Prairie Duster (oz8336)


Prairie Duster (oz8336) by Mark Smith, Weldon Smith 1973 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Prairie Duster. Pattern plane for 60 power.

Quote: "Six-and-a-half-pound, fully equipped, pattern plane designed for inexpensive and lightweight 60s is attractive and competitive. Prairie Duster, by Mark and Weldon Smith.

What considerations must one make when designing a new airplane? Probably most important is that it be able to carry the equipment necessary to operate it. This is not as much of a problem in these days of miniature radios as it was five years ago. Nowadays the main consideration is which engine to use. Prairie Duster was designed around the old Supertigre 60, probably the oldest of all of the 60s now available. It has been changed many times over the past twelve years and now even sports a new name, Saturn 60. But it is basically the same engine as the 56 introduced in 1960.

Why not use a more modern engine? Well, the old ST is light, runs smoothly and reliably, and, although it may not have as much power as some of the newer 60s, it doesn't gulp fuel at a fantastic rate. And the price is right.

Having decided on the engine, we determined that the ship should weigh in at about 6-1/2 lb. A plywood fuselage had been tried before and we chose that method of construction for the new ship because of ease in building, strength and lightness. Balsa frame construction was selected for the wing because we wanted built-in ailerons. The method shown on the plans for making the tail was used because it results in a rigid surface with pleasing contours and is simple to build.

We each needed a new ship and we each wanted a spare, so we cut out parts for four airplanes and built jigs for construction before opening the glue bottle. Assembly started in September and continued leisurely through the winter. We were slowed for a time because the landing gears were not available and it is impossible to complete the wing or fuselage without knowing how they fit. The four ships were completed in March, identical except for color schemes. Test flights proceeded routinely - the ships literally flew off the drawing board. Mark hit the contest trail and I tagged along. Now we are looking for places to put the trophies. Though Mark is still looking for a first place, he is very proud of his second place win in Class B at the NATS. He has since been moved into Class C, but continues to place.

Our faith in the old Supertigre was proven when we started experimenting with fuel. This probably would not have occurred had we not been asked to test prototypes of the new Du-Bro muffler. We were concerned that some fuels would dirty it up, out Frank Garcher assured us that 'Racing X' by Midwest was extra clean burning. So we switched to Racing X and then learned of the additive available to increase nitro content. We now add two cans of the Racing X additive to each gallon of fuel and that little ST 60 is hauling our ships around rke one of those expensive engines.

If you are now ready to start construction, don't! Read on through the instructions and make plans on how to go about it. You can't finish the wing if the fuselage is not nearly complete, and you can't put the tail on until the wing is complete, and you can't finish the fuselage if the wing is not nearly completed, and so on. So read on before beginning construction. A few days spent in cutting parts ahead of time will reap benefits during construction..."

Attached is Mark and Weldon Smith's Prairie Duster from AAM issue 06-73.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

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