The Bee Liner

A mul­ti­mo­tor plane from the fa­ther of the Lazy Bee


Isup­pose you might be ex­pect­ing some­thing “lazy.” Let me in­tro­duce you to the Bee Liner, a plane whose finest trick is just sit­ting “sta­tion­ary,” tak­ing a break, re­clin­ing in the air. You can do this stunt pretty eas­ily. The

Bee Liner stays air­borne be­cause it has four pro­pel­lers blow­ing air over its wing. Be sure to read the com­plete in­struc­tions (at ModelAir­­liner) be­fore you make the parts. Don’t make the fuse­lage sides un­til you have read that sec­tion. Most of the parts should be made out of good hard balsa. There are few parts, and they are sim­ple.


Build each of the three wing pan­els sep­a­rately, from front to back.

The best way to make the lead­ing edge just as straight as it can be is by lam­i­na­tion, which is ac­tu­ally pretty easy. The ailerons are built as in­te­gral parts of the tip pan­els and will be cut away later, after the com­pleted wing has been sanded to shape.


Each na­celle is built like a small fuse­lage. The outer pair houses the aileron ser­vos. Use the wing as a build­ing jig to make sure the outer nacelles match up to the wing. A tricky part: When

your four nacelles are all made, you will need to drill two holes in the fire­wall of each one for the wing dow­els to plug into. These holes will need to be pre­cisely lo­cated. The en­gine nacelles are de­signed to al­low for dif­fer­ent-size mo­tors to be used. The nacelles are in­tended to look good with ei­ther un­cowled mo­tors or cowled-in mo­tors.


The fuse­lage is a sim­ple box struc­ture that has a keel on the top. It is de­signed to be as­sem­bled up­side down over the top view of the plans.

The peaked roof is built later. The three tail sur­faces are mounted and aligned by car­bon­fiber rod spars. The tail sur­faces are se­cured by rub­ber bands. The wing fillets are built up on the bot­tom sheet­ing. Carve the nose block from a sin­gle piece of soft balsa. It’s dif­fi­cult to smoothly shape glued-to­gether soft balsa; if you can’t find a big enough block, use medium balsa. Use a Dremel Moto-Tool to hol­low it out from its back side. Do the fi­nal sand­ing and shap­ing after glu­ing it in place.

Now the top of the fuse­lage can be built up.

In­stall all the tri­an­gu­lar top for­m­ers; they are the pieces that give the fuse­lage its peake­droof shape. The keel goes in after these (fit­ted dry) and then the wind­shield frames. The bat­tery hatch is built up in place us­ing the fuse­lage as a jig. Do not re­move the hatch un­til later, after the fin­ish­ing shap­ing and sand­ing is done. I used small mag­nets to hold the hatch in place. The sides of the keel have to be built up with scrap balsa to form a base for the ver­ti­cal sta­bi­lizer.

After you glue in the wing-align­ment dow­els and the pieces that form the un­der­side of the wing fillets, in­stall the re­main­ing bot­tom sheet­ing. On the last piece of sheet­ing, you’ll need to glue on a pair of sticks to form a slot. This is to hold the end of the rud­der spar se­curely so that the ver­ti­cal tail doesn’t lean from side to side.


Use medium/light balsa. The ver­ti­cal sta­bi­lizer has a sym­met­ri­cal air­foil at its base and a flat air­foil at its tip. It has a cen­ter core frame made out of 1/4-inch-square balsa sticks. The outer sticks will need some carv­ing to form the air­foil. Then you need to drill the holes for the spar.

The rud­der and the hor­i­zon­tal tail have

lam­i­nated parts, so start with those. The rud­der is a sim­ple frame that is built in place over the plans and at­tached to the ver­ti­cal tail with hinges. I fa­vor re­mov­able hingepins to fa­cil­i­tate quick re­pairs as rud­ders tend to be a hot spot for dam­age. The hor­i­zon­tal tail uses a flat-bot­tomed air­foil turned up­side down. So it’s a flat-topped air­foil. Build it up­side down, start­ing with the two ta­pered spars. You will build the hor­i­zon­tal sta­bi­lizer and el­e­va­tor as a left-side pair and a right-side pair. Each pair is built in one piece and will be sep­a­rated into a sta­bi­lizer and an el­e­va­tor only after the shap­ing/sand­ing has been done.

The hor­i­zon­tal sta­bi­liz­ers can be glued to the fuse­lage, or they can be rub­ber-band-mounted. A small hook can be at­tached to each hor­i­zon­tal sta­bi­lizer’s root rib. Holes in the fuse­lage sides would al­low a rub­ber band to pass from the hook on one side, through the fuse­lage, to the hook on the other side.


