Build to Win Contest!

Rich Uravitch shows off two possible designs built from his plans

In this Almost-Ready-to-Fly, no-assembly required, day and age the RC airplane hobby has evolved. The main outcome of this new fast-assembly airplane era is that we now enjoy an amazing amount of skilled and talented RC pilots. With amazing aerobatic skills and speedy reaction times, flying model airplanes is enjoyed by countless modelers who have only recently entered the ranks. But the modeling skills necessary to build and enjoy model airplane kits or build advanced airplane designs from other people’s plans continues to decline. This obvious transition can be seen at most flying fields and at RC club meetings. Somewhere along the line, old-school model building has somehow been deemed too hard or entirely unnecessary by many, and that really limits the growth of both the modeler and our hobby in general.

Model Airplane News really values the skills and craftsmanship of its collection of model designers and scratch-builders and we want to help grow this segment of our readers. We’ve teamed up with past Model Airplane News editor and current contributor and model designer, Rich Uravitch with an idea we think will kick start everyone’s reasoning to get back to the workshop and start cutting and gluing wood together.

Build to Win Contest!

Time to fly

Here’s the basic idea. We supply a set of downloadable plans (laser-cut wood parts are available) that can be used to produce a basic sub-structure for a tried and true RC plane. But, the good part is that, you the builders can add to it or modify it to produce a design that’s unique and truly your own. The equipment and parts are minimal and readily available at most hobby shops and online. You can turn this Design Contest Flyer into a sport-scale warbird, a home-built civilian plane, or a wild themed sport flyer inspired by your favorite movie or super-hero! You get to put pencil to paper and come up with your own version.

Go to:  for information on laser-cut wood parts for the basic airframe.

In addition to the “flat” laser cut parts included in the parts kit, YOU WILL REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING TO COMPLETE THE BASIC AIRFRAME :




1 Pc 1/8 x 3/8 x 36 STABILIZER “FRAME”


Note: If you have difficulty finding the page for the laser cut parts, be sure to clear your cookies from your web browser.

Next, we’ll publish the designs you guys come up with and then publish an article about the winning and runner-up designs. We’ll also off prizes and awards for everyone who enters the contest by submitting your information and snapshots.


1. Download the plans file from this page then go to your local Office Max, Staples or Kinkos and print out the full-size plans.

Click Here to Download Plans

2. Build your model and the send static photos (and a flight shot,) of your model, along with your contact information as well as detailed specs and information for your model entry to If you can supply video of your design we will add a link to the MAN website.

3. Deadline to submit your entry is January 1, 2014. All entries will receive an email confirmation that we have your information. Only one entry allowed per individual. We will feature entries on the Model Airplane News website.

4. All Winners must supply high resolution images to eligible for prizes and to be published in Model Airplane News

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So what do you think? Are you interested to show us what you can come up with? Imagination and creativity are the basic skills you’ll need. Team up with friends and start your own RC squadron. The fun part of course is learning new skills and flying your new creations. Give it a shot! Our hobby needs you and every other builder and designer it can get. Have fun!

Updated: July 27, 2015 — 9:17 AM


  1. awesome i may just build this

  2. Might participate in this contest, but that website is NOT user friendly at all..
    Can’t order online, the model featured in this article is not listed, it has a 90’s design. It has nice designs but for people to be interested on getting them from that place requires a user friendly site (store).

  3. So what if we don’t like yur designs. Can we do our own from scratch, or use some other existing design?

    1. The contest is only for aircraft built from a variation of these plans, but you’re always welcome to send photos of other designs you build for our Pilot Projects page!

  4. Where can I get the laser cut laser-cut wood parts pricing? Cant find Contesta at

    1. James I can cut laser wood parts. pricing wood kit is US $ 25.00 plus shipping hand. I am located in Guarne, Antioquia, COLOMBIA. E mail:

  5. LOOKS like GREAT Fun!!! Downloading the plan now! THANKYOU! fr

  6. Did any of You guys think about making a second set of plans to use as a Pattern like we Scratch Builders do? Then you can make your own parts!

  7. I think this is a GREAT idea!

  8. Great idea, count me in!
    One question: is it OK to use a glow or gas engine instead of an electric setup?

  9. What material should be used to make the fuselage formers? I couldn’t find a specification for the material for those parts on the downloaded plan.

  10. I’m in. I need some clarification, though. How far can we deviate from the plans? I have something in mind that will take some major changes to the fuselage and wing.

    1. Major changes welcome!

      1. Good!! i’ll go for nitro engine installed and local resources in airframe… count me in..

  11. No info on website linked in this article. Uravich (sp) website equally as useless.

    1. We are working on this!

  12. I love it. I was going to scratch build a trainer but this is too cool to pass up. Just saved the plans for printing. My woodworking shop is well equiped so here we go. Pics to follow.

