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Updated: 14 SEP 11

NOCAL Sliced Ribs

What is a NOCAL model? A NOCAL is a fairly simple, profile, that is flat bodied rubber powered free flight model. NOCALs are very light in weight and are usually covered only on one side of the structure. Wingspan is limited to 16" and some competition events also have minimum weight restrictions. They can be flown indoors or outdoors. The neatest thing about NOCALs is that they provide a great return of enjoyment and flying time for a very minimal investment in building time and $.

NOCAL wing ribs are usually made by cutting [i.e. 'slicing'] a 1/16" wide curved rib from 1/16" sheet balsa.

The resulting home-made ribs are quite fragile while cutting. One needs to hold the Xacto knife precisely vertical or the ribs become non-uniform in shape. In fact, many extra ribs need to be cut, just to make sure that you will have enough good ones. 

What we're offering here are very uniformly laser cut sliced ribs. Each rib is just like another, and they measure very close to .062" high - that hard-to-achieve 1/16" width. The picture actually is one of the latest batch of ribs cut by Bob Holman for this project. 

You'll find that NOCAL models now go together more quickly to produce a better looking, better flying model. In fact, these sliced ribs can also be used on larger models with a wing chord [width] of up to 5 3/8". For that application, 1/16" sq. sticks are used as the rib bottom and one or two full depth spars of 1/16" sheet, say at 25% and 60% of the chord, to support the sliced ribs. The result is a very light structure with smooth contours - there are no spars on the surface of either the top or the bottom. 

Here's a table of specifications:

Rib thickness 1/16"
Rib width 1/16"
How many do you get? One set is 20 machine cut ribs per sheet - enough to build most AALmps NOCALs*
Length 5.375"
Camber .375" 
Undercamber .3125"
High point 40%
Shape It's a portion of my favorite ship's curve - coincidentally, it turns out to be the same as the upper curve of the Starduster 1/2A gas models.
Other applications? Use as upper contour on Peanut scale or larger models.
* Beechcraft Staggerwing bipe requires 24 ribs, most others need just 8 or 10

20 ribs will easily make all but 3 of the 22 AALmps NOCALs: 2 of them have regular sheet ribs [Cessna and Hughes] and one, the F8F Rare Bear, requires a root rib that is 5.5" long - you can extend the cut at the TE end for that plane. 20 ribs gives you a few spares, too, because the AALmps NOCALs require about 17 per plane.


Here's an example of a regular model, in this case a P-30 stab, built with the sliced ribs.

I've already cautioned the builder that this stab is likely to warp 'up' quite a bit, just like those old scale/stick models we used to build - because the LE and TE are on the bottom, and covering on the top will pull 'up' a lot. What this stab needs is a 1/32" sheet spar X about 1/8" at about 40% back - to resist the upward pulling. Another idea - if you use sliced ribs this way, it's a good idea to place the TE end alongside the 1/16" sq rib bottoms to give the TE more support. That is, put the bottoms 1/16" to one side of the tops. If it's a wing, make the center and polyhedral break ribs solid to make sure the covering material is better supported.

We're offering a number of ways to buy the laser cut ribs, with or without AALmps NOCAL plans.

1. One set of ribs plus one plan seems kind of expensive, but it, and all following rib or rib + plan items, include the mailing box or tube - you do not need to pay extra for a mailing tube for these items.

2. If ordering by check or money order, please add 18% for postage in the US and Canada. Overseas orders please add 25% and Pacific Rim orders please add 40%. The PayPal method adds sufficient postage including for overseas orders.

3. The ordering system allows you to add a note to your order - that is where you can identify the specfic NOCAL plans for your order. If you any difficulty with this feature, or any other problem with your order, please send me a separate email indicating which plans you want.

If you'd like to order on-line and pay by PayPal,
click on the 'Add To Cart' PayPal logo at the beginning of each line below.

When your order is complete, click on:

NOCAL Ribs 1 Set + 1 plan     2.95 See individual NOCAL pics 
NOCAL Ribs 5 Set + 5 plans     12.95 See individual NOCAL pics 
NOCAL Ribs 10 Sets + 10 plans    22.95 See individual NOCAL pics 
NOCAL Ribs 19 Sets + all 22 plans    42.95 See individual NOCAL pics 
NOCAL Ribs 5 Sets, no plans    7.95 See individual NOCAL pics 
NOCAL Ribs 10 Sets, no plans    14.95 See individual NOCAL pics 

Here are some links that may be helpful:

NOCALs - page with pictures of all models

Nbasics - page with specifics about building NOCALs

NOCAL Postal Contest - what we did a few years ago - pictures and flight times

Master List & Photo Finder - listing of all AALmps products

I would like to see and feature pictures of your models built from AALmps plans or kits. You can snail mail them to the address shown below, or, if you have the capability, you can email them in .jpg format to me at aalmps@aol.com. 

Copyright 2011 A. A. [AL]  Lidberg, All Rights Reserved.

A. A. Lidberg, 1127 W. Dunbar Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 309-6564 evenings and weekends

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Contact AL - aalmps@aol.com