Tuesday, January 24, 2017

When it Comes to Free Flight, I am NO Expert

As my blog is closing in on 200,000 views and many of the individual posts rack up views rather quickly, I have been thinking about what I am doing well and how I might improve on that.  Recently most of the posts have been about free flight model airplanes, but I enjoy many types of model airplane activities such as RC electrics and sailplanes. With the free flight model airplanes I am a relative beginner to outdoor free flight contest flying, I have so much to learn. At least I know that and have tremendous respect for the experts that have been so gracious in helping me. There was a recent online incident with a couple people trying to criticize a true expert in free flight over a model engine that prompted me to write this article.

BMJR e36 Starduster Balsa Structure

What has been on my mind is, why were are as many people reading my articles on free flight when there really wasn’t anything I was teaching them because I am NOT an expert, not even close? My thoughts are that people that have been through the struggles I have had before find it interesting what a relative newcomer is dealing with. As I am given advice I try to follow through on much of it and give my results. Everyone sees the world a little differently and I try to convey how I am thinking about whatever I am trying to do.

Wilbur Rubber Powered Free Flight

This winter I have been doing a lot of building of balsa free flight model airplanes all from kits or short-kits. I feel like each one I build I spot ideas the designer had and think darn, when I design my own plane I might incorporate that technique. Wood is such an interesting material to work with; I find it more interesting than some of the other materials I have used for building model airplanes such as the EPP foam and strapping tape I built RC slope soaring gliders from.  Working with balsa you have to consider the grain direction, the density, and the type of balsa grain.  When your airplane develops warps it can be frustrating as well. 

JW EPP Foam Slope Soaring Glider

Yet to Build Witch Hawk 500

Just getting into free flight competition now I feel I have missed out on a lot. I have to admit the new electric free flight is really nice. For my radio control flying I have given up using the glow engines for several years now. Do not miss the mess but I decided I would like to try some glow powered free flight. I purchased the BMJR Witch Hawk free flight kit and will be using a K&B .19 engine.  Also I am going to build a PeeWee 30 model because I have a couple of Cox PeeWee .020 engines in the basement.

Bill Kuhl


  1. Welcome to the world of free flight. Keep doing what you're doing.

  2. I will, so many things I want to try. So many challenges with free flight.