Ford Tri-Motor Tin Goose (oz4983)


Ford Tri-Motor Tin Goose (oz4983) by Paul Plecan, S Cal Smith 1965 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Ford Tri-Motor Tin Goose. Radio control scale model. Fox .59 RC engine shown. From Hobby Helpers plan #265.

Direct submisson to Outerzone.

Update 14/05/2021: Added article, thanks to RFJ.

Quote: "Smith/Plecan Tin Goose. For a considerable period prior to his death S Calhoun Smith had been working on plans for a radio controlled copy of the famous Ford Tri-Motor Transport. We asked Paul Plecan to prepare the construction drawings with the help of Bob Peru.

After Cal Smith's untimely death, I was called upon to complete the design of his radio control Ford Trimotor (and to ink the finished plans). We'll refer to it as the 'Tin Goose' from this point on - a very apt nickname for such a workhorse. Cal had drawn wing and stabilizer plans, plus fuselage profile and top view. Some typical helpful sketches rounded out what Cal had done on the project. Rib and bulkhead spacing was shown on the pencil drawings, but no rib tapering or detailing of cross sections had been started.

With the aid of Bob Peru, it was determined that the old Tin Goose was meant for 'full-house' multi R/C treatment. A big '60' would haul it around, the outboard engines being dummies. Bob recalled that Cal had mentioned a Citizen-Ship 10 channel set-up, and we concur. Citizen-Ship servos are shown on the plans. Slight lengthening of the servo board will permit it to accommodate the larger Bonner servos.

Cal's original concept was excellent - at 1 in to 1 ft scale the Tin Goose has all the proportions of current high-performance multi designs. What little doctoring that is necessary is slight, the authentic shape being kept where enlargement was deemed necessary (like the tail surfaces). Exact scale dihedral is shown on the spar layout to left of wing center-line. So much for the purists. But we heartily endorse the use of the slight exaggeration of dihedral to the right of wing center-line. All builders of Cal Smith designs will agree that flyability was the primary consideration always - and we'll not let you down on that score.

In conformance with this line of thinking, we modified the scale (flat-bottomed) airfoil to a type in universal use - slight reflex and large LE radius for good stall characteristics and stable inverted flight. Although scale airfoil is shown in side view, wing construction is based on the more modern airfoil.

The obvious question as to 1 or 3 engines churning the air has a most practical solution. As we see it anything more than 2 engines is sort of asking for trouble. To some builders even 2 is one too many. The 'elevated' position of the engine bearers in relation to the thrust line drawn on Cal's plans shows that a Fox 59 was intended, solo style. Most other engines have the thrust line flush with tops of engine bearers. We have conferred with Bob Peru on many points on TG. Cal was a frequent visitor at Bob's hobby shop in Red Bank, NJ.

While we were most happy to have Bob's help and suggestions, there was one that we'll leave up to you readers. It's an optional. Bob recommended the use of a Top Flite Taurus wing kit (and there was a notation of Sur-Form LE covering on Cal's wing plan). But a check shows that the 33 in Taurus LE sheeting won't do the complete job on the TG which is 35-1/2 in from center-line to tip rib. If you can do some corner-cutting, you might be able to put the Taurus wing kit to good use, although its chord is more than 1 in shy of the 13 inches of the TG. For a Trimotor scaled 7/8 in to 1ft it would really fit nicely.

So much for the planning and background - how about a brief run-down of construction? Fuselage is basically a box, only the top being adorned with formers. Longerons, uprights and diagonal braces are pinned to plans first. Note that top longerons are straight. This helps in later stages, when fuselage is pinned inverted to workbench for addition of cross braces. Medium hard balsa for all fuselage framework. If there is any difficulty in making the bend along the bottom longeron with doubled 1/4 sq stock, go to quadrupled 1/8 x 1/4 strips. Before you cement side sheeting on, be sure that s4de gussets are in place (3/32 ply, set in flush). If you want to, you can omit them now and set them in flush with the 3/32 side sheeting, which is the next order of business.

