Aero Commander (oz13441)


Aero Commander (oz13441) by Jim Moynihan from Model Airplane News 1953 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Aero Commander. Control line scale twin model. Wingspan 55 in.

Quote: "Gather round, you twin-engine fans. Here's a ship that is scale, light, real flier. For the .14, it takes new .15's. Aero Commander, by Jim Moynihan.

This twin was designed expressly for executive transport use, highlighting the growing demand by America's businessmen for a ship to meet their specific needs. With a performance ratio of 5 to 1, high speed 211 mph, stall at 40 mph with power on, it is one of the most efficient airplanes in this country. Powered by two geared 260 hp Lycomings, it cruises at 197 mph, climbs 1,700 ft per minute. Carrying five or six passengers with optional seating arrangements, the span of the Commander is 43 ft 10 in overall length, 34 ft 1/2 in, and the height, 12 ft 10 in.

The author was fortunate enough to get in a flight in the ship shown in the photographs and can vouch for the wonderful flight characteristics of the prototype. Many thanks are due genial Doc Marsden and Bill Wheeler of Buffalo Aeronautical Corp, local Aero distributors, for their help and co-operation.

The photos will vouch for the fidelity to scale in the model. The plans were drawn from factory data and frequent visits to the airport, although the model is no even multiple scale of the original. It came out to about 53 in wingspan, but more important, around 400 sq in of area, the main goal. We did not want a heavy high-powered ship, so we designed for a weight of 48 oz ready to fly and decided on the Cub .14's for power, although the K & B 15's would also work out well.

Total weight actually came to 51 oz, including 4 oz of nose ballast. Construction has been altered slightly since then, so you should come out okay without the need for ballast. Our wing loading then is about 18 oz per sq ft, contrasting with the average five-pound scale twins at 36 oz and up. The low loading means real flying on the wings, less pounding of the landing gear and less need for high power. Convinced?

Cut out the wing ribs from hard sheet stock. Select a piece of hard balsa for the leading edge and taper each piece as shown, but don't cut out the contour in it until the wing is planked. Select a sheet of hard balsa for the spar. We picked a hard sheet with the grain running diagonally and cut the spar out in one piece, balancing the run of the grain to avoid a weak center. Pin the spar, bottom 1/8 strips and the ribs in place for the first panel. Add the top 1/8 strips and the wing tip block. The 1/8 may seem fragile but it is only used to back up the butt joint of the planking. They are spaced 3 in from the leading edge for 3 inch wide 1/16 planking. Build left and right wing frames and join.

If your spar is one piece, build one side, tip it up to lay the spar flat and then build the other side. Gusset the center joints and cement freely. Now drill through the ribs for the leads and install the bellcrank, the mount and the wire line leads. Now plank the top of the wing only. Incidentally, there is no trailing edge, the skin being lapped and cemented to form this member.

You will note all through the ship that the frames are weak. This is intentional since we are trying to load up the skin too instead of just using it to cover openings. You will find the finished components very rugged, so put away those plywood braces, and follow the drawings.

Now bend up the main gear legs using 1/8 in wire and mount on the nacelle bulkheads with J bolts. Cement all the nacelle bulkheads in place using fuel proof cement or, as we did, Weldwood. Note in particular the leading edge cut-out for the firewall bulkhead and the dowels driven in to beef up this area. Now add the fuel tanks and engine mount nut plates. We used the wedge tanks shown which are homemade although any commercial wedge is okay.

Now finish the wing planking and strip plank the nacelles. Carve to a finish the leading edge and sand the entire unit until a fine finish reveals no joints.

Now cover the whole unit, preferably with silk, or use Silkspan, and coat with fuel proof clear dope until a slick ready-to-paint surface is achieved. This calls for generous application of elbow grease. Use fine sandpaper, and for a fine finish, work from the frame out. No filler or sealer of any sort apart from clear dope was used on the ship in the photos.

Carve the engine cowls next, fit them up to your engines, and cement the lower halves to the firewall bulkheads. The top halves are removable for access to the engines and should be provided with your favorite type cowl catch. We used a piece of music wire bent in a semi-circle to clip on the engine cylinder head..."

Aero Commander, MAN, September 1953.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Supplementary file notes

Article pages, thanks to RFJ.


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Aero Commander (oz13441) by Jim Moynihan from Model Airplane News 1953 - model pic

  • (oz13441)
    Aero Commander
    by Jim Moynihan
    from Model Airplane News
    September 1953 
    55in span
    Scale IC C/L Multi Civil
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 20/10/2021
    Filesize: 665KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: Circlip, RFJ

  • Aero_Commander_500_family | help
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Aero Commander (oz13441) by Jim Moynihan from Model Airplane News 1953 - pic 003.jpg
Aero Commander (oz13441) by Jim Moynihan from Model Airplane News 1953 - pic 004.jpg

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