Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Window of Opportunity for Model Airplane Flying

April in Minnesota is normally better for flying kites than for flying lightweight model airplanes powered by a strip of rubber because of the windy conditions. After a rather harsh winter I wanted to try one of my Guillow's Cloud Buster airplanes with the new 3/16" rubber strip I had purchased from Volare Products. Yesterday the wind was low after it stopped raining and I had taken time off from work to see a static display of model aircraft. I managed to get in a few flights in rather low wind conditions after I had made some corrections after flying the day before.

On this particular Cloud Buster I had used a propeller assembly that is designed to slip over the balsa motor stick and it appeared the friction fit had worked loose, this was fixed. The airplane would not fly a consistent circle path and I theorized the side thrust was changing because of the loose propeller mount. I also noticed a slight warp in the wing which I straightened out by wetting the tissue slightly and using a heat gun normally used for covering with plastic film covering.

With the new changes the airplane was flying completely straight which is not what you want unless you have a really long flying field. I experimented with some clay on the right wingtip until I had the circle about the right size. Happy with this I went to the static display which turned out to be cancelled. This gave me time to try flying again with a rudder trim tab in place of the clay which should be a lighter solution.

By this time my window of opportunity for good flying conditions has closed and it was much too windy to fly. That did not stop me from trying, to start with I had too large of rudder trim tab and the airplane did a spiral dive from launch. I removed some of the balsa tab and got one flight where it did fly a reasonable circular flight. By now it was really getting windy, the airplane would just point straight into the wind and hover or it would turn and go shooting downwind.

The last flight it went downwind towards a small pond, I watched carefully to get a good line of sight as the plane went down over the bank of the small pond. This a a brushy area and I had lost a glider there last year because I did not watch closely enough where the airplane had landed.  It did not take too much looking this time and I spotted the airplane just a couple of feet from the water's edge.

 I am slowly learning when not to push my luck and stop flying before I lose a model. It is also apparent further trim flights should be done under calmer conditions.

The first Cloud Buster I had built I reviewed on the Endless Lift blog, a second was built to try to build it lighter. I had drilled holes in the wing ribs but the weight savings was really pretty small, also a larger diameter propeller was used. Another day I plan to compare the flight of the two airplanes.

Bill Kuhl

Why I Still Fly Wind Up Airplanes

4-22-2014 Update

Having not really learned my lesson  I flew the Cloud Buster in wind, it landed by water at the bottom of a  steep bank. I managed to climb down to get it without falling in, I did leave my cellphone on top in case I did slide in. The dirt that started falling down the bank which broke the stab off.

With that much luck I decided to fly the other plane but I moved farther upwind. 

The wind was started to slow but the sun was going down also.

No comments:

Post a Comment