New Yard Ace Page

I added a page on my build of a park flyer sized version of my Yard Ace design. Very pleased with the outcome, see details here.

Front view of the 24 inch wingspan version of the Yard Ace design

Front view of the 24 inch wingspan version of the Yard Ace design

The Yard Ace is an easy to build RC model plane that makes for a perfect first build from a set of plans. In this case I demonstrated just how easy it can be to make a smaller version of a model from a set of plans. Same goes for making a larger version, should you wish.

The neat thing about being able to “design as you build” smaller or larger variants of a model from a set of plans is the large universe of new radio control model designs that become available to you.

In a future project I will do just this. First, select a plan of a model designed and built many years ago. Then rebuilt with today’s electric power systems and control electronics. And finally take this “new” model for a flight!

I enjoy Almost and Ready to Fly model aircraft as much as my fellow modelers. Still, it is nice to be able to build something on your own, and have a distinctive aircraft at your club flight line. More to follow!

Park Flyer Yard Ace Test Flight

View of the Parkzone powered Yard Ace on first test flight

View of the Parkzone powered Yard Ace on first test flight

I had a very successful test flight of my smaller version of the Yard Ace last night!

The total weight of the airplane came in at 2.3 ounces, well below my maximum target weight of three ounces (upper weight limit for the Parkzone motor). I had to add a bit of weight to the nose to provide the proper center of gravity balance.

Park flyer sized Yard Ace prior to test flight

Park flyer sized Yard Ace prior to test flight

The plane had plenty of power and flew right out of my hand. Control throw was good, although I think I’ll add either a bit more rudder area or throw to the final version. Handling in the air was smooth ad positive just like the larger version. There was no problem keeping the plane within the confines of my smaller test flight area.

Next steps are to draw up a set of CAD plans for this smaller variant with correct wood sizes as well as modified fuselage and wing layout. As you recall, I used the regular plan to construct this version and adapted structure as needed for the smaller prototype. For example, I’ll lengthen the nose a bit to help reduce the need for nose weight to keep the model within center of gravity limits.

I’ll include this new plan with the regular Yard Ace plan. I also intend to offer a video showing step-by-step how to draw the Yard Ace plan, now that my new Mac offers the capability of screen recording.

Yard Ace Fuselage Construction

First side of the Yard Ace fuselage under construction.

First side of the Yard Ace fuselage under construction.  8″ ruler shows true size.

I am making good progress on a park flyer size variant of my Yard Ace design. All fuselage and wing structures are built and ready for covering.

As I discussed earlier it is fun to make a different size version of a previously flown model. Part of the process is incorporating design features as you do construction. In the case of the smaller Yard Ace I need to modify the sizes of the balsa wood used in the original version. The challenge is to ensure sufficient strength without adding too much weight.

One important change I had to make when constructing the fuselage is to increase the width slightly to accommodate the ParkZone electronics brick. This was discovered as I laid the electronics onto the fuselage plan top view.

I also had to consider adding a tray for the electronics as well as a custom balsa motor mount in the nose of the fuselage.

Both sides of the Yard Ace fuselage complete

Both sides of the Yard Ace fuselage complete

Adequate strength is important for these smaller models. I intend to use a lightweight iron-on plastic covering. These coverings are used by modelers everywhere, but they do shrink a lot and can induce warps should the structure be of insufficient strength. On the upside, a completed structure (wing, fuselage, etc.) can be much stronger once the covering is in place.

Yard Ace fuselage under construction over plans

Yard Ace fuselage under construction over plans

For the tail control surfaces I think that I will just cover one side to save a little weight and minimize inducing warps.

I know from experience that three ounces is about the upper model flight weight limit for the ParkZone prop and motor combination. A requirement for anyone constructing smaller models is the use of an accurate scale to actually weight the parts.

Yard Ace fuselage nearing completion

Yard Ace fuselage nearing completion

I purchased a digital scale on Amazon and it works great. Simply push a button and you get a numerical readout down to tenths of an ounce. If nothing else you can track the weight increase as you build and cover the various components.

Fokker Spin in flight

Fokker Spin in flight with spoke wheels

This attention to weight saved the day on my Fokker Spin model. For the initial test flights I had a pair of lightweight plastic wheels. The model flew well but the wheels looked horrible on this vintage flyer.

