Airborne Magazine


Tornado plans are available from: Airborne Plans Service for AU$44.00 plus P&H1 (AU$2.00 within Australia). Plan No. 657 Canopy AU$27.50 plus P&H2 (AU$6.00 within Australia)
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Panavia is a company formed in 1969 by three countries (Britain 42.5%, Germany 42.5% Italy 15%) to design, develop and produce a multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA). On 29th July 1976 the three governments signed a document authorising the production of 809 of the jointly designed Tornado’s. The Tornado is a twin-engined, two-seat, supersonic aircraft, capable of fulfiling six major requirements. These are (a) close air support, (b) counter air strike, (c) air superiority, (d) air defence, (e) maritime strike, (f) reconnaissance. The versions in this model are the GR1 strike version (b), which was the first version to enter service with the RAF, Luftwaffe and Marinetlieger in 1979 and the GR1A reconnaissance version (t). By 1990 the RAF had nine operational squadrons of the Tornado GR1 and two with the GR1A version. Markings are included for a GR1 of 16 Squadron RAF Laarbruch Royal Air Force Germany, 1991 and a GR1A of 13 Squadron RAF Honington, 1991). Maximum weapon/load 17,9631bs (8,165kg) on three points under the fuselage. The choice of stores for the GR1 in this model are the JP233 (runway denial weapon), CPU 1 23/B laser guided bombs, 10001b (453kgs) bombs, Alarm missiles or TIALD (Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator) pod. There are also 1500 litre and 2250 litre tanks and Side winder missiles for GR1 and GR1 A versions. The GR1 version also carries two x 27mm Mauser cannon and has a max. speed (clean) 840 mph (1350kph) mach 1.1 at 500ft (150m), Length: 16.7m (54ft 10ins). Height: 5.7m (18ft 8ins). Wing Span: (spread) 13.9m (45ft 8ins). Powered by two 8,5001b (3,855kg) dry and 15,0001b (6,810kg) with reheat Turbo-Union RB 199 Mk 101 or 103 after burning turbofans.


Tornado is a stand off sport scale model that's simple to build and easy to fly.

When you first unroll the plan you may think S@#! it looks hard?. But a good study will reveal a fairly basic airframe, just a little different shape to what’s common. Tornado is a similar plane to the F14 Tomcat in Airborne #152 which was a great success. The Tornado flew in the same manner as the F14, so it will make a great partner to the F14. When building from scratch I prefer to cut out and kit all the parts before assembly. The plane is built in the traditional method not requiring any special tools or glues.


Protect your plan and lay the bottom spars down, add the ribs (W1-W9) with the tabs to the bottom also the ply wing joiners (J1, J2 and J3) as you progress. Add the 6.5mm hard balsa trailing edge noting the taper from W1 down to W9. Add the 12.5mm leading edges also noting the taper and that it is in three pieces. Checking that the wing is flat, lay in the top spars then the wing bolt blocks between W1 and W2. Now begin with the sheeting and cap strips, remove the wing from the board turn it over trim off the rib tabs and proceed to sheet the bottom. Add aileron torque rods, center trailing edge and the wing tips and sand to shape. The dowels and fairings will be added later.


These are straight forward and easy to construct using the pre-cut 9.5mm balsa parts, build the fin and tail plane over the plan. The rudder and elevator are made from 9.5mm sheet sanded to shape, and using torque rods for movement, when using this method I check in 1.5mm ply on both sides over the holes to stop the wire from breaking through the timber. Finish the fin add the torque rod, hinges and rudder sand to shape, this can be covered before you glue to the fuselage. The tailplane needs to be glued into the fuselage before the torque rods or elevators are added. Make up and dry fit the torque rods, hinges and elevators. Glue in the tail plane, slide in the torque rods and finish off.


The fuselage is built in two parts, the front consisting of F1 - F3 and the rear part consisting of F4 -Fa. Both parts are built flat and square over the plan or in a jig using traditional methods of construction.

The front section

Starting by laminating the fuselage side and doublers FS1 and FD1 together, add the formers F1, F2 and F3, keeping the fuselage flat and square. Add the 12.5mm triangle, mount the engine mount noting its position and the use of a wedge to achieve the required down and right thrust.

