By Keith Storey

Replacing his famous Key racer, the author's Quest is a highly efficient machine, good looking, and a cinch to build. Sport fliers with a yearn for realism will enjoy its steady flying.

It's about this time each year that we begin to think of the 'big" meets. What's new and what would be good for competition is uppermost in everyone's mind. Team Racing as an event is building a different type of interest and if YOU want to be in on this new fun, here is a model designed for the rigors of competition. Born from the experiences of long races, with the stamina to give good results for many meets, and having the weight-to-strength ratio necessary for optimum performance, the Quest will meet the stiffest demands.

The plans given are half the size of the finished model. It will not be necessary to scale them up fully. Just transfer the dimensions required onto your working balsa for most of the parts. Squares are provided for the wing tips and all surfaces so the correct sizes and shapes can be maintained when enlarged.

The Quest utilizes the strong type of slab side construction with blocks, top and bottom, for streamlining and roundness. This is a very practical way to make an inverted-motor airplane. To insure a good flier finish all the parts and test balance the model before gluing them in place. The proper balance and alignment are necessary for clean take-offs, good flying qualities, and controlled landings.

To begin construction, the fuselage sides can be drawn on the one-eighth of an inch balsa sheet. Cut them out and size together. Transfer the bulkheads the same way on the one-eighth of an inch plywood and balsa and shape as indicated. The engine mounts should be made of hard wood as they will have to take most of the load. Note how they are rounded in front to meet the 1-3/4" spinner and curved in slightly at the rear ends also. Sand or file them to shape. Drill the holes for the engine bolts, then solder the heads to two small tin plates. Glue the mounts to the slab sides first. It may be necessary to water soak the forward ends to form the proper bend. Clamp them in place until dry. Mark the position for each bulkhead and cement the sides and formers together. The landing gear platform is a one-eighth of an inch plywood plate cut to fit. Install it now. To make certain the fuselage will be straight, bolt the engine onto the mounts, then work in the bulkheads going toward the tail.

While this first assembly is drying, the other parts can be made. Enlarge the wing to full size. In selecting the wood for your model, pick fine grain but light stock for the wing. Its size alone can cause a large increase in the finished weight if hard and heavy material is used. Two pieces will probably be needed to obtain the root chord of 6-1/4". Glue the pieces together lengthwise, and when dry, cut in two halves. Trace and cut the outline for each panel. Form them to a symmetrical section slightly tapering in thickness toward the tips. Cut the slot for the spar. This wing brace is made from engine mounts material and is 8"long. Finish-sand the wings with fine paper. If you wish to hide the lead-out wires in the wing, cut the long grooves in the lower sides and cover them with thin sheet. Otherwise, make a small wing tip guide for the wires on top of the left panel.

Enlarge the tail surfaces to proper size, and cut them from the three-inch wide one-eighth of an inch balsa sheet. Two pieces will be necessary for the rudder. Round the leading and trailing edges. Cut the elevators and groove them for the Veco control horn unit. Bend the stiff wires so they have the same angle as shown on the plan. This will make it easier to install and give more room for the pushrod. The hinge is made from two pieces of aircraft pinking tape sewn down the center. Use glue to securely fasten it to the stabilizer and elevator.

The control plate is a two-inch commercial unit. Its mounting is a short piece of wing spar, undercut slightly on the lower side to give clearance for the plate and rods and just wide enough to go between the engine mounts. Now is the time to determine exactly what kind of cut-off you are going to use. It will be easy to make the connections and figure its best position for accurate action. The unit illustrated is the K-B Sure Stop modified to form a right angle from its mounting on the venturi to the tank. With this placement a short straight fuel line is possible. As the control plate will be covered in the finished model, you might make an adjustable trip lever so that positive changes can be made.

The gas tank, if made according to the usual method, a shim brass wrap-around with end plates, will fit tightly into the tank well. As in the plan, the filler and vent should come straight forward then out to the side. The pick-up tube should be placed about half way back in the tank and just off the bottom. The outside connection should fit the engine and cut-off arrangement.

The dural landing gear has proven a good looking and really tough gear for hard use. The drawing can be enlarged and traced on the metal. Notice the grain of the dural before you begin work. It always runs with the printing on the sheet. Lay out your gear so the grain will run the long way of the pattern. After cutting, file and smooth all angles and sharp corners to eliminate fatigue cracking. Mark and drill the axle and mounting holes allowing clearance for 6-32and 4-40 screws respectively. Bend the gear on the dotted lines being careful not to put sharp angles at any point. A hard wood block with a rounded edge placed in the vise with the dural when bending will assure a proper radius.

The tail skid is the usual looped wire type used on team racers. If you are flying on hard surfaces it would be advisable to make this unit replaceable. An additional loop is bent at the mounting end and attached to the fuselage with a 4-40 screw. A small hardwood block or dural plate threaded for the screw will do the trick.

