Blackbird. Chuck glider.
Quote: "Balsa Blackbird, by Paul Del Gatto.
Even real birds have to get mighty close before they discover the balsa blackbird is an impostor. A heave-ho and away she goes: as soon as she rolls out of the climb into a glide you can't tell whether this bird is for real, or not. Having caught a thermal on several occasions, staying up for several minutes at a time, we've noticed other birds come alongside for a closer look.
Aside from the fact that the model looks very much like a blackbird, it does make a mighty swell flying hand-launch model, and you can easily double its performance by using a rubber catapult assist.
Construction: The required wood is confined to two or three sizes, whichever you prefer, depending somewhat on what you have at your disposal. Originally, the bird fuselage profile was blanked out on 1/8 in sheet and laminated with another piece of 1/8 sheet; you may prefer to make it out of medium 1/4 in sheet. The wings also were fashioned from 1/8 in sheet and, for added realism, we even scallopped the trailing edges to convey the appearance of feathers. The 1/16 in sheet tail surfaces were made similar to the wing.
Before attempting to assemble the model, be careful to shape and round all the surfaces, not only to improve the performance, but also because it will heighten the bird illusion. Another thing well worth remembering, is that, because of the position of the wing, the top piece of the bird fuselage pro-file is cut away and cemented to the top of the wing after the dihedral has been added.
Use plenty of cement in joining the surfaces together, particularly around the wing installation. Fillet the joining edges for added strength. If you normally use a finger grip for hand launching, taper and cement a piece of 1/8 in sheet on whichever trailing edge you would normally use.
The model does not require much nose ballast, and virtually all of it can be eliminated by melting some lead ballast and pouring it into a drilled hole which indicates the eye position. Note too that the hole is undersize so that, after the eye is formed (on each side) it stays in place permanently.
The top center portion of the wing is trimmed in bright red and yellow, approximately as indicated on the plans. When this has all been completed, you might even rub down the surface lightly and then wax it for that added luster. This may seem like a lot of trouble just for a phoney bird, but when you get a load of those gaping mouths and wide-eyed stares from other modellers, you'll know it was well worth it..."
Update 15/10/2018: Added article (complete) thanks to JohnAV8R, EboPete.
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