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Howard Ike DGA-5

By Gary Villette

Smooth flowing lines and electric ease give this 1930’s speedster a graceful look!



have always loved the racing planes of the 1930s; some of them for their grace- ful lines, others for their purpose- driven simplicity, and others just because they

are a little more radical in their attempt for more speed. My first effort at modeling one of these classics resulted in a very satisfying ¹⁄₆ scale model of Gordon Israel’s Redhead. With that success under my belt I looked

around for another candidate and settled on the DGA-4 Mike and the DGA-5 Ike by Benny Howard. These were a pair of near- identical racing planes that carried on suc- cessful racing campaigns through the early ’30. They went through a number of changes over the years but these were relatively mi- nor, consisting mainly of changes to cowl venting and wheel pants. Apart from that they are mainly distinguishable from each other by their markings. Anyway, they appealed to me because of

their simple lines and model-friendly pro- portions. I wouldn’t have to worry about short nose moments, ultra-skinny wings, or tiny tail fins. The DGA-5 was sponsored by the General Motors Chevrolet division and flew under the name of Miss Chevrolet, sporting a great “Chevrolet” logo on the wing. For no other reason, I chose to model the DGA-5 Ike, at ¹⁄₆ scale. As it turned out this model has proven to be every bit as docile and fun as I’d hoped. I picked ¹⁄₆ scale for a 40-inch wingspan

which is small enough to transport without disassembly, and big enough to handle mod-


erate weather and short grass fields. The wing is removable but since the battery is loaded from the cowl it can be left attached once the radio is installed. The fuselage is as near to scale as I could

make it so it does not have flat sides. In or- der to build it straight I decided to split it into top and bottom halves. This way you can build the bottom half on a flat building board to the extent that it becomes a rigid structure that can be removed from the board and completed in hand. My construction employs laser-cut slot/tab features for ease of assembly and it is for the most part self-aligning. A laser-cut short kit is available but parts may be cut manually if the builder wishes to do so; all parts are shown full-size on the plans. The fuselage is built in two stages. First,

the bottom half is built upside down on a flat building surface over a pair of longeron crutches. Then once this is firmed up with more longerons and stringers, it is removed from the board and the top half formers are added and fuselage is finished off. Light- weight ¹⁄₃₂-inch balsa sheeting is used to cov- er the forward fuselage to simulate the orig- inal’s aluminum skin. None of the formers have any flat outer edges so this method of splitting the fuselage ensures an easy straight build. The wing employs egg-crate construction

with a full-depth spar and interlocking ribs. The spar is capped top and bottom for strength. Turbulator strips ahead of the

Construction: Wing span: Wing area: Length: Weight:

Wing loading: Prop:

Motor: ESC:

Battery: Radio:

Servos: Short Kit:

R/C electric scale balsa and ply 40 inches 250 sq. in. 34 inches 22 ounces 13 oz./sq.ft. 8–6E APC

150 Watt brushless outrunner 25 amp

3S1P 2200 mAh Li-Po 4 channel

3 mini/micro servos

available from Gary Villette DV Flight Technologies 3636 Blue Jay St

Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R6

spar are used to maintain the airfoil shape without resorting to heavier sheeting. Ribs, spars and edge pieces fit together in such a way that the whole wing can be assembled and test fit off the building board. I found a single regular mini servo was adequate for the ailerons, so this wing uses pushrods and bellcranks to actuate them. There is ade- quate room in the wing to mount individual servos for each aileron if so desired. Tail surfaces are built flat and light with-

out any airfoil section. The original aircraft had almost no curvature here so the scale deviation is minimal. The wheelpants and landing gear fairings

MARCH 2012

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