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Tim Hooper's Cygnet

Building the Hawker Cygnet from Tim Hooper plan

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Gothiquity29/03/2020 22:14:03
50 forum posts
90 photos

Well like so many of us, im unable to fly, so to pass the time im picking up a project from my bench. Ive always liked the Hawker Cygnet since seeing it static at Cosford and more recently the two fine equally static examples at Shuttleworth, and thought one day it would be great to have a RC one of my own.

Well that day starts today, I have the Tim Hooper plan, and a healthy stock of balsa n glue, so time to start.

I purchased the plan , n laser cut kit from SLEC a few years ago, and a recent search shows its no longer listed so my apologies if anyone starts looking for it.

Starting as Mr Hooper did back in 2010 I'm setting out the 1/16 balsa strip laminates to make up the all flying rudder, elevator and wing tips.

starting with the rudder

thcr 1.jpg

Nothing too exciting, took a while to get the balsa to bend without cracking , but got there in the end. Think it requires far more patience than i anticipated .

Left the above to dry for a couple of days then started filling out the core structural elements of the rudder

thcr 2.jpg

Made a few very minor changes making some notches for the 1/4 SQ balsa to go into. As Tim said in his build, if this plane goes over on a bad landing the rudder will take the brunt of the impact, so every little trick to add some strengh without weight must be a good thing.

Still to add the 1/8 SQ faux ribs and some extra 1/8 sheet.


Edited By Gothiquity on 29/03/2020 22:20:56

Edited By Gothiquity on 29/03/2020 22:21:44

Timo Starkloff30/03/2020 09:56:29
447 forum posts
951 photos

Nice aeroplane

I've been to Cosford last year and saw the tiny Cygnet, too. A good book with many great photographs including the Cygnet is "The Lympne Trials - Searching for an ideal Light Plane"

Good luck with your build, Timo

Tim Hooper30/03/2020 20:16:06
2927 forum posts
2424 photos

Hi Goth!

Nice to see a Cygnet on the boards!

Did you soak the balsa strips for a few minutes before you bent them into shape?

Incidentally, I still have the original model safe and sound. It doesn't get much airtime but it had a couple of flights last autumn.


Gothiquity31/03/2020 21:43:15
50 forum posts
90 photos

Cheers Timo,

Not aware of that book, so i'll get that added to my reference list, looks very useful.


Hello Tim,

I hope I can come close to your level of workmanship. Yes I did soak the balsa beforehand, however on my first attempt I hadn't soaked it long enough, so yes got cracks. Finally got there though and worthwhile persevering with.

Glad your cygnet is stilll going. Can i ask one question , what type of hinge did you use on the rudder, i am considering either robart style or flat pin hinges.



Edited By Gothiquity on 31/03/2020 21:54:56

Gothiquity31/03/2020 21:52:52
50 forum posts
90 photos

Ok so slow progress , this work thing gets in the way and the hangar(garage) is a bit nippy in the evening.

Rudder is now roughly done in terms of adding wood, just need to get it down to the aerofoil shape.

thcr 4.jpg

Thought i'd also share with you the rough stages i go through to get to the above

photocopy of part of the plan that needs laminations, paste onto foamboard and trim to required size, add laminations, then wait a few days add some bits n bobs and hopefully one all flying rudder for the Cygnet.

thcr 3.jpg

Also made a start on the next part, the main (upper) wings

Wing tips are made in the same way as the rudder with 16th balsa laminations, this time stepped in width to build up to match the spars.

thc wt 1.jpg

thats it for now.

Edited By Gothiquity on 31/03/2020 21:56:29

Tim Hooper01/04/2020 21:16:19
2927 forum posts
2424 photos
Posted by Gothiquity on 31/03/2020 21:43:15:

Glad your cygnet is stilll going. Can i ask one question , what type of hinge did you use on the rudder, i am considering either robart style or flat pin hinges


Edited By Gothiquity on 31/03/2020 21:54:56

Just checked my photos (it's too cold to go out to the garage) and I used a pair of heavy-duty pin hinges.

I'm assuming you've found my original build thread?



