Model Airplane News
May, 1959

Model Airplane News Cover for May, 1959 by Jo Kotula Sablar Special Knight Twister

Sablar Special (Knight "Twister")
Model Airplane News Cover Art for May, 1959
by Jo Kotula
Click to Enlarge

This month's cover is somewhere between a commercial airplane and a model airplane. By way of background, during the post-WWII period, many aviation enthusiasts were able to move out of an apartment and into a house that had a garage. They contributed to a "boom" in homebuilt airplanes. Many companies got into this market, selling plans, kits, engines and parts. All that it took was time, a small amount of money and a garage. Steen Aero was one of the companies in this business and they sold, among other things, plans for a single seat ultra-light monoplane called the Knight Twister designed in 1928, by Vernon Payne and his students at the Aviation Service and Transport Company aircraft school in Chicago. The "Twister" proved to be very popular with racers and others... Payne was reputedly asked to sell the design by the Nazis (of all things) who wanted to use it as a sub-launched parasite fighter. Payne declined, and the Germans were compelled to develop their own mini-biplane.

The Sablar Special Knight Twister      The Sablar Special Knight Twister     The Sablar Special Knight Twister

Sablar Special (Knight "Twister")
left: officiaal company photo; middle: Tony Sablar with his airplane; right: 3-view from MAN
Click to Enlarge

Model Airplane News chose one of these homebuilders as the subject for the May, 1959 cover. According to the article, Tony Sablar of New Philadelphia, Ohio, completed his version of the Knight Twister, got it certified and and had about 50 hours of flying time on it. The excellent workmanship on this aircraft (based on Mr. Sablar's photos) induced M.A.N. to feature his work.

Mr. Sablar had this to say about his efforts:

"... The ship is made following the Knight Twister plans with a few changes. It took me about five years spare time to complete, with the help of my brother Mike. All new material was used in construction, with the exception of the engine and wheels. It has a very low time Continental C-85 FJ under the cowl, which was lengthened for CG (center of gravity) purposes ..."

Here is a video of the Knight "Twister") in action:

Click Here to learn about the Knight "Twister". Click Here to learn about Tony Sablar's Homemade plane.

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