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RCadvisor's Model Airplane Design Made Easy: The Simple Guide to Designing R/C Model Aircraft or Build Your Own Radio Control Flying Model Plane Paperback – January 28, 2009
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This book is definitely needed by anyone getting into R/C or is a veteran flight fanatic! Tons of good info that racks my brain and gets me thinking. --Jamie Burke, Host, AllThingsThatFly.com
This book is a joy to read! The writing style and wit add dimension in a way that is rarely found in today's reference materials. If someone has considered designing their own airplane and been put off because of complicated formulas, vocabulary and reference style that would bore even an engineer, this will convince them to go ahead and try it. Written with real people in mind and not engineers - and I mean that in a good way. This is a book that will reside along the other favorites on my bookshelf. Carlos really managed to produce a book that will last a long time and become one of the standards for modelers.
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First of, there are no diagrams in this book! Every aerospace book that I looked at included some kind of diagram about something. The author mentions that he had built models himself, but provides no examples, no designs, etc. This is inexcusable. In the whole book I counted only 4 pictures of model airplanes. The other 14 pictures are of full sized airplanes which didn't show anything useful.
Second. He will tell you his opinion and not explain them well. I didn't know much about airfoils when I started to read this book, so to me when Reyes talked about airfoils it was new information. His general recommendation was to use the GA(W)-2 / LS(1)-0413 / NASA LS(1)-0413 airfoil for the wing because it's popular for general aviation use, and NACA 0012 for the horizontal stabilizer. You're supposed to take his word on this. He then says that at 100,000 Reynolds number (as a hint, indoor models are well below that the rest are about 70k to 200k) or less the NASA LS(1)-0413 airfoil doesn't work so well. Why? I had to find this out in another book. While reading Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators: NAVWEPS 00-80T-80 (FAA Handbooks series) I came across a section that explains what happens to an airfoil under high and low Reynolds number. Using NACA 4412 as an example, I could tell from the diagram in the book that at an Re of 9 million the airfoil will develop the highest lift coefficient at an angle of attack of 14 and stall past 15, while at Re of 100000 this will happen at of 8 and 12 AoA. As explained in that book this is because at low Reynolds numbers the flow will become laminar and will not have enough energy to stick to the wing at higher angles of attack. To me this make much more sense than saying that "it will not work as well." I then compared the Clark-Y airfoil against Reyes recommended airfoil LS(1)-0413 that he favors over the Clark-Y, on airfoiltools dot com. To me at Re of 100000 the Clark-Y actually looks like a better choice. While it might look like that the LS(1)-0413 develops a slightly higher Cl(max) overall at 11 AoA, and stalls at 14, the Clark-Y will reach a lower Cl(max) at 12 AoA - but will stall out at 18 AoA. To me that seems like a better deal. A higher max AoA means more room for control error, gusts, etc. A proper book would have provided way for you to make that decision yourself. I then read Model Aircraft Aerodynamics and realized that there is also something called a critical Re number. So an airfoil that does not “work well” below an Re of 100000, what that actually means is that the airflow completely breaks down. The critical Re number is the number you want preferably below the stall, not the number the plane will actually fly at!
While the book has many formulas, oddly enough he suggests a cryptic method for calculating vertical stabilizer size by cutting out pieces of cardboard based on side body profile and certain wing area size. I get that there is trial an error involved with reading Model Aircraft Aerodynamics in respect to dutch roll and spiral stability, but Reyes seems to suggest that it's easy.
Reyes makes some points on materials, engines, batteries, etc. But In the end I have no idea how any of that goes together.
Third. In the end a wing airfoil is just one part of a wing, yet he doesn't talk about wings themselves. His only wing planform is the crescent shape! What about explaining how different wing planforms effect tip stalls, which is included in every aerodynamics book? Rectangular, delta, swept, etc. There is no mention of flaps besides him telling you that they serve no purpose on a slow flying model.
Fourth. Some of Reyes book reads like some of the first parts of Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach (Aiaa Education Series). There are countless small factoids and side points included by Reyes that cover full size airplanes that frankly should have been edited out do to the objective of the book. For example both Authors mention Rutans' VariEze, Raymer mentions that that the winglets on the wings presented a novel dual use design in that they serve as both winglets and vertical stabilizer/rudders, while Reyes mentions that it was the first airplane with winglets. Raymers' point in the context of an airplane design book is interesting, Reyes point in a model design book on the other hand is useless. I expect model specific examples!
Fifth. There are many formulas and some tables with calculated values, but when I tried to use Table 6.1. Scale Factors on page 124 it became apparent that the figures provided for weight % are incorrect. Instead I looked through the Bibliography and started a search for the recommended books instead, and in starting to read some those (Simons, etc) I have to say they are miles apart.
It's an absolute bargain at the price.
After this a good follow on would be Model Aircraft Aerodynamics by Martin Simmons, also available through Amazon. An excellent tome now in it's fourth edition.