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The Deweybird from SIG Manufacturing

The Deweybird is a semi-scale 1/2A C/L model of Jim Dewey’s full-size midget racer. Very easy to build and fly. The beginner should have no trouble with this airplane, yet its flight characteristics are such that the advanced modeler will enjoy it. It will perform well on any good .049 engine. Kit Features ...

Control Line flying is a unique way of experiencing the flight of your model. Unlike Radio Control, you are directly attached to your model through a set of lines. The model is only a short distance away, and the pilot is able to tell what the model is doing, even without looking. It is totally possible to fly a CL model "eyes off", even through maneuvers.

Due to the proximity to the flier and to spectators, Control Line offers both unique challenges and unique advantages over other forms of model aviation.

For instance, the Stunt pilot must be able to put his aircraft through abrupt pull-ups a mere five feet off the ground. The Scale pilot has to contend with wind. The Combat pilot must be able to avoid hitting another airplane flying in a very limited amount of airspace. By the same token, CL Scale models fly very close to the pilot and spectators, who can see in detail flaps being lowered, landing gear being retracted, bombs being dropped. CL Combat happens in close quarters, so more is apt to happen than with its RC counterpart (where many matches can go by without cuts, since depth perception isn't good enough to bring the two opponents into close proximity). It more closely simulates a "knife fight" than RC combat.

Control line sport flying is also a lot cheaper than RC sport flying, and takes a lot less room. Noise is less a concern, since the airplane gets no more than 80 feet of the ground, at the worst.

There are two different approaches to choosing a first airplane. The first is to use a ˝-A sized plane for training. The second is to use something decidedly bigger, powered by a .15 to a .35 sized motor.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

˝-A airplanes, provided that they are light and have sufficient wing area, can be made to fly well. However, they tend to be twitchy, and can't handle wind nearly as well as bigger models can. On the plus side, motors and kits are very inexpensive, and crashes often do not result in as much damage, especially if you fly off grass.

Larger planes are actually easier to fly than ˝-As, since they can use longer lines and handle the wind a lot better. They also use up a lot less sky when you start to learn maneuvers. The drawback, of course, is that they take much longer to build, and usually end up with harder-to-fix damage after a crash.

Larger planes pull harder on the lines, so for training small children the ˝-As are probably better.

Paint your airplane adequately, so that it does not end up fuel-soaked. Polyurethane-based paints are best (eg. Red Devil). Don't worry too much about weight at this point.

Save the flapped stunters (eg. SIG Banshee) and nice covering/paint jobs for when you can keep the airplane out of the ground.

Suggested ˝-A Trainers, SIG Deweybird, Skyray, Sterling Baby Ringmaster

Brodak Baby Lightning Streak, Baby Clown, Goldberg Swordsman, Li'l Wizard, Stuntman.

The SIG Deweybird and Skyray are all-sheet. They are easier and quicker to build, and you will not need any covering skills. But they are more fragile in a crash. Built properly, the airplanes with built-up wings should survive most crashes when flown over soft ground.

Strangely enough, Slow Combat planes make good trainers, especially if you build them nose heavy. The following airplanes are either Slow Combat planes, or are similar in concept. They are quick to build and relatively easy to repair. You will want to add landing gear, of course. The SIG Buster and Shoestring are small, with sheet wings. Build the planes nose-heavy and use a mild (though not a weak or unreliable) motor. The Gotcha has a foam wing, is quick to build, and tough. The Sidewinder may no longer be available, but makes a nice trainer with its pine fuselage and relatively low number of ribs. However, modify it to use maple motor mounts - the pine tends to crush.

Corehouse Gotcha Super Slow, Bear Super Sidewinder, SIG Buster, Shoestring, *Skyray .35

Midwest Flight Streak (and variants), Brodak Lightning Streak, Galaxy, Buster, Super Clown

Like with RC, its best to have an instructor. The two-hands-on-a-handle approach is good - the student pilot holds the handle, and the instructor stands slightly behind and to the right. The instructor's left hand should be on the trainee's left shoulder and the right hand wrapped around the trainee's hand on the handle. A third person will be needed to launch the model.

The Muncie Control-liners have special dual handles. Having one or two of these units around is a ood investment for a club.

An instructor can also help you preflight, pull-test and adjust your airplane before it actually takes to the air. Remember that if your airplane is not balanced correctly (you DID put in that weight in the outboard wingtip, didn't you?) it won't fly well. For learning purposes, nose heavy is good.

The basic idea behind flying a control line airplane is that when you tilt the handle back towards yourself, you pull on the top line. This causes the airplane to go up. Inversely, when you tilt the handle the other way, the airplane goes down.

The big temptation for the beginner is to use the wrist to control the airplane. Don't use the wrist. Instead, aim your arm at the airplane, keeping the wrist stiff in the "neutral" position. Moving the entire arm up (pivoting at the shoulder) will cause the airplane to rise until it is right where you are pointing. Lowering the arm will cause the plane to descend. This rule works, until you start to fly inverted, which you won't for a while.

Flying off (short) grass (especially when the ground is soft) is best. Crashes will then result in far less damage. That said, launching off grass can be a problem. If you are learning by yourself, taking off the ground is the preferred way. Hand launches take a little getting used to, though if you have an instructor, the instructor can handle the takeoff. Hand launches, with neophyte pilots, usually result in the airplane ballooning and stalling. So bring some carpet remnants or cardboard to lay on the grass for take-off.

Getting dizzy while flying can be a problem, but after a few flights you will not get dizzy anymore. The smaller airplanes will tend to go around faster than the big ones (since the line lengths are shorter). In any case, you will usually get dizzy after the flight rather than while you are actually flying, since you are concentrating on your airplane rather than on the surroundings. To handle post-flight vertigo, after the flight is over, stand in the middle of the circle with your eyes shut. The world will seem to go around in the other direction, but the nausea and vertigo will disappear. When the world stops spinning, you can again open your eyes.


Parker Information Resources
Houston, Texas
E-mail: bparker@parkerinfo.com

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