Some guys who build the Li’l Esquire have noticed that the plane climbs too much, floats around, and is hard to control. After a lot of head scratching and theorizing, a comment that was left on Outerzone clued me in to the real issue. The plan shows the center of gravity in the wrong place. The mark is 3.25″ behind the leading edge, which is 39% of the chord. If you put it there, get ready for some really terrible flying.
Common practice dictates a position between 1/4 and 1/3 of the chord, with most people settling on 30%. On the Li’l Esquire, this would be 2.5″ behind the leading edge. Take some good advice and set your CG at 2.5″. The plane will fly a lot better that way.
My short kit is made from a modern CAD plan that I found online. The plan is a replica of the original plane as originally designed, which means it would be great for a single channel radio with a metal torque rod for control. The nose section is shown with extra balsa webs that you don’t see in modern planes.
My kit doesn’t follow the plan exactly. It has parts that you would use to build a modern airplane. The bulkheads have big holes in the middle for your push rods and your fuel tank or battery. I don’t include a chin plate, so you can decide whether to attach a plank of balsa or build a hatch. The modifications are what I would expect you to do as a 21st century model builder. You also have the option of ordering the standard wing ribs and dihedral braces with 5 degrees on each side, or the aileron modification with 2 degrees per side. If building with ailerons, use a 3/16″ balsa stick at the trailing edge.
If you want an elevator on your plane, just add one behind the stabilizer. I would suggest 1/8″ balsa sheet, about 3/4″ wide.
A big thanks to Jim Houston for providing photos of a couple of Li’l Esquires built from my kits. One is a new fuselage for an orphaned wing, and the other is a completely new plane. The yellow one was built by Bob Kelner.