Gothiquity01/04/2020 21:48:02
50 forum posts
90 photos

Cheers Tim, yes have read your original build log, must confess didnt see the hinging before, have seen it now. Pin hinges it is then.

Yes too cold for garages.



Gothiquity04/04/2020 19:27:04
50 forum posts
90 photos

So a productive day today, got one main wing laid out.

I must confess this build demands patience and attention to detail. Noticed what i think is an error on the plan relating to the size of the LE on my plan its noted as 3/8ths sq, and i had alreday put a pice of that size in and was just dry fiting ribs etc to see how it would all go together, couldnt figure out how the cap strips lower and upper would fit over the rib and below the level of the LE, then saw the side view amd noticed that the LE is much bigger, a few measurememnst later and a rumage through my wood pile and i have 3/8ths by 11/16ths as the LE which works much better now.


some images of my progress


thc w1.jpg

Basic layout showing lower cap strips , wing tip, and TE

thc w2.jpg

main spars and correct dimemnsion LE added, note carbon fibre joiners safely epoxied in place.


thc w3.jpg

all main ribs now added, next step once dry to sand down to profile before adding top cap strips.



Edited By Gothiquity on 04/04/2020 19:28:05

Tim Hooper04/04/2020 20:47:21
2927 forum posts
2424 photos

Good neat building!

I did wonder why the Cygnet had such huge ailerons, until I saw a picture of it with its wings folded back for storage/towing. The ailerons need to to move out of each others way as the wings fold back back alongside the fuselage.

Similarly, the rear portion of the upper centre section folds forwards for the same reason.



Edited By Tim Hooper on 04/04/2020 20:49:49

Tim Hooper04/04/2020 20:52:16
2927 forum posts
2424 photos

Full sized walk around


Timo Starkloff04/04/2020 22:48:36
447 forum posts
951 photos

Part of the Lympne Trials was passing a gate or frame with certain dimensions, therefore the plane had to be transportable. Nice story is about one of them landing a few miles away from the contest field. Wings folded the plane was carried back along the roads. Light weight helped of course, too


Gothiquity04/04/2020 22:59:36
50 forum posts
90 photos

HI Tim

Thanks for the comment and the ref pictures, very useful. I did manage to crawl over the one at Cosford a few years back after one of thier very friendly warders let me over the fence. Not been able to find my pics, so appreciate your link.

Did wonder about trying folding wings, before i came to my senses and thought better of it.

think i'll try to emulate the look of G-EBJI.


Gothiquity05/04/2020 22:48:09
50 forum posts
90 photos

Another fairly productive day,

Upper cap strips applied, riblets applied. Just final aerofoil shaping to do.

thc w4.jpg

one wing panel down three more to go.

Really enjoying the build so far, challenging without being crazy. Just need to pay attention and check Tim's excelent build log which show how parts should look, as well as the plan. Using both gives a good all round view.

one thing i have noticed is depsite knowing the dimensions of the finsihed model, just the one wing on its own , looks big. Tend to think that the numbers dont always mean much till its sat on your bench.


Gothiquity06/04/2020 22:13:45
50 forum posts
90 photos

Decided to take a break from wings , started on the elevatort and horizontal stab

pretty straight forwrads stuff, well so far. This is just a dry fit so far as i cuit pieces to fit.

thc e1.jpg


Gothiquity10/04/2020 21:27:07
50 forum posts
90 photos

Ok so more progress made today as well as discovering a mistake I made on the main wing.

I had the wing tips made from balsa laminates however i had not used wide enough strips , so am now in the process of making wider ones, they need to match the LE and step down from there. so ive opted for 5/8ths, then 1/2 then 3/8ths two of each to make the 6 strips needed. And with my new found patience and technique to bend balsa i made both wing tips without any cracks. 

I have also ran out of 6mm carbon fibre rod so waiting for a deilvery which may take a while, oh well, cracking on with the fuselage.

Got my plan copied and laid out ready together with my supply of hard and medium 1/4inch SQ balsa.

thc f1.jpg

Im suspicious as it seemed to go together fairly easily, which makes me belive I've gone wrong though checking my results against Tim's they look roughly the same. Am allowing the glue to dry off before starting the other fuselage frame.

