Piper Vagabond (oz6869)


Piper Vagabond (oz6869) by Bryce Petersen 1972 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Piper Vagabond. Radio control scale model. Piper Vagabond by Bryce Petersen, plan #500, July 1972. Uses unusual hybrid foam/balsa construction.

Quote: "Webster's Dictionary defines sport as: To play; frolic. A sudden spontaneous deviation or variation from type. For this reason, I call the Vagabond a true sport plane. It uses a different type of construction to perform a different kind of flying. Regardless of what your thing is at the flying field, whether it be pattern, racing or professional spectator, there comes a time to just have fun. So stick with me through this one, and I will guarantee you barrels of fun.

New designs should have something better to offer. They should be either lighter, stronger, cheaper, or be able to perform something different to make it unique. The Vagabond achieves all these goals to a certain extent. Another plus is that it is a scale design that may be entered in the 'stand-off scale' competition that is gaining popularity around the country.

Now that you are convinced that I have eaten too many peanuts, I hope the word foam doesn't divert your curiosity to find out for sure. Foam is a marvelous building material that offers lighter and stronger structures that are practically warp free. The real trick is to use foam where the structure carries little load and beef up the areas with balsa and plywood where strength is needed. The foam acts as a building block. Because foam has no grain, it can be bent and formed or cut with a hot wire to absolute flat sheets for wings and fuselage sides. Ribs and formers can be added to form round areas.

Strength in model structures can sometimes work against you. You can beef up a model with the penalty of weight. This means more impact when you hit something. We have all seen the light rudder-only models take a pounding day after day without destruction.

With foam, and careful planning, you can build a structure with half the weight - so the greater the strength. The full size Vagabond design was the outcome of experiments made with a clipped wing Cub. The shorter moments and enlarged rudder gave it much better response to controls. The little ship is so small you can touch the wing trailing edge and stabilizer at the same time. The name Vagabond came from the adventurous men that ferried the ships from factory to customer.

The model is a joy to fly. If you have a slight breeze, you can throttle back and fly backward. I have actually flown the model for five minutes without reaching the end of the runway. Some, who fly nothing but .60 powered bullets, may feel this is a step backward. Think of the fun they are miming!

The entire model can be built from one block of foam. Be sure that the foam is the closed cell type and not the beaded type. This foam will give you a much smoother finish and can be sanded.

Select several choice yardsticks from your local lumber company. Look for the grain of the wood to continue from one end to the other. Place two of the yardsticks on the sides of your foam block and slice off the top first, using your hot wire. Then cut four sheets 7/16 thick. Now, cut both fuselage sides with a Dremel saw and sand smooth with light sandpaper.

The plans give you a step-by-step building procedure so I will try to add a few tips. First, sand and wax the cutting edges of your yardsticks as smooth as possible, so your cutting wire will not drag..."

Supplementary file notes

Article pages, text and pics, thanks to DavidTerrell, JHatton.


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Piper Vagabond (oz6869) by Bryce Petersen 1972 - model pic


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