Saracen (oz7981)


Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Saracen. Radio control flying wing sailplane. Wingspan 72 in, wing area 752 sq in.

Quote: "The Saracen is dedicated to all modelers who have had their interest aroused by the mystique of the flying wing.

If a poll were taken of modelers asking: Which aircraft configuration holds most interest and challenge to build and fly? The answer would very likely be the flying wing.

When asked the obvious second question - Have you built and successfully flown a flying wing? The majority would answer no - because there is a lack of sufficient information about the design and construction of flying wings - the information available tends to be conflicting - if flying wings were practical, we would see them in use as full-sized aircraft - it has been reported by the experts that flying wings are unstable.

Though the above list is partial and you, the reader, could add additional comments, the author suggests that what is needed to satisfy the would-be flying wing modeler is added printed information based on experience and modeler awareness of successful flying wing designs.

As you read on, you will find out about the author's experiences, problems and successes with the 'Saracen', a six foot flying wing sailplane that the sport modeler can easily build and fly successfully. In August of '74, while on a trip back to Indiana, I had a long chat about R/C sailplanes with a long time modeler friend, Bill Braatz. In fact, he and I began flying together more than thirty years ago, anyhow the 'old pro' got me to do some heavy thinking about a flying wing sailplane.

In the past months, since the Indiana trip, I have learned a great deal about flying wings, first hand. During the period from August of 74 to January 75, I have designed, built and successfully flown sixteen flying wings. They are in the order of Airplane Number, Wing Span and Description and Remarks..."

Update 21/4/2023: Added more colour pics and box art, thanks to Pit.

Update 21/4/2023: Added alternate article (longer, but lower res, this one includes drawings) also further 'Saracen Easy Packer' article, from RCM, April 1979, thanks to Pit.

Quote: "Saracen Easy Packer, by Bill Evans.

The fascination and interest in compact products is greater than the pace at which inventiveness can produce to satisfy the demand. Any of us can easily get turned on by the handy dandy compact units, which do several jobs and can be folded, squeezed, and stuffed into neat little packages that can easily be stored and carried.

Such interest in packaging and development is very heavy in all industries. Many of these techniques developed for other uses have been adapted to use in model aviation. Development of more compact electronic components has been especially beneficial in the development in the current state of the art of our radio equipment.

The Easy Packer version of the original Saracen (RCM April 1976) came as a result of almost instant reader questions about the possibility of using rods and tubes to attach the Saracen wings. Also the author's interest in loading a Saracen on top of a mule and packing it to fly off some lofty Sierra peak helped spur work on Ihe Easy Packer. It was from such trips that the name Easy Packer came.

The feature of being able to separate the wing panels from the Saracen fuselage and pack into a 36 x 6 x 14 inch package has been made even more attractive through the effort of GB Shaw Enterprises, which has developed a wing sox for the Easy Packer. The Easy Packer Wing Sox has four pockets, one for each wing panel, one for the fuselage, and a fourth pocket to hold the wing rods. So the 'cased' Saracen will easily fit in so small a space as behind the seat of a pick-up truck, as fellow flyer Wayne Sakemoto does. Wayne drives a pick-up as a partial his construction work and always has an Easy Packer behind his seat, so after his last job for the day he visits a nearby slope and makes good use of his ever-ready Saracen.

If you now own a Saracen you may wish to convert it to the Easy Packer version. New construction as well as conversion may be accomplished by following construction instructions.

Construction: Cut four root wing ribs from 3/32 plywood (two for fuselage sides and one for each wing panel). If 14 inch ply is not available, shorten the trailing edge end and later fill with balsa scrap. Clamp the four ply ribs together and sand smooth.

Mark 1/4 in holes for 3/16 ID brass tubing on the top rib (keeping all four clamped together) and drill the two holes for the brass tubing) through all four ribs at the same time..."

Supplementary file notes

Article (alternate, complete).
Article (Saracen Easy Packer).


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Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - model pic


Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - pic 003.jpg
Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - pic 004.jpg
Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - pic 005.jpg
Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - pic 006.jpg
Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - pic 007.jpg
Saracen (oz7981) by Bill Evans 1976 - pic 008.jpg

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User comments

Hi Mary & Steve, I was browsing through some of Bill Evans plans and when looking at ‘Saracen’ the plan and the photo of the plane seem to be at odds with each other. The wing incidence looks to be too great. His other plans seem to have the incidence set @ zero or 1 degree which the picture seems to show. Anyway this is just a thought as I don’t have a copy of the magazine but the plan doesn’t look right. Once again thanks for a wonderful web site. Regards,
GrahamD - 14/04/2023
Many years ago I flew Ken Ash's Simitar, very similar to all the rest of Bill Evan's designs. Built from the kit, it flew very well, fast with a K&B 40. I'm now building a Simitar Slo Motion, from AMA plans, will be finished soon. Yes, the Saracen plan looks a little funny with lots of incidence shown on the fuselage plan. But, since it's a flying wing, it shouldn't make any difference in the way it flies, no tail at all. May fly with the nose a little down, but I can't see where this would matter. Got to remember, if RCM didn't like the plans a designer would submit, they would usually pay someone to redraw them, and sometimes errors would creep in. I've built several models from RCM plans, and never once were the ribs quite right. The best part is, if you don't like it, just change it to whatever you want. I don't think it will fly any differently. Wish me luck on my Simitar.
Doug Smith - 15/04/2023
Hi Doug, Good luck with the Slo Motion, looks very nice on the AMA plan site. I quite agree with you that the Saracen will fly nose down. As I said I was only browsing the plan (as opposed to building) but I thought the high pos. incidence should be highlighted in case anyone new to scratch building didn't realise there was an error on the plan. Regards Graham
Graham - 18/04/2023
I think it's not proven that there is an error on the plan. This here just simply is the plan, exactly as published in the magazine pages. Is it possible the designer liked the idea of the nose-down flight attitude? Reading through the article (see supplement file), the build pics on page 27 show fuse sides being cut out with slot for the wing LE, looks about right. Page 28 shows another pic of the fuse asembly, again shows wing cut outs. They also look about right. Presumably, these were pics taken by Bill Evans and show his prototype model. I think I would be wary (without having built the model, to check) of declaring that there is an error on the plan.
SteveWMD - 18/04/2023
Hi Steve, Touche. Regards, Graham
Graham - 19/04/2023
Hi Steve, I bow to your greater knowledge and wisdom and apologise for saying that there is an error on the plan.
Graham - 20/04/2023
No problem. It does indeed look strange. I agree it does look like it might be a mistake. But we don't know the truth. Would be good to get more info on this. Anyone out there actually built one of these? Or indeed, has anyone out there seen a correction by RCM?
SteveWMD - 20/04/2023
Added more pics. In the colour photos [pic 003-006] it's possible to see multiple versions with different wingspan and bird neck length. Nothing is wrong on this plan, from my side. It's simply drawn taking as a reference the flat line of the fuselage bottom. Like if you draw a plan for Piper Cub sitting on his tailwheel, this will not represent the true flight attitude. But probably the nose down bird neck slightly acts as a canard winglet. The more the speed the more the lift, so the nose down neck drag would contribute to mantain a neutral effect avoiding the plane gaining altitude as the speed increased.
pit - 21/04/2023
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  • Saracen (oz7981)
  • Plan File Filesize: 90KB Filename: Saracen_RCM-638_oz7981.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 931KB Filename: Saracen_RCM-638_oz7981_article.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 2635KB Filename: Saracen_RCM-638_oz7981_article_alt_complete.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 813KB Filename: Saracen_RCM-638_oz7981_article_easy_packer.pdf
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