Wright Stuff

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The Event

Wright Stuff (WS) is an event where participants try to make, test, and fly an airplane powered by twisted rubber band(s) for the goal of longest flight duration. The airplane can be of any design, though it must conform to rules regarding maximum wing and stabilizer dimensions, as well as a minimum mass limit (of the entire airplane, not including the rubber loop) and a maximum rubber mass limit.

The Average Airplane

An average Wright Stuff airplane contains six parts:

  • Wing assembly - A frame made of sticks of low-density balsa wood glued together, covered and glued with a thin covering made of paper or plastic. One or two sets of these are glued to tougher (higher-density balsa or basswood) sticks, and inserted into paper tubes on the fuselage of the airplane (so that the wings can be disassembled from the fuselage for storage/transportation). There are also other ways of mounting the wings on the motorstick besides the tubes. The sticks running perpendicular to the motorstick are called spars, and the ones running parallel to the motorstick are called ribs, and are usually curved (cambered) to increase the lift of the wing.
  • Motorstick (MS) - The fuselage or "body" of the plane. This is either a length of fairly thick and relatively (relative to the wing spars anyways) denser balsa, or a thin, long sheet of light balsa rolled along its length and glued so that it becomes a thin-walled balsa tube. Either way, the motorstick serves to hold the twisted rubber between the propeller assembly (at the front) and the motor hook (at the back of the MS) and to hold the aforementioned wing tubes.
  • Tailboom (TB or just "boom") - The "tail" of the plane. This is another length of solid balsa, usually lighter than the MS and sometimes tapered to save weight, or a thinner, lighter balsa tube, which can be tapered as well, but probably not worth the effort. The boom serves to support the vertical and horizontal stabilizers.
  • Propeller assembly - the propeller (the "prop"), the thrust bearing (the "bearing"), and the wire propeller shaft (the "shaft").
  • Horizontal stabilizer -
  • Vertical stabilizer -

The Key to Sucess

For inexperience fliers, focus on building a working airplane and trimming (adjusting) it until it flies around in circles.

Click here for detailed information about BalsaWood

A List of Sources for Supplies

Here is a list of supplies needed and sources:

  • Balsa www.f1d.biz or www.indoormodelsupply.com
    • (1) 18" sheet A grain, thickness between .045" and .050", density not more than 5.5 pcf (for wing and stab spars)
    • (1) 18" sheet C grain, thickness between .020" and .030", density not more than 5.5 pcf (for rolled motor stick if used)
    • (1) 18" sheet any grain any density around .030" thick (for ribs)
  • Winder www.f1d.biz - yellow plastic 15:1
  • Torque meter www.indoormodelsupply.com - the torque meter must have a range to at least 1.0 in-oz. You can make this if you'd rather do it that way.
  • Covering plastic www.modelresearchlabs.com
  • Propeller assembly http://www.indoorduration.com/HarlanBrochure.htm
    • Plastic Prop or Ikara SO model propeller http://www.faimodelsupply.com/ or Ray Harlan
    • Ray Harlan Penny Plane bearing (NOT the SO model bearing) .019 or .020"
  • Music wire and Teflon washers [http://[www.f1d.biz www.f1d.biz] or www.indoormodelsupply.com
  • Glue www.f1d.biz or www.indoormodelsupply.com; Ambroid or Duco glues
  • Glue Thinner; Acetone from hardware or home improvement store
  • Glue Bottle: with steel needle nose and cap. www.f1d.biz or www.indoormodelsupply.com
  • Glue for wing covering Super 77 spray glue (hardware store)
  • Rubber for motors - www.f1d.biz or www.indoormodelsupply.com
  • Tool box: fishing tackle boxes are nice esp. the 747 model.
  • Table: folding but get one big enough to have some weight when winding
  • Building Board; cork or 3 inch or more thick styrofoam from home improvement store.
  • Wax Paper: to cover building board with plans in between from food store
  • Pins: to hold wood on building board in place to glue. Regular straight pins or T shape are better from [| www.indoormodelsupply.com]
  • Knife: Exacto type
  • Razors Single edge: for striping wood www.f1d.biz or [www.indoormodelsupply.com www.indoormodelsupply.com]
  • Ruler: for straight edge to cut wood
  • Scale: Best bet is to borrow the schools or get a digital scale with 0.01 gram accuracy.


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