Dakota (oz233)


Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Dakota. Free flight sport biplane model.

The Dakota is a famous half-A gas sport free flight biplane by Joe Wagner, kitted by Veco and first designed in 1947. This here is a later print with following title block: "Dakota. Reconstructed Original Design, 24 Sept 1974. Drawn by Joe Wagner. Rev for Modern Motors March 83."

Quote: "The Dakota was originally designed in September, 1949. The first configuration was exactly as depicted here, with two exceptions: the engine was one of the first-model OK Cub .O49's; and the landing gear wire was identical to that of the Veco Papoose (which had been over-optimistically ordered).

The Dakota was designed specifically as a kit model for Veco (Henry Engineering Co) and was their first free-flight kit, as well as Joe Wagner's first design to be kitted. All design work, construction, test flying, however, was done after 'working hours'. No payment or royalty for this model has ever been received by the designer, even though it is the longest-lived free-flight model kit ever made: on the market continuously for 25 years!

Construction quirks: The wing ribs were made with 1/4 in extra depth so as to be stiff enough to hold the wing aft sheeting to the right curvature while the cement dries. Hence, the leading edges need to be blocked up 1/4 in off the building board during wing assembly.

The wing ribs are trimmed off level with the bottom of the leading edge when the wing assemblies are dry, before installing in the fuselage. Also, taper the bottom of each leading edge from the outer rib to the tip. *Do not* cover the wings on the bottom.

Flying: The 'Dakota' is supposed to circle left under power and right in the glide. Propeller torque and the engine's left thrust will turn the model left under power, while the nose is prevented from dropping into a spiral dive by a combination of gyroscopic and slipstream forces plus right rudder tab.

This is a 'small-field model', designed for tight circling; its glide is slow but fairly steep so it is unlikely to soar out of sight in a thermal. Even with a long engine run. [signed] Joe Wagner."

Supplementary file notes

Article. Titled 'Dakota Beginnings' and written by Joe Wagner, this is a 3 page extract from the Oct 2012 'Gas Lines' newletter (Southern California Antique Model Plane Society), thanks to dfritzke.


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Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - model pic


Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - pic 003.jpg
Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - pic 004.jpg
Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - pic 005.jpg
Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - pic 006.jpg
Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - pic 007.jpg
Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - pic 008.jpg
Dakota (oz233) by Joe Wagner 1947 - pic 009.jpg

