1903 Wright Flyer

Radio Controlled (R/C) Model


We now (5/2002) are starting to digitize videos of our R/C model, and are making them availble in a variety of formats.

Our R/C Model Flyer
Initial construction of the R/C model lets one see the intricate, complex rib design

Radio controlled model replicas have widespread use in aircraft design. Early in the AIAA Wright Flyer Project program, the possible usefulness of an RC model justified a budget for materials. As with the full scale replica, donated labor was presumed.

The propulsion system had some unusual constraints. The engine would require self-cooling as it isn't in the prop stream, and the right propeller must be unclutched during cranking, as it interferes with the starter shaft. Similar problems confront model helicopters.

Fortunately, the engine industry has developed specialized designs for the copters, with shaft mounted blowers, shrouded cylinders and centrifugal clutches. Such an engine was loaned and installed by a generous friend.
Top view of R/C Wright Flyer model.
The package under the canard contains the batteries and radio components
Our R/C Model Flyer

Pitch stability was marginal to unstable with the original Wright Flyer. Investigation of this characteristic was an objective of the model tests. Advantage is being taken of the recent availability of a miniature rate gyro, the output of which is in series with the signal to the canard servo.

CG locations and incidences of the wings and canard have been experimentally optimized during high speed taxi runs to a degree adequate for successful flights. (Calculations were not applicable due to a lack of data on the airfoil at the very low Reynolds numbers).

Several very interesting flights have been made. The model is normally responsive to the controls, including roll produced by wing warping. Flights with successive incremental reductions in the gyro output have been encouraging. The pilot reports that the present 70% reduction in the gyro output has not significantly deteriorated the pitch stability. Flight tests will continue with further successive reductions in gyro output.

Wendel Seward on TV
Wendell Seward talks with representatives of a local cable T.V. station after a successful show with the model Flyer

1903 Engineering Drawing Information

Copyright 1996-2003, AIAA Wright Flyer Project, all rights reserved.


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