But so far looking good. this is one very impressive build, and im forcing myself to take the time to get it right.

thc f2.jpg The fruits of my labour today , the wooden meter rule isnt used for measuring instead I use it to keep the top longeron straight. My plan is to build the second frame on top of the first to ensure they are identical.



Edited By Gothiquity on 10/04/2020 21:31:30

Edited By Gothiquity on 10/04/2020 21:31:59

Edited By Gothiquity on 10/04/2020 21:32:47

Gothiquity13/04/2020 18:03:59
50 forum posts
90 photos

Ok so made plenty of progress over the BH weekend

Both sides of fuselage were completed, all straight forwards stuff really.

Set second frame up dircetly on top of first to avoid any major differences

thc f3.jpg

May not look like it but this is both sides on top of each other , clamps in place to hold 1/4 SQ hard balsa longeron as it goes round main curve that will be for lower wing and undercarrigage.

Once glue was dry I took a moment to check them both over

thc f4.jpg

Yep looks good to me.

Next was laying out the formers, the ones in my laser cut kit were a tad warped, probaby warped from my own fault of poor storage , so made new ones.

laying up on side 1 and keeping things square

thc f5.jpg

Then adding the seconf frame, Tim helpfully points out in his build guide that is best to turn the frames upside down and join them that way, seems like a good approach.

thc f6.jpg Used elastic bands to hold thigs tiogether, so will leave that there gluing for now.

Said it before but worth saying agin , The Hawker Cygnet is a beautiful little aircraft full of charm and character. To ensure i dont make a monumental mistake Im taking my time, to get things as right as i can. No idea how long it will to take to get this one finaly airborne but it will be worth the wait and im enjoying every moment of the build, challenging without being frustrating.

Cheers to Tim for a great plan of a lovely little plane.


Tim Hooper13/04/2020 21:41:30
2927 forum posts
2424 photos

Thanks Goth!

It's a pleasure to see this model grow on your board so neatly.


Gothiquity15/04/2020 22:14:54
50 forum posts
90 photos

Ok so made some progress then a minor hiccup.

First cracking on with the cross members, again nothing taxing here , just 1/4 SQ balsa cut and chamfered to fit well and keep frames square.

thc f7.jpg

and another view of the work so far

thc f9.jpg

So following Tim's build log came the part I wasn't looking forwards to, to bring the two sides of the frame together at the rear you need to split the 4 longerons and 2 posts in half from the last cross member. I fitted a new blade and cut in

thc f10 (2).jpg Actually easier than i thought , next is to bend them together and glue everything back together.

thc f11 (2).jpg looks messy but i had manged to get it straight on the line.

Then came the mistake i left the hangar for the night.

Next morning was not pretty, at some point in the evenig / night one side of the frame cracked partailly whilst the glue was still wet and the strain on the other side twisted the tail over.

A few strong cups of tea later i came up with a plan of action

To protect the partially cracked frame I opted to create two 1/4 sheet hard balsa formers to match the tail shape and used these to coax the frames around, also removed the last two cross beams

thc f12 (2).jpg

end on view looking pretty straight , thc f14.jpg

So i think i managed to rescue it, yes i know the stern posts do not meet, however i have a plan for that too, to provide some meat for the hinges to go into I will remove whats left of the stern posts and install a solid piece of hard balsa probably 1/2 inch then blend the curve into it, should look seamless once im done, just have to accept a slight weight penalty or adjustment to where i position things in the model to get CoG.

Finsihed off the night by installing F1

thc f15.jpg

Thankfully uneventful. I used the oversized planks of balsa to help keep the sides even and prevent uneven bending , wish I had done that last night, oh well. Chalk it down to experience,


stu knowles15/04/2020 22:32:18
620 forum posts
53 photos

Really nice building skill on show here. Thanks for posting, I loom forward to seeing it develop

stu k

Tim Hooper16/04/2020 21:34:56
2927 forum posts
2424 photos

Good save!


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