Christian Moes built
this nice small-field/
indoor model using a
Above: Another example of
a Rogallo wing-based model
is Ralph Bradley’s 12.5-inch
Right: The simple design
parameters of a Rogallo wing-based model.
Frank and Gertrude Rogallo’s
Ireceived a nice note and photo from modeler Christian Moes, of Canada, about his small- field/indoor aircraft. Like many aeromodelers
these days, Christian used the power system
and electronics commonly seen on popular,
small, ready-to-fly models. Sporting an 18-inch
wingspan and a flying weight of 38 grams, the
aircraft is a terrific flier.
What we don’t often see on
models of this size is the use of
the Rogallo wing. This wing is
a perfect match for small-field
models and is probably the
easiest to make for its relative
lifting area. It is well suited
for small model airplanes built for slower speeds, such as the
Rogallo Rick that Christian built.
The Rogallo wing was developed in 1948 by NASA
engineer Francis Rogallo and his wife, Gertrude. They were
both kite hobbyists and used that background to develop what
they called the Parawing, also known as the Flexible Kite. By
the time the early 1960s rolled around, the full-scale aviation
community had adapted the Rogallo wing to sport gliding
in the form of hang
The Rogallo wing has
been used by the model
throughout the years,
but is not often seen
at small flying venues.
Beyond its simplicity of
construction, it offers
plenty of lifting area for
the span of the wing.
has a wing area of 128
square inches—not bad
for that wingspan. This
larger area keeps the
wing loading low for
I don’t have the plans for Christian’s aircraft to share with
you, but I can offer something to help you develop your own
Rogallo wing-based small-field flyer. There are a few simple
parameters to follow when building a Rogallo wing model. I
have included a diagram covering them.
The model’s center of gravity (CG) should be located
halfway back along and below the center keel by 1/3 of the keel
length. The thrustline should pass through the CG.
91 Model Aviation APRIL 2015 www.ModelAviation.com