Thursday, September 28, 2017

Why I Like Free Flight Model Aviation

Why do I like free flight?  I fly other types of model airplanes also, mainly RC sailplanes and electric park flyers. Where I live there really is not enough open space for larger free flight models but there is enough to fly radio control and control line. The last couple of years I have been spending much more of my model aviation time flying competition free flight models while in previous years I flew very basic free flight models.  My contest success has not been good but I have a great time at contests and I am always learning which is what I like most about the hobby. Better success at contests will come eventually. I realize that many of the people at contests have been flying free flight competitively since they were a teenager. My model airplane experience goes back that far but not free flight. Everyone has been more than willing to help me with free flight.

I like to build model airplanes, especially free flight as I think the quality of your building more directly is apparent in the flight characteristics of completed model. Small things matter such as using the correct wood density and grain type in the wood. The slightest warp can make be a major difference in flight characteristics. The adjustment process for a new plane can be interesting and frustrating but when you a build a model that takes little adjustment from the start that is a major thrill also.

Jetstream Towline Glider has been Major Challenge this Year
Starduster e36 was Challenging for me this Year
Peck Sky Bunny Typical Free Flight I Would Fly 

I find it challenging. There are so many different types of models with unique challenges; part of it is how the model is powered. This year I worked with rubber power, electric, gliders towed up on hi-start and by human running, Co2 engine, and a small glow engine. For dethermalizers I worked with several types including fuse, electronic servo, electronic band burner, mechanical, and viscous. Deployment of the DT I used popup stab, popoff wing, and popup front of wing.

Polecat X p30 PopOff Wing

My Super Pearl E36 after Flight at 2017 Nats
PeeWee 30 Model Built from Plans was a Fun Challenge
Completed Model at 2017 Nats
Electronic Timer on BMJR Sky Demon E20 
Improved DT Setup for BMJR e36 Starduster

A Few Things I Learned this Year in Free Flight

 *  I learned this year that CG (center of gravity) on the plans is where it needs to be at least for a beginner and if the model does not fly correctly at that location, change the incidence do not keep moving the CG.

*  I am learning how critical getting the correct trim settings in high speed phases of flight are and how necessary it is to slowly increase the motor run time. New issues can be seen further into the run that were not seen in the beginning of the flight. 

*  I am learning that flying surfaces cannot be moving around, rubber bands must hold tight, wing and stab need to be keyed so there is no shifting in flight. The structure needs to be stiff as well and weaknesses will often not show by visual inspection of the plane. When your plane hits the ground often it does damage that you do not see but twisting the model gently it might show up.

Bill Kuhl

PS.  Thank you for reading my blog posts, I am just amazed that views recently went over the quarter million mark.

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  1. Bill,
    I am just like you,just learning. One thing I learned, that isn't much fun flying by your self. I live about 90 miles, as the crow flies, from you[{Adams WI,] It would be great to get together to fly. On google earth I noticed there is a one mile open field near Fort McCoy. 16th and central ave just north of the Young Tactical Landing site. I don't know if it is open to the public but it would be a a good place to meet. About half way between us.Check it out.

    1. If we could fly there I would be interested in flying there with you.