Keith Shaw’s Modifications to our 1905 Wright Flyer Kit

A customer wanted to know Keith Shaws Modifications of our 1905 Wright Flyer. Keith is an experienced modeler. A member of the AMA Hall of Fame. His advice on any model is well worth reviewing. Here are Keith’s views as written myself and on of our builders:

Hi Dave,

………….I really didn’t do much of anything to make the Wright fly “better”. Most mods were for convenience and scale appearance.

1) Made the front “head” removable so that I can transport it in my minivan along with other airshow planes.
2) Made the fantasy long range tanks to house the four A123 cells. Voltage/current/power is virtually identical to the 3s Lipo you spec. I just prefer the safety of A123 cells.
3) Used a tan magic marker to draw fake ribs and spars on the bare foam before painting with the Almond High-heat Rustoleum.
4) Made a dummy engine, sprockets and chains. Found a toy fireman that was just about the right scale for Orville. Sewed a suit and made a high collar, tie and cuffs for the figure.
5) My flier seems to need more positive elevator trim than yours at the given CG. I move my CG back to about 7/8″ back of the leading edge to reduce the front surface loading. This could be due to a slightly different camber profile than yours. Hard to guess when using the heat gun, ribs and rubber band method.
6) I used #117 rubber bands from OfficeMax rather than linking two #33 together.
7) I guess there were a couple of improvements now that I think on it. I found the vertical rudder hinge wire far too flexible and was the cause of the slow rudder oscillation. I used 3/32 instead of the spec’ed .055.
8) The roll axis was a little vague, and I suspected that the wing warping pushrods were buckling under load. I sleeved the .055 wire with 1/8th O.D. aluminum tubing. Now the wing warping is *almost* as positive as ailerons. Of course there is still adverse yaw from their use, so I mix in about 10% aileron-rudder coupling.

Hope this helps him,


Note’s from Dave; I do remember Keith mentioning that he runs the CG a bit further back than I suggest in the plans. He may have forgotten to mention that in the above letter. I do advise however that you start with the CG where suggested and only after a couple of flights, start to adjust it rearward. Any such adjustment should be made in careful small increments. 1/4″ is a long way to move a CG. Try to move it 1/8″ per flight until you find the uncomfortable location then readjust slightly forward. This is the method I used to arrive at the instructed location. For me it feels tail heavy any further back. By tail heavy, I mean, the model begins to hunt about the pitch axis. Keith feels that location is a bit further back and perhaps he is correct. Someday I may start moving it back again on my own model. Just bear in mind, you’re not experimenting to start where I suggest in the instructions. I want you to have a successful test flight.


Keith Shaws Radical RC 1905 Wright Flyer Part 7 Video !!

Keith writes:
“”Hi Dave,
Flew the Wright at a e-fly this last weekend. Saturday was beautiful, cool and calm. One of my friends took these shots of the Wright, thought you might like to see them. Also Dave Grife took a couple of short videos. Sunday was much windier and quite gusty (about 10 mph, gust over 15 mph). The Wright handled it fine with the modifications to the wing warping pushrods and the rudder pivot shaft.


First two minutes is Wright””

Note: Keith has constructed a take off dolly. As he takes of the model turns directly into the wind and leaves the dolly. I have no close up shots of the dolly. It’s a simple square board with two wheels up front, tail wheel on stinger and two pegs that catch a front cross member. Soon as the model lifts, it clears the cross member and leaves the dolly behind. The rear wheel is a smaller tail wheel type mounted to caster freely.

See the kit HERE.

Same flight from another perspective. Better shot of the dolly shape and how it works.


1905 Wright Flyer Enters Scale Competition

If anybody had a photo from that event they could let me add to this article, please forward. Thanks Keith for a fun story!

Hi Dave,
I just got back from the big judged scale meet (Central Ohio Scale) in Westerville. They had a great turnout, something like 47 pilots in 6 judged classes. I entered my Yak UT-1 in Designer Scale and got a third place. The first and second place were last year’s NATS winner and the Runner-Up, so not too bad for my first scale meet in about 15 years…
They had a “Fun Scale” class for beginners and experts, minimal static judging, but regular flight judging. I entered the Wright in Fun Scale Expert just for fun. The concept of doing “precision maneuvers” with the Wright in quite a bit of turbulence gave everyone a good dose of Comic Relief. It was like herding a cat around the sky. Surprisingly, I didn’t place last, as I got great marks for Flight Realism and the multi-motor option.
Early Sunday morning it was dead calm and ***very*** foggy. I flew a flight low and slow to the enjoyment of the spectators and contestants while waiting for the ceiling to lift so that the contest flights could resume. I recharged and waited my turn for the first sunday round. When it came time to fly, it was still very calm, and I had high hopes for a really good flight score. However, when I took off the plane pulled REALLY hard to the right, and full left trim on aileron and rudder and half left stick on aileron and rudder were required to barely fly straight. I struggled mightily to do the required maneuvers, and garnished about the same scores as saturday due to the awkward appearance to the flight and turns. Oh well.
I looked it over after a scary, but safe landing. The high humidity and wet grass had made all the joints on the parallelograms lock up solid. Even with the stain on the wood and the candle wax I rubbed on all the mating surfaces. Once it fully dried out in the sun, everything worked great later in the afternoon. Controls were back to normal, but of course, the winds had come up and the flight scores stayed the same as saturday. Can’t win… 🙂
But it got a LOT of attention, and many favorable comments. At the end of the first flight on saturday, it got a large round of applause and cheering from everyone. I think more photos were taken of it than any other plane at the meet. Hope one of them ends up in the contest write-up for the mags.

