"Spad is the simple concept of offering free plans and ideas for designing very cheap, great flying airplanes made from Coroplast, gutterpipe, aluminum, or anything else we can find that works! The Spad concept is also the world wide sharing of these ideas and most of all, having fun with our hobby!"
The above quote is from spadtothebone written by the founders of the SPAD concept. SPAD stand fo "Simple Plastic Airplane Design" and refers to the construction method as well as the philosophy. SPAD plans are almost always published freely online and shared, so you could describe it as unofficially open source.
This section's eventual aim is to archive and collect every scrap of information that could possibly be useful in building and flying SPAD model aircraft.
Another quote from spadtothebone goes like this:
"Less money. Less work. Less fear. More flying."
That is, essentially, what SPAD is all about. SPADs are, on the most part, very ugly (with a few notable exceptions) but this is mostly due to the fact that they are designed to be functional, not aesthetic. SPADs are on the whole extremely tough and surprisingly good fliers, if constructed well.
- Easy and very quick to build
- Very cheap to make (averaging less than £5 ($10) per airframe)
- Fly well
- Fellow club members may be hostile, although usually they are converted after they see how it fares in a crash.
"Trim it in the air."
These characteristics of SPADs make them ideal for use as trainers, r/c combat planes, or just tough old sport models. What they are NOT are beautiful pieces of painstaking engineering. In fact, a common trend of experienced SPAD modellers is to find the quickest most effective way of building, rather than the most sophisticated. For example, there are some who stick their entire models together with double sided tape, and no glue or screws. This is just one example of the openness of SPAD.
Where do I start?
Well, if you are prepared to embrace the SPAD philosophy and community, a great place to start would be on one of the many SPAD forums. These contain a wealth of information, and can be found in the links section at the bottom of this page. Read, read, read and drink in as much information as possible. This is the best way to start off in this hobby. Join one of the forums, introduce yourself and there will be many people there willing to help you.
If this is your first plane, you will need to start with a trainer. The SPAD plans page [nb: under construction] is a great place to start, along with spadtothebone.com. It is also very strongly recommended to FIND A CLUB. Teaching oneself to fly, even with SPADs is a very disapointing experience. Most clubs will offer to help you learn to fly your plane.
If you are already an experienced pilot, something more sporty like a Draco might be a good place to start.
Once you become more experience, the sky truly is the limit for spad designs.
- spadcombat.com [A small but friendly, rapidly growing spad community based mainly in the UK]
- spadworld.net [The largest resource of SPAD information, very helpful forum]
- rcmodelflyers.co.uk [A UK based site, excellent for general R/C info, they also have a small SPAD section]
- rcuniverse.com [A massive resource on every R/C section imaginable, including SPADs]
- spadtothebone.net [The site where it all started]