Lee Richards No3 (oz15202)


Lee Richards No3 (oz15202) by Bill Warner 1983 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Lee Richards No3. Scale model for electric power.

Quote: "If you want to make heads turn, show up at the field with this FF Scale model. Surprisingly it's a remarkably stable flier. For 02 electric power. The Lee Richards No3, by Bill Warner.

Churchill's delight on seeing an aerobatics demonstration flown by the No3 doughnut-shaped monoplane was second only to my own as my electric-powered model disappeared into the 4 am darkness at the Sepulveda Basin on its first test flight. Seldom will I get up out of a sleepless bed to do anything. let alone go and test a model airplane, but the LR was something special.

From its unusual planform to its dead-true takeoff runs to its rock-steady flights, there is nothing quite like it. Besides that, it is really tough to knock off a wing! if you are bored with the humdrum of P-51s and Nesmith Cougars, read on.

In 1910, a chap by the name of Kitchen sold a tidy little biplane with two annular superimposed wings powered by a 50-hp Gnome rotary to a well-to-do textile manufacturer and engineer Cedric Lee. Lee, a member of the Manchester Aero Club, asked George Tilghman Richards to lend his engineering expertise to the project of developing the Kitchen machine. This dynamic duo embarked on four years of work which produced model and full-size aircraft with the annular wing concept culminating in the very successful No. 3 which Churchill saw in flight.

Unfortunately, the outbreak of World War I ended the partnership (with Lee's death) and the firm, due to the traditional conservatism of the British government. Lee's machines were always wrapped in secrecy, due to his 'Orwellian vision of hosts of annular aeroplanes guarding the shores of Britain against an enemy.'

Believe it or not, the greatest fault they found with the plane was its 'excessive lateral stability!' What is amazing is that someone has not pounced on the design long ago as a standby model or homebuilt and given it the popularity of the Lacey M-10 or the Vari-Eze. There is plenty of information on the LR and the research that preceded it in the Science Museum in London - due to the fact that Richards was associated with the museum for over 30 years. Even 'in-flight' films exist. In the future, Lee's ghost will, I hope, be happy to see scores of annular-wing models purring contentedly among the clouds!

Prior to the electric version, I built the LR in Peanut Scale size and flew it with both the Brown CO-2 and with rubber power. Having satisfied myself that it had no serious faults, it seemed only natural to try an electric one. Bill Hannan says there is a diesel-powered LR in the London Science Museum, though I have not seen it, which would suggest another form of power for those who like really long and high flights.

Fuselage construction: A normal 'box' fuselage, using medium 1/8 sq stringers with light cross-strutting and lightweight, inset sheeting on the sides (1/8 in 4-lb balsa typical, or thinner if you have access only to harder stock). The fuselage need not be as strong as you would think due to the bracing effect of the wing. A soft balsa block forms the motor mount, with the rather large hole being made using a round rasp with a screw-threaded tip that doesn't even need a drill to get started. Once this block is in place between the sides, the box is finished and the 'f' formers can be added to the top.

Using soft A-grain balsa, sheet the area on top from f-1 to f-5. Tack-glue soft balsa blocks on top at the nose and rear cockpit. Shape, remove, hollow-out, and re-install permanently. The bottom from nose to the charging receptacle and toggle-switch location can be sheeted after the undercarriage is in place.

The nose piece was vacu-formed over a balsa block, but it could be built-up easily from thin plastic or card stock. Make sure the openings in the front and behind the motor are riot obstructed. as electric motors need lots of cooling air. We threaded a couple of nylon 1/4 in screws into the block. reinforcing the balsa threads with Hot Stuff..."

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Lee Richards No3 (oz15202) by Bill Warner 1983 - model pic

  • (oz15202)
    Lee Richards No3
    by Bill Warner
    from Model Aviation
    January 1983 
    20in span
    Electric F/F
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 11/03/2024
    Filesize: 996KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: theshadow
    Downloads: 294

Lee Richards No3 (oz15202) by Bill Warner 1983 - pic 003.jpg
Lee Richards No3 (oz15202) by Bill Warner 1983 - pic 004.jpg
Lee Richards No3 (oz15202) by Bill Warner 1983 - pic 005.jpg
Lee Richards No3 (oz15202) by Bill Warner 1983 - pic 006.jpg

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User comments

Wonderful ;)
Madhukar - 31/03/2024
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