In the winter of 1946, Roy L. Clough Jr. finished applying the last coat of dope on his Control Line (CL) model called the Beginner’s Goat. It was published in the
November 1947 Air Trails.
The name of the airplane came from the practice in the
early days of making old Free Flight airplanes the “goats” of
learning to fly on wires. Conversions were made in attempts to
have something to practice with before designing a CL model
from the ground up.
Discussions about these “goats” led to the decision that
beginners would do better with a specially designed trainer,
and the result—the Beginner’s Goat—was what Roy said was
“arguably the only airplane I ever designed that did exactly
what I hoped for the first time out.”
At least a dozen beginners learned to fly with it, and family
and friends would keep it in the air for hours at a time. “It was
the perfect answer to those who’d heard that you built model
airplanes and wanted to see one fly,” he said.
In the February 1998 Model Aviation, Roy noted that the
Beginner’s Goat had been durable and tractable for nearly 50
years, so he decided to build an exact copy as an RC sport
model, named the Son of Goat. Unfortunately, the original
aircraft’s wingnut assembly could not be used because all of
the fuselage volume was needed to hold the servos, battery,
and receiver. There was also no room for the wing’s massive
anchor block. Roy added a modicum of dihedral for rudder-elevator operation, and replaced the tail wheel with a steerable
The original unsheeted leading edge of the CL wing had
been sheeted over, and Roy retained this for RC. A Cox .074
Queen Bee engine with a long mount approximated the
original engine proportions; however, with the buyout of Cox
by Estes, the question came up about availability of the engine.
Roy decided to rework the front end to accept other
engines. The new plywood motor bearer was cut to fit any of
the Cox Tee Dee or Medallion .049s. If the builder wanted
throttle control, the front fuselage could be squared off and a
Cox Black Widow could be mounted.
Roy did not include all of the construction information in
his article, noting that particularly detailed instructions were
needed and anyone wanting to duplicate the CL version would
find all of the information on the plans sheet.
The fuselage was of simple box construction with sheeted
tail surfaces. The finish was blue butyrate dope, with the wings
and elevator in red. The canopy was aluminum with black
framing lines for the greenhouse. Roy said the original CL
“Son of Goat closely resembles its parent, except for the
wing dihedral and a movable rudder,” Roy said. “On test flights,
the model was rock-stable, but lively. Son is more of a sportster
than the original (beginner) version.”
Featured in the February 1998 issue of Model Aviation as
AMA Plans Service number 847, Son of Goat is available for
$14, 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.
92 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2016
Durable Beginner’s Goat transitions
from CL to RC