Hello Pilots and welcome to a new category under newsletters on the JOMAC Website, called Workbench! In Workbench, we hope to share frequent tips and tricks from veteran flyers, sharing some of the valuable lessons and methods developed over years of flying & building.
This first edition of Workbench tackles a topic that is rarely discussed but still important to those of us who are obsessed with scale accuracies or even just aesthetically hoping to make an ARF kit more ‘personalised’, and that is the addition of a scale pilot to your plane’s front office.
With the advent of 3D printing, many of our JOMAC members are now also designing and printing their own pilots and frequently battle with determining the correct dimensions for a pilot figure to suit their latest kit. If you’re the kind of pilot who doesn’t care or likes a plane with an empty cockpit, this article isn’t for you. If, like me, however you are left with a hollow feeling of empty incompleteness unless there is a reasonably detailed, scale ‘person’ in the cockpit of your plane, you may find the information below quite useful. This information was gleaned from an article created by a gentleman called Roy Vaillancourt, kindly published on the Internet.
First off, you’ll need to know at least ONE dimension of the real plane you’re modeling and that is the overall Wingspan. Google is really useful here. Once you know this statistic, the rest of the process in determining the scale of your plane is quite easy:
First off, multiply the wingspan in feet by 12 to obtain inches.
Then, divide the result of this number by the wingspan of your model and voilá, you have the scale factor of your model plane.
For example, if you have a P47 with a 92inch wingspan, a little bit of Googling will tell you that the original plane had a real-world wingspan of 40ft. Therefore, our calculation would look as follows:
1. 40 x 12 = 480 Inches;
2. 480 ÷ 92 = 5.29.
Thus, with a little bit of rounding, the scale factor of our model is 1/5.
Now if you’re lucky enough to have bought a kit that clearly sets out the scale factor, you can skip this step. I do sometimes prefer to do the calculation to ‘verify’ these numbers.
In other cases, you may have a model that wasn’t based on a real-world variant and there we’re left determining the pilot size by the trusted old methodology of ‘what looks right?’.
However, the table and diagram below may assist you in determining a good fit (these dimensions are based on an average human being whom is 6ft tall). Remember that these are meant as a ‘rough guide’ and may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.