Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why I Still Fly Wind-up Airplanes

Background in Model Aviation

Model aviation has been a large part of my life and a source of much enjoyment and some frustration, I have flown many type of model airplanes from the large and very complicated to the very simple. Radio control airplanes of many types including a large plane I designed with a chainsaw engine, pylon racing, and sailplane competition have been part of my model airplane hobby. I continue to enjoy some types of radio control flying but also enjoy equally free flight model planes powered by loops of rubber.

Plane I Designed With Chainsaw Engine

Some of the Appeal of Rubber Free Flight Airplanes

There is such a challenge in getting a model plane with such a small power source and no control to fly consistently for the a long period of time. So many factors play into it such as the specifications of the propeller, rubber motor, design of the plane, covering material, and how it is adjusted to fly.

Having a large number of rubber powered model planes is affordable and practical. Planes can be built in a short amount of time or you can build planes of  incredible detail that take months to build. It is so fun to try different ideas for aircraft; canards, biplanes, or planes that look like a flying circle.

Short Video of Canard Flying 

Rubber powered free flight planes is the best way to introduce kids to model building and flying in a group setting that is affordable. Building any other type of model plane with the exception of small free flight gliders always gets expensive for large groups. Still the kids can learn about the basic aerodynamic principles as well.

It is just so darn cool to see a model plane flying perfectly stable climbing ever higher into the sky. There is also the possibility of flying rubber powered planes indoors in a large room. As your skill increases an indoor model plane can be constructed that flies for minutes indoors.

Bill Kuhl

Highly Recommended Article of Starting in Free Flight


  1. Go rubber power! I'M 61 and still get a lump in my throat whenever something I've built, especilly an airplane flies off, does its thing and returns to the ground safely!!!

  2. Thank you dovbear for your comment, I plan to have another blog post in the future about the big model plane in the top picture. I am 56 now and prefer smaller and safer planes. My father nicked a finger on a prop in a plane like that.