsreel shots used in the picture of the silvery seaplane racers as they competed for the coveted Schneider Cup. Mitchell's career was devoted to the design of the fabulous line of Supermarine racing seaplanes, and his efforts led to the three successive wins which won the Schneider cup permanently for England in 1931. ##1## His design innovations were definitely decades ahead of the times, and the graceful beauty of the 1925-1931 Supermarine racers has, in my eyes, never been equalled. These were very specialized vehicles, de-signed to take-off only from water, fly a seven lap 190 mile course at high speed, and alight again on the water. During the 1920's and 30's these were the world's fastest aircraft; the Supermarine S.5 captured the record in 1927 at 282 mph using the Napier Lion engine. This was bettered by an improved version, the S.6, using the new Rolls-Royce 12-cylinder 'R' engine, forerunner of the famous Merlin. The S.6 and S.6B raised the world speed record to 358 and finally to 408 mph using a special sprint version of the Rolls-Royce R. One can clearly see, in these aircraft, the rapid evolution of high-speed aerodynamics, and the story of their tremendous impact on the design of the fighter aircraft later used in World War II has been often repeated. In the semi-elliptical wing planform and beautifully faired fuselages of the Schneider trophy racers there is a definite link to the redoubtable Spitfire of Battle of Britain fame. The development of lightweight micro-miniature proportional radio control equipment has produced a tremendous revolution in R/C model design. It is no longer necessary to build huge ships modeled on the 2 or 2-1/2 in to 1 ft scale to achieve the desired combination of scale detail and accept-able flying qualities. The many advantages of smaller models are so obvious they hardly need mentioning; lower material bills, faster building time (less area to sand, etc), much lower fuel consumption, easier transportation of models, and on and on, ad infinitum. There has been much talk lately of cutting down racing speeds for safety and for encouraging the less-skilled flyer to participate. What better way to accomplish this than by using the smaller engines permitted by reduced control system size and weight? ##1## The astute reader will by now have discerned what all this is leading up to - a cautious suggestion that there ought to be some study of a modeler's version of the Schneider Trophy Sea-plane Race using small radio controlled airplanes patterned after the Curtiss, Supermarine, Gloster, and Macchi racers of the pre-war years. Here is both a virtually untouched reservoir of appealing designs for the scale builder and the possibility of a racing event which would be tremendously appealing to the onlooker and truly challenging to the contestant and model designer. There is just nothing prettier than a scale-type ROW. This type of racing may also lead to solutions for some of the safety problems. What better way to ensure spectator safety than by flying the models over the water? It might also be noted that crashes in water are usually less severe, and damage is often slight if care is taken to protect the radio gear from water damage. Before I get carried away too far, I should state that this article was not intended to push any new racing events, but rather to indicate that there are some modeling areas which remain virtually untouched and are worthy of some development work. This article describes an initial exploration into some of the possibilities just described, making full use of the availability of advanced radio equipment, materials, and design techniques. I chose the Supermarine S.5 from among many other worthy Schneider designs for practical as well as esthetic reasons. First of all, the advantages of an upright engine installation are well-known, and this can be accomplished in the model S.5 without deviating from the scale outline. An interesting feature, which emerged in the design process, was the possibility of completely submerging (don't use that word too often around a seaplane jockey) a muffler system in one of the cheek cowls. If your flying lake is close to a populous area, this could be an important consideration - much has been written concerning the dwindling supply of flying sites due to uncontrolled engine noise. ##1## Another obvious advantage of the muffler installation is the channeling of exhaust gases completely away from the airplane. My S.5 is completely untroubled by the usual gummy castor oil smear - this is important when you are trying to maintain a fragile set of scale details and decals. The major design constraint for the model was that it be the absolute minimum in size required for efficient operation with a hot .19 RC engine. The scale which appeared to best meet these requirements was the 1.5 in = 1 ft conversion. This results in a model which can be built from standard material lengths without any splicing required, and allows use of easily available scale accessories. The model is so compact that it can be easily transported to the flying site without dismantling. This is a significant advantage where it is necessary to protect the inner work-ings from moisture..."

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