The rear section

Add the formers F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F8a and F9 onto the fuselage sides. Add the small fuselage doubler FD2 and 6.5mm square balsa then the wing saddles and the mounting plate. Add the 12.5mm triangle balsa top and bottom, leaving the undercarriage blocks out until the two parts are joined. Using the datum line drawn on the building board fit the two parts together. FS1 fits into the slots cut into F4. Making sure to keep the centre lines of the formers on the datum line and the bottoms flat on the board. Add undercarriage mounts then sheet the bottom and top of the fuselage. Fill in the dummy engine intakes and do not sheet in the cockpit floor. I added a hatch to the bottom to allow access to the nose leg and fuel tank bay to the second plane between F2 and F3, both methods worked well. Be sure to fit the nose leg before sheeting the floor if not adding the tank bay hatch.

Fit and glue the tailplane to aid setting incidence. Now trial fit the wing and set the wing incidence of positive 1.5 degrees and mark the wing dowel locations and fit the dowels. Now add the cockpit floor.

The nose cone section is made up from 9.5mm sheet balsa sanded to shape. I chose to mount the motor with a ply nose ring and 75mm (3") spinner, then fill in and blend shape. Finish filling in the rear of the wing to the top of the fuselage leaving the holes for the wing bolts. Zap tops work well here, draw centre line on top from rear F9 to F3 to help with the making of the turtle deck. Add the turtle deck formers TD1, TD2, TD3 and TD4 (two of), 3.2mm each side of the centre line to allow for the rudder. Remove the wing and make up decking using 6.5mm balsa sheeting and 9.5mm triangle balsa then continuing over to the fuselage make the deck and sand to shape. Add the wing fairings and also sand to shape. Mark a centre line down the centre of the turtle deck on the fuselage, trim out to fit the rudder fin. Slide in the fin, once again keeping square, fit elevators and rudder.


Use your choice and method, noting that the Tornado has many livery. I used Ozcover on the open structure with very good results being the first time I used Ozcover. No special methods or equipment needed, and it sticks like S@#! to a blanket. Dope and talc on the fuselage and a light coat of auto primer all over (with no effect on the Oz cover). I purchase a 500ml tin of household white enamel and the guys in the store gave me enough tinters to make the three colours to air brush the camouflage colour scheme. Added the decals and sprayed a light coat of clear over the lot to seal.

Fit the landing gear, bend the undercarriage legs as per plan, fit the wheels, motor, propeller, spinner and/or optional pilot(s) and canopy.


You will note all the gear is in rear with the receiver and battery pack fitted between F7 and F6. Make the linkages as per the plan. I recommend silver soldering the elevator linkages. The throttle servo is mounted mid ship and I used a bowden cable to for the throttle, the C of G come out as per plan with no additional ballast required to balance.


The day finally came, but it was not your average North Queensland day, sunny with no wind, it was more like southern weather … cold cloudy and windy, but oh well, if you Southerners can fly in it so can we. So off to the Townsville Aeromodellers Society Inc. field we go, fuel up, check centre of gravity, control movements and range check. All good. So it's now or never. Fired up the motor, not knowing the take-off distance we used the whole strip. Once airborne only minor trim adjustments were needed and the Tornado was flying very well. No vices, very smooth manoeuvres, rolls, spins, stalls, inverted and knife edge. The OS 46FX engine proved an excellent choice of power plant. I initially expected difficult landings but was very pleasantly surprised, low speed handling right up to stall, is extremely stable. This is one of the best planes I have flown and looks good in flight.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to all at the Townsville R.A.A.F. Base for allowing the close up shots with the FA/18 Hornets and special thanks to SQNLDR Trevor Owens and CPL Starkey for their time and assistance whilst on Base.


Type: R/C Sport scale Model
Wingspan: 1.4 metre
Length: 1.2 metre
0.40 - 0.46
Radio: 4 function R/C required

Tornado plans are available from:
Airborne Plans Service
AU$44.00 plus AU$2.00 P&H1
Canopy AU$27.50 plus AU$6.00 P&H2

Plan No. 657

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This page was last modified on the 21-May-02