I was working on these pages at my work one night and all the ladies there fell in love with Leonardo to the
point where I had to politely ask them to shut up about how cute he is. I'm not judging cute builders.
I'm judging model airplanes! It was so bad that I had to put it away and finish at home.
Ok, onto the
judging model airplanes part...
This is another design I really like. It's a simple glider having a box
fuselage and a constant chord, polyhedral wing.
Two things kept Leonardo from placing higher (and neither of them
were jealousy that he's cuter than me). The first was that he had help designing this model. Apparently
it wasn't a lot of help but team designs are not allowed and I had to decide whether or not to disqualify this
entry. I chose not to because he said that the only help he received was with drawing the plan but the design
is his. Also, I doubt too many eleven year olds would know how to draft a plan they could build from even if
they are fully capable of cutting out the parts and assembling them. So I gave him a break. And it's the
only break I'll ever give in that regard.
The second thing was lack of construction photos. Leonardo said
that he had to balance his time between school and this contest. If he were really motivated he would have
dropped out of school just to build this model because what's more important anyway?
In all seriousness, the only
way I can judge a model for a contest like this is to have people ship it to me or I have to go by the photos they
submit. Leonardo went back and built mock-ups to show a cross-section of the wing and one of the fuselage.
Leonardo states he used spring-loaded control surfaces. The spring pulls them one way and a string from the
servo pulls them the other. That is an uncommon method of moving control surfaces and one I've never seen in
practice. I would have liked to see how he did it and would like to see how it works in flight. Leonardo
sent me a video but I couldn't get it to play unfortunately.
The aircraft looks very efficient and has a very low
wing loading. If Leonardo knows how to find a thermal I think he could keep this model in the air as long as
he wants after a modest altitude launch.
Leonard's dad, Antonio, is an excellent builder which means Leonardo has
the advantage of an in-house mentor who is not only enthusiastic, but extremely experienced and skilled. As
long as Antonio can keep girls from distracting Leonardo in upcoming years, Leonardo will be a builder to watch.
Congratulations on your beautiful Asa Branca, Leonardo. You and your father just need to remind each other to
document your builds. We all want to see them!