Aircraft Modeling

Aircraft Modeling

 

the design and construction of models of flying craft, including rockets, for engineering or sports purposes.

Technical aircraft modeling aids in the solution of by no means unimportant independent problems in scientific-technical experimentation in the design of aircraft. This accounts for the great applied significance of aircraft modeling. As far back as 1754, M. V. Lomonosov designed and constructed one of the first models of aircraft—the “aerodromic machine,” a prototype of the helicopter. In 1876–77, A. F. Mozhaiskii devised models of aircraft and demonstrated them in flight. He used the models to study the fundamentals of flight, investigated the behavior of particular construction components, and built the world’s first airplane on that basis. The use of aircraft models aided N. E. Zhukovskii in discovering the laws governing the motion of bodies through an air medium. He was the first to organize competitions of flying models, on Jan. 2, 1910, in Moscow, with the best model covering 170 m in flight.

Modern aircraft modeling is an important auxiliary approach in the design of airplanes. The design of the first experimental prototype of an airplane would be inconceivable without studying the aerodynamic strength and other characteristics of the craft by subjecting models or copies of the future airplane to wind tunnel tests.

Sports aircraft modeling constitutes one of the most popular technical forms of sport. In August 1926, 70 enthusiasts took part in the first all-Union competitions of flying models in the USSR, and about 500 people took part in the 36th aviation model sports competition in the USSR in 1967. Sports aircraft modeling in the USSR got its start with Red Air Fleet Week in the summer of 1923. For the first time, aircraft modeling clubs were set up in Moscow, Leningrad, Tbilisi, Orenburg, and in other cities of the Northern Caucasus region. The first competitions of flying models were held there. Aircraft modeling took on a wide scope after the VLKSM (All-Union League of Communist Soviet Youth) accepted sponsorship by the air fleet in 1931.

Free-flying models of aircraft of the most varied dimensions and geometrical configurations were built for the first time. Motors were made of twisted or braided rubber bands; the models so driven are called rubber-motored. Reciprocating miniature internal combustion engines with cylinder volumes ranging from 1 to 10 cu cm made their appearance later, followed by miniature jet engines. The continuing improvement in the technical side of aircraft modeling made it possible to build models with flights lasting several hours at speeds up to 100 km/h, covering hundreds of kilometers from the starting point at heights of several thousand meters. After the Great Patriotic War, control-line flying of aircraft models won great popularity. The control line, or cord, is a steel filament 0.3–0.4 mm in diameter, with one end tied to the control vanes of the model and the other end to a handle which the enthusiast holds in his hand. Line-controlled models execute various simple maneuvers and complicated stunt maneuvers around the model enthusiast controlling the craft. Aircraft model enthusiasts build and constantly improve models for sports competitions.

In the USSR, there are nine basic classes of sports models recognized in annual competitions and individual-team championships: free-flying or glider; rubber-motored airplane; piston-engined aircraft; radio-controlled airplane or glider with piston engine; control-line aircraft of high-speed, pursuit, stunt-flying, or dogfight types; and nonflying display models of aircraft.

Soviet model flying enthusiasts participate in six to seven out of 12 classes in international competitions. In 1949, they made all four world (absolute) records. By 1968, Soviet aircraft modelists accounted for 15 world records out of 39 for free-flying and control-line models, as recorded by the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI). Sportsmen with official ratings, masters of sport, honored masters of sport, and trainers number over 200,000 in the USSR.

Aircraft modeling is organized in the USSR by the All-Union Voluntary Society for Aid to the Army, Air Force, and Navy (DOSAAF), in close collaboration with the VLKSM and public education agencies. Aviation model laboratories and clubs function in schools, palaces of culture, clubhouses of the Young Pioneers, DOSAAF aviation models sports clubs, and so on. The aviation modeling sport is regulated by the Central Sports Club of Aviation Modeling of the USSR DOSAAF and the Federation of Aviation Modeling Sports of the USSR. Since 1950, DOSAAF has published the periodical Kryl’ia Rodiny (Wings of the Motherland), and since January 1966, the scientific and technical periodical Modelist-konstruktor (Aviation Modelist and Model Designer).

REFERENCES

Aviatsionnyi modelizm. Moscow, 1956.
Khukhra, Iu. Kordovaia letaiushchaia model’ samoleta. Moscow, 1955.
Gaevskii, O. K. Skorostnaia kordovaia letaiushchaia model’. Moscow, 1951.

V. IA. SIMONOV

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