A Concept Drawing Drawn by Ed Lidgard of a Bostonian Model Airplane Recently Surfaced:
By staying faithful to the original drawing, but also adding some additional graphics and features, Jeff Nisley has produced a new contender to compete in this fall’s HAFFA Marion Contest in the AMA Bostonian Category.
One notable feature endearing to this model is it’s “Window Rudder”. Although it does not technically make the tail lighter which all model makers strive to do (clear plastic that the window is made of is not lighter than balsa), the window does, however, make it look lighter!
Also added to the graphics of this plane are the blue tissue paper Tear-Drops located on the wing tips and stab that work to reinforce Ed’s cockpit design, helping to unify the overall look of the plane.
AMA Bostonian rules call for a wingspan of no more than 16″ and no longer than 14″ from the prop bearing to the rear tip of the plane. The propeller can be no wider than 6″ and the plane must weigh at least 14 grams to qualify for outdoor competition. This plane which was nick named “Bernadette” by its maker weighs in at a little over 15 grams which is not bad, considering the extras that are built in, including the dethermalizer (badge timer and spring weigh 1.3 grams).
The rules also state that the outside dimensions of the air frame must be built to the size of an “Imaginary Box”, that being 3″ long by 2-1/2″ deep by 1-1/2″ wide. Often you see quite a few of Bostonians that have a ‘boxy” look to them, maybe as a result of this rule. Ed Lidgard’s design I think breaks with this tradition owing to his life long commitment to the use of streamlining (see the article below) and as a result I think he was ahead of his time on this design as well as his others.
According to Jeff Renz, who has the original drawing that Ed produced, believes that no known models of the Bludgy were ever built but he admits that he can’t be 100 percent sure. It’s interesting to note that Ed’s drawing had the depth of the box dimension at 2 3/8″ instead of the required 2-1/2″ so adjustments had to be made to the bottom shape of the fuselage in order to make the plane legal for competition. The author also lengthened the fuselage a tad from the 13″ dimension Ed had per the drawing bringing it to 13-3/4″which keeps it under the 14″ rule but adds more distance between the stabilizer and the wing for greater stability.
Although some might argue that a plane this light would not benefit much from having a dethermalizer, but the author included one nevertheless for good measure and believes that it also serves as a good way to be able to adjust the stab tilt with shims to get the right incidence angle between the wing and the stabilizer.
Below is a shot of the bottom of the plane showing the DT or dethermalizer system. To add interest, Ed’s hand written wording from his Bludgy drawing including the words “Blame Ed Lidgard” was printed on the bottom of the fuselage.
In 1992 Ed Lidgard was inducted into the The Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) Hall of Fame.
You can read his biography by following these simple directions: First click HERE. This will take you to the inductees of 1992. Next scroll down a bit further and you will come to Ed’s Biography. From this biography I am quoting:” He drew over 80 plans for Comet through the years. Among them was Comet Gull, the Whizzer, and the Sparky. However, my research using the internet shows that the Comet Gull was designed by Carl Goldberg and a Comet Gull II was designed by the famous Vito Garofalo so I’m not sure that the Comet Gull should be attributed to Ed. The Comet Wizzer also turns out to be Carl Goldburg again, but for sure the Sparky was the brainchild of Ed as we see him holding his “baby ” in 1997.
Here are some comments from Flight test Forums (flightest.com):
“The Sparky is one of the most prolifically built model airplanes ever and is very well suited to RC conversion, too. Ed Lidgard designed the Sparky for Class C Cabin competition while working for Comet models with other greats like Joe Konefes (Buzzard Bombshell and Phantom Flash) and it quickly caught the eye of management who pressed it into service as a kit which went on to be one of the company’s most successful, being one of the few rubber powered kits which could be depended on to always fly, even when poorly built. Unfortunately it wasn’t cheap to produce and met the chopping block when Guillow’s die crushed kits started encroaching on the market share, ultimately bankrupting Comet.” Guillow soon after acquired Comet models.
To the right is an interesting article found in the Spring 2002 Antique Flyer —Issue 227. It was a “debate” over streamlining (Ed Lidgard, Sparky and other designs) and boxes (Joe Konefes who designed the Buzzard Bombshell). This article has special significance to the author who is currently restoring a full size Buzzard Bombshell (72 inch wingspan), and converting it to electric power with the generous help of Suman Saripalli, a fellow HAFFA member and good friend.