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Model size in
How to select the correct pilot size
By: Roy Vaillancourt
I get many phone calls from fellow modelers
looking for a pilot figure to finish off their latest scale
or sport model. A lot of these callers are not sure what
size pilot figure to use in their model that would fit
right and also make everything “look right”. So I
thought I’d put together a few simple rules to help you
determine the most appropriate size pilot figure.
To determine what size pilot figure your plane
would require you’ll need to know at least one simple
dimension of the full size aircraft: the wing span in feet.
Once you have this dimension, following these simple steps will help you arrive at
what size pilot you’ll need for your model.
1) Convert the wingspan of the full size plane into inches. (feet X 12 = inches)
2) Divide this number by the wingspan of your model (in inches).
This number is the “scale factor (SF)” that the model is built at.
3) Invert this number by placing it below the number 1. Thus making a fraction.
For example, lets suppose we have a 40 ft wingspan on a full size plane such as a P-47.
And for this exercise the model is done at 92 inches wingspan. If we follow the above
steps this is what we get.
1) 40 ft X 12 = 480 inches
2) 480 / 92 = 5.29 (where 480 is the wingspan of the full size plane, in inches,
and 92 is the wingspan of the model, in inches)
3) 1 / 5.29 this is our “scale factor”. Round this off to 1/5 for the pilot size
Simple enough, right?
Just in case you have a hard time figuring the scale factor for your model, here is a
simple chart that should help you make a good choice for a “correct looking” pilot.
Pilot size Wingspan of full size (in feet)
(scale) 32 36 40 50
1/3 128 144 160 200
1/4 96 108 120 150
1/5 77 86 96 120
1/6 64 72 80 100
1/7 55 62 68 86
1/8 48 54 60 75
1/9 43 48 53 66