La Donna (oz7702)


La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

La Donna. Control line stunt model. Twin-boom design.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Update 11/08/2021: Added article, plus a selection of pics (including one of Jack Sheeks with his second wife Shirley), thanks to Pit.

Quote: "La Donna by Jack Sheeks The 'La Donna' II is a ship for the most discriminating modeler. The primary purpose is of course, stunt-ability. Second to this is the appearance, which vastly increases the enjoyment derived from a hand-made creation.

While the appearance of a model speaks for itself, the stunt characteristics are a little harder to achieve. Many qualities must be built into the design, alignment, controls, balance, weight and power, etc. Let's hash these over briefly, taking alignment for a starter. If your plane isn't in alignment, it may well go slack on the lines, turn faster one way or the other, or worse, it may put you in the ground. So, make certain the stab, wing and motor mounts are in correct alignment.

As for the controls, they should be free-moving, but not loose. Be sure they are strong enough to withstand the test-pull and tension that contest officials and windy weather might bring. The flap horn must also be in line, and free-working to maintain smooth flight characteristics.

The weight and balance run hand in hand. On heavier planes you usually have to add weight to the nose, to overcome the heavier tail section. If your model is too heavy for the wing area, it will lose most of its stunt-ability. It will sink or mush in the maneuvers and tend to go slack on the lines when overhead. We feel the best weight range is between 40 and 46 ounces. The La Donna checks in at 44 ounces.

Power should of course coincide with the size and weight of the model. If the plane is too heavy, you naturally need more power to pull it through the pattern. A large wingspan however doesn't always mean more thrust is needed. A good example of this was at a recent Nationals. Charlie Mackey had a plane with a 57 in span, and flew it through the pattern with a .15 diesel, which pulled it very nicely. It only weighed 29 ounces finished, so our motto is: keep 'em light, and the power right, and you won't have too much trouble trimming them to fly.

The La Donna has all the qualities built into it to make it a top contender in any contest. The plane originally was designed to disprove the local gang's contention that it is near-impossible to build a twin-boomer around an I-beam. As you can see, it can be done, and quite simply too. It turned out to be such a fine looking and performing plane, it was named after my wife, Donna. And let's face it, that's good politics.

CONSTRUCTION: As with any competitive type model, it is wise to handpick your balsa from the best available. Assemble the necessary parts and wood sizes, to save assembly time.

Cut your I-beam from 1/4 in sheet balsa. Make sure it is a straight-grained sheet, free of warps. Next cut the I-beam doublers from 1/16 sheet plywood, and cement in place on the I-beam itself.

Cut the main body sides from 1/8 sheet balsa, and the four boom sides from 1/4 in sheet. Now make the body doublers from 1/16 plywood and cement them to the body sides. Once these are dry, the 3/8 x 1/2 hardwood motor mounts are set in place and allowed to dry. Align with care.

The re-vented tank is now installed between the body sides. Cut the body formers to outline, from 1/16 plywood and cement them around the tank, and let dry. All this construction should be done over a flat bench surface.

Next turn the body upside down, slide the I-beam, leading and trailing edges in place. Slide boom sides in place on the trailing edge. Put the wing formers in position, align and pin and cement every joint, except the booms. Let dry as you work on other matters.

The booms may now be blocked up with sharp balsa, aligned with the I-beam, body, leading and trailing edges and cemented.

Cut the stabilizer and elevator from 1/4 sheet balsa. Install the flap horn, hinge and pin to the booms. Install the wing flap horn in the outer boom, cut the flap from 1/4 in balsa sheet, and hinge and install to the trailing edge of the wing.

The bellcrank, leadouts and 3/32 dia pushrods may now be installed. Make sure you have a good fit, but not binding in any way. Lubricate all controls with vaseline or any light grease. Next, bend and install the 1/8 dia. landing gear wire with the J-bolts. If you like wheelpants, now is the time to build them. Use 1/8 x 1/2 in scrap balsa around the gear and wheels. If you fly in a rough area, we suggest you omit the pants, and install 1/4 in larger dia. wheels.

Form your top and bottom blocks from 1/2 in balsa sheet. Place on the main body, cement, and allow to dry.

The top and bottom blocks for the booms are now made from 1/4 sheet Lift the stab, and slide the tip blocks in place. Align the stab, cement and allow to set. Follow with the boom bottom blocks. The cowling for the engine is also from 1/4 in sheet, and scrap 1/2 in stock.

All blocks are now given a final shaping and sanded to contour. Twelve ribs of 1/4 in sheet are required, installing one on each side of the body and booms, top and bottom.

The false wing flaps are next on the list, also carved out of your dwindling supply of 1/4 in sheet. Cement these carefully in position. The 1/4 sheet fillets are added next, and once dry, trimmed and sanded to final shape.

All remaining ribs are now cut out of 3/32 sheeting, then cemented in position aligned carefully. Wing tips are shaped from 3/8 sheet balsa and attached. Trim and sand after cement has hardened.

Fill in any knicks and grooves which you might have picked up, using a plastic balsa wood filler, then sand till smooth. The model may now be covered and trimmed to suit your taste."

Update 23/08/2021: Added article, thanks to CarloAM.

Supplementary file notes

Article (text only version).


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La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - model pic

  • (oz7702)
    La Donna
    by Jack Sheeks
    from Flying Models (ref:896)
    February 1964 
    56in span
    IC C/L
    clean :)
    formers unchecked
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 05/05/2016
    Filesize: 437KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: dfritzke

La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - pic 003.jpg
La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - pic 004.jpg
La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - pic 005.jpg
La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - pic 006.jpg
La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - pic 007.jpg
La Donna (oz7702) by Jack Sheeks from Flying Models 1964 - pic 008.jpg

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User comments

Photo of completed LaDonna model was found online at
SteveWMD - 15/05/2016
To Author Jack Sheeks, Congratulations on one of the most beautiful models ever built.
Gerson Alfini - 09/08/2021
"La Donna" it's an Italian name, it means "The Woman", probably for the grace of this model design. Pit
pit - 09/08/2021
Actually, tha name "La Donna" is meant to signify "The Donna", and Donna was Jack Sheeks wife at that time. Years later he divorced, and eventually married Shirley, a teacher, for which he named his 1981 published design Teacher (oz1353), a low wing aileron trainer.
RC Yeager - 09/08/2021
That's true, but the US given name Donna was originated from the Italian terms. See
Pit - 09/08/2021
Yes. But the spirit of my comment is to clarify that this model design was not named La Donna because of its grace, but because it was the name of the designer's wife.
RC Yeager - 10/08/2021
Hey folks, I've seen he designed also a model which he named 'Swinger'. Was that between Donna and Teacher?
Hubert - 10/08/2021
As a matter of fact, it was : - )
RC Yeager - 10/08/2021
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