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Outerzone ...because we love it when a plan comes together
 
 

This FAQ page breaks down into 2 sections:

Day To Day Questions

How do I download a plan?
How do I print a plan at full size?
How do I submit a plan to Outerzone?

Less Urgent Questions

What is Outerzone?
Why are you doing this?
What is a 'vintage' plan exactly?
What is a 'good quality' plan?
What format are the plans in?
What started the whole idea?
How does this site work, I mean technically?
How does this site work, I mean how do plans get listed?
How many plans can Outerzone hold?
What is the data model, I mean what data types are used in the database?
What about copyright?
Show me the money
What happens in the long term? Disaster recovery? Posterity?
Who are you?


Day to Day Answers
 

How do I download a plan?

Find the 'Download Plan' link, then do right-click and save as ...or see the download help page for more.
 

How do I print a plan at full size?

Plans here at Outerzone are (supposedly) all in PDF format and full size, so you should be able to print the PDF plan immediately at full size - except that most plans here are bigger than A4, which is the paper size home printers use. There are 2 solutions to this:

1. The first (cheap) solution is to use your home PC and printer to do a 'tiled' print onto several sheets of A4 paper, then assemble those sheets together with sticky tape. Currently (Nov 2013) I recommend Acrobat Reader XI to do this. This is a free program from Adobe - you can download it here and then install and use it to print tiled PDF plans.

Let's go through an example. Say you have decided that you like the Skipper plan by B Murray, from MA 1954. You have located and downloaded that plan onto your home PC as a PDF file, by using the download page here at www.outerzone.co.uk/download_this_plan.asp?ID=1777 ... and now you want to print it out fullsize on paper. The Skipper plan is a total of 29.01 x 22.70 in, when printed out in full. That's far too big for a home PC printer, of course. So. Open the skippper PDF plan in Adobe Reader X, and select 'Print'. In the Print options dialog window, choose the 'Poster' option. Here is a screenshot of how that looks for me on my PC screen here...

screenshot

... and then click 'Print'. The plan will then print out out as a jigsaw of 12 x separate A4 'tiles'. Assemble these tiles together into the full size plan, using some scissors and the sticky tape of your choice. Done. If this explanation has not worked out for you, then try the Adobe help pages online for more detailed help with all this.

2. The second (and less cheap) solution is to copy the plan PDF onto a USB memory stick and then take that in person to your local print services supplier, who will happily do the printing for you, in return for some money.
 

How do I submit a plan to Outerzone?

If you have a plan you want to submit, that's great. Be aware we have no way to deal with paper copies, so plans must be scanned and emailed. Any format will do - pdf, jpg, tiff, png - whatever you've got is fine. If you are doing the scanning yourself and wondering about what settings to use, then a good starting point would be greyscale and 300dpi. Then email it to steveWMD@outerzone.co.uk along with any details you have on author, year, etc.
 

Less Urgent Answers

 

What is Outerzone?

Outerzone is a listing of free vintage plans for flying model airplanes that have been found on the internet. Many sites on the internet host model plans. Outerzone is designed to keep those plans safe. This is because having a duplicate copy of everything is always always a good idea. If any one of those sites should cease to function, we want the plans still to be available for users to download.
 

Why are you doing this? Because I like old plans. And I do not want to see public domain plans slowly disappear from the internet, over time. I want to save them for future modellers, future collectors, for all time. Save them into some kind of secure depository, that will not die out, that has a workable disaster recovery plan.

The 2nd big reason to do this is to have everything, all the plan titles and dates and author information and description, encoded into a MySQL database that allows fast, complex searches.

Also, I want to see more stick and tissue models in the sky.

This clearly is not a perfect system, but it is at least a start. I expect this incarnation of Outerzone to be in many ways flawed and maybe also unpopular. But the point is that it is a useful beginning. At some point in the future we (someone?) can then take this and use it as a foundation to build something better.
 

What is a 'vintage' plan exactly?

It is a plan that shows how to make a flying model airplane, using traditional techniques. This tends to mean stick and tissue style construction. People differ on the definition by date of what is a vintage plan. Some say 1940. Myself, I'd say anything dated before 1960. But for the purposes of this site let's say before 1970. This is flexible - often plans are redesigned and redrawn years later on, but still have vintage styling and construction. Let's not be too sniffy about dates. I would hate to exclude plans that are vintage in spirit but not in date.
 

What is a 'good quality' plan?

A good quality plan is one you can immediately print out and use to build a model plane. Hopefully the plans on Outerzone are all of good enough resolution that they can be used for construction. I would call a bad quality plan one that is unclear when printed out (eg too low in resolution), and would be difficult to build a model with.

A 3-view is not a plan. A 3-view just shows the outside shape of an airframe. A plan has detailed information and description of the materials used and the shapes of the internal formers, and the parts that will fit together, to make a complete flying model.
 

What format are the plans in?

Plans are in PDF format. That's Adobe Acrobat. This is in some ways just an accident of history. Many people would say pdf is a stupid choice of format, and in many ways I would agree. But we are where we are. One good thing about using pdf as the standard is that now (in 2011) with the free software Adobe Reader X, anyone (well, anyone with a PC and an internet connection and a printer) can produce full-sized plans tiled and printed onto A4 paper. Then start building a model.

The other usable option (on this server) is zip. So if a plan cannot (for some strange reason) be a pdf, then it must be a zip file.
 

What started the whole idea?

There is a thread at RCgroups http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1265873 titled - Vintage & Old-Timer Plans (started by Scott - Orange&White) - that as of 24.03.11 has 197 pages and by my count about 1,600 vintage plans available for download. That one thread on that one website is full of PDF format vintage goodness that simply cannot be allowed to fade away. That started me thinking. Outerzone is designed to gather plans from places like that - from any and all websites that host free plans - and to keep them safe for the future.
 

