Bird of Time (oz14772)


Bird of Time (oz14772) by Dave Thornburg 1996 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Bird of Time. Radio control sailplane model.

Discontinued kit from Dynaflite.

The Dave Thornburg Bird of Time (oz2093) first appeared in RCM, January 1979. This here is the plan for the Bird of Time as kitted by Dynaflite, with a built-up rudder, and different fuselage construction.

Note this plan is dated 1996 and the title block includes the text: "Redesign by Angel Sansejodio" which suggests that this copy of the plan has been modified (?). Certainly the rib sections look to have been cut and pasted from a lower res drawing.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

For the listing of this kit on the old (now defunct) Dynaflite website, see: including further links to parts listing and technical data (CG location, control throws, etc).

Also text of a kit review (from R/C Report, November, 1997) is available at:

Update 29/8/2023: Added kit instructions (2 versions) thanks to Pit.

Update 30/8/2023: Added kit review from R/C Report, November 1997, thanks to Pit.

Update 2/2/2024: Added kit review from Flying Models, September 1998, thanks to RFJ.

Quote: "Tuning a kit: Dynaflite's Bird of Time. By Dave Thornburg.

For almost 30 years this legendary soaring ship has endured. Its designer offers some tuning tips for the kit.

Hemingway set the example. He flatly refused to go to movies made from his books. So when editor Frank Fanelli called to ask if I'd look at the newly-upgraded Bird of Time kit from Great Planes, my first reaction was no way. I designed that ship in the seventies, says to myself, and it can stay there.

But then I had second thoughts. People still send me photos of Birds, in every size from sixty inches to sixteen feet. And the photos still tweak my heart. The thing does have nice lines. Provided you like the art deco look of the 1930's - the heyday of full-scale designers Wolf Hirth (who doodled those fat wingtips to make his ailerons more effective) and William Hawley Bowlus, whose 1930 Albatross was so sleek and lovely that a famous young couple named Charles and Anne Lindbergh couldn't resist learning to soar in it.

Well, then, don't be a snob, Thorny. Build da thing. Photograph it. Write about it. So here we go, guys and gals - forward to yesterday!

The first thing you notice about the kit is that everything's packaged nicely. And logically, too; parts that go together are packed together. Maybe that's standard practice - I haven't built a kit for probably twenty years. And I haven't built a kit exactly to specs since - well, maybe never.

This could be a first. Logical place to start is with the instruction manual. 'Large, 108-inch wingspan' it says on the cover. Whaaat? Am I getting se-nile, or wasn't this thing originally three meters? Out with the tape measure, and yep - it's a misprint. The wings on the plans are still 118 inches, Good. Ten more inches of airplane for my buck.

So I begin reading the manual, and build the entire left wing panel in my head. It goes together pretty well. In my head. Now it's time to do it with balsa. The ribs are beautifully die-cut. Every one of them. Wood's too hard for my taste, but then I'm an old free-fighter, a lightness fanatic, so what do I know. The leading edge stock is perfect - medium-hard for the in-board panel, light for the outer. But where are the trailing edges? Could it be that ... could it be that ... these four pieces of V4 x 1-inch rectangular balsa are ... trailing edges? Whaaat?

Hear me, good people: In fifty years of aeromodeling, I have carved more propellers than trailing edges! Sig Manufacturing was selling pre-shaped trailing edge when I was in the fourth grade! And you're asking me to carve my own?

Well, okay, then. Out with the razor plane and, the first one turns out pretty nice. The wood selection, once again, is good: straight-grained and medium weight. But this is primitive, folks. It's just too easy to reach for my balsa box and select a nice piece of Sig precut wood. So I do.

After that, the left wing panel goes together quickly. Oh, okay, I cheated once more, on the leading edge, this time. Plans call for butt-joining the sheeting to the LE. Sorry, guys, I know I did it that way in the seventies. But today it feels more accurate to razor plane the leading edge, top and bottom, to the exact rib height and angle, then lap the sheeting over it. Takes a little more patience. I know, but it yields a stronger joint.

Oh yes, the wingtips. I see they're now laminated from three pieces of 1/2-inch. Good idea. But the kit balsa was rock-hard. Bad idea. I substituted soft.

Total time to frame up the left wing, ready for sanding and covering: just over four hours. The second one always goes quicker, of course.

With both wings built and sanded, I take a hard a good hard look at them. Why that huge sheeted area at the root? Ah, yes - because this model was once (can you believe it?) a contender in FAI speed. That long wing needed all the torsional rigidity it could get..."

Supplementary file notes

Instructions (1996).
Instructions (older).


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Bird of Time (oz14772) by Dave Thornburg 1996 - model pic

  • (oz14772)
    Bird of Time
    by Dave Thornburg
    from Dynaflite
    118in span
    Glider R/C Kit
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
  • Submitted: 16/08/2023
    Filesize: 529KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: theshadow
    Downloads: 1650

Bird of Time (oz14772) by Dave Thornburg 1996 - pic 003.jpg
Bird of Time (oz14772) by Dave Thornburg 1996 - pic 004.jpg
Bird of Time (oz14772) by Dave Thornburg 1996 - pic 005.jpg
Bird of Time (oz14772) by Dave Thornburg 1996 - pic 006.jpg

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User comments

Old wine in a somewhat new casket. Great to see an old love ;)
Miguel - 29/08/2023
I have to ask. What is the correct wingspan of the Dynaflite Bird of Time? Their own site says 118 in (see web.archive link above), but their own (1996) instructions say 108 in. The kit review starts out saying 108, then later on the same page says 118. This is very confusing.
SteveWMD - 30/08/2023
The original scan in oz2093 reads 59" for the half-wing, as does the scan by Thermaler in the same ref. Assuming the kind souls (see list at ref) who uploaded the plans did their scans at 1:1, then I can't see where the 108 figure came from. Collective typo? Short work surfaces? I cast my vote for 118"!
Curiously there is a re-draw of the BoT in a 2013 Czech RCRevue that reads 116", but this can right away go out the window in the traditional Czech manner, see below for the national sport:
Miguel - 30/08/2023
Dears, My Bird of Time was built using the excellent Dynaflight kit [main pic, 003-005]. It is 10 years old and its graceful look still amazes me every time I fly it. I installed an outrunner motor and spoilers. The wing attachment is modified to get rid of the rubber bands. Otherwise it is completely built as per plan/kit. Many thanks for Outerzone!
Peter Ingels - 12/09/2023
Very interesting to read the kit review (the one from FM) written by Dave Thornburg himself.
SteveWMD - 02/02/2024
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Download File(s):
  • Bird of Time (oz14772)
  • Plan File Filesize: 529KB Filename: Bird_of_Time_oz14772.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 446KB Filename: Bird_of_Time_oz14772_instructions_1996.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 162KB Filename: Bird_of_Time_oz14772_instructions_older.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 1565KB Filename: Bird_of_Time_oz14772_review_FM.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 128KB Filename: Bird_of_Time_oz14772_review_RCR.pdf
  • help with downloads


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