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Moa

Horton Wingless Prototype-1950, Scratchbuild 1/72

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A build from 11 years ago>

 

While some designers choose to do away with the fuselage and the tail and create a “flying wing”, others choose to eliminate the wings and create a lifting body.

That was the choice of William Horton, from California and Vincent Burnelli, both of them shaped the fuselage as a wing section.

The Horton design featured large “endplates” –apparently described as “sealers”- along the fuselage/airfoil to improve its efficiency. A number of control surfaces can be seen at its rear end: a central, finned elevator and two surfaces on the sides that look like elevons (elevator+ailerons). Two fins and rudders are integral with the endplates. It is of notice that the concept of lifting body in this case was linked to the “roadable” plane too, since it was suggested to develop such machine later on. The design can be also described as being of “negative aspect ratio”, since its span is less than its length, roughly a 0.5 to 1 ratio.

And perhaps we should clear some recurrent confusion: William Horton was an American from California, while the Horten (with “e”) were brothers from the nazi Germany that later got a free-pass to Argentina for a while. The Horten Bros. designed a number of flying wings and William Horton, as said, worked on the concept of lifting bodies, creating first the plane which model is here depicted, and later a more futuristic-looking, twin-engine bigger machine also called the Horton Wingless.

William Horton associated with Howard Hughes, a joint-venture that apparently didn’t work out very well due to the iron grip of Mr. Hughes. Unfortunately, Hughes stalled in every possible way the development and sales of the Wingless. Shame on you Howard.

Nevertheless the prototype achieved some flight and its beautiful lines were preserved in a few images.

Simple lines on a model don’t necessarily translate into simple construction. Once the planning and engineering started, it was obvious that once more simple design didn’t mean simple construction.

One or two parts were modified spare bin sleepers, while wheels and prop –Hartzell on the original plane- were modified Aeroclub items.

Only a bit of the interior can be seen in the available photos of the real plane, enough to see the bulk of the long Franklin 68A engine in the middle of the cockpit/cabin while the shaft protrudes ahead of the fuselage. The pilot seat seemed to be the located on the left.

The part count was about a hundred when I judiciously stopped counting.

Although undiscriminating fellow modelers whose visual education and taste leaves much to be desired dared to call this beauty a “flying toaster”, one thing can not be denied: imagination was for sure abundant in the blooming 50’s.

 

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As always, an interesting model and lots of background information. You do some amazing work. 

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That is rather nice and the colour scheme is very attractive. 

I really like your exploded view of the parts. 

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I like this a lot, but why did many of these designers go for minimum vertical stabilizer area?

 

John 

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2 hours ago, John Aero said:

I like this a lot, but why did many of these designers go for minimum vertical stabilizer area?

 

John 

Hi John

Would those "endplates" count towards that?

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Fascinating design and beautiful model!

 

Apparently the next model was twin engined and had retractable stub wings, looking more like a futuristic American car than the original, clean design…

7585417716_cbe65d617e_z.jpg&hash=2503909

 

Seems that Hughes was a real a****le…

 

Kind regards,

 

Joachim

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Another obscure subject beautifully modelled Moa. Love it!

 

Cheers

 

Malcolm

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3 hours ago, Spitfire31 said:

Fascinating design and beautiful model!

 

Apparently the next model was twin engined and had retractable stub wings, looking more like a futuristic American car than the original, clean design…

7585417716_cbe65d617e_z.jpg&hash=2503909

 

Seems that Hughes was a real a****le…

 

Kind regards,

 

Joachim

The thing is, Joachim, that I also have a file on that one...not an easy one by any means, though.

Cheers

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Fantastic looking 'aircraft. Interesting story as well. Looks like something from Dan dare/ eagle comics.

Edited by invidia

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9 hours ago, Moa said:

Hi John

Would those "endplates" count towards that?

Without the end plates I don't think that such a short wing would work. The end plates are to stop the high pressure lower air spilling to the top. Those deep side plates forwards of the C of G would  make for some instability. In conventional aircraft such as the NF Meteors, when the nose was lengthened they had to compensate by increasing the fin area.  I'm just musing as aerodynamics are not my field. The retractable stub wings suggest to me that there were roll problems probably at low speeds.

 

As usual I'm awed by your modelling skills.

 

John

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10 hours ago, invidia said:

Looks like something from Dan dare/ eagle comics.

😄

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A movie of the second Horton Wingless plane:

 

 

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William Horton lived until 1997 at least and was interviewed for TV, where he shared a story with a rather unbelievable cameo by Dick "The Nixster" Nixon:

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Procopius said:

William Horton lived until 1997 at least and was interviewed for TV, where he shared a story with a rather unbelievable cameo by Dick "The Nixster" Nixon:

 

 

 

Hughes and Nixon, the same ethical and moral (lack of) principles, it seems.

Poor Horton.

Thanks for posting the link.

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That is a fascinating aircraft.  Fantastic job with the scratchbuild too!

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How I missed this I am not sure, but I have been away. Just super again!! This model looks as though it may have presented some more challenges than others, but you still made a frist class job of it.

 

P

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