The top and bottom blocks can be formed now as the fuselage should be well dried. Place each block in its relative position on the slab sides and with a sharp pencil trace the outline shape of the fuselage. Cut them out and sand until the sides are straight up and down when held in their right place. A one-eighth of an inch square notch is now cut along the other side of each block so that it will fit both inside and on top of the slab sides. Cut the profile view on each block, and while holding it in place, round and smooth to shape with sand paper. Only the top forward block was hollowed on the original model. Notice on the plan how the balsa is glued onto the engine mounts plus the sides giving maximum strength and clearance for the engine. By using this notching system you will be able to get an almost elliptical section on the fuselage and not reduce its ruggedness. Do not cement the parts together now.

The cowl is a medium hard block hollowed out to a wall thickness of three-sixteenths of an inch. Two air openings with louvers on both sides are used in connection with vanes to direct the airflow. The air is divided as it comes into the cowl, most of it going over the fins for cooling and out the vents. The upper opening and baffle directs the air around the case and to the venturi which needs plenty of cool air. This little extra work will pay off as the engine will run longer and more consistently on the same amount of fuel.

The spring cowl fastener is a quick and efficient system to use on team racers for easy entry and inspection of the engine compartment. It was introduced by Orm Sutter in slightly different form several years ago and is now a common fixture. Basically it is a tension spring wound around the tubing which acts as a guide for the hook and outward operating end. The unit is finished and installed except for the lower washer which is then soldered in place. Rotating the wire 90 degrees will unlock or lock the fastener as desired. Dowels fore and aft keep the cowl from shifting position.

To begin assembly on the Quest, cut a one-sixteenth of an inch slot in the fuselage sides for the landing gear below the plywood box. Slide the gear in place and line it up. Mark and drill the plywood for the mounting screws. Now assemble all the parts with rubber bands and test balance. Just lay the wing panels on top of the fuselage during these tests. Be sure the engine and all accessories are in their approximate position. If the balance is about where the leading edge of the wing will be when installed, use the wing spar location as indicated on the plan. Glue and paint will move this balance point back to its proper place. If it is tail heavy, you can hollow the rear blocks or move the wing a little to the rear.

When you are satisfied with the balance, cut the three-eighth of an inch square hole in the fuselage sides for the wing spar. Note that the spar is flush with the bottom of them mounts. Make two small slits for the leadout wires in the left side through the mount. Cement the spar securely in place. Make the gas tank box from scrap balsa. It is cemented to the bottom of the wing spar. Glue the wings in place making sure the leading and trailing edges are even with about one degree of incidence. The bellcrank unit, its two pushrods stabilizer and elevator, are cemented in place after it has been adjusted to give proper control. If the control wires are buried in the wing assemble the wing, bellcrank, etc., at the same time. Bolt the landing gear in place tightly. Glue in all the blocks as pre-fitted and then the rudder. Work the leather fillets around the wing and tail. Fill in the small open area below the firewall and above the landing gear with scrap balsa.

Finish sand all the surfaces when the model has thoroughly dried with fine paper. Apply several coats of thinned dope and then cover the entire model with lightweight rubber band tissue. Only a little filler is needed before color may be added. Cut the canopy to fit and make a base for the pilot. These will go on after the painting is completed. The original Quest has a solid California orange color with the numbers and lettering in black and white for trim. Synthetic enamel or fuel proof dope will provide a good finish. Waxing over the decals will help protect them when flying.

Testing will be relatively easy. Fit your team racer for flight and make a set of 60-foot lines. Check your engine run and cut-off device thoroughly. Don't send any airplane up on the test hop with a poor engine run or one that is liable to quit at any time. Adjust it carefully, but not for peak speed. Keep it a little rich on the first flights. Now is when the cut-off may prove invaluable. If something goes wrong, don't hesitate to stop the engine and save the model for future flights. To obtain the optimum performance from your model, experiment with the fuel and propellers you will want to use. A very high speed means less distance to the tank full. Keep slowing down the rpm's until the team racer can maintain a good speed and complete the laps you feel to be the maximum. This year every model will fly in a five-mile heat race to qualify for the main event. On the coast, the average top speed for models in competition is between 70 and 75 mph. This is not too low, when you see these airplanes complete about 50 laps, or almost four miles, for one ounce of fuel. Usually, the fastest models are on the ground the longest and actually average the lowest speed for the entire five- or ten-mile race. Practice and experimenting before real competition will mean more consistent and prize-winning flights at the "big" contests this summer.

The kit of this model being manufactured by Berkeley has the same landing gear as the Key, my earlier team racer. The kit also has a metal cowl while the original model had carved and hollowed balsa blocks.