Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What I Like Most About my Model Aviation Hobby

The more years I am in the model aviation hobby, the better idea I have what about it interests me the most. Now I have several RTF foam RC planes that I do enjoy flying at times but what really holds my interest is when I build a model from mainly balsa and have to make adjustments to it to make it fly well. My interest in free flight models has increased as I went beyond building the simpler free flight models that fly rather slow in all stages of flight to models that climb quickly and must transition to a slow glide. 

Starduster E36 during DT

Last weekend I flew three different free flight models that have different flight characteristics. I was out flying early one morning while it was still slightly below freezing, but the wind was almost still. Short motor runs of my E36 Starduster with quick DT went well but it was still turning right under power. After several flights I got out my Retro Gnome a free flight glider that is launched by hi-start using rubber that is only 1/16” wide and a length of line.   The launch appears to be straight as it should be but I am still having trouble with the release of the autorudder line even after changing to washer over a pin like on my Jetstream towline. There still must be too much tension on the line, I will fix that.

Retro Gnome on Frosty Ground

Launching Retro Gnome

For where I was flying the hi-start is really too long for a small field and I never had it stretched back far enough to get a really high launch. I am going to make up a shorter hi-start for testing purposes and use 3/32” rubber instead of 1/16” for a faster climb without so much stretch of the rubber. 

That afternoon earlier the wind was still pretty low so I stopped back for more flying. First the Starduster which I increased the motor run to 5 seconds and move the thrustline slightly left. If I gave it a launch banked slightly to the left it had a pretty good climb to the left. On transition which I increased only slightly it appeared too sharp to the left. My wrapping of the rubber bands on the stab was not the best and while trying to redo it I broke off the plywood mount, time to get out another plane.

Sky Demon e20

The wind was increasing at times so I changed the DT after motor run on my Sky Demon e20 down to just 20 seconds with 10 second motor run. Probably a good thing as it was quickly drifting towards the edge of the field and it was bouncing around in thermal lift. I think the flight pattern is pretty good in calmer conditions.  There were two guys flying RC sailplanes and they were finding good lift.

RC DLG Perfect for Small Slopes

By late afternoon the wind was up pretty good and I went slope soaring in the evening.  The wind was not in perfect direction but it was pretty smooth most of the time. At least the sun wasn’t directly in my eyes like so often it is in the afternoon. Dynamic soaring laps were pretty slow. 

Hard Landing

On Sunday morning the wind was down early and I made more flights with the e36 Starduster. I made too many flights before changing out the battery and on the last flight it did not get very high and came down a little hard before DT was activated.  Some damage to the fuselage but it was an easy repair and the glue joints were not done well the first time. That evening I made test glides with it off a hill that was maybe 10 feet high. As I took out more of the stab tilt the glide improved. 

Polecat X

It really was obvious to me that trimming the faster free flight planes could be more challenging than the slower planes. My Polecat X p30 appears to fly near perfect without adjustments but I have not got anyway near full winds which may change the flight pattern, same with the Bad Axe embryo.  The Jetstream A1 towline and Wilbur rubber model have only had hand glides from level ground. 

All of it is fun, I realize I am the type of person that likes to tinker with things, free flight model airplanes is the perfect outlet for me to do that.

Bill Kuhl

Related Articles

Vendor Links  Texas Timers  eMAX timer and accessories  Pearl Free Flight website Polecat X P30  BMJR Models Starduster e36   Retro Gnome product link  - Sky Demon kit on BMJR website

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