YouTube – Waco Biplane
26 ft. 6 in
34 ft. 7 in.
3 or 4
The Waco Biplane dates back to the golden years of aviation. The company started producing them in 1919. It closed its doors in 1939.
In an effort to increase sales by providing additional passenger comfort, Waco started producing aircraft with enclosed cabins in 1931. The first Waco Biplane aircraft with cabins used existing aircraft parts and mated them to a new airframe. The series proved somewhat successful with sales to the general aviation population and smaller commercial airlines.
Through the years, Waco improved upon their original Waco Biplane models by modifying their landing gear to provide additional strength and cushion landings. Larger aircraft with more reliable and more powerful engines were introduced.
Some Waco Biplane aircraft found their way into the hands of bush pilots who equipped them with skis or pontoons and water rudders. The rugged aircraft proved equally at home operating from snow or water as they did from runways.
Flying the Waco Biplane
The moment the starter turns over the radial engine of the Waco Biplane, you are treated to a distinct rumbling sound that is music to the ears of classic aircraft enthusiasts.
As is typical in tail draggers of its type, visibility over the front of the fuselage is limited. If you are tall enough, you can sit upright towards the front edge of the seat for a bit of a forward view.
What you do not expect is what happens when you advance the throttle of the Waco Biplane. Rather than the roar of an engine at full power, the sound entering the cabin barely denotes its higher rpm’s. Neither does the aircraft’s acceleration, that is very gentle.
However, it doesn’t take much air over the wings of the Waco Biplane to have it lift gently off of the runway. The sensation can best be described as gliding into the air, more than rotating.
Your next surprise, while flying the Waco Biplane, is the feel of its controls. They do not betray the vintage of the aircraft. Although the elevator and aileron feel is not as light as today’s aircraft, they are far from heavy, and produce quick attitude responses.
The rudder has good authority with minimal pedal movement. A slight amount of pressure is all that is needed to control the aircraft.
Cruise speed for an aircraft with such a bulky airframe as the Waco Biplane is a reasonable 115 mph. Gradually reducing throttle and pulling back on the stick will produce more of a mush than a stall, even down to about 50 mph.
A comfortable landing approach speed is about 60 mph. The tail wheel will remain off of the ground a surprisingly long time after the main gear of the Waco Biplane are on the runway, even at very slow speeds. However, the rudder will retain its authority until the wheel is down. Once the aircraft settles with the tail wheel on the runway, you are challenged once again to see over its nose.
Flying the Waco Biplane is a terrific feeling that just doesn’t present itself in the modern aircraft of today. Not only is it a one of a kind experience, it is a pleasure long to be remembered.
Approximately 135 Waco Biplane aircraft with standard cabins were produced, of which a handfull continue to fly to date.
RC Waco Biplane
Manzano Laser Works RC Waco Biplane kits from Peter Rake plans are available in four sizes. Wingspans are 19 in., 29 in, 38 in. and 41 1/2 in. All kits are of wood construction and for electric power.
You can find plans for a RC Waco Biplane from Mammoth Scale Plans. Its wingspan is 99 in. and length is 73 in. Weight is about 28 lbs.
There is a RC Waco Biplane from Jim Pepino Plans. It is 1/4 scale with a wingspan of 90 in. You will need a G-62 engine for power. Weight is around 27 lbs.
AMR Aircraft Modelers Research has a RC Waco Biplane. It has a 21.7 in. wingspan and is 16.5 in long. Suggested power comes from a 180 ultra micro motor. Weight, ready to fly, is around 4 oz.
Check out the AMA Plans service for a number of RC Waco Biplane plans. There is a 70 in. wingspan RC Waco Biplane from Dario Brisighella. It is plan no. 50153.
Next AMA plan is a 52 in. wingspan RC Waco Biplane with the number 12266.
There is a 29 in. wingspan RC Waco Biplane plan no. 12671.
The AMA has plans for a 46 in. wingspan RC Waco Biplane designed by Don Srull. Plan no. is 26691.
You can find Berkeley plans through the AMA for a 52 in. wingspan RC Waco Biplane. Plan no. 22457.
AMA Plan no. 29568 is for a RC Waco Biplane with a 33 in. wingspan.