to Build a Model Aircraft Fuselage — Introduction
article shows one way to build a
fuselage. The construction is a
typical slab-sided fuselage for a
Stik type model
(Rustik). My intention is to demonstrate solid construction
techniques that ensure a fuselage is built straight, strong but light and incorporates
easily accessed and maintained systems.
A good friend of mine, Mike Phillips, is one of
the best, if not the best, pilot I have ever known. All of his models fly extremely well. There are
several reasons for this. Mike's father builds all his aircraft and is as good
a builder as
you will ever meet. He will do whatever it takes to get a model in
balance without adding weight. His aircraft are extremely light and
Mike has a gift for picking out excellent
flying aircraft. He can choose between one hundred Stik clones and
know which one has the potential for being the best flyer simply by looking
airfoils. There is a reason why I mention this.
In laying out this fuselage I was having difficulty deciding how long I
pitch moment to be. I played
around with the numbers and cut a set of fuselage sides. The
tail moment just looked too short even though the numbers indicated that it
was actually longer than most sport models.
Mike has been following along with this design and has a
good idea of what flight qualities I am looking for. I
asked Mike to look over the model before
going any further with the construction. The first thing Mike said
when he saw the wing and stabilizer assembled to the fuselage blanks was that he would like
to see the tail moment a few inches longer.
His thoughts confirmed mine so the original sides
were scrapped and new sides were cut out. Some of the images are from
the original set, but do not let that confuse you.
If you are building from a kit then parts
fabrication is generally something you will not need to do. If building
from a kit or from plans, then design and layout is taken care of as well.