Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Background in Free Flight - Part II

Up until last year my free flight flying had been smaller rubber powered models such as the Peck Sky Bunny, AMA Maxi Jr., and a couple of scale type models such as Guillows Super Cub. 

Guillow's Super Cub chased by a Gull

A couple of years ago I decided to try a free flight discus launched glider the  Maxima.  Even though I had launched RC discus gliders, I had a something to learn about launching and more critical adjusting the glider. It crashed many times in the beginning. As I got it dialed in better, the flights kept improving and I saw it circling upward in thermals fairly often.  

To not lose it until the end of the flying season I was really lucky. It was stuck in a tree but blew down.  It completely flew over a bunch of trees and landed next to a road. Another time it flew over a small pond.  When I lost it the DT must have hung up and it circled for a long ways until over a cornfield. 

Maxima DLG

Wind Blew it Down

I think it was the same year I had bought components for an e36 electric free flight from Texas Timers. Progress on a Pearl e202 model was really slow but before the end of the flying season I decided I would put the electric components in a Starduster ½ A free flight someone had given me.

1/2 A Starduster Electric Components

Not knowing anything about powered free flight, it flew pretty well for me. Only one time did it crash, probably because the wing was not on straight or a bad launch. 

Rudder Only RC Crash

Pearl e202 Successful Flight no RC

The next season I finished up the Pearl e202 but with such a tiny flying site, I added RC equipment for rudder control. I really didn’t know what a proper test glide should look like and did not have enough decalage.  Even though I could steer, it still crashed without a way to give it up.  After repairs and getting the proper trim it flew good with only rudder control.

Jack Murphy Launching

About this time I was going as a competitor to my first Nats in Muncie Indiana, I took the RC equipment off.  My thought was getting there a day early someone could help me get it adjusted. 

Dave Edmundson

As luck would have Jack Murphy parked right next to us, I had come with Dave Edmundson from Minnesota. Jack helped me and I got in some flights. 

Nats with Jim Jennings Jr. and Dohrm Crawford

At the Nats I met so many super people, many I had only known from the Internet such as Dohrm Crawford. Dohrm helped me so much in getting my e36 flying. He borrowed a heat gun from someone and we straightened out the wing. On another day it made a very nice flight with over 10 second run.

For the competition day I launched it on a short run with a quick DT but the stab did not go up far enough, it just kept circling in a thermal for maybe a couple of minutes but it did come down on the edge of the field. Dohrm and Jim Jennings Jr. redid the DT system for me.

I met a bunch of people that I only knew through the Internet at the Nats, pictures of a few of them below.

Hank Nystrom - Timer Guy

Hank Sperzel

Bob Hanford
Dan Berry

Chuck Powell and Jim O'Reilly
George Bredehoft

Lee Hines

Norm Furutani

At the Nats I had the chance meet many of the great glider flyers including the designer of my Dynomite TLG Stan Buddenhom. My performance was just okay, I was not patient waiting for good air.

Stan Winding Up

Jan Winding Up

My Dynomite DLG at 2016 Nats below

For 2017 I built several competition free flights and also experimented with other ideas.

A friend who flies RC sailplanes thought I might be more interested in some CO2 motors, so he sold them to me.  The first plane I put the motor in did not seem to have enough wing area but this plane climbs very easily. So much so I installed fuse DT system. 

CO2 Engine Free Flight

I purchased the BMJR Sniffer kit originally thinking I would try a glow powered free flight again because I had a couple of Cox PeeWee .020 engines. Researching the PeeWee 30 event that this plane would qualify for I realized it would not be a competitive airplane so decided I would install a small brushless electric motor and use RC equipment to control the motor speed and to be able to DT on demand. This way I could fly from a smaller field and bring the plane down whenever I wanted to. It is working well for that.

BMJR Sniffer

So much I have skipped through, look for video with many more images and video.

Bill Kuhl


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Jim, it is now I have more planes than times of good weather to fly them. I still enjoy flying RC sailplanes as well and want to try electric powered control line. Bill