How does this site work, I mean technically?

It runs on a MySQL database at the back and classic ASP pages on the front. With a bit of javascript form validation. And some cookies.
 

How does this site work, I mean how do plans get listed?

Well, there are 2 answers to that. The first answer is that when I designed and built Outerzone, the original plan was a bit like this:

A volunteer finds a vintage plan of merit, somewhere out there on the web. They login here and insert a new entry onto this listing, with some helpful details about the plan and its history, and where it was found. They upload the plan to this server (into a quarantine area). They also upload a small thumbnail pic of the plan. Optionally, they can also upload a thumbnail pic showing the finished model. Shortly thereafter, that plan gets either allowed and approved to go live, or it doesn't. By me. Plans that are not approved are usually the subject of copyright concerns, or unsuitable because of date of origin, or perhaps construction style (broadly speaking, if it's a profile model - yuk - or involves foam construction). Ahem. That's about it. Other volunteers can then also come along and add more notes to each entry in the listing.

The second answer is this. Since I've been running Outerzone, at the time of writing this for 10 months, now the revised plan is this:

I do it all.

That's just how it has worked out, at this point. And you know it's funny, but I kind of like it that way. I don't want to seem ungrateful to the good people who have helped out in the past. I'm just saying... this is where I am at now.

How many plans can Outerzone hold?

The database itself is industrial strength, and will hold many thousands of records. Lets say 250,000. Safe to say we will all wear out before the database does. But the actual PDF files are not in the database. They sit on the server, taking up webspace. We do have only finite webspace - exactly 20GB of it. That means we can hold 25,000 plans on here assuming each plan (with thumbnails) is an average 800KB and assuming there's nothing else in our space here at all. I think this is too small a limit, I want this to be an exhaustive solution with room to spare, I think there are more than 25,000 vintage plans in the world - but we will deal with that issue when it arises. Anyone with secure long term file storage facility that can help, or with ideas about that, please do let me know. At the moment I'm thinking we'll archive say the first 10,000 plans at that point, move them somewhere we can link to, then keep rolling.
 

What is the data model, I mean what data types are used in the database?

Each plan exists as a PDF (or zip) file along with a (640 x 480 pixel) JPG thumbnail image, and an entry in the database. Also if possible, there is a 2nd smaller image (320 x 240 pixel) that shows the finished model.

The database fields are (as of March 2012):

ID int auto_increment
PlanTitle varchar(255)  
PlanWingspan int in inches, rounded up to a whole number
PlanAuthorName varchar(255)  
PlanPublisher varchar(255)  
PlanYear int 0 if unknown
PlanMonth int 1-12 or 0 if unknown
Credit varchar(255)  
Formers int unchecked, incomplete or complete.
TagFF bool  
TagCL bool  
TagRC
bool  
TagIC
bool  
TagRubber bool  
TagJetex
bool  
TagJet
bool  
TagCO2 bool  
TagElectric
bool  
TagGlider
bool  
TagLowWing bool  
TagPylon bool  
TagParasol bool  
TagBiplane bool  
TagTriplane bool  
TagFloatplane bool  
TagCabin
bool  
TagTrainer bool  
TagRacer bool  
TagMulti bool has more than one engine
TagPusher bool  
TagScale bool  
TagMilitary bool  
TagFighter bool  
TagBomber bool  
TagTransport bool  
TagCivil bool  
Filesize int in KB, rounded up to a whole number
Description varchar(2000) free text notes

These will need expanding later, no doubt. There really should be more tags for sports, canard, wakefield, peanut etc...

I am not a database guru. There will be neater and more elegant ways of doing this, I'm sure. Main concern at the moment is to get a working system up and running. Can then start tweaking later. I think once we have a database that actually is full of data, it will get more interesting. We can always export the data from this table into different formats - CSV whatever - and build something else (something more elegant?) out of it.

Got requests for fields we should put in the database? email me.
 

What about copyright?

It is my hope and understanding that all the plans listed here on this site are out of copyright, and in the public domain. If you believe otherwise, please contact me. If you own the copyright of a particular plan that is currently listed here, let me know and I will remove that plan from this listing. Since there will be volunteers (ie people other than me) adding plans to this listing, they will be less worried about legal liability than I am, so - and this is important - if I delete a plan from this listing because of copyright concerns, that is final. It's gone. We cannot have arguments about this.
 

Show me the money

This is a not-for-profit operation. Use of the site is free. Downloading plans is free. There are no subscriptions, no charges. Site administrators volunteer their time freely. The only money involved is the cost of hosting the site - and possible advertising revenue. Ads may well appear on this site in the future. Yeah, that'll make me rich. I'll just go order an Aston Martin now.

Want to make a donation? If you want to make a small contribution then click here to donate using Paypal. And bless you.

 
What happens in the long term? Disaster recovery? Posterity?

Good question. We are hoping, after all, to save these vintage plans for posterity. Ok. There will be a weekly library backup of (1) the MySQL database (2) All the PDF plan files (3) All the thumbnail images, and (4) the ASP pages and scripts that constitute the site. If (when) this site does fail, that complete library backup will be released for download in more than one public server location, and hopefully a new group of volunteers will grab that library backup then use it to create a new (and better?) site that can carry on into the future.

I will be working on a better solution to this. Any suggestions are welcome.
 

Who are you?

My name is Steve. I live near Bradford in West Yorkshire UK, and I like old model plans. Sometime, I hope to get around to building models.

 

My question is not listed here. How do I get an answer?

Is there something you think should appear here? email steveWMD@outerzone.co.uk