Little Mike (oz3795)


Little Mike (oz3795) by Ed Lidgard 1949 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Little Mike. Simple all sheet rubber model, a plan that appeared in the 1949 book 'Model Aeronautics' by Bill Dean and Ron Warring.

Update 11/08/2020: Added article, thanks to Mary from RCL pages at

Quote: "GETTING tired of merely being a spectator while my husband had all the fun of flying models, I finally induced Ed to work out a design for a sport plane which I could build and fly myself. Little Mike is the result.

Since I had built only a few models, the design was of necessity simple, utilising the minimum number of parts so as to be easy to build. Ed's finished plans were in the form of patterns, in which each part could be seen in its completed size and shape.

Sheet balsa is mainly used in the construction of Little Mike. This is a good idea with small models on account of the high strength to weight ratio and general durability. Building time is just two evenings. The original performs equally well indoors and outdoors - having over three hundred flights to its credit to date.

If this model appeals to you, lets get started by working on the fuselage. First cut out the two fuselage sides from 1/32 (medium) sheet. Then cut the formers from sheet as specified on the plan. Bend the undercarriage to shape from 22-gauge piano wire and cement it to the main former C. Cement formers A and D between the fusehige sides and allow them to dry thoroughly before carrying on.

While these parts are drying, cut out the two halves of the wing from hard 1/32 sheet (or medium 1/16) and the tail surfaces from 1/32 sheet (medium). Sand these parts smooth and round off the corners.

Now go back to the fuselage and separate the two fuselage sides enough to insert former C and cement it in place. The fuslage is completed by cementing 1/16 strip crosswise in the slots already cut in the fuselage sides. When these are dry, trim flush with the sides.

Cement former B to the roughly-shaped nose block. Drill the block with a 1/16 in drill or pierce with a length of wire (neutral settings). Cement the male portion of a 1/4 in press stud at each end or the hole - to serve as bearings. When the cement has set, insert the block into the front of the fuselage. Hold the block in place and gradually trim it down to the shape shown on the opposite page.

The airscrew is carved from a block of medium balsa as shown. Lay out the length of the block in 1-1/2 in portions and then draw the pattern on the sides (heavy lines on plan). Drill or pierce before starting to carve. Use a small thin-bladed knife for carving. Finish off to a smooth surface with fine glasspaper, cement a press stud to the rear face of the air-screw as a bearing.

Bend the shaft from a piece of 22-gauge wire - starting from the front winding loop. Cement into the airscrew, slip three small washers on to the shaft, followed by the nose-block. Complete the assembly by bending the loop to which the rubber is attached.

The wing panels can be formed to an airfoil shape by dampening the upper camber with water and the lower camber with dope. Be careful not to moisten the area 1/2 in back from the LE and 3/4 in forward from the TE. When the dope has dried to a point where it is no longer wet to the touch, the wing panel can be shaped by hand to the desired curvature. Experiment with this method on a piece of scrap wood first.

When the curve has been obtained in both wing panels, they should be cemented together so that both tips are raised. Allow this joint to dry thoroughly before moving from the building board. The tail assembly is attached to the fuselage after the rudder has been cemented to the tailplane. The under rudder can now be cemented to the underside of the elevator and both the fuselage sides. Fill in the small wedge-shaped openings with scrap pieces of 1/32 balsa. Cement the wing permanently in place on top of the fuselage. When dry, a thin sheet of cellophane may be cemented to the fuselage, to form the windshield.

Cover the top and bottom of the fuselage with tissue. Tighten with water - then give two coats of dope. The wheels (1-in. dia) may be any type available as your local dealers. Hold the wheels in place with dabs of cement on the ends of the undercarriage wire, The durability of the model will be improved by spraying lightly with very thin coloured dope.

FLYING: Four or six strands of 1/8 in rubber is adequate. Your motor will last longer and take more turns if it is well lubricated.

Before flying the model, check to make sure that the flying surfaces are correctly aligned and unwarped. Also see that the airscrew shaft is parallel to the centre line of the fuselage. Before using power, glide the model from shoulder height. If it stalls, add a little weight to the nose. If it dives, add a very small amount of weight to the tail.

After a smooth glide has been obtained, wind the airscrew up about 50 turns and launch the model in level flight at shoulder level. Add a small amount of right turn to the rudder so that the model makes a circle or about 30 feet in diameter. Increase the number of turns progressively, ruling slight adjustments in balance and rudder turn, to eliminate undesirable staik dives and spins.

When maximum turns are approached, it may be round that the model tends to stall slightly. If this occurs, add 1/32 packing between the top front of the fuselage and the nose block to incline the thrust tine downwards. A good quality motor, well lubricated, will take about 300 turns.

Here's hoping that Little Mike will give you many pleasant hours flying."

Supplementary file notes



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Little Mike (oz3795) by Ed Lidgard 1949 - model pic


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