Thursday, March 10, 2016

Variety in Model Aviation Hobby

“Variety is the spice of life” is a popular idiom and is how I pursue my model aviation hobby. Many people tend to limit the hobby to just radio control model airplanes or just free flight models or possibly a narrow subset such of either type.  My start in model flying was control line glow powered models which I would like to try again with electric power someday.

Diving RC Slope Glider Over a Windy Ridge is Fun Now

Some people probably limit the type of model airplanes just because that is where their interest lies.  There could be a huge number of other reasons also for limiting the type of model airplanes they fly such as flying sites, time available, help available, vehicle to transport, or money.  If competition is your main focus in model aviation then most people will probably achieve greater success if their effort is more focused.

Gas Powered Airplane Would not fit in my Small Car Now

I have tried many types of model airplanes over the years and currently do not fly many of those types of models at all.  After becoming fairly competent at flying glow powered radio control trainer aircraft I took up pylon racing with glow powered engines of the .15 cu in and later .049 because the club I belonged to hosted these events. Later my father and me designed and built large gasoline engine powered models.

RC Thermal Soaring Contest

After taking off ten years from the model aviation hobby when I started flying again I wanted to try something different so I looked into RC soaring which is my primary focus now. At the same time I built a simple rubber powered free flight which lead me to find another local modeler that was an expert in indoor free flight which I pursued also.

Flying an Indoor Free Flight

100" Span Balsa Glider

I have to believe that an exposure to a variety of model aviation activities can help you develop skills that can be helpful in completely different areas of model aircraft. For example after building delicate indoor free flight models you get a feel for handling delicate structure without breaking it.  When I built a 100” span balsa RC glider last year handling the larger balsa pieces was really easy.  Flying RC gliders from small slopes has really shown me the differences extra drag can make and the need for flying smooth. Using minimal control movement is equally important when thermal soaring RC gliders but flying close to yourself on the slope it is much easier to see what the glider is doing.

Lately I have been giving more thought to how I would like to divide the time and effort I put into my model aviation hobby

*  RC thermal soaring – many people in my area fly this and hold contests
*  RC slope soaring – great for windy weather and group trips
*  Free flight sport flying – great for flying in the evening when wind is really low
*  Promoting simple free flight models – I have been most active in promoting models constructed primarily from foam plates for kids.

Building E36 Electric Free Flight

For the future I would like to pursue outdoor free flight competition more and try electric powered control line.

Bill Kuhl

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