When cement is dry, assembled side can be unpinned from workbench, flipped over and pinned down again. Framework side uppermost, it is a good time to check for missing gussets. Second side framework is pinned to first while flat on bench. Be sure you don't cement the frameworks together. A razor blade can be run around between the frames to slice through bits of cement, then it is safe to apply the 3/32' sheeting to second side frame. When cement is dry and sides are separated, it is the best time to mark the interior for the servo board cross pieces. Various filler pieces are added now (A, B and C).

Due to curvature of sides, it is best to cement the 1/16 ply nose doublers with the frame bent. Set sides down on workbench, sheet side down. Insert 3/8 sq strip under Sta.2 upright, parallel to it. Weigh side down so that it is to thing flat against workbench at Sta.4. If you do not have white glue for fastening the ply doubler, use a brand-name model cement like Ambroid, Testor's, or Pactra. Pre-coat surfaces, rubbing cement into wood thoroughly. Final coat of cement should be even and doubler should be weighted enough to maintain firm contact while cement or glue dries. Due to large area of cement not exposed to air, let this part of construction set overnight for a good bond.

As previously mentioned, rest of fuselage assembly is best accomplished inverted and pinned to bench. Measure cross braces and fit accurately to obtain smooth bend in sides. Bottom sheeting is next. Note that 3/32 ply inserts and doublers are used at Sta.4 and 6 to let the wire LG struts fit into crosswise channels in fuselage bottom. Said channels are only 3/32 deep, allowing strut to bounce out of channel in a hard landing."

Supplementary file notes



Did we get something wrong with these details about this plan (especially the datafile)? That happens sometimes. You can help us fix it.
Add a correction

No model pic found for this plan

  • (oz4983)
    Ford Tri-Motor Tin Goose
    by Paul Plecan, S Cal Smith
    from American Modeler
    January 1965 
    78in span
    Scale IC R/C Multi Civil
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
  • Submitted: 29/10/2013
    Filesize: 1725KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: JJ

  • Ford_Trimotor | help
    see Wikipedia | search Outerzone

    ScaleType: This (oz4983) is a scale plan. Where possible we link scale plans to Wikipedia, using a text string called ScaleType.

    If we got this right, you now have a couple of direct links (above) to 1. see the Wikipedia page, and 2. search Oz for more plans of this type. If we didn't, then see below.

    ScaleType is formed from the last part of the Wikipedia page address, which here is
    Wikipedia page addresses may well change over time.
    For more obscure types, there currently will be no Wiki page found. We tag these cases as ScaleType = NotFound. These will change over time.
    Corrections? Use the correction form to tell us the new/better ScaleType link we should be using. Thanks.

Do you have a photo you'd like to submit for this page? Then email

User comments

No comments yet for this plan. Got something to say about this one?
Add a comment



Download File(s):
  • Ford Tri-Motor Tin Goose (oz4983)
  • Plan File Filesize: 1725KB Filename: Ford_Tri-Motor_Tin_Goose_oz4983.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 4459KB Filename: Ford_Tri-Motor_Tin_Goose_oz4983_article.pdf
  • help with downloads


* Credit field

The Credit field in the Outerzone database is designed to recognise and credit the hard work done in scanning and digitally cleaning these vintage and old timer model aircraft plans to get them into a usable format. Currently, it is also used to credit people simply for uploading the plan to a forum on the internet. Which is not quite the same thing. This will change soon. Probably.


This model plan (like all plans on Outerzone) is supposedly scaled correctly and supposedly will print out nicely at the right size. But that doesn't always happen. If you are about to start building a model plane using this free plan, you are strongly advised to check the scaling very, very carefully before cutting any balsa wood.


Terms of Use

© Outerzone, 2011-2022.

All content is free to download for personal use.

For non-personal use and/or publication: plans, photos, excerpts, links etc may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Outerzone with appropriate and specific direction to the original content i.e. a direct hyperlink back to the Outerzone source page.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site's owner is strictly prohibited. If we discover that content is being stolen, we will consider filing a formal DMCA notice.