I wanted to build this nostalgic model for a very long time, partly because I always fancied this fat little Piper with its non-scale horizontal whale tail, partly because I wanted to experience building and flying a 'scale' model 'like they used to' decades ago, and partly because as the years go by I find more pleasure in the simpler models that many decades ago got me interested in this hobby in the first place.
Finding a kit at a sane price took lots of patience but I did eventually find one that due to a somewhat damaged outer box, was of less "collector value".
The kit is pre-1970 for sure, because it contained a list of Sterling kits stating the prices were valid until the end of March 1970...
The cowl was metal, and I found, contrary to all the Sterling kit horror stories that I read many times, the die-cutting was very nice and clean, and in some places better than much more modern kits.
I made an effort to keep the model 'period correct' i.e. no reduced dihedral, no ailerons and flaps, no reduced tail size and all of that nonsense. I built it for what it is, as intended, with only 3 channels and not even a steerable nose wheel.
Weight came out at exactly 4 Lbs. using 100% kit parts and materials, and power is an old OS .25 LA swinging an APC 10-4.
This engine is a perfect match. Acceleration for takeoff is good (not an F-16 but neither a leisurely DC-3 acceleration) and altitude is gained very quickly because of the low wing loading. Actually, after takeoff I almost immediately reduce to 50% throttle or less.
Turns without ailerons are smooth and precise either way, and stability with that dihedral is fantastic.
Stall characteristics? None. It doesn't stall. It stops in mid-air, lowers the nose, and floats on and on. When landing, I found it best to cut the engine 'over the fence' and let it land light as a feather.
The photos are from the first flights I performed today. I absolutely enjoyed this build and flight performance and urge others to stop collecting these old kits and do them justice by building them for what they are and as intended.
I did post a question here several months ago, about what size elevator to use, and can now answer it myself:
I used the control-line size elevators shown on the plans and can now say they are the perfect size. My reasons against using the so-called scale size were that it would have required additional structure (i.e. weight) (my model balances without any ballast at all), and would have looked rather silly IMO.
Also, the control-line elevators are period-correct for this model.