Step Back A Half-Century...
Build the Estes Raven Boost Glider
If you want something that is unusual, easy to fly, will turn heads at the flying field, and is just plain fun, then this is a model you should consider. Here are the original plans to build a unique front engine boost glider that has flaps at the forward end of the wing rather than elevons on the trailing edge of the wings as most "flying wing" gliders. There are no burn-strings or complicated mechanisms to release and activate the flaps...the ejection of the motor allows the flaps to kick up and transition the Raven into glide trim.
There are no dimensions in the plans other than for a few detail dimensions. Download and print the second page of the Estes Raven PDF file (right click this link to download or open PDF and save to your computer) on 8.5x11 paper to reproduce the full size patterns for the rudder, pylon and other patters that appear there. The wings are cut from a piece of 3"x9"x1/16" thick balsa sheet ("BFS-20" on the plans). The engine pylon is cut from 1/8" thick balsa ("BFS-40" on the plans). Cut the engine holder tube ("BT-20J" on the plans) from any body tube for 18mm motors to a length of 2.75". The PRM-1 hinge material is actually adhesive-backed paper, much like mailing labels...Trim Mokote makes a great substitute. Rather than using elastic thread (ET-1 on the plans) if you can't find it in the sewing department of stores like Walmart, use a small rubber band cut to form a single 5" length of rubber. Lastly, I built one of these back in the '70s and with just a couple of hand tosses to trim the model, the fuselage snapped just behind the engine pylon so instead of making the fuselage from two strips of balsa glued to form a T-beam, substitute a single length of 1/4" square (or even 3/16" square) spruce or basswood.
The model was designed to use standard-sized 18mm motors designated 1/2A.8-2, A.8-3, and B.8-4 in the old "pound" system of the early 1960's. Modern 18mm 1/2A6-2, A8-3, B4-4 and B6-4 motors would make the closest substitutes but of significantly higher average thrust than the old motors but will work just fine if you build the model strong and well aligned. However, if you want to experience flying the model the way it flew when it was first created, 13mm 1/2A3-2T and A3-2T motors (there are no longer 13mm B motors available) have almost identical thrust characteristics of the old 1/2A and A motors. To mimic the weight and the geometry of the old motors, simply take a spent 18mm motor casing and remove the clay nozzle and then insert and glue a mini-motor in the spent casing so that it's nozzle end is flush with the end of the spent casing.
If you are a bit ambitious, you can replace the 18mm motor tube and nosecone with a 13mm motor tube and nosecone to fly with mini motors but you will likely have to add a significant amount of nose weight for the model to boost and glide properly. My suggestion is to build it as in the plans and fly it with modern 18mm motors.
Estes Raven Boost Glider from 1964
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