Simple NITRO BALSA Stick


Elite member
Ok, so I have been a huge fan of @The Hangar 's simple stick. Its a great size airplane, and fun to toss around. Its a quick build and it flies exactly as a stick should.

I thought it was time to take it up a notch, so I decided I wanted to build a version of this airplane with glow power. Glow power basically necessitates a balsa build, but with a design as simple as this, it is a very easy and straightforward process. I figured I may as well outline it here.

I started with a fresh copy of the version 1.4 plans from the resource section. I plan on making some more of these, so I cut out the plans and then glued them to some poster board to keep them crisp and durable.
The wings I made essentially according to plan, with one minor difference. I extended the wingspan by 6" on each wing for a total increase of 12". This is to help bring the wing loading back down to "stock" levels even with the heavier powerplant and liquid fuel.
The wings have a carbon fiber spar inside to deal with the extra weight and the planned aerobatic maneuvers.
The wings were then covered in some really old iron on film I had laying around. I still have some wrinkles to chase, but they should be fuel proof.

After this was finished, I decided to start with the tail feathers. They are made out of two sheets of 1/8" balsa sheets glued together to give sufficient surface area to cut the parts. It is similar to cutting through foamboard, except it requires more passes with the hobby knife and dulls the blades much more quickly. Also, as balsa sheets cannot be folded, you need to cut each panel individually. The control surfaces will be hinged together later.
The surfaces are then covered to prevent them being damaged by exhaust. Also, it looks nice and shiny.

Next was the fuselage. The easiest way to do this (for me) is to use the fuselage plans, and cut the side panel out of a solid sheet of 1/8" balsa. You don't need to cut the entire plan out, I just make two symmetrical side panels and go from there.



Once you have your side panels, create your firewall and glue it onto the front of one of your side panels. I build from front to back making custom gussets and bulkheads as I go. It is critical that you use a straight edge and a 90 degree angle to keep things square and true.
The front bulkhead is proud by about 1/4" to act as a stop for the wing. The larger block of wood is the anchor point for the landing gear.

Keep moving aft, adding bulkheads and gussets (I use 1/4" balsa sticks cut to length for gussets) to build up the fuselage. I made a small servo tray in the rear tail area to hold the elevator and rudder servos. There is another small tray behind the first bulkhead for the throttle servo. Eventually, it will be time to add the opposite side panel and it will start looking like an airplane.

Here is a dry fit of the tail feathers. It is critical that they are straight.

Finally, it is time to cover the fuselage. I didn't have any more solid red, so I had to go with a transparent red. Its not a terrible look, but it wasn't exactly what I was going for.


Attach the tail control surfaces, mount the motor and fuel tank, and install the servos and pushrods. Its getting there!


Finally its time to mount the wing and do the final programming in your radio. I'm loving the look of this little plane!



Now it's time for a maiden flight! I didn't have anyone to record in-flight video, but she flies like a dream. The 12" wing extension doesn't seem to have affected roll rate at all, and the power from the .40 K&B up front is excellent. All I have to share is a video of it idling, but it was an excellent flight. I can't wait to take her up again! If you made it this far, thanks for sticking around! Thanks to @The Hangar for excellent plans, and happy building/flying!



  • 20210102_185629.jpg
    2.1 MB · Views: 0

The Hangar

Fly harder!
@Arcfyre what an awesome project - I love what you did with it! Once I get comfortable with working with balsa I will need to give this a shot. The wing is all made out of foamboard, right?


Elite member
@Arcfyre what an awesome project - I love what you did with it! Once I get comfortable with working with balsa I will need to give this a shot. The wing is all made out of foamboard, right?

Yes the wing is still foam. A slightly larger wing span and a carbon fiber spar, but otherwise stock. I was too lazy to do a balsa wing lol.

I will likely do a balsa wing in the spring to make a floatplane version. Foamboard and water just don't mix.