Das Ugly Stick - Radio Control Club of Detroit
Das Ugly Stick
RCCD CLUB PROJECT 2011
Das Ugly Stick
RCCD CLUB PROJECT 2011
"The original concept of the Ugly Stick was to design a radio controlled
aircraft which could be built in an absolute minimum of time. Its purpose
was towards a flying test bed for new proportional control developments
and an all around shop airplane which could be used as a loaner for visiting
flyers, testing repaired equipment, and any use which required an airplane
which could be considered as expendable."
Phil Kraft's original Ugly Stick was released to the public in the May-June
issue of Radio Control and Model Aircraft World in 1966.
I wonder if Phil ever thought that the airplane that took him 3 evenings to
design and completely finish, would be one of the most built and flown
designs in the history of R/C modeling.
The following is our rendition of
Das Ugly Stick
Our rendition of this .60 size airplane is not built as a trainer, but as an
ideal second or intermediate airplane. It is a great sport airplane and in the
hands of an experienced flyer, it will perform most of the aerobatic
The plans that we used were copied from the original plans that were
included in a Jensen kit produced in the 1960's and 1970's. The original
plans simulated a WWI German fighter plane with German markings. The
original plans also included optional American markings but kept the German
fighter look. Our intent was to revise the look of a WWI German fighter
plane into a simulated WWI American fighter plane. The wing tips, ailerons
and tail feathers were altered to resemble the American planes of that
era. All the basic tooling aids and templates that we made and used, reflect
our American rendition. Additional revisions that were included in our
tooling aids and templates are as follows:
*The firewall was moved rearward 1/2” to aid in balancing the CD using less
tail weight and still leave room for a twelve oz. fuel tank,
*the top forward portion of the fuselage was raised to capture the leading
edge of the main wing which allows the fastening of the main with nylon
bolts instead of using rubber bands,
*the main wing is built flat with no dihedral,
*the horizontal stabilizer is solid balsa wood with bread board ends instead
of the built up construction. This simplifies the build.
*The plane can be made to be either a tail dragger or have trike landing
The design of this plane is a very forgiving design which allows for
numerous modifications and design changes. There have been many changes
or modifications successfully tried over the years; turtle decks added, the
fuselage turned over and the main wing fastened on the bottom creating a
low wing aircraft, dual rudders, twin fuselages, twin engines, etc. Because
of this forgiving design, the builder can use his/her discretion as to the
final look of the plane.
The purpose of this club project is to introduce to the new members in this
hobby the actual building of model airplanes, rather than just opening a box
and assembling an ARF. The project may also rekindle the interest of
building to the experienced modeler. If nothing else, this project will
certainly create the camaraderie that we all enjoy.
An alternate method of constructing the plane will be introduced in this
project. This alternate building method uses “shape or router” templates
along with tooling aids to cut and fasten the fuselage components and wing
components. The fuselage and main wing are built on a flat work table or
board. Work lines are drawn on the table top and these lines will be used
for the alignment of the components during assembly. This alternate
method eliminates the need to build over a full size set of plans and aids in
the production building of multiple airplanes.
See the following sketch of the work table or board.
RCCD “Ground school” meetings will host the construction or build of the
plane during certain phases. The build process will be demonstrated,
discussed and questions answered, along with personal assistance when
desired. The actual build of the individual planes will be at the builders own
personal work shop using their own tools. There will be progress ground
school meetings held where the builders will bring in their planes and
further build questions answered. There could be time allotted for this
project during the club presentation segment of our regular club meeting.
Interim questions or issues will be covered by email, phone calls, and
possibly by personal visits to the builders' work shop by one of the RCCD
Keep in mind, you may ask five different experienced model builders the
same question, and you may receive five different answers---and they all
may be correct ! ! Confusing?? No, it just shows there are many ways of
doing the same job. This is the great part of this hobby. One can express
their thoughts through their own personal methods in design and build.
There are basic aerodynamics that have to be maintained, but how you
arrive there is open to one's ability and experience. The most important
objective of this project is to have fun. There will be some frustration and
the use of dirty words, but again, have fun.
This alternate method that we will be using, is just one way of building, and
at this time, it's the way this project will proceed. We will be taking
advantage of previously made tooling aids and possibly a cost saving in not
reproducing the plans. We may entertain other options as we go.
See the following sketch showing the assembly of the fuselage on the work
table or board.
Materials and costs:
A master copy of the altered plans that we used, will be available for
reproduction (at the builder's expense) if the builder deems it necessary
to have. A JPEG file of a reduced size set of plans is available to all at no
cost. This file was made by digitally photographing the full size plans. This
JPEG file once loaded on the builders computer can be zoomed or enlarged
for visual clarity. A copy of the material list to build the skeleton of the
plane will also be supplied.
The cost of all the materials used ( excluding the cost of the tooling aids)
for the build of the plane will be at the builder's expense. The club will
provide the opportunity to precut or shape the fuselage balsa / ply wood
component parts, and the built-up wing precut or shaped ribs and wing tips
using the previously made tooling aids. The builder will have to provide the
balance of the components to finish the plane.
Due to the many options in installing the radio system, the engine or
electric motor, the fuel tank or battery, the landing gear, etc., the
finalizing of the build will be addressed on a individual basis by the builder.
Naturally, help will be available.