Fly on the Cheap

by Tom G. Sosnowski

Tom's SPAD (Simple Plastic Airplane Design)Like most newcomers to model aviation my priority was to get up into the air flying as easily and quickly as possible. I settled on purchasing an ARF trainer and the associated radio equipment to make it fly. Well after many aborted takeoffs and many more raised eyebrows from my fellow Sky Squires I did manage to leave the Earth and soar like an eagle, but, like everything, what goes up must come down. That trainer did come down, many times much harder than it liked. Probably disgusted with my creative aerobatic flying it decided enough was enough. Citing airplane abuse it decided on its own to end it all in the branches of a large oak. Picking up its remnants I decided this will not deter me from conquering the skies. All I need is an airplane capable of flying at my level without giving up.

Well, I was directed by my fellow Sky Squires to lookup on the internet. There I found SPAD (simple plastic airplane design) building techniques from which a plane can be constructed in a couple of nights. These aircraft are inexpensive and easy to build, and they can take a lot of abuse. My airplane is a stick type with a 48 inch span weighing in at 5lb 4oz, constructed from corrugated plastic, square plastic gutter pipe and salvage from my trainer. Wing loading is 24.5 oz./sq.ft.making it a more stable flier than the old trainer.

Total investment is $18.50!! And can it take abuse? Just ask those who watch me fly.