The Viking is a 1960’s free-flight model designed for .049-.051 engine and was designed to take-off vertically in “High-Lift” fashion. I have always loved to cool lines of this airplane and its classic style. It just looks like it will soar! I managed to score a vintage kit off E-Bay (back when they could be had for under $20) and I had originally thought I would build it as a static “historical” model. Well, I can never leave well enough alone so I thought it might make a cool electric RC model. Turns out I was right. It is great in RC and it couldn’t care less what is pulling it through the air. There were a few issues. First, the fuselage is super narrow so not much space for radio gear. Second, the two elevator halves are not collinear so would require two pushrods. And the final issue was that it has a lifting horizontal stabilizer. Now, I’m sure I’m a bit off on this, but my guess is that this allows the balance of the airplane (center of gravity) to shift with airspeed being more nose heavy at fast speeds and more tail heavy at slow speeds. How this benefits the airplane became clear to me when I was taking a full scale soaring lesson and the instructor said that you always want to fly through bad air (non-lifting) and slow down when in lift. That makes sense and that is just what this lifting stab would do. When the air is good and there is lots of lift, the airspeed slows. This would cause the stab to produce less lift and the nose would come up causing even more slowing. The opposite would be true if it was sinking in dead air. It would pick up speed until it found more “good” air. Well, that’s my theory anyway…
I also thought it would make a neat aerial photography platform. Probably the only Viking aerial photography around. The camera I used was a Nikon Coolpix 3100 3Mp camera with 640X480 30fps video. I built a harness for it and equipped it with its own servo to activate the shutter. I could take close to 100 photos per flight. After I learned just how important balancing the propeller was I got some great video as well. There is a button for the aerial photography on the “RC Airplanes” page. We projected the video one day on the wall at 100” wide or so and it is almost a little sickening. You really get the feeling of flying. Since the camera was slung under the airplane, it was the first thing to hit after the skids and it ingested a LOT of dust. Finally, the camera would no longer operate so I decided to convert it back to a glider. It think it was happy as the camera weighed about as much as the entire airplane, but it flew great with it, albeit a bit fast.
The Viking remains a big favorite of mine with a look you just don’t see. It is a good stable flyer with great control and can be easily flown in a small park. If you can lay your hands on one, e-convert it. You’ll love it!!
For a build log on the WattFlyer Blog, click HERE.
Specs are as follows:
Below are some photos: