Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Building the Wilbur NOS Rubber Model

One of the things that have kept me interested in the model aviation hobby for so long is the great variety of model airplanes and the many challenges provided by the different types of models. I started flying control line airplanes as a youngster, then radio control (RC), RC sailplanes, and more recently free flight model planes.  Within free flight there is a HUGE variety of model types and contest events. Last summer I went to my first Nats at the International Modeling Center in Muncie Indiana and flew in several free flight events.

Wilbur Rubber Powered Free Flight Model
Jim O'Reilly

There appears to be a trend of wanting to relive the past or in my case I feel like I missed out on certain types of model airplane experiences and I want to try them in the present. After meeting Jim O’Reilly at the 2016 Nats who competes in rubber powered events and runs a model plans business, I decided to contact Jim for suggestions of an older model design that I would build. The model I selected was the Wilbur which was designed in the early 1950’s. Besides the excellent plans Jim creates he has partnered with Bob Holman for laser cut short kits. With a short kit the main parts are included and you provide mainly strip and sheet balsa.

Building a model with all the diagonal pieces was not as hard as I thought it would be, but connecting the two sides with more diagonals was more of a challenge. Apparently I did not connect the sides correctly, in my mind I thought the angles should fill the gaps instead of meeting together. The fuselage although very light seems really rigid just the same.  How the stabilizer was built with diagonals and straight ribs seemed like overkill. The cut out in the vertical fin where you insert another piece with the grain going at 90 degrees was a clever idea I had not seen before, I assume this is to prevent warping.

Vertical Fin Keyed to Fuselage

Covering Fuselage With Polyspan

Folding propeller construction is completely new to me but I purchased a blank from Volare Products for this particular model. The rough shaping and the hinges come done in the blank so it is mainly final shaping. On a model this size there is a ball bearing thrust washer and a shaft bushing needed which I ordered through FAI Model Supply. The fuselage was covered with Polyspan and the rest with Esaki tissue. I was worried how flexible the wing was until I had covered it.

Folding Propeller

Bushing and Bearing

Band Burner DT

For a dethermalizer (DT) I am going to try a rather hi-tech new device which is a band burner DT. This is an electronic device that will burn through a small rubber band at the time you set. I plan to report on this more after I have tried it. 

Also I have provided link to S.A.M., - The Society of Antique Modelers
“The Vintage models flown by SAM members are those designed, published or available as kits during the golden era of model aviation, the decade of the thirties to the beginning of WWII.” Quote website

Bill Kuhl

P. Visser's "Wilbur" Nostalgia Mulvihill per Zaic '53    Item ID  NOSR9   Propeller Blanks  FAI Model Supply - bearings and bushings Band Burner  SAM - The Society of Antique Modelers  Academy of Model Aeronautics

My 4 Minute Video of 2016 FF Nats

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