This plane has a lot of sur­face area, and it will need two rolls of cov­er­ing.

The weight of that cov­er­ing will make a gi­ant dif­fer­ence in your plane’s per­for­mance. So keep it light! Bal­ance the model about 1/2 inch be­hind the main spar. This will make it some­what nose-heavy and docile on the con­trols. The bat­tery is mounted on the cen­ter of bal­ance and can be shifted for­ward or aft to al­ter flight per­for­mance.


Be­cause of its frame, the Bee Liner is not fussy about the mo­tors or the size and weight of the ra­dio equip­ment. But I al­ways fa­vor the light­est-weight equip­ment. If it will fit and there is enough power, it will fly. Keep in mind that your props need to be 7.5 inches or smaller. (Gear-driven mo­tors raise the thrust line and can use larger props.) For the best all-around fly­ing, I’d choose four small out­run­ners that are in­tended to fly a 3D plane of about 6 to 10 ounces.

To test the up­per limit, I used the Elec­triFly RimFire 400 brush­less out­run­ners (GPMG4560) with 7x4 props (smaller than these mo­tors nor­mally use). This was the max­i­mum power the plane could han­dle (it would have been over­pow­ered with only two of these mo­tors!). The heav­i­est bat­tery was a 3-cell 3350mAh pack. For base­line sim­plic­ity, I think some­thing like the Grand Wing Servo GWS 300H C direct-drive can mo­tors with their 5030 pro­pel­lers and a 2-cell LiPo pack would be about the least ex­pen­sive thing that would fly it.

Although I didn’t use them, coun­ter­ro­tat­ing pro­pel­lers could be an im­prove­ment. There would be no torque con­stantly try­ing to turn the plane. I’d ar­range them so that the prop tips move out­ward above the wing; that way, if any mo­tor fails, the un­even asym­met­ric thrust would be min­i­mized.


Fly­ing this plane is fun and ex­cit­ing. It’s a Bee, after all! The Lazy Bee se­ries of planes was meant to be particularly ver­sa­tile: docile yet ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing chal­leng­ing stunt fly­ing to an ex­pert pilot. The Bee Liner is no ex­cep­tion. Stalls are pre­dictable and gen­tle. The re­sponse to stick and throt­tle is quick and pow­er­ful. If you take your hands off the con­trols, the Bee Liner will quickly go to straight and level from any night­mare at­ti­tude. It can be ma­neu­vered in very tight spa­ces. Fly­ing at its slow­est speed, how­ever, does take a lit­tle ex­per­i­ment­ing with tech­nique.

De­signer Andy Clancy cre­ated the Lazy Bee model and all its vari­ants.

The fuse­lage starts by as­sem­bling the two fuse­lage sides. Make a left and a right side.

The wheels are mounted in the in­ner nacelles. This was done to re­duce drag and com­plex­ity.

Here, you see that the fuse­lage sides are par­al­lel to each other and easy to frame up.

Us­ing the cross­pieces, join the two sides so that the sides are prop­erly aligned.

The bot­tom sheet­ing forms the base of the wing fillets.

Sand and shape the nose block be­fore you in­stall the wind­shield frames. The bot­tom edges will need some bevel­ing to fit. Light­weight spack­ling fills the gaps.

Here are two nacelles: The big­ger one is the in­board na­celle, while the smaller one is the out­board one, which also will con­tain the aileron servo.

Note that the hor­i­zon­tal sta­bi­lizer is at­tached to the fuse­lage with the flat side up.

The mo­tor cowls are carved and sanded in place on the nacelles, then you hol­low them out. They are a lot of work, and the plane does still look good with­out them. The on­line ar­ti­cle shows some eas­ier cool-look­ing al­ter­na­tives.

The hor­i­zon­tal tail will be shape-sanded, then the two sur­faces are sep­a­rated. The front of the el­e­va­tor should be round. The air­foil will be mounted in­verted.

The four mo­tors don’t need to be all the same. It could work as a twin too.

Here, the fin and rud­der are in place on the tail of the fuse­lage.

No­tice the ver­ti­cal grain web­bing ap­plied to the wing spars and the holes in the ribs for the wiring to pass through. Don’t for­get about in­stalling pull strings be­fore you cover it.

Here, I am sep­a­rat­ing the aileron from the wing struc­ture be­fore cov­er­ing it.

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