Although it resembles Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Ryan B- 5 Brougham is a different airplane, utilizing larger ailerons and a stabilizer. Peter Miller
chose this specific airplane to model because he was looking
for a simple aircraft for a four-cycle engine, and because it was
less-often modeled than the Spirit of St. Louis and allowed for
a variety of markings.
Construction began with a basic box with stringers and a
plank wing. Most of the struts around the conventional landing
gear were more for show and to take tension loads from the
wing struts. Peter decided on a Saito . 40 engine for power.
The fuselage had plywood sides at the nose and strip wood
at the rear. Balsa sheet was added to the sides of the nose
after it was joined to the firewall. Stringers were installed
next, with the bottom stringers in contact with the fuselage
crossmembers, side stringers glued to the uprights, and top
stringers clear of the crossmembers.
The wing was simple, featuring a flat-bottom section
without dihedral. Aileron hinges were made from strips of
metal with nuts and bolts for pivots. The hardwood struts
had hinges built from square-sectioned brass tubing fitted at
the wing end. The other end had metal clevises fitted. Peter
warned not to use plastic clevises because they would pull out
The stabilizer and fin were simple and strong when
combined with the struts and rigging wires, and
the rudder and elevators featured a central core
of 1/16 sheet balsa. Peter said it was important to
have minimum weight at the rear end, and many
ounces of lead could be needed for the B- 5 to
The model was covered in white Solartex then
painted silver using auto touch-up spray paint.
The trim was black and rub-down transfers were
used for lettering. Peter covered the nose with
aluminum lithograph plate and made louvers
by cutting lithograph plate panels with a chisel-shaped knife blade. Side window and door
panels were made from painted lithograph plate.
When the panels were finished and adhered,
holes for the dummy engine cylinders were cut.
Peter moved the exhaust pipes for the Saito
engine to the right side and connected them to
the front exhaust ring using insulation stripped from cable. The
shock struts were two tubes, one sliding inside the other with
a balsa fairing. He used K&S 1/4-inch streamlined aluminum
fairing for tail struts and finished with Control Line wire for
rigging and two small Proctor turnbuckles.
There was plenty of space in the B- 5 to hide the radio
installation while incorporating interior detail. The fuel tank
sat behind the firewall, while three servos fit behind F- 3. The
receiver and battery pack sat in foam rubber between F- 2 and
F- 3. Peter used closed-loop controls for the rudder, a normal
pushrod for elevators, and cable-in-rod for the throttle.
Flying the Brougham B- 5 was a pleasure, according to
Peter. It had complete neutral stability and stayed in whatever
Featured in the April 1984 issue of Model Aviation as AMA
Plans Service number 436, the Ryan B- 5 Brougham is available
for $24, 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. Go to www.
modelaircraft.org/plans.aspx to order.
a simple build
95 Model Aviation JULY 2016