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AMA Plans Service Showcase
Find the feature on page 131 in the November 2011 issue.

IN 1935, the world’s fastest single-engine, land-based aircraft belonged to Howard Hughes. The H-1 Racer had many new features for its time, including the first use of hydraulically actuated landing gear, and Hughes achieved his goal of setting the world speed record in it, at 353.322 mph.

Jim Young’s August 2006 construction article and model were inspired by the work of Jim Wright, who crafted a reproduction of the original H-1 and showcased it at the 2003 EAA’s AirVenture, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Wright and the airplane perished in a crash on the way home to Oregon from the event.

The 1/12-scale model was designed from Paul Matt drawings and featured a 32-inch wingspan and wing area of 195 square inches, with a length of 25.8 inches. Constructing it from balsa, plywood, and foam, Jim made it easier on builders by creating a short kit of laser-cut fuselage formers and foam wing cores available.

The fuselage was built on a removable crutch made from 1/8 balsa, with scrap ¼ balsa as a stiffener. Jim warned, after gluing bottom stringers, not to make the crutch a permanent part of the fuselage! The entire fuselage was also “planked” with beveled, thin strips of balsa because of the few flat spots on the model.

Final assembly of the H-1 included a canopy fashioned from two pieces of sheet acetate formed over a simple fixture, and MonoKote and UltraCote covering. A straightedge and dressmaker’s wheel were used for detail such as panel lines and rivets, and call numbers and tail numbers were cut from yellow and black trim sheet. A dashboard printed from a computer, and a Williams Bros. pilot completed the cockpit.

Set up for an AstroFlight 020 motor with a Superbox (3.3:1), Castle Creations Thunderbird-18 ESC, and Kokam 2000 mAh 15C LiPo battery pack with an APC 8 x 6E propeller, Jim stated that the H-1 was a pleasure to fly, and was basically a “point-it-where-you-want-it-to-go” kind of airplane.

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