My Favorite Tools #4 – Bending a Figure 8 Hook

Short video on how to make the Figure 8 propeller hook for rubber model airplanes

Miles M.18 front end showing braided rubber motor loaded onto the Figure 8 prop hook

This 4th short video in our My Favorite Tools series includes:

  • The right pliers for the job (roundnose, needlenose, etc)
  • Why make a Figure 8 prop hook?
  • Bending the Figure 8 prop hook
  • Loading the rubber motor onto the prop hook
  • Overview of other front end components (e.g., winding hook, free wheeler)

Watch the video 

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Build A Simplified Folded Depron Foam Float

Read how to build the float including the unique pivoting mount

32in span Puss Moth on Folded Depron Floats

View/Purchase Folded Depron Float Plan


Recently, I met a few guys who fly free flight models off the water in Southern Vermont.  They spoke of 2 minute flights with rubber powered models on floats.  One of them, Jim Woolnough, had developed a spring loaded pivoting float that enabled his rubber models to ROW consistently at less than max winds. 

I had to know more and give this a try.

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Final Build Update – 24in Miles M.18

Final assembly and details. Landing gear, noseplug & prop assemblies.  We’re ready to fly!

  Kings Cup Miles M.18 model ready to fly

View/Purchase Miles M.18 24in Wingspan Plan


Hi all, it’s a new year.  Hope your 2021 is going well so far. 

Things slowed down a bit over the holidays, but our modelers have finished their Miles M.18 models and they’re ready to fly.  In this update, we’ll touch on details, final assembly, noseplug assembly and specifications.  This will be our last build update.

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Build Update #3 – 24in Miles M.18

Tissue covering & markings, Cowling and Landing Gear installation – we’re closing in on finishing this model!

Tissue covered M.18 fuselage with markings applied

Well, it’s been about a month since we’ve started building our 24inch wingspan Miles M.18 rubber powered flying scale models.  Already, we’ve got a couple of ships nearly ready for that first test glide.

Our modelers continue to improvise a bit as they go, and as always it’s interesting to watch this play out. 

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Build Update #2 – 24in Miles M.18

Wing construction, Fuselage construction Part 2 and the first Trial Assembly

Completed M.18 wing with dihedral added to outer panels

Another two weeks have passed (4 weeks total) and the builders are making good progress.  All three are experienced modelers and are making minor modifications from the plan as they proceed.  Such is the attraction of scratch building – the builder has the freedom to inject their own preferences into the build.

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Build Update #1 – 24in Miles M.18

Join in on the build and/or share positive thoughts via the Comment Forum.

24in Miles M.18 under construction. Get plan here

It’s been two weeks since we announced this online build and we’ve got 3 folks building the 24in wingspan Miles M.18 Mk2 free flight rubber scale model.  Two modelers are on the East Coast and one in the Pacific Northwest.  All have completed the tail framework, one has constructed the wing and two have made solid progress on fuselage construction.  We’ll share some to-date pics along with some of the techniques employed so far.

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Free Flight Rise Off Water, Land On Water Flying

A Vermont modeler’s experience flying free flight rubber models off the water

Mitch and his Flying Aces Sportster on floats

I have always been interested in the many aspects of model airplane aviation. Last year I was talking to some modeling friends who were recalling days of flying rubber powered, Mylar covered planes off of water. My friends called it ROW/LOW (rise off water/ land on water), or ROLO for short.  I realized this was something I would like to try.

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Doug’s Gee Bee R-1 Free Flight Model

A photo essay with commentary on the Gee Bee R-1 build, plus a test flight video.  This Gee Bee flies!

Flight testing at Waywayanda NY July 2020, courtesy Tom Hallman

The R-1 has been on my Free-Flight (FF) build list for years.  It is such an icon for aviation buffs- with its winning history and dramatic color scheme. As this ship moved up my build list, I began to reacquaint myself with the airplane and its history.

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My Favorite Tools – Little Giant Planer

For shaping balsa or other softwood leading and trailing edges, the Little Giant 3 Way Curve Razor Blade Planer is the proper tool.

Little Giant Razor Blade Planer disassembled to show blade

NOTE: this tool is not a toy and should not be used unsupervised by children.  

Hi Gang.  Every now and then, we’d like to highlight some of the little tricks of the trade that we use to design, develop, build and fly scale models of aircraft of the Golden Age of Aviation.

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Re-Building the Q.E.D. Model Wing

A short photo essay with commentary on the Q.E.D. wing rebuild

Q.E.D. at Geneseo 2009

I recall the anticipation of the first test glides of my Gee Bee Q.E.D. model more than 20yrs ago in the back yard of our first house.  In the time between then and now, this model – I know, it’s not really a Gee Bee (see post) – has been flown hard in fair weather and poor, placing in its share of contests and even winning a few.  And I must admit to a crash or two along the way. 

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About Those Nallen Plans..

From early years drawing on paper with an Engineer’s rule and No. 2 pencil, to later years with a computer and CAD software


 

    Browse Plans Now 

Model Aircraft Design


We (Tom Nallen’s) have been designing model airplane plans for nearly 50 years.  From early years drawing on paper with an Engineer’s rule and No. 2 pencil, to later years with a computer and CAD software, model aircraft design has been a constant.  It continues today, and while Tom Sr. has sadly passed, Tom2 will carry forward.  

For us, aviation history, scale modeling, and design are equal parts in a creative process.   By making our work available, we hope to help others discover this rewarding form of creative expression and consider designing plans of their own.

A little about the plans on The Gee Bee.com website.  You may notice that some of them are available elsewhere on the Internet free.  This is true – those plans were originally published in various newsletters and then posted to the Internet.  We’ve included some of these plans to offer a complete design series – Gee Bee and related aircraft, for example.  We will not offer any Nallen designs that are currently for sale by other vendors. 

We hope to continue to publish construction plans in modeling newsletters and magazines, although few magazines today publish traditional “stick and tissue” designs (topic of a future post).  Many of the plans offered on thegeebee.com are large format and not easily published in newsletters which prefer to include full-sized printed plans in 11 x 17 inch format. 

Digital Plan Downloads

We are particularly excited about the PDF plan download option for Nallen plans on thegeebee.com.  With a lower price, no shipping charges and immediate delivery anywhere in the world, we’re figuring many customers will choose this option.  In addition, PDF plan files are much more efficiently stored and the digital plan can be scaled up or down at the time of printing to meet specific  needs – smaller versions to be flown indoors or on smaller fields, for example.  Adjustments may be required for structural components specified on the plan, but this usually manageable.   As the digital plan download option is reasonably priced, we ask customers NOT to share the file with others.  Please refer them to www.thegeebee.com so they can purchase their own download.  More information can be found in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the website.