Waco E Aristocrat. Radio control scale model biplane.
Quote: "Here's a famous old bird. Bring it to life again today. R/C Waco E, by Walt Mitchell.
As you will learn from the yellowed tearsheet of the 1939 WACO NEWS on the opposite page, the Waco Model E was a very advanced airplane for its day. The NEWS brags, 'Boy, would you look at the lines on that baby.' And you would have to agree. It was a trim old bird. And when you think that it was hauling pre-World War II business execs here and there at an average speed of 200 mph, with a top permissable of 300 mph - well, those who were after contracts by train and Greyhound were at something of a disadvantage.
The Waco E, or 'Aristocrat' as it was called, was the Lear Jet of its day, and its 5-place interior was appointed with comfort and distinction. It could go 1,000 miles with a full load of fuel in its neoprene tanks, and its large electrically operated flaps made it docile on take-offs and landings, despite the claim that it was the fastest plane of its type and horse-power ever built.
The completely sealed, flush cowling was an integral part of the fuselage, and apparently one of the distinguishing characteristics of the airplane. Unfortunately, while constructing the model I didn't have access to the WACO NEWS, hence the non-scale cowl and other variations. More on this later.
Right now, I want to tell you that this multi-proportional radio gear is the greatest thing since girls. It enables the dedicated scale buff to bring practically any old favorite back to life and signals a decline in look-alike pattern aircraft, including Taurus (oz612), Son-of-Taurus, and I was a Teen-Age Taurus. If you don't have enough money to buy multi-proportional goodies, steal it. Although I do not ordinarily advocate civil disobedience, in this case the end justifies the means.
Back in the days when I was an oppressed single channel boy, I was committed to the defense of superegen receivers against the power-mad onslaught of the multi elite. In those halcyon days I swore: If I ever get rich enough to buy multi equipment, I will not forget; I will do everything in my power to help the poor single channel boys. Now that I'm rich and have Kraft proportional, I say to hell with them. All the way is the only way.
The excellent U-control kit of the Waco SRE (oz1956) by Sterling provided the basis of construction (if you are a Ukie, don't miss this one). The 33 inch span of the kit was expanded to 54 in and the tail surfaces were slightly, enlarged as a precautionary measure. After construction was 90% complete, I learned that my friend Hollis Sanders had located a Waco E wreck, the 1939 WACO NEWS, and a Waco E instruction manual. Hollis, incidentally is a REAL pilot and a card-carrying member of the Antique Airplane Association. Nice guy, but man if you think R/C pilots are nuts, you ain't seen nothing yet. The boys who restore and fly REAL antiques are really out of their trees. Can you imagine going up yourself, rather than sending a radio and four or five servos?
The drawings reflect changes from the prototype as a result of consultation with additional authentic data - flush cowl, aerodynamically balanced tail surfaces, etc. By adding your own first-hand knowledge of detail, you may well become the first 30-year-old kid (40- 50- 60?) on your block to build a truly scale Waco E Aristocrat.
The drawings also show placement of front seats and the throwover steering column. I had planned such cockpit detail, but couldn't figure out what to do with the 12 oz gas tank which extends right into the middle of all this. Knowledgeable friends suggested pressurized tanks located elsewhere, but this is beyond my technology at the current time. If you can solve this problem, I would appreciate knowing how. Remember, the short nose moment requires that weight to be kept well forward. (Its interesting to note, however, that the prototype ended up nose-heavy, so perhaps the weight problem is not as critical as one might assume.) In flying trim, my Waco balances at about 40 per-cent of the chord of the upper wing. The Enya 60 and a 13-5 prop provide more than adequate power; in fact, it is a bomb at full throttle. Flaps would be a good idea, if you can arrange them.
Later data secured from the 'Experimental Aircraft Association 1963 Pictorial' and from Lenox Toy & Hobby Shop's Knight Culver (who is a treasure-trove of information on early aircraft) indicate that at least some Waco E's had fabric covered fuselages with four exposed stringers on each side. It is known for sure that wings and horizontal stabilizer were covered with plywood, which accounts for the minimum external strut bracing. The only bracing other than the interplane struts were the double landing and flying wires. The prototype is entirely sheeted except for control surfaces, which are fabric.
BUILDING IT If you're at this stage in modeling dementia praecox, details on construction are wasted breath. You're going to do it YOUR way, regardless of what I tell you. I feel compelled, however, to make a few suggestions and hope that they will be civilly accepted in the manner intended:
1. Be sure wing-stabilizer incidence is zero-zero. If anything, the upper wing should be slightly negative.
2. I would he the last to suggest deviation from scale, but the oversized cowl on the prototype has several things going for it. Leaving 1/4 in of air around the firewall keeps your 60 from overheating and allows it to be fully hidden. Best of all, you can go to Sears-Roebuck and buy an aluminum saucepan, which constitutes the cowl on my Waco.
3. Fuselage construction begins with cutting two slab sides from 1/8 sheet. Everything is ducky til you start the transition from the boxy rear to the completely round firewall. Squaring the circle or vice-versa ain't easy, so pay attention to what you are doing at this point - if you use the flush cowl, the bottom of the fuselage will taper to front of the cowl for full round rather than to the firewall. This means that former 'A' will not be completely round, but somewhat pear-shaped. The reason for this will become apparent when you reach this point.
4. Bend a little toe-out into the landing gear. This helps keep a tail-dragger from dragging a wing while you are fighting ground-loops. I didn't use brakes and have not found them necessary.
5. Rubber band wing hold-downs just won't get it for scale. Your friendly hobby shop has threaded wooden blocks and nylon screws for this purpose..."
This model was one of several featured in RC Limited, summer 1968.
Update 31/12/2018: Added article, thanks to RFJ.
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