Aeronca L-3 (oz15008)


Aeronca L-3 (oz15008) by Richard Say 1991 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Aeronca L-3. Radio control scale model. Wingspan 47-1/2 in, wing area 300 sq in, for Cox Texaco .049 engine and 2 channels.

Quote: "Bob Aberle tries 1/2A Texaco Scale. SAM's popular Texaco event now has a scale flavor. The author shows us an example with a typical model, Dick Say's L-3.

Since these 1/2A Texaco Scale rules are still in the planning stages, I'd like to offer my comments. I personally believe that the better parts of both the SAM 48 and SAM 21 rules can still be incorporated into one single event. I believe that both 'three-view' scale models as well 'pre-1943 published scale models', could easily compete against each other.

Careful choice of design or model will be a major contributing factor. Construction skills will be equally important. Regardless of what you choose, you must build it very light, to still be competitive. Flying skills will also enter into this event. And finally we have that very unpredictable, at times, specified reed valve engine. In the long run, everything will equal out and most importantly, we are going to have a lot of fun flying these scale-like models!

Much will be said about these proposed rules in the coming months. If you are interested in the final outcome, I would encourage you to join the Society of Antique Modelers. This way you will receive their by-monthly newsletter publication, SAM Speaks, which will keep you abreast of all the proposed new rules and rule changes (to go into effect in 1992).

What type model? Over the past few years the typical 1/2A Texaco model (a model published or kitted prior to 1943) has had an average wing area of 300 square inches.

With a minimum wing loading rule of 8 oz/square foot, the minimum model weight at 300 square inches of wing) would be 16.7 oz. Of that minimum weight you can figure on 2 ounces for the Cox engine and another 5 ounces for a micro radio system, including two servos and a small batterypack.

That leaves a balance of 9.7 oz for the total model structure, wheels and covering, to achieve the minimum weight. This is still quite feasible, but does require careful selection of wood and the use of light weight wheels and covering material. Several winning 1/2A Texacos have had 400 square inch wings and total weights of 21 oz, but that seems to be both the exception and the upper limit.

Although no engine modifications are allowed, you can hope to obtain a good 6-minute, possibly 7-minute motor run on the Cox 8 cc fuel tank. To obtain this you need to run an 8-inch prop on no more than 10% nitro glow fuel. An extra glow head gasket is also helpful. But, common sense will tell you that if your engine will run only seven minutes and you must obtain a maximum flight of 15 minutes, that your model must be able to glide (and hopefully thermal) for up to 8 minutes.

Aeronca L-3 Defender: The parameters just stated basically apply to 1/2A Texaco Scale as well. The only difference is in the choice of model. Regular Texaco centers on contemporary models of the era, while Texaco scale involves models of full size aircraft of the period.

Several years ago I struck up a friendship with an RC modeler from upstate New York. His name is Dick Say. Unfortunately, New York is a big state, with the result that Dick and I live about 400 miles apart. We correspond and talk to each other all the time, but to this day, have never met in person.

It's never been a secret that I have always had this thing for Aeronca aircraft. I'm a member of the National Aeronca Association and have files filled with plans, photos and data on most of the Aeronca aircraft ever built (or thought about!).

I came upon a magazine advertisement several years ago for a firm known as Aero Plans 'N Parts. They were offering, at the time, 1/5 scale plans for an RC Aeronca L-16B (like a military version of the Champ!). I bought that first set of plans and that's how the friendship started.

As I began to find out, Dick works a full time job as most of us do and then hits the drawing board every night, after dinner. His plans are literally a work of art. He manages to cram them with all kinds of detail, yet still keeps the structure simple enough, so that you can build a model in a reasonable amount of time. I liken Dick Say to a combination of Nick Ziroli and Dick Sarpolus in 'one package'.

Well as time went along, Dick began adding to his catalog of available scale plans (exclusively in the 1/4 and 1/5 scale format). I eventually ended up with 1/4 scale plans for the Aeronca L-3 Defender and the L-3B version with the extra glass for observation purposes during WWII. I'm sure you can tell where this is all leading.