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User comments

SteveStaples emailed in a good photo of Joe Wagner with his Dakota [pic 003]. Quote: "Attached is a photo I took of Joe Wagner launching his Dakota at our SMALL 2007 flying event in Little Rock, Arkansas."
SteveWMD - 03/12/2012
Model photo [pic 004] is from the great Dakota build thread here http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1543848&page=5 by LWeller.
SteveWMD - 14/12/2012
My Dakota was built from the Veco kit around '60 or '61, powered with a Pee Wee 020 mounted inverted, later to be a big problem. Test glides didn't go all that well over the proverbial tall grass, and so I decided to just let it take off from the street in front of Girard Jr High. Another big mistake. After a perfect takeoff run, it lifted off just enough to catch the top lip of a concrete curb on the opposite side of the street, bending the inverted Pee Wee cylinder, which never ran again. I don't remember what happened to the undamaged Dakota but it took me many months of paper route savings before I could buy another engine, this time a hand-me-down Cox 049, not another Pee Wee. Those 049's were much more available in my neighborhood a few days after Christmas once the plastic models were destroyed, leaving the undamaged engines for sale cheap. Our most fun with the surplus 049's were in crude U-control models made from cardboard and tape, didn't fly all that well but were indestructible if flown over grass. One of us would fly the plane while our buddies would try to throw rags and knock it out of the air. The Top Flite nylon props would bend but never break, lots of low cost afternoon fun...
DougSmith - 30/10/2015
I can't remember if I was in Jr. High or High School but somewhere around 1969-1972 (12-14 yrs old ) I built the Dakota from the Veco kit and will never forget the day my dad took us to the Hobby Shop in San Jose, CA on Hillsdale Ave to buy it. The hobby shop had a nicely painted Dakota hanging which I always admired when I rode my bike to the shopping center to 'window shop' ( what happened to all the great stores from back then ) ; it was a kind of metallic copper colored paint with black trim lines going down the fuse. We also bought a Cox tee-dee .020 there to power it. I built it as fast as I could and doped it only with enough clear butyrate to protect the balsa.
After breaking in the .020, we went out to the high school (Leigh) to maiden it ( back when there were no rules about flying model planes ). The beautiful TD .020 with the grey glass-filled 5x4 prop started up and I adjusted the needle valve to 'just a little rich', hand-launched it and apparently everything was trimmed perfectly as it began its tight left-circling climb with that red tank full of Cox 25% (?) Nitro . When the motor finally quit, it must have been about 100-200 feet up there, and startled us by gliding perfectly straight into the (very slight ) wind, right towards the houses south of the field !! My dad piled us in the car and we drove over to where we last saw it heading. What happened next was unbelievable but absolutely true: We drove down one of the streets and found the Dakota had *LANDED IN THE STREET* perfectly!!!! ( Back then there were trees and telephone poles and electrical wires running all through the neighborhoods; how it managed to dodge all of them was beyond me ). There were a few kids running around yelling and pointing at the plane so fortunately not enough time had elapsed for them to 'claim it', lol. I will never forget that Dakota and plan on building an electric version soon either with some plans that I already have or from the BMJR kit.
Peter D - 29/12/2019
Peter D, Amazing story! Yes, I was taken by my father to that very Hobby Shop in downtown San Jose! In '72, we bought a Jetco Thermic 50... I have the BMJR Dakota, will be 3 channel electric - and you just motivated me to build:-)
Eflyer7 - 31/12/2019
EFlyer7 - nice! Wasn't that a great hobby shop. I also used to go to Ed's Hobby Shop in Willow Glen, and DeFrance Hobby Shop in Campbell; when I could get a ride, I'd go to Sheldon's Hobby shop when Ron's dad was still alive; then Ron took over and moved to another location. Lots of stories ... that was such a great time! - pd
Peter D - 15/10/2020
I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Wagner a few years back and carrying on a lengthy correspondence over the ensuing several years. His Dakota was the first successful FF model that I built back in the early 60's. Joe got me fired up to build another, which I did, and he even gave me a Joe Wagner "tuned" OK Cub .049 to power it with.
The day came to maiden her at a local FF field and everyone was impressed with its small field performance. I decided to do one more flight and as it happened the Dakota found a boomer of a thermal that wouldn't let it come down. I took off after it on foot and chased it into a lightly wooded area over fences and a railroad track. I worked my line for several hours without any sighting. I finally gave up, despondent over losing the plane and especially Joe's 049. I took the easy way back, down a road and as I came to the railroad tracks I glanced left and right and caught sight of what at first looked like a yellow flag waving in the top of a 20 foot high birch tree on the side of the tracks. It was my Dakota, not far off my estimated flight path, waiting patiently for me to retrieve it from its lofty perch. I doubt I'll ever fly her again. Sad, I know, but the thought of losing it and my connection to Joe is just too much to bare.
Dennis Hansen - 29/10/2020
1950's I built a couple u-control planes and a Dakota. I didn't understand much about FF at that time and thought something was missing on how to make this plane a u-control. I took it to the vacant lot one "U" day and decided to run the Cream Colored TimbleDrome .049 slightly rich and let it just bounce around by itself. That lasted about 30 seconds when it took to the sky all by itself. It circled till it went into a tree that was about 1/4 mile high (I was a little kid then). It stuck in that tree and I had no way to retrieve it. I looked at it in that tree for months on my bike ride to school. One day it disappeared. Sadness forever.
50+ years later, I was on e-bay and thought to see if someone might have a kit for another one. I found the BMJR group and asked them about Joe Wagner and how they got a real drawn plan as Joe Veco would not allow full scale plans because people would just make one from the plans. They led me to Joe Wagner via e-mail. Many many e-mails back and forth, I found that Joe had been flying FF contests within 50 miles of my home town all the time I was a kid. He sent me a copy of the "real" plan for the Dakota. In sadness I saw that he passed away this last year 2020. He told me that he had heard of only a couple instances where people had done that same thing I did to just have it taxi around. He said it was designed not to do that. He also told me that he taught the neighborhood kids to fly FF around the streetlight at night, teaching them to circle going up one way and the other way coming down.
Chuck Starck - 07/02/2021
The Dakota design arrived at the time the new small glow plug engines were coming into the market. Most of these had radial mounting features. They ran at quite high speeds (revs), made a lot of noise, but produced very little torque, which is what can cause a model to bank somewhat and turn in a desired direction.
As a free flight model with fixed fin and stabilizer it would be impossible to arrange flight trim with these devices. Wagner, the designer used engine thrustline offset to the left to induce a leftward spiral of climbing flight. Engine torque of those little 1/2 A powerplants would never have been enough! The offset features relied upon two lateral spacers on each fuselage side which when joined by the firewall skewed the engine to point to port slightly. This is shown most clearly in the top view diagram.
Persons wanting to build a Dakota these days would have great difficulty in finding any of these small glow engines. Most small engines available these days (2022) are diesels which are widely available many places in the world. One fairly well suited to small free flight models is the PAW 55 of about .030 cu. in. displacement. Being a diesel it runs on very high compression ratio, about 16 to 1 unlike the little glow jobs running on about 6 to 1 compression. That little PAW 55 will produce enormous torque in comparison! Mounting it in a Dakota and aiming for a left flight pattern would require it to be offset to the right the same amount the little glow was aimed left. The two spacers shown on the plan could merely be reversed i.e. the shorter one on the right fuselage side and the longer one on the left.
A friend had a brand new Dakota at Geneseo, NY, and was setting it up for its first timming flight. He had mounted a small Czech Pfeffer side port diesel and had it pointing as per small glow engine. The torque produced an astonishingly tight left spiral climb. A loaded paint brush if attached to a port wing panel could have painted a barber pole! Be advised if mounting a diesel to make engine offset to the right with the expectation of having a leftward climbing spiral flight pattern.
Allen Wale - 02/12/2022
Dear Outerzone Team, my name is Björn Nonnweiler from Germany and i have built the Dakota by Joe Wagner [main pic, 005-009]. It was great fun to built it and it flies so very well. The engine is a small electric brushless and there are two servos for RC. I have reduced the angle of the wings a little bit. With 2S 850 mAh it weighs 290 grams / 10,2 ounces. Perhaps you want to use my pictures for the Outerzone website. Best wishes,
Bjorn Nonnweiler - 30/08/2023
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