Overview: Ryan's Daughter - 52" Sport model Model Airplane (short) Kit


Active member
I would like to share may experience with Ryan's Daughter short kit - Building and flying. I hope people considering buying it will find this review beneficial.

This is a quality short kit that people who like to solve problems and make changes will love building. People that like to step through a manual adhering to the instructions might find it very frustrating.
The model itself flies well and it may serve well as a first low wing model. It is very easy to handle, especially when taking off and landing. However, it is not a trainer.

I bought my kit from Manzano Laser Works. The kit is cut with excellent accuracy and it contains cut Balsa and Wood parts only. It does not contain the extra parts (Hinges, cowling, push rods), not even the metal undercarriage. You will have to buy the balsa and wood parts to make the wing spars and the wing covering.
The kit is provided with 1:1 drawings of the various sections of the model. No building instructions are provided. You can use my build log which I hope will be found useful. Read it out first because at some points I made wrong decisions which I discuss later on.
While the quality of the kit is excellent, the design is only acceptable: Slabs of thick balsa are preferred over thin plywood constructions and a lump of balsa serves for cowling. I made a few significant changes that you may want to consider.

The motor, the battery and the ESC get very hot as the original design does not include ventilation. I have solved most of the problem by introducing air intakes as seen here:

Tail wheel:
The model is originally equipped with a skid. No way you can maneuver on the runway like this. You must attach a wheel to your rudder.

If you are a seasoned flyer you will find this model very easy to handle. It responds well, glides effortlessly takes off without surprises and lands very gently.
The only two, related, problems I encounter are:
  • The rudder is ineffective. Practically useless. I take it to full through and cannot notice any difference.
  • Due to low wing and Dihedral - rolling is very ugly. Don't try it until you feel that you master the model.
Apart from that it is fun to fly. Easy wide and tight loops. Sharp turns and slow landing. Its undercarriage design is superb and it will take rough landings with ease. However, bear in mind that this is a light model (around 1000g) and you cannot fly it in strong, or even moderate wind. I'd say 15Km/h max.

Battery: 1800mAh, 3S, 30C, 137g by HRB
Motor: Propdrive, 35-36, 1400kv Max current 45A
ESC: Turnigy, Plush-32 40A
- Ailerons: Turnigy TSS-9
- Rudder: Turnigy 9g
- Elevator: Turnigy XGD-11HMB
Prop: 10X5

Some measurements:
Model total weight: 1030g
Aileron throw: Up=18mm ; Down 18mm
Elevator throw: Up=18mm ; Down 21mm
Rudder: Full throw.
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Skill Collector
Solid review! Thanks for sharing this!

I wonder if increasing the rudder by about 15-20% would help with the performance? I have a plane that I need to test that on myself and plan to tape a stiff piece of clear plastic to the existing rudder to see how it behaves before making more permanent changes.


Active member
The rudder is almost at maximum possible throw.
It is perhaps too small or the distance to CG is insufficient (relatively short fuselage).
Your suggestion is interesting. Waiting to hear of the results of your experiment.