During WWII, large gliders laden with troops and supplies were sent into combat zones. There were many instances of this tactic being used throughout the war. One of the more famous examples occurred on D-Day in 1944. American C-47 transport planes departed England while pulling WACO CG-4A gliders on long tow ropes (two gliders per C-47). The British added their array of gliders and tugs as well. This aerial armada flew across the English Channel and over France, where the gliders were released to disgorge their loads of soldiers, guns, and jeeps into the fields of Normandy.
Several years ago, I designed a simple RC model of the CG-4A with a 65" (1651mm) wingspan. I also have a C-47 model of the same scale (about 1/15.5) that I modified to use as a tow plane for the WACO. Of course, each airplane requires a dedicated pilot. So, a lot of my flying buddies have had an opportunity to control one model or the other. Flying this aerotow rig is a little challenging, tons of fun, and always garners a lot of attention from onlookers.
When I saw a press release for Flyzone's new micro-sized C-47, my first thought was that it would be fun to shrink my WACO design to this scale as well (about 1/50). The wingspan of the C-47 model is 23" (584mm). This results in a comparable glider having a wingspan of just over 20" (508mm).
I've flown lots of micro RC models before. However, this project reflects my first attempt at doing aerotow with tiny airplanes. To be honest, I'm still not sure that it's going to work. Micro models tend to have some idiosyncrasies that may render aerotowing impractical. There's really only one way to know for sure. So I'm forging ahead!
I began work on the WACO model before my C-47 arrived. In the next article, I'll cover my techniques for creating this little green glider. Perhaps I'll also have a favorable flight report to share. For now, I'll focus on the C-47 in its box-stock form and also after being modified for towing.