I had a perfect set of spoke wheels in my parts bin, but they certainly added weight. Luckily, the total of weight of the Spin with the new wheels was just a tad over three ounces. The model flew well, but the extra weight was certainly evident on model flight performance. The digital scale helped a lot with ensuring success with the heavier set of wheels.

 

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

Yard Ace Construction Begins

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Original size Yard Ace three channel RC plane 

I have started construction on a smaller version of my Yard Ace model airplane design. This variant is sized to accommodate the ParkZone line of electric motor and an electronics brick that contains two linear servos, a receiver and and electronic speed control.

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

Initial fit of ParkZone motor and electronic control brick

From experience I know that a final model weight of around three ounces works well for the ParkZone motor. As discussed in an earlier post, I enlarged a set of plans to a smaller size from the original Yard Ace to be a better fit for the ParkZone set up.

Fit check of paper wing rib template

Fit check of paper wing rib template

As you build a smaller variant of a model there is an aspect of “designing while you build”. The original wood sizes will no longer be accurate for the new model and must be adjusted accordingly. You will have to consider the need for a strong wing and fuselage structure yet at the same time working constantly to keep weight at a minimum.

Front view of completed Guillow Lancer

Guillow Lancer offers useful insights to wood size needed for smaller Yard Ace variant

In addition the use of lightweight iron-on plastic covering has shown to add a lot of overall strength to the covered structure.

As the target model weight will be under three ounces, the model does not require the robust structure typically used in a larger aircraft. Gaining experience building other examples of indoor models such as the Stevens Aero or Guillow line can give useful insights as to just what size of balsa wood is needed for a successful variant.

More to follow as i complete the wing and next tackle the fuselage!

Enlarging Yard Ace Plans

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

I took the first step on my next aircraft modeling project, making a smaller size version of the Yard Ace.

The Yard Ace is one of my earlier radio control model airplane designs. The Yard Ace uses a simple layout and is easy to build.  The model makes for a great first time plans build modeling project.  Many site visitors have made their own versions of the Yard Ace, to include such adaptations as all-foam construction.

I decided to make a version of the Yard Ace that will be around 75% smaller than the original design. The idea is to build to a size that can use the ParkZone line of ultra-micro radio control electronics and motor.

FedEx plans scanner and enlarger

FedEx plans scanner and enlarger

I really like the ParkZone electronics brick that includes within one unit two servos, a receiver and an electronic speed control. Several of my designs, such as the Fokker Spin and a Guillows conversion have successfully used the ParkZone hardware.

From experience I know a 28 inch wingspan is about the right model size for the thrust put out by the system’s electric motor. I figured out the appropriate enlargement conversion factors to the plans as printed out on my computer’s 8.5” by 11” printer (Yard Ace plans are available here).

8.5" by 11" print out of Yard Ace plans next to enlarged version

8.5″ by 11″ print out of Yard Ace plans next to enlarged version

The next step is to enlarge the plans to produce a full size version for construction of the model.

For this I checked with a nearby FedEx Office store. They have a wide format scanner that will scan in the paper print out of the plan and enlarge to a percentage that you type in.  It really could not be much easier.  The paper roll on this printer was 36 inches wide, so no problem with this smaller size enlargement.

As you can see from the photo, the enlarged plan came out just fine. I am still quite busy with my August United Express flying schedule.  Hope to start building this new version of the Yard Ace during the first week of September!

Ron’s Foam Yard Ace

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

 

The Yard Ace is one of my earlier model aircraft designs. The Yard Ace uses a simple layout with a high mounted wing and straight lines for the tail surfaces.  In short, an ideal set of plans for a first time builder as well as someone who would like to make some simple modifications to the existing design.

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Ron just sent in some pictures of his version of the Yard Ace and the results speak for themselves. Ron had the neat idea to use foam as the building material for his variant of the aircraft.

Ron reports that his version came out a bit tail heavy, but he was careful to add sufficient nose weight to ensure the model balances at the correct center of gravity location. Proving his knowledge of aerodynamics and aircraft design, Ron plans on building a second Yard Ace later this summer using a slightly longer nose moment to compensate for the tail heavy condition.

In addition to the nose modification Ron will install the pushrods inside the fuselage as well as moving the servos to an interior location for a tidier appearance.