Take care,



Keith Shaw’s 1905 Wright Flyer

More info from Keith Shaw who you’ll remember has done some extensive scale detailing to one of our kits. Keith is an AMA Hall of Fame member. He’s tuning and trimming his bird and offers the following.

Hi Dave,
Now have 8 more flights on the Wright. Two improvements have GREATLY helped the directional control.
1) I found that the aileron cross pushrod was buckling. Increased wire thickness to 1/16th, helped a little. Rolled masking tape around pushrod ends and middle to get it up to the ID of 1/8th aluminum tube. Coated the tape with 5 minute epoxy and slipped the tube on. Wing warping is now very solid and uniform over flight speed range.
2) Mine had the few hertz rudder oscillation like yours. Carefully flexed everything back there and found that the vertical wire was wobbling all over the place at the bottom. The rudder pushrod was very solid in comparison, so side loads on the fins cause large distortion of the bottom inch of wire. Drilled out the boom bearings and plywood fin cross braces to use a 3/32″ wire instead. Rudder control is nice and solid and the oscillation is gone. Might have been able to get away with 1/16″ wire, but went for the 3/23″. Besides, I needed to move the CG back. 🙂

Now flying with CG about 7/8″ behind leading edge, still need to do some small tweaks on the motor thrust line. The plane now has a very solid feeling, with only a slight pitch bobble when it hits some turbulence. Flew it twice yesterday at an airshow in Detroit in 10 mph breeze with some minor turbulence. No problems. Before the mods this would not have been wise.
BTW, the crowd at the airshow LOVED it. More photos taken and questions asked than any other plane there.

Take care,



What It’s All About

cameron saegaert flying my 1905 wright flyer at seff 2013
Cameron Saegaert flying my 1905 Wright Flyer at SEFF 2013
We had a terrific time at SEFF 2013. This photo represents the finest moment. On Friday evening, walking down the flight line, I noticed a young man. I had taken 3 or 4 steps past him, then turned around and asked, “Hey, do you fly RC?” He replied “yes”. I asked, have you ever flown a Wright Flyer? He said “no”. I said, “Well then, why don’t you come out and help me fly this one? He said “OK” then I just headed on up to the flight line as I could hear him asking his dad for permission to go with me. Sure enough, when I got the model ready to go, there he was with his father. After getting the model safely into the air and up to altitude, I passed the transmitter to Cameron and he had a go at it. A few simple instructions and he was off doing a fine job. And, all the while flying the model with care and respect. His father, Dan Saegaert shot this photo of the moment. As you can see, I was having a great time! Dan told me later that his son is 10 years old and had been flying since the age of 5. Now there is some dedication and a super flying buddy as the result.

Dave Flint Reading to Launch The 1905 at SEFF 2013

Over the years, I’ve learned what a valuable gift it is to trust somebody with a model. There is a confidence transforming effect unmatched by any other experience when for the first time a young pilot is trusted with somebody else’s model. Do you remember your first time? I encourage you to snap up similar opportunities, it’s a barrel of fun.


Steven Cushing Photo’s of 1905 Wright Flyer In Action

Steve Cushing Low and Slow Wright 1905 Fly-by.

Steve’s built a beautiful 1905. He has added some scale detail including flying wires and pilot.

Low Pass – Easy Climb Out

We can clearly see a pilot capable of flying this model right in it’s sweetest spot, low and slow.

Pilot Acknowledges Photographer

“Hi Dave,

I was at our local field last week, and one of the guys took 60 some jpg’s of the Flyer. Some turned out excellent…! I did a low and slow fly by (didn’t think it was quite that low!) and he caught the whole sequence. I also really like the turn down wind… Use any that you might like.


Outbound to setup for another pass.

Thanks for providing the great photography Steve.

Entering the plyon turn at Reims, France, August 1909.

Aerial Photo of Radical RC Location

wright field
Radical RC, Proudly located in the Shadow of the greatest super power the world has ever seen.

Hi Dave,

Attached is a photo of a B-17 making a flyby over Wright Field. I think the shadow is about where your building’s located. Notice Huffman Dam and the train heading towards Fairborn on the old Big 4 RR.

Show this to Richard. He stopped by my tables at the Hara Arena Train Show a couple of weeks ago and I told him about this picture.


Steve Neff
Neff Video Productions

Vist Neff Video Productions to see model and full scale rail video and images.


Curtiss-Wright VZ-7

Curtiss-Wright VZ-7Any time you think what you seen in your world experience is new, you should probably sit back and think again. Few things are new. Most things are just repeated visits to old idea’s. Sometimes the technology has changed making something simpler or better.

The VZ-7 flew from 1958 to 1960, however it failed to meet with Army standards and was returned to the the company. Apparently you can see this machine at the the Fort Rucker United States Army Aviation Museum.

I wonder when the description “Quad-Copter” was coined?

Wiki page on: Curtiss-Wright VZ-7

Another blog artical with more information on this subject: Strange Vehicles: Curtiss-Wright VZ-7


Newly Discovered Wright Film

Yes, Yes, I have seen one of our Wright Sticks on two different occasions being flown on electric ducted fans. We see out intrepid modeler tying the past to the future each year at the NEAT Fair.