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Invictus Sport Goodyear

Douglas Mayer

I guess I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to Formula 1 racing airplanes. I have spent countless hours looking at books of 3-views, Robert Hirsch’s Volume #1 & #2, and The Air racer by Charles Mendenhall. I probably have every aircraft memorized from those pages. Hirsch’s second volume was published in 1995. When I returned to this sport 25 years ago, this book was hot off the press. It had drawings of Jon Sharp’s Nemesis, and Ray Cote’s Alley Cat which were current racers on the Scene in the 90’s. I am an architect by trade, and I have been designing and drawing Goodyear racers for 20 years. My latest subject is Invictus.

It seems that many of us have built all “The good planes” from these publications. But what makes a “Good Airplane”? Well, for me, its length of fuselage, and wingspan, but let’s be honest, most of all it’s a cool looking airplane. Really?? Well, of course. Who was ever motivated to build an airplane that you thought was ugly, or dorky looking? If you put all those hours into your construction, you had better believe that your airplane is cool looking, or you are most likely wasting your time.

So, what about Invictus? I love the lines, the shape, the overall sex appeal. Many of the current airplanes are specific custom built, and many others are highly modified Cassutt racers. Some of these are almost impossible to identify as a Cassutt, because the owners replace the old barn door wings with new, high aspect wings. The turtle decks are often removed in favor of a bubble canopy, the original fin and rudder are replaced, and the stabilizer and elevator are replaced. The steel tube fuselage may be all that is left of a Cassutt racer after extensive mods. Outrageous and Invictus are both Cassutt racers, but don’t look anything like the original kit design. In fact, as you will see below, Invictus is a classic example of a Cassutt racer being stripped to the bones, and even modifying the fuselage for a completely new airplane design. More information here on the original Cassutt design.

One of our challenges these days is getting a 3-view, or enough information to create your own 3-view. Most of the current class of planes have come along since the Hirsch Publications, so you are on your own. Fortunately, the internet can lead to a lot of information. Sometimes, you can find a perfect side view of an airplane, and I can trace an accurate outline in AutoCAD to develop the drawings. I was able to do this with Invictus. One factor that helps to develop an airplane is the understanding that the Formula 1 rules require a minimum 66 sq. ft. wing. Almost every single Formula-1 wing is 66 sq. ft., and nothing more. When you do the math, that turns out to a model airplane wing of 150 sq. inches. With the +/- 5% rule, you can get a wing to 141 sq. inches and still be within the rules. (All F-1 racers understand that the biggest drag on the plane is the wing. The better the design, the faster she goes). If I can gather decent photographs of the wing, and the stab, I can also re-create the wings and stab outline with photos and AutoCAD. It’s a bit tricky, but very accurate.

So, what of Invictus? Invictus is one of those planes that has gone thru multiple changes. I first saw a photo of “Zipper”, and thought, now that’s a cool airplane. I started to do some research on the internet, and I came across the following (2) articles in The IF1 Journal, Formula Forum, March/April of 2010,

The first article by Gene Hubbard tells the history and background of the plane and its development. Amazingly, this plane was owned by 11 people before George Andre bought it and named it Zipper. It had previously been Knotty Boy, and then #57 Aggressor. This first article is pretty cool, because it really demonstrates how these formula One airplanes evolve over time.

The second article is by George Andre and he describes how he stripped Zipper to the bones, shed a lot of unnecessary weight, and even re-shaped the fuselage. All these mods continued to make Zipper a top competitor, and George was able to take Zipper to a second place in the Gold races at Reno. George was owner #12, and for whatever reason, he sold the now successful airplane again, to its 13th owner. By some miracle, George was able to Acquire race #1 for Zipper! Can you imagine getting number 1 for your airplane? How totally cool is that?

The final owner was Tim Neubert who re-named the plane Invictus. Thru some research, I determined that the crazy paintjob on Invictus is actually a vinyl “Wrap” like they put on cars. There was some concern that it would not withstand the high speed of racing, but the wrap performed without any issues. The first year that Tim Neubert owned Invictus, it had some technical problems and did not race in 2008. In 2009, Invictus dominated the qualifying heats, and went on to win the Gold race with a race speed of 241 mph. The final chapter of Invictus is a huge disappointment for me. Its winning history was run short when the plane was donated to the Florida Air Museum in Lakeland International Airport, Florida. I wish that Invictus stayed on the racing circuit for a longer period to flush out its true potential. I guess its like a football quarterback that retires after they won the Superbowl. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the design of Invictus for Sport Goodyear Class. This model is compliant for DMAA, SCAR and AMA Scale racing rules. If you would like to build a model, I share all my full size .pdf drawings via email for free. I have also asked the NCLRA to make these drawings available for free on their website. Drawings are 30” x 42” print size. Just drop me an email, and I’d be happy to share any of my designs with you.

Here are the plans.

More Photos of Zipper found here.

Invictus on the cover of the Journal, twice!:
November-December, 2009
May-June, 2011