Last year I mentioned the new 1/2A Texaco Scale event to Dick. Because of the small size, I doubted if he would be interested. To my surprise he was more than eager to give it a try. The deal we cooked up was that I got the chance to pick the airplane, Dick would draw the plans and then I would construct the prototype model.

A few weeks later the plans arrived for my 1/2A Texaco Scale rendition of a 1940-41 version of the Aeronca 65TA (L-3B) Defender. This was a little trainer/liaison type aircraft with tandem seating for two. When you look at it carefully you realize that it was the forerunner of the Aeronca 7AC Champion that emerged at the end of the war. Following my initial 'coaching' on the Texaco scale event, Dick selected exactly 300 square inches for the wing area.

Being scaled directly from factory three-views. the wing span ended up at 47-1/2 inches and the fuselage length is 27-1/4 inches. At that area the minimum weight should be 16.6 ounces. Keep in mind that when I say exact scale I mean scale dihedral, tail surface areas, and even wing airfoil. Quite an ambitious project for a model that you expect to regularly achieve 15 minute maximum flight times in competition flying.

Construction-wise the Aeronca took the better part of two months from start to finish. Although it appears at first like old time rubber model construction, it builds fast and is quite easy to understand throughout. The major emphasis is on selecting the lightest possible balsa wood to do the job and yet still have some strength. For my purpose I buy from only one source, Bob Peru at Balsa Products Engineering. Bob has the very best graded balsa and has the very hard to get 4 to 6 pound lightweight stock, which is essential to this type model project.

Dick Say uses a somewhat unusual wing construction in the sense that the trailing edge is just a piece of 3/32 sheet balsa. The ribs run the full length of the airfoil, giving a real scale-like appearance once the covering is applied. The wing consists of two separate panels that plug into both sides of the fuselage. Several plywood ribs and a couple of dowels help in the alignment. In the final assembly process, both panels are held together with a few small rubber bands (internally attached). The spruce, scale-like, wing struts are fully functional in this application.

Since an instruction booklet comes with these plans, I'm not going to get into a step by step description on the entire construction. I'll just give a few tips as they come to my mind. I thought that the spacing of the vertical longerons on the fuselage might prompt a 'scalloping' effect after applying the covering. As it turned out, with just medium balsa, there was no scalloping at all So please don't add any extra pieces.

One of the most time consuming parts of this model is the bending and assembly of the landing gear. Once you get the wire itself bent, you have to attach the plywood fairing pieces. Then the final step is to mount the gear assembly to the lower fuselage. I hope my photos will help explain the process. Take your time, it will be worth it. I also anchored the wing strut retaining wire, in combination with the landing gear. In other words the two metal straps secure both the gear and strut wires..."

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Quote: "Hi Mary & Steve - Please find attached my annual Christmas present to all modelers. I have found four more Dick Say (Aero Plans n Parts) plans given to my late club mate Jim Reid. These include a 1-5th Ryan M1, Rollason Druine Turbulent, Vultee BT-13 and a Howard US Navy GH-1.

Dick Say submitted his designs to the late Bob Aberle for review in his Flying Models magazine column. Bob evidently gave several of Say's plans to Jim, an expert builder. I never spotted any Say prototypes in Jim's shop or garage. The important thing is the plans have survived for others to enjoy.

The prototype 1/2a Texaco, built from Say's plan, now resides in my garage. I took the photo this past summer.

Merry Christmas,

Added supplement file: kit review from Flying Models, Sept 1999.

Supplementary file notes



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Aeronca L-3 (oz15008) by Richard Say 1991 - model pic

  • (oz15008)
    Aeronca L-3
    by Richard Say
    from Aero Plans n Parts
    47in span
    Scale IC R/C Cabin
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
  • Submitted: 16/12/2023
    Filesize: 557KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: theshadow
    Downloads: 553

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