Balsa Wood Model Airplanes: Lighter Than Air

The concept of model airplanes is much older than flight itself. From ancient times, man's desire to be as free as the birds in the sky has been crystallized into several forms of early non-flying structures that scarcely resemble the aerodynamic supersonic aircraft that we know and love today. Balsa wood model airplanes, though, are more recent creations, made from around the time of World War I. They're relatively easy to put together from modeling kits, but require skill and patience when starting from scratch; they're also very light so they'll fly with a small electric engine or even rubber band power.

Roaring Birds Of The First Great War

The magnificent metallic war birds of the WWI era have been immortalized in balsa wood. These heroes of the fierce dogfights over the western front can now be put together in your own home to scale. Even the famous Fokker DR-1 Tri-plane flown by Baron von Richthofen, the infamous Red Baron, can be assembled with balsa wood, tissue paper and plastic parts; complete with replica decals. Nearly all the planes made famous by other WWI aces like Bishop and Guynemer are available for sale if you know where to buy good quality balsa wood model airplanes.

Mechanical Monsters Of Wartime Skies

Great WWII aircraft from either side can be found as model kits for the ardent enthusiast. The Messerschmitt, the Mustang, the Mitsubishi Zero, and even the famous Spitfire that the pilots used to mark with the number of planes they'd downed in dogfights. They're either rubber powered, U-controlled or for free flight, and they're suitable for children 12 years old and up.

Popular Private Props

You can even find modern prop planes like the Cessna 150, which the company justifiably called the 'best selling airplane in the world', and the Aeronca Champion. The detail on these planes is nothing short of astounding. What's more, they are capable of powered flight; electric, gas and rubber.

Tourney Jobs: Penny-weight Acrobats

If you're interested in tournament flying, then you should definitely check out the Easy-B and the Penny Plane. These two indoor flyers are regularly featured in world class events. Each weighing as much as a penny or less, these masters of un-powered flight can stay aloft for several minutes depending on how much space you give them. Competitions are usually held in large aircraft hangars or similar high-ceiling structures to allow the airplanes as much room as possible.

Making Balsa Wood Model Airplanes: Doing The Balsa

If you really want to get into the details of making your balsa wood model airplanes from scratch, then you need to understand how to select the wood, how to sand it to get it as close as possible to a zero grain, and how to finish it with silk, tissue or other light-weight materials for fabulous results. There are several aspects of how the wood is selected for different parts: for example, A-grain balsa tends to warp easily so is not suitable for tail surfaces and other unsupported planks. It's better suited for sheeting, where there are several supporting ribs to keep it in place. You should also learn how to spot defective wood, because if you don't, then unscrupulous balsa wood dealers might try and palm off some sub-standard goods on you. If you know how to spot poor grain patterns, non-uniform density, tapered cuts, and other similar wood and milling defects, then you can confidently go out and get yourself some good wood.

Making Balsa Wood Model Airplanes: Proud Passion

The art of making balsa wood model airplanes is a long and painstaking one to master; even years of experience can leave you with a thirst for more knowledge and expertise. If your passion lies in this area, then you can be assured the satisfaction of rolling out several generations of airplanes that you can be proud of and say, "That's my baby up there".