  13. Is changing the size allowed? I’d want to build something in the 90″ range.

    1. Absolutely!

  14. I think this is a great idea! The basic airframe could be tweaked into almost infinite variations.It’s a way of getting your own design without too much effort.

  15. Certainly an interesting concept. Rich has provided a nice baseline design. Perhaps it would be helpful if we could get an idea of limits of the design modifications box you would like everyone to say within. I have some design modifications in mind but would like to know if they are within the limits of the changes you envisioned when the event was established. For example, can we alter the airfoil as long as the basic wing size is retained? Can we alter the wing location on the fuselage? How much can we chage the shape of the tail surfaces? Do the moments need to be retained or can some chages be made there as well? Again, some general guidlines regarding the allowable modifications would be very helpful.

  16. How far are we allowed to deviate from the plans? Might be good to clarify that since so many people are wanting to make pretty drastic changes.

    1. As long as we can see that the aircraft has its roots in the original design, it’s a valid entry. Still subjective, but hopefully you’ll see what we’re getting at. We want people to have fun with this plan and modify it to their heart’s content. Just don’t turn the plans over and use the blank side to draw a completely new plan. 🙂

  17. Hi Gerry and Rich,

    Got the plans downloaded. I’ve got a full supply of balsa and ZAP glue products! I’ve got a question about the outlines of the model. I assume the size should remain as on the plans. The “customizing” encouragement gets us a thinkin’ ! Can I taper the wing? Can I change the tail surfaces outline? Change the wing tips? I have designed a series of bigger sport planes bigger than this and would live to “outline” my model to look like the others.
    Don’t want to complicate the idea, just wondering what you have in mind as to how far we can go.
    Great idea, I’m IN!
    Len Bechtold
    I’ll be using a glow engine as I did when I started out

  18. I agree with the other responses that there are no Laser kits listed as the “Contesta” on the Hobby Hanger site. However, there is a seaplane that looks very similar to the low winged plane. This one is PS-36 Sea Plane (LCP 017) with a high wing configuration. I would bet that the sea plane is a modification. As to whether Hobby Hanger can produce kits is unknown. Hopefully, there will be a secondary company that can cut kits if Hobby Hanger is unable to do so.

    1. Also, I would recommend that you make a copy of the article and bring in to the paper supply store when you go to copy the plans. I have had these companies question if the document that I wanted to print was copyrighted or not. Often, the kid behind the counter will not make the copy unless you have rights granted by the document creator.
      Otherwise, there is always print tiling from your computer’s printer, not great but it works.

  19. I still enjoy your magazine every time , and have piles of them at home of the last decennia

    stef belgium

  20. Is a nitro engine OK, or does it have to be electric powered as shown in the plan?

    1. Can be any powerplant you choose.

  21. Hi len. you can basically do anything you want to the plans and build your airplane. If you enlarge the plans and add a gas engine to make a giant scale plane, it is not really in the spirit of the contest, as we are trying to get new comers interested! But for the seasoned modelers, the sky is the limit. Have fun. As a suggestion to beginners, “If I were to try the contest, I would taper the strip ailerons (making them wider at the fuselage and narrower at the tip to give the look of a tapered wing.”Keep it Simple rule.”

  22. Hi Gerry,
    Hopefully, the CONTESTA idea is catching on! I can’t even raise the Hobby Hangar site tonight – swamped with orders? I’ll just scratch build this simple model.
    Keeping the simplicity of the idea suggests a couple of guidelines to me.
    1, Use all the wing ribs, fuse sides and formers as on the plans. The airplane will be a monoplane, with wing position (low as drawn, mid or high wing optional).
    2, Build the these 2 basic structures as drawn, leaving the ailerons open for modification as you suggested (tapered, strip, etc.). Wing tips and tail feather outlines open for modification, but built the way shown on the plans.
    3, Cowl and spinner allowed.
    4, Landing gear – just as shown.
    I hope these thoughts support the original idea and encourage “ARFes” to buy the kit or materials needed and enjoy a building experience. The airplane should fly well since the basic design is sound. I’ll use a GP .07 or a Fox .15 on mine depending on the final weight. I still like Glow engines.
    I hope these suggestions will help make potential entrants comfortable with a simple playing field that will be fun!
    Thanks to all for a great project idea. Len


  23. There have been a few comments about the design contest and the basic model shown. But basic idea is not for entries to be copies of the models shown in the photographs but to show variations, originality, and creativity. Some suggestions are shown in the smaller sketches. Let your imagination be your motivation. To keep things equitable for judging purposes, we decided on a “core” airframe which uses the parts shown on the plan set. It’s up to you to “show us what you’ve got” using that airframe as a starting point.

  24. I am just a little confused. Can you change everything or is there certain things that can’t be altered, such as the wing design? I also noticed in the samples that only the top of the fuselage looks like it has been changed. So do you have to keep the length and width of the fuselage the same. Point is that if allow all alterations, I could theoriticly turn that plan int a 60 sized Corsair… Just thinking…

    1. All modifications acceptable, but must be “recognizable” as having the same roots as the original plan.

  25. “All modifications acceptable, but must be “recognizable” as having the same roots as the original plan”. Debra or Jerry, That means that the judges would have to see the basic box fuselage and the wing. The wing is a given with some changes, but do you have to see the slab sides of the fuselage as “having the same roots”? Or can we add all around.

    1. You can add all around! This is a fun contest. 🙂

      The idea is to modify this plan to your heart’s content.

  26. I was surprised to see the rather high price for the laser cut parts (a short kit after all) and no mention of where the plastic cowls came from. It’s a great idea and brings me back to my first built up plane the “Coin Foo” I copied by hand from MAN some 30 years ago. Looks like I will be tracing my own parts and saving some cash!

  27. I, personally, hope that a large number of the participants take exactly that path, Mr. Robinson. I would hope that they discover that the process of “cutting out the parts” is not all that difficult and, to many, is an enjoyable part of model building. If nothing else, it should help introduce many newcomers to the process while offering a “back to basics” nostalgia trip to the more experienced builder. The cowlings I used were “leftovers” from other models; in fact, the cowl I used on the “Navy” version came from a “Family Dollar” store……three for a buck! The intent of the contest is not to have entrants duplicate what I’ve put out there but to apply their own ideas and creativity.

  28. RE: Printing plans. I’ve built a number of balsa kits with the plans included, but never had to print the plans myself from a PDF. If taken to an office supply place, will the PDF print at the correct size or do we need to tell them what size we want? If we want to make the model bigger, I suspect we could tell them to make the plans bigger….? Thanks in advance!

  29. Sirs,

    Getting this all done and submitted by January is too short a period of time. Shit. I’ll be flying until the end of October. Give me two weeks to start thinkng about building and it’s soon to be December and Christmas… how about April 1st?
    I can see you doing this building contest every year, which will REALLY give building planes a shot in the arm. Way to go with this superb idea.

  30. Rules, we don’t need no stinking rules.
    Have some fun for once in your life.

  31. Just downloaded and emailed to Staples.
    Told them 48×36 paper and it came out perfect.
    Cost was less than eight dollars each.
    I hope to encourage other members at our club to build it.
    Maybe a second contest to end at RCX show would be good.

  32. Rich,

    Office Max and six bucks gives you a perfect to scale set of plans. The fuse is done and cut out by hand as planed!

    1. Just a note on the plans. I believe (unless my ruler is broken) that the side hight of the rear of the fuse in the Parts Sheet section is shorter than on the side view above it. The section I’m referring to is just under where the horizontal stab goes. So, if your cutting parts, like I intend to, you need to make that adjustment.

  33. Does anyone have recommendations for servo sizes? This is my first balsa build and I don’t know what size to get. Thanks!

  34. Tony, you are correct about the drawing of the fuse. I found this out as I was putting the horizontal stab in place. A couple of sticks of scrap fixed that right up.

  35. I like this return to building. I’m gonna order one of these and get started.

  36. This is a nice aircraft but I was wanting to download the Navy Dauntless plans. Where can I find them.

  37. I got mine nearly finished, meaning the wing is bilt and covered, as are the tail surfaces. Still trying to figure if I want to do a rounded turtle deck and forward or should I just keep things simple and leave it flat.

  38. I´m in!!!

  39. Can we deviate from the materials? I would like to build it in foam.

    1. A-ok with us! 🙂

  40. I’m in!

  41. I don’t see permission to duplicate anywhere on the plans, most copy centers will not make a copy without specific authorization to do so.

  42. that´s very nice and stimulating what you are promoting. But what about the guys who still construct and build their own designs? Stick and tissue, Diesel power, etc. Can they at a later stage at least show their fotos? (my website is not updated) I love pylon types like the famous Philadelphia Playboy.

  43. Hi There, it’s been a few weeks since the deadline and I know a few of us are biting our nails waiting for the results. Any idea when we’ll see all the great entries and hear of a winner ???

  44. I found out about this contest way to late to be finnished before the deadline.
    Would it be OK to use these plans for a small build contest of our own on a small swedish RC forum?

    1. It would be fine to do a contest of your own. download the plans and have at it. please give MAN credit and send us photos of your designs. we will post them here as well

  45. Love this idea, wish I’d seen it much sooner though. Any plan to introduce another contest this year??

  46. HI. james from Edenton,NC I have been Modeling since the early 70,s.I have always thought the best modlers were thoses that could build and fly their own models. Because you always have the skills to repair or improve a model. The skills that you learn can be used for many other projects. I am currently build ing a Liberty sport B 23 cc sizes, hope to post pics as I progress along the projects. I have to thank all of the old Flyers At the Old Monroe R/C Club in Charlotte, NC for the help and time many years ago

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