Ron, great job and I look forward to pictures of your second version of the Yard Ace!

Plans for the Yard Ace are located here. You likely have sufficient wood and other building materials in your parts bin.  Order a set of plans and create your version today!

Side top view of Ron's foam Yard Ace

Side top view of Ron’s foam Yard Ace

 

Rear view of Ron's foam Yard Ace

Rear view of Ron’s foam Yard Ace

 

Side view of Ron's foam Yard Ace under construction

Side view of Ron’s foam Yard Ace under construction

Yard Ace Flight Video

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

On my December 1st blog post (below) I shared some pictures of Russell’s build of his Yard Ace electric flyer. The Yard Ace is a simple to construct RC model that makes a great first time plans-built project.

Russell did a super job with his build of the Yard Ace, electing to add ailerons to his version.

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Russell shared a video of his completed Yard Ace. Russ unfortunately had a minor crash during a flying session. He took the damaged aircraft back to his workshop, made the required repairs, and flew a “reborn” Yard Ace with the wing now mounted on the fuselage underside.

This is a perfect example of the fun with learning to make a model aircraft from plans. After making modest changes to a vertical or horizontal tail outline, converting a high wing mount to an under fuselage installation is one of the most common modifications one can make to an original model design. The flying characteristics typically remain similar yet you have the satisfaction of creating a much different look to your RC plane.

In my TurboCAD training videos I go over exactly how easy it is to make a change of this nature to a using the Yard Ace as an example. Russell, thanks for taking the time to do this modification and share your flight results!

 

Yard Ace Build

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

The Yard Ace is one of my favorite designs. The airplane’s layout is simple and construction employs normal building techniques and materials. The Yard Ace is a great first choice for a plans-built model.

Yard Ace wing under construction, note addition of aileron servos

Yard Ace wing under construction, note addition of aileron servos

Russell recently sent in some photos of his Yard Ace. Russell is working on a third version with students as part of a classroom project. Note the addition of ailerons and wing mounted servos, an indication of just how straight forward “kit/plan bashing” modifications are to this flyer. Russell, many thanks for sharing your Yard Ace building experiences!

Russell has given me a great idea, and that is to make a smaller indoor version of the Yard Ace designed around using the ParkZone microelectronics. It will be easy to produce the reduced size plans printing with TurboCAD, or employing the tile feature contained in the print box of a PDF file.

Yard Ace fuselage under construction

Yard Ace fuselage under construction

Based on experience, I think about a 25 inch wingspan variant of the Yard Ace will be about right for the motor and prop used by the ParkZone equipment, looking towards a finished weight of under three ounces. Note that I used this empirical sizing technique designing the Fokker Spin, which came in at a 28 inch wing span and a three ounce flight weight.

As my December Mesa flying schedule with United Express permits I look forward to sharing progress with you on this construction process!

 

Yard Ace after a slight landing accident, with motor mount needing a replacement

Yard Ace after a slight landing accident, with motor mount needing a replacement

Front view of Russel's Yard Ace

Front view of Russel’s Yard Ace

Mike’s Yard Ace

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

It is always fun to see pictures of the various airplanes made by readers of this site from my construction plans. Thanks to all of you for sending them in!

Mike recently e-mailed me a photo of his Yard Ace. Mike did a great job with his build as you can see.  The Yard Ace is a perfect introduction for anyone contemplating making their first radio control plane from a set of plans.  The construction is straight forward with no tricks or surprises. Plus, the Yard Ace flies exceptionally well.

Side view of the Yard Ace CAD plan

Side view of the Yard Ace CAD plan

Mike did have some questions on the use of motors and servos for his version of the Yard Ace. As electric motors and control components change all the time, the best approach is to use whatever motor and battery combination is suitable for a model’s weight (listed on the plans).  With the light weight and control forces of these smaller electric models, just about any servo available today will work just fine.

The Yard Ace also lends itself readily to changes in its size depending on what percentage you enlarge the plans. I see now, with the advent of the Park Zone micro radio control gear and motor, that a reduction in dimensions to a model with a wing span of 25 inches or so would be an ideal start for an indoor flyer.

I look forward to giving this a try in the near future!

Front view of Mike's build of the Yard Ace

Front view of Mike’s build of the Yard Ace