Monday, November 27, 2017

Successful Control Line Flight

First I want to Thank all the people who viewed my first article about electric control line, Google is showing me there were over 800 views in a week.  Maybe not as dramatic I had a successful flight with my airplane on Sunday.  With my order for additional propellers arriving and a warm day for November, I decided based on suggestions people had given me, to put ends on the other set of steel lines I have and cut the lines to 52 feet. 

Happy Landing

The plane had a couple more issues that needed to be corrected before flying and I took the quick and dirty method to resolve.  Hole in covering repaired with clear tape, landing gear that was missing part of dowel attachment, I just rerouted the rubber band holding the landing gear in place. Checking the forecast the wind was 9 mph but was forecast to go to 7 mph by 3 pm.  I drive out to my preferred flying spot and realized I was missing one line connector. I had my electric RC sailplane along and thought I could just fly that but no I was not going to take the easy way out of flying my control line. It was only a couple of miles home so I drove home to get more connectors.

Repair of Covering from First Crash

I put out the lines, checked the control action and got up my courage for another flight. After pushing the start button I ran out to the handle and there was a twist in the line. I only had 20 seconds and the plane would take off, I got the twist out and the motor started to ramp up but the propeller chewed across the blacktop. Off came the small spinner, washer, and propeller. By some miracle I found everything. The threads were a little messed up but I carefully worked the spinner back on. I thought this might be another sign that I should fly it another day but no I had my nerve up.

To reinforce the landing gear I wrapped some masking tape around it, I know not a good idea but I was not going to drive home again to do a better repair. I moved the battery back slightly and in the process ripped some covering on top of the wing, more masking tape.

I double check that the lines were straight and I am ready to try another take off. This time it did not nose over and takes to the sky. It is flying pretty smooth with just a hint of bouncing from the wind. I keep it at a fairly high altitude and keep it there the entire flight. Lap after lap I fly, it was going faster with the shorter lines but the tension was good. People had warned me about getting dizzy and I was starting to feel that could happen, was this thing ever going to shutdown? 

Finally what had to be the longest two minutes ever, just as the control unit is programmed to do, it flies faster to warn of the cutoff and then the motor stops. I brought it in for a smooth landing in the grass. I was happy to say the least but quit flying the plane until proper repairs are done. 

I felt like I could fly it okay after not flying control line for many years but not overly confident. There was a period of 10 years I did not fly radio control either and thought I could fly with no help to start with. First flight of my RC plane after the long time away ended with crashing my plane in the top of a tree shortly after takeoff. I had someone stand by me the next few flights.

Bill Kuhl


  1. All the best repairs are done with masking tape or similar at the field.
    Well done with the flight.

  2. Thanks Pete, I do not like taking chances on shoddy repairs when there are other people around but there was no one around. I feel better about the airplane and my ability to fly it.

  3. Been flying combat for about 50 years and learned a long time ago to never go to the field without a roll of clear packaging tape. Locally it is known as "Shelby Coat" in honor of a local flyer whose airplanes usually ended the flying season with more of it than the original covering.