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Anatomy of an ARF

6/5/2000 by

Copyright:© 2000 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

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Page 1: Anatomy of an ARF

"Once upon a time" and way back when, there were two kinds of models at the flying field.

There were, of course, the kit or scratch-built planes, who's owners put their "blood, sweat and tears" into building, covering and detailing so they would have a quality model in the end. It's a traditional way of modeling that takes lots of time, talent and skill, and it's still popular and appreciated today. These were what most flyers would have called the "real models."

Then there were the old ARFs. You remember them. Poorly and cheaply designed with plastic and who-knows-what construction, they were second class models that didn't look good, and didn't fly any better than they looked. Back then if you didn't have time to build a "real model" you either had to swallow your pride and fly one of those ARFs, or pay big bucks to a "custom builder" to build a kit for you.

There had to be a way to produce top performing, well designed ARFs that were "Built the way you'd build 'em if you had the time." It would be the best of both worlds...and every modeler could fly a high quality model, from trainers to performance aerobatic planes.

Hangar 9 was determined to find it. The key was to combine the absolute best design and engineering, top-quality materials, and precision craftsmanship...to produce models that were of the highest quality but affordable, too. And we did.

Better by design

It all starts with the design. Hangar 9 ARFs are designed in house by world class modelers. They bring years of building and flying experience to each project to assure there are no compromises in aerodynamic design, structural engineering and, of course, the look and feel of the aircraft. The result is a strong, light, good looking and excellent flying model.

Take for example the Cap 232. There are several 1.20 size Cap ARFs on the market today, but they are not all created equally. There are a number of factors that make one model superior to another, even if they are both the "same" model.

Sophisticated CAD (Computer Aided Design) systems are used for accuracy and precision.

Some are technical design factors like airfoil, moments, wing and tail placement, control surface size and appropriate wing loading. Others are more intuitive things such as where and what to stretch, narrow, expand or "tweak." Understanding this makes all the difference in the world.

At Hangar 9, there is a very defined design process that starts, logically, with a preliminary drawing. In the case of the Cap, which is based on a full-size plane, it was a factory 3-view scanned into a CAD system for an exact to-scale 3-view. After that, our experience went to work.

We knew that a scale model Cap needed to be adjusted... stretched a bit here and slimmed down there, yet still remain faithful to the original. An airfoil needed to be designed to hold up in the specific flight parameters where we wanted our Cap to excel. Every minute detail was considered to optimize its aerodynamics, and looks. It also had to be engineered so that it could be efficiently mass-produced without sacrificing quality.

When the plans were complete, a prototype was built. Test flying by world class modelers ensured that any quirks were found and corrected, and any additional "tweaks" of improvement were made well ahead of production.

Done? Not yet. At this point, the factory produced a production sample, exactly like the one you'd eventually buy. That model was assembled and test flown, further refinements (and there were a few) were made, another sample built, and the process repeated. Sound picky? You bet. But we still weren't finished. After the Cap went into actual production and we received our first shipment from the factory, we built one of those, just to be sure one last time that everything was right. If we were happy, we knew you'd be, too.