Building and Flying Model Airplanes

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back cover art 202x300 Building and Flying Model AirplanesThe long anticipated book, “Building and Flying Model Airplanes” is now available for purchase from Duggybair Aeromodeling.

The book is a hands on guide to successfully building and flying model airplanes. The work is intended to guide people of all ages that have wanted to build models that actually fly, but have very little or no actual experience in  aeromodeling.

There is a common myth circulating that model building is too hard to learn, and that it takes too long to build a model is just that: A myth. The fact is, people from all walks in life and from all ages have been doing exactly that since the time the first airplanes flew. The model builder will learn the importance of work accuracy and building in a logical step – by – step process. The builder will come to realize that successful model building is actually performing a series of simple tasks one at a time. It is very much like building an automobile in an assembly plant.

There are hundreds of good flying model airplane kits available. We at Duggybair Aeromodeling are dedicated to keeping model airplane building a viable hobby for anyone interested in aviation. There is great satisfaction and pride to be gained by completing a project and having your model fly successfully. The author, Mark Minatelli, an avid aero modeler for over 70 years, has written this book to pass his experience to those that want to follow this wonderful tradition.

The work is plainly written and easy to understand. The book is presented as though the author is standing beside the reader and explaining the how and why of each step of the building and flying process. It covers the basics of modeling from selection of tools and supplies through construction and flight of several readily available model airplanes. The models were specifically selected to represent a specific type building process. Each model has a reputation as being a great flying aircraft. Each chapter introduces a new model and carefully guides the reader through each step of the building process and its preparation for maximum flight performance. Each project builds on the lessons learned in the previous chapters.

Building and Flying Model Airplanes is available from Duggybair Aeromodeling. The price is $15.95 plus $7.00 shipping and handling. Minnesota residents add 7.25% ($1.62) sales tax. We accept cash, check, and money order. All orders are shipped priority mail. Please send orders to:

Duggybair  Aeromodeling

1200 Town Center Drive  #114

Eagan, Minnesota 55123




What is Duggybair Aeromodeling?

aero modeler 300x200 What is Duggybair Aeromodeling?

Duggybair Aeromodeling, or simply Duggybair, is a company devoted to the promotion of traditional model airplane building and flying. What this means is Duggybair believes that aeromodeling is not limited to simply flying small size aircraft, but rather being involved in both their construction and flight preparation, trimming, for maximization of the airplane’s flight envelope. We respect those that have no interest in model building, but we also consider an airplane that is sold in a near or ready to fly model is simply a “Big Boy Toy”. We are saddened by the fact that this segment of aeromodeling is essentially limited to Radio Control (RC), and that the high initial cost associated with RC modeling eliminates people with a limited income from participating in the aeromodeling hobby. It has become difficult to find hobby shops selling free flight or control line aircraft. While most hobby shops will special order a particular model for a customer, the buyer will frequently be belittled for not going the ready to fly RC route. In fact, it was exactly this attitude experienced at a well known hobby shop that brought about the formation of Duggybair Aeromodeling.

Most people associate traditional model aircraft building with the use of balsa wood as the main structural component. This remains true today. However, model airplane building should not be limited to traditional materials and building methods. Recently the use of extruded Styrofoam has been finding increased use in the construction of very light models designed for indoor flying. The product fills a niche, but product’s design limits prohibits its use in many applications. The reason for this is twofold: The products are highly flexible which makes them unsuitable for all but small structural applications, and the products are limited to 3, 5, &10 millimeter thicknesses.  I believe that foamed plastic based products offer a very viable alternative to traditional balsa wood. They would offer more uniform physical properties at weights comparable to balsa, and the fact that the supply of quality balsa becoming more difficult to find. I am confident that these products will be introduced in the near future.

Carbon fiber composites’ have an extremely high strength to weight ratio. They are widely used to replace aluminum in advanced aircraft designs. They are readily available to aeromodelers in a variety of shapes and sizes. Carbon fiber products are finding use in the construction of high performance model aircraft including sailplanes and aerobatic aircraft. I have been using small diameter carbon fiber rods to replace piano wire for control linkages because they are lighter and do not deform under load.   Carbon fiber is readily bonded with a number of adhesives including epoxy and cyanoacrylate adhesives.

The process that is having the greatest impact on model aircraft is the introduction of CAD design coupled with laser cutting technology. Laser cutting permits superior cutting accuracy. This assures greater building accuracy and reduces building time because adjusting parts to fit properly becomes a thing of the past. However, this is just the beginning of the advantages that this technology offers the aeromodeling industry. Existing models can be offered with laser cut parts or they can be re-engineered to use interlocking pieces to build a model in the way a jig saw puzzle is assembled. This process eliminates the need to use strip wood in the building process. Several of the manufacturers of model airplane kits are doing just that. Another advantage that CAD design technology provides is the ability to scale any model to the size a modeler wants to build. I have built models from conventional kits with laser cut parts and from kits that were redesigned with interlocking pieces. Both are a delight to work with. I suspect that the interlocking kits will tempt many of the ready to fly modelers to try kit building.

Duggybair aeromodeling is publishing a How-To Book that teaches basic model airplane building. The book presents the subject in a series of building/flying projects of increasingly complexity. Each project is built on the lessons learned in the preceding chapters. At the conclusion of the book, the reader/builder will possess sufficient knowledge to build and successfully fly most available model airplane kits. No modeling building knowledge or experience is required. The book, “Building and Flying Model Airplanes – A Hands on Guide to Aeromodeling – No Experience Necessary” is available from Duggybair

We at Duggybair want to introduce the aeromodeling experience to our youth. The trend in schools has been to emphasize sports and to a lesser degree, to encourage the performing arts and music programs. Students not interested in any of these are largely left to fend for themselves. Aeromodeling offers an alternative option that teaches a new form of self expression, and thus, provides a new source of developing a higher degree of self esteem.  To this end, Duggybair is developing a study course and researching model aircraft to accomplish this goal.