Ford Trimotor - Eastern Airlines - Radio control sport scale model. One single Saito FA-40 engine is shown, along with 2 dummy engines.
Quote: "Come with us to the days of yesteryear when a great silver bird plied the airways ..join us now as with a hearty roar of its engines the Ford Trimotor flies again!
Eastern Airlines had offered (for the best score achieved by a replica Eastern Flagship), round trip tickets for two to fly free anywhere on their system, USA or the Caribbean - whatta prize to win! So starting from scratch gave a fine perspective - ideally I should build a 4-stroke powered vintage or jet model of an aircraft that had flown in the Eastern Airlines fleet. Since 4-strokes haven't yet worked well in jets, the focus was further narrowed to the Pitcairn Mailwing flown from 1928 to 1935 (a biplane), the Ford Trimotor flown 1930 to 1932 (three engines - ugh!), the Curtiss Condor flown from 1930 to 1934 (biplane with two engines - ugh, ugh! ), and the Douglas DC-3 (would need special made retracts - awful). Others like the Lockheed Electras, DC-7, and the Lockheed Constellation were ruled out as being too complicated for me.
It looked like the three engines was the way to go. I could run a 4-stroke for primary power up front and two Cox .049s in the outboard nacelles would add extra noise. The Ford Tri motor was the choice - it would qualify for five possible awards and, best of all, if the Ford Trimotor was finished in the trade dress of Eastern Airlines, I'd have a chance for the two round trip Eastern tickets.
To quickly sum up the outcome of this reasoning, on Sunday December 29, 1985 at the 18th Annual Tangerine contest in Orlando, Florida, I won 2nd place (only 3 points out of first) in Sport Scale with a 1/12 scale Ford Trimotor in Eastern trade dress. It was scratch-built in ten weeks time and powered by a single Enya .40 4-stroke.
Additionally, I was presented an Eastern Airlines envelope with a letter inside that said: Congratulations! You have won a round trip ticket for two anywhere on. Eastern Airlines system in the US and the Caribbean. We are pleased to have you as our guest, and look forward with pleasure to serving you. Sincerely, Alexander M. HOUSton, Manager Passenger Sales. Orlando.
In 1986 1 celebrated 50 years of model building - what a wonderful golden age prize to enjoy with my wife - through modeling.
And now I can also enjoy Sunday sport flying with the Trimotor which flies just great and is lots of fun - it was continually simplified in my mind before each building session (you might enjoy reading 'Simplicate and Add Lightness' in the February '86 issue of RCM). The model took about 125 concentrated hours of work from the first start at plans drawing to the first flight.
Since this article makes the plans available to you, I suspect you could build the model in 2/3 the time mine required to finish, since a lot of time was spent in the planning and structural design to make sure the Ford came out under 6-1/2 pounds (it weighs 6-1/4 pounds ready to fly) so that the wing loading and power loading would be in the most satisfactory range.
You may find the following bits of background of interest. The model is scaled up from a 3-view that was in a portfolio of drawings of aircraft that Eastern had flown. The portfolio was reportedly given as a commemorative gift to some first class passengers in the mid-1970s. The drawings are collector's items now - some are found in Eastern's offices, in Orlando.
New Signs and Graphics, Inc. in Orlando allowed me to use their overhead projector system for plans enlargement. They also provided me with tips on the application of graphics - like mix a few drops of dishwashing detergent in warm water and wet the MonoKote with the mix before putting on the graphics - that allows sliding your 'cut outs' into perfect position. Great technique that worked perfectly.
There are lots of .40-.49 4-stroke engines around and any have more than adequate power for this model. A 12 x 5 prop cut back to 11 in diameter proved proper pitch-to-flying speed on my model. I ended up using my Enya .40 4-stroke..."
Direct submission to Outerzone.
Update 5/12/2016: added article, thanks to Gunars.
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