Yard Ace Plans

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

The Yard Ace is an attractive and easy to build high wing three channel sport radio control model airplane.  CAD plans for the Yard Ace are available below.  I’ll send you the plans via e-mail in a PDF format.  The plans are on two sheets and will need to be enlarged at your local copy center.

I will also include the TurboCAD files for the Yard Ace with your order.   You will require some sort of CAD (Computer Aided Design) program on your computer to open these files.


Yard Ace II Plan



The Yard Ace uses a simplified construction method with common building materials of balsa and plywood.  The model is a gentle flyer and makes for a great “first build project” from a set of plans.


The Yard Ace’s fuselage is made primarily from 1/8 inch square balsa with the formers made from 1/16 inch ply and balsa, as per the plans.  The use of three plywood formers for the nose section provides an extremely robust yet lightweight box structure to mount the engine and landing gear.

Attaching the Yard Ace wing with rubber bands

Attaching the Yard Ace wing with rubber bands

The Yard Ace is a smooth flyer with its Clark Y airfoil and high mounted wing.  There is no need for ailerons as the rudder offers sufficient input for turns.  You can use your choice of electric motor.  Select one that is suited for a model weighing at least ten ounces.  If in doubt, use a motor that is slightly more powerful.  It is always easier to throttle back a bit than to add power that is not available from a smaller motor.

The main point is to ensure your model has the correct down thrust (2 degrees, and this built into former F-2) and balances at the center of gravity.

Mount the two servos as needed to account for the size servo chosen.  I had the servos arms stick out from the fuselage.  This was convenient for the fishing line control scheme that I used, and adds a bit to the visual appeal of the model.

The receiver and battery fit in place on the fuselage tray.  Adjust the height of the tray as required for your electronics hardware set up.

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

I have had good results “sewing” on the music wire landing gear to former F-3.  The design method is to drill a series of small holes in the former around where the landing gear will be installed.  I use dental floss to hold the landing gear against the former.  Dental floss is very strong.  When the assembly is smeared with a bit of epoxy glue the landing gear is held firmly in place.

The wing presents no unusual building challenges.  The flat bottom of the Clark Y outline allows you to build the wing directly on your building board.  Epoxy the plywood spar doublers to the balsa spars.  Note that the plywood doubler/dihedral brace will stick out and set the correct wing angle as the first wing panel is constructed.

Rear view of the Yard Ace RC model plane

Rear view of the Yard Ace RC model plane

I recommend adding some 1/16 inch balsa sheeting to the wing top center section to prevent damage from the rubber bands holding the wing in place.  You may use rare earth magnets to hold the wing in place if you plan on smooth indoor flights for your model.

The tail surfaces are built directly over the plans and present no difficulties with construction. Remember to add some reinforcement to both the rudder and elevator to mount the control horns.

Speaking of control horns for the flight control surfaces, this is a good time to figure out how you want to connect the servos to the rudder and elevator.  For my version of the Yard Ace, I elected to use lightweight fishing line.

The lines were glued in a loop through the servo control arms to a pair of horns on either side of control surface.  Ensure your servos are centered, to include the electronic trim, before gluing the fishing line in place.  Control throw of plus/minus a half inch will work fine for this aircraft’s flight regime.


The challenge I faced with using the fishing line on the controls is that the tension needed tended to pull on the rudder and elevator.  There is just not enough structure in place on a lightweight model like this to prevent a slight amount of warping from the required tautness of these control lines.  For my next version of the Yard Ace, I will use a direct push rod from the servo to the rudder and elevator.

Yard Ace fuselage frame under construction

Yard Ace fuselage frame under construction

Cover your Yard Ace with any lightweight material that you like.  I have had good results with Solite plastic heat shrink covering.  The covering is easy to use and shrinks nicely without inducing warps in the structure.  Add details such as a wind shield or a pilot.  I used acrylic paint for the exposed wood sections such as the wing struts.

Prior to your first flight ensure all flight controls are free and move in the proper direction.  Check for a warp-free wing.  With today’s strong iron-on coverings, undesired twists can work their

Yard Ace prototype showing shorter wing span

Yard Ace prototype showing shorter wing span

way in.  Double check the model is properly balanced and passes a radio range check.

The Yard Ace is a relaxing slow flyer with no bad habits.  I did learn one item during the design of this model I will pass on.  My prototype had a wing that was just too short.  The wingspan looked alright on the draft plan and the wing loading calculated correctly.  But when I finished this first version, the wing simply looked too short.

The initial flight of the prototype went well, but it was clear the model needed way too much airspeed to safely fly.  This was all a result of too little wing area.  Thanks to the magic of TurboCAD, I made the next version of the Yard Ace plans with an additional two inches of span on each panel.  This translated to a much more attractive model with far more gentle handling characteristics.

In summary, the Yard Ace is a simple to build sport flyer that makes an ideal first project for building from plans. There are no curved surfaces that need to be fabricated, no ailerons and the simple design builds quickly.  Due to the open frame construction, it is just about impossible to make an overweight model.

Check out further details at the picture gallery here.  Good luck with your version!

Yard Ace plan showing fuselage details

Yard Ace plan showing fuselage details

Author:  Gordon McKay