Bell P-63 Kingcobra. Radio control scale model.
Quote: "At the 1960 Dallas Nationals, while waiting in the ready line at the hotly contested (in more ways than one!) multi R/C event, I was struck by the similarity of most entries. While there was a small variety of configurations, the majority were pretty much the same in shape, ranging from plain to downright ugly. At that moment the concentration required in competitive flying didn't allow further speculation, but after the meet on the long drive home, I got to thinking about what to build for the following season. Seemed to me that a good 'pattern airplane' could be designed that would be realistic in appear-ance without sacrificing stunting per-formance.
Since the trend at Dallas indicated trike gear was the only way to get top points for take-off and landing, I began looking up full scale designs so equipped. It didn't take very long to narrow the field, because my preference was for a military aircraft and there just weren't many in the pre-jet age that had tricycle gear. Of the few I was able to turn up, only the Bell Airacobra P-39 seemed a likely candidate. Later I was to discover that Harold deBolt and others had arrived at the same conclusion.
Shortly after the Nats I was visiting fellow clubman Claude McCullough, having taken on the test piloting of his Martin Mauler (oz7964) R/C job. He's a scale fiend from way back with a large collection of magazines, books and 3-views. We got to digging around for material on the P-39 and turned up plans and photos of it as well as a later development, the P-63 Kingcobra. Its lines were more appealing and I was not long deciding that here was the configuration I was seeking - the ideal layout for a fully stuntable multi that could be near scale in outline.
I worked out specs that tied the lines of the P-63 to well-proven multi construction practices; Claude drew up the plans. Turned out during one winter month, the plane was an instant hit with everyone who saw it. As soon as the weather broke in the spring, out came the Kingcobra and proving the point that airplanes which look right generally fly right, performed perfectly on the first attempt, only minor trimming being required.
The model was an impressive stunter, fast yet extremely smooth. But there was one large ant in the oatmeal. Wanting a fine finish to go along with the sharp appearance, I applied what has come to be known in these parts as a "McCullough" finish. This is measured not in coats, but in gallons. It turned out plastic-smooth (note photos) but I found out that you never get something for nothing - the finished product weighed nearly 8 lbs, at least one more than planned. This extra weight was carried fairly well by the model, nevertheless there were a couple of maneuvers where the 'McCulloughnizing' had its effect. Since contests are won or lost on such little matters as half a point, I concluded that my lighter, modified Orion (oz927) would have to be my main multi competition ship; the Cobra would serve as my scale entry.
No scale contests were scheduled before the 1961 Nationals but the P-63 made its mark as a demonstration airplane, flying at noon-hour contest breaks all over the midwest. For an experiment, at the Lincoln, Neb., meet the Cobra performed after the regular events be-fore the same set of judges as my 1st place multi-winning Orion. The P-63 was only two points less than the winning flight in spite of that weight disadvantgae. There's no doubt but that 'KC' consistently copped the prize for interest throughout the season - always it was the airplane everyone asked to photograph and see fly.
At the Nationals scale event, it seemed the Cobra would really be in its element as a thoroughly checked and proven model. But fate and Murphy's law (ie: if it can happen, it will) ruled otherwise..."
This is an Uncle Willies plan.
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