Beautiful Bess (oz2127)


Beautiful Bess (oz2127) by Chuck Wood 1953 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Beautiful Bess. Free flight rubber biplane model. Published in Air Trails.

Quote: "Sweet, high-flyin' gal who can vie in any beauty contest; full-size plans available. Beautiful Bess, by Chuck Wood.

Beautiful Bess is a compromise between a scale model in appearance and a contest model in performance. The result is a snappy and rugged biplane that will attract attention wherever it is flown. The model is nearly two years old, and although it has logged over two hundred flights it has yet to suffer major damage.

The biplane is not intended as a contest ship, but under full power it will thermal easily. The best feature is its consistent flying characteristics and ability to hold adjustments flight after flight. Much of the credit for success of the model is due to CH Grant's excellent notes on biplanes. The force arrangements and proportions are those recommended by CHG. With minor adjustments, Bess 'flew off the board.'

The fuselage main structure is built of 1/8 in sq balsa - hard for longerons and medium for uprights and crossbraces. Much of the beauty of the fuselage lies in correctly aligned stringers. Use hard 1/8 x 1/16 strips for the top and bottom stringers and hard 3/32 sq for the side stringers. Cut out all formers and glue them in their proper positions. All formers except T-1, B-1, T-5, 6, 7, 8, and 14 are made so that stringers lie on top of the formers, which eliminates scalloping effect between stringers. In this way covering will lie smooth, and stringers are easier to align.

Pylon is mounted in the slots on T-5, 6 and 7. Note that the center top stringer butts against front edge of pylon. Two 1/8 x 1/16 stringers run along the core of pylon, under the 1/16 sheet side pieces. These stringers are blended into center stringer. Next add the 1/16 sq stringers (tissue supports) in proper notches and blend these also into center stringer. Now add rest of the stringers between T-1 and T-7. Stringers from T-8 to T-14 run in straight lines. After these are in, glue the headrest in position. Glue in landing gear before adding bottom stringers.

The cockpit is made of 1/16 soft sheet balsa warped and butted against T-7 and T-8. An instrument board in the cockpit, a headrest pad, and a cockpit coaming of split 1/8 in rubber tubing add much realism to the model. Windshield is made of stiff celluloid in three pieces and outlined with 1/32 strips of black Trim-Film or dope.

Wings are standard in construction and should cause no difficulty. Put a seam of glue along each rib where the 1/32 sheet planking touches them. Wing and stabilizer tips are all of the same outline. Notch front piece of all tips so that they fit leading edge smoothly.

Stabilizer is same construction as wing. Fit ribs carefully. Add spars and then plank with 1/32 sheet balsa.

Rudder is built flat of 1/8 medium balsa stock. Note that its lower edge glues to stabilizer only. Fit rudder carefully so that it blends with rear edge of headrest. The rudder and stabilizer unit is held onto fuselage with rubber bands around the 1/16 in aluminum dowels. This unit should not be glued to fuselage.

Wing mount is now glued to the pylon. The center brace is made of 1/4 in rock-hard sheet balsa and the 'ears' of 1/8 sheet balsa. Glue solidly to center brace..."

Update 26/05/2018: Added article, thanks to Mary at

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Beautiful Bess (oz2127) by Chuck Wood 1953 - model pic


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