“Stolen” components embrace
this winning F1J model design
A n adaptation of Bill Lynch’s F1J Sidewinder that he flew at the 1998 US Free Flight Championships, the Bandit was a variable-incidence tailplane (VIT) frame that Bill machined
after a request from Ken Oliver. Bill said that the
Bandit was appropriately named “since I’d stolen the
components from what’s-its-name … ”
The 1.9-gram VIT frame worked in concert with
auto rudder as a means to alter the model’s flight
attitude at specific times during the flight and
included the glide post, adjuster nut, and stabilizer
“keeper” button. It did not require tubing guides or
other plumbing to make it work.
The main fuselage parts were the carbon-fiber front
end and an aluminum tailboom. Bill noted that the
plans showed an AD .06 engine, but a Cyclon .06
would also fit the mounting holes.
The wing’s leading edges (LEs) and trailing edges
(TEs) were laid out, with the ribs inserted and glued minus the
ribs at the dihedral joints. The female section of the joiner was
three pieces. The sections were installed into each wing panel
and plugged with 1/16 balsa.
The male joiner section was inserted through three larger
.093 aluminum tubing sections. The center piece was situated
into a predrilled center section blank and each wing panel
was positioned in place. The wing panels were then blocked
up at the tip until the required dihedral was achieved and the
secondary joiners were installed.
Planking was completed, sanded, and covered with 1-ounce
fiberglass and epoxy. It was sanded to finish and the center
section was carved and sanded to mate with the wing panels.
Ribs were installed at the dihedral joints by cutting them
in two parts and trimming them to fit. The half ribs were
installed afterward. Bill used lightweight Oracover to cover the
The stabilizer was of conventional construction except for
the carbon-fiber LE and TE, and covered with lightweight
material. Bill mentioned not to forget to install the steel
friction plate. The medium-weight balsa vertical stabilizer was
sanded to shape then the rudder was preloaded to the right
using a .024 wire torsion rod setup that acted as a hinge pin.
If the modeler built his or her own VIT, it was installed
before the pylon/engine dorsal was completed and the engine
was bolted on. If using Bill’s design, it was installed after the
finish work on the front end, the tailboom was joined, and the
stabilizer mount was installed.
According to Bill, the Bandit was inherently unstable
without the VIT, and the initial power setup was critical. He
emphasized that “there should be no ‘float’ to the ‘glide’ in
the power setting.” The engine was to run at full power for
no more than 2. 5 seconds to allow the model to gain enough
speed and altitude to observe what it wanted to do. If it tended
to loop, more down-elevator could be adjusted by turning the
power-setting screw. If it wanted to nose over, it needed more
up-elevator and the screw was turned out.
Bill said the model did not disappoint, but builders should
keep in mind that it was not a beginner’s project. It was easy
to manage and took only four flights to trim. Bill noted, “This
model will go where you point it—and that should be straight
The Bandit was featured in the February 2000 Model
Aviation as AMA Plans Service number 883 for $9 plus
shipping and handling. AMA members can access the MA
Digital Library on the magazine’s website to read more about
this airplane and its construction. See page 153 or go to www.
modelaircraft.org/plans.aspx for ordering information.
105 Model Aviation APRIL 2015 www.ModelAviation.com