Model Airplane News
September, 1959

Model Airplane News Cover for September, 1959 by Jo Kotula Frank Smith Miniplane    Model Airplane News Cover for January, 1968 by Jo Kotula Frank Smith Miniplane

Frank Smith "Miniplane"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for September, 1959 and January, 1968
by Jo Kotula
Click to Enlarge

Historically, the full-scale Smith Miniplane is one of the designs that helped start the modern homebuilding era. Originally designed and built in 1957 by Frank Smith of Fullerton, California, the Miniplane was an early example of engineering with the amateur homebuilder and weekend pilot in mind. It could be constructed with tools easily within reach of the average craftsman, and in the air it was stable and easy to fly.

The Frank Smith Miniplane      The Frank Smith Miniplane

Photos of the Frank Smith "Miniplane"
Click to Enlarge

The top wing spanned 17 ft., and the empty weight was a mere 600 pounds. Powered by a 100hp Lycoming, the tiny Miniplane cruised at 120 mph, climbed at a fantastic 2,500 ft. per minute, and was highly aerobatic. It was just what many sportsman pilots were looking for. Because of those short wings, its glide ratio has also been described as that of a piano! In short it's absolutely amazing as long as the engine is at full power.

Here is a video of the Frank Smith "Miniplane" in action:

Click Here for more information about the Smith Miniplane.

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