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  1. After checking your engine performance and the radio operation, always make sure that your model is properly balanced before your first flight. It happens too often, unfortunately: Someone with a ... Continue reading ... Join our premium membership! The post Center of Gravity Basics appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  2. Many sport scale biplanes are designed with wings that are strong enough without the use of rigging wires (landing and flying wires). However, if you want to add them as a scale enhancement for its appearance or if you are building a scale multi-wing which does need them, here’s a great way to make them without expensive scale turnbuckles. Remember, even if they are not required, the do increase the strength of your model’s wings. I Here’s how it’s done using standard, readily available RC hardware. For the steel braided cable, use 60-pound test nylon coated fishing leader line available at most sporting goods outlets. It is fairly inexpensive and one 300ft roll will last for years. It is also the same cable I use for pull-pull rudder setups. The Du-Bro Crimps and threaded rigging couplers are 4-40 size and fit perfectly with the steel clevises from Sullivan Products. A standard crimping plyers from the hardware store works great. Sullivan clevises come with small snap-on safety clips. They work great and prevent the clevises from popping open under load. You will also need some brass stock. A couple of 0.032 in. x 1/2 inch str*ps from the hobbyshop will do the job. The material cuts easily with tin snips. Cut out the attachment brackets from the brass str*p and use a bar clamp to hold it on the workbench while drilling the holes. Cut them to a length of 3/4 inch, but any similar with will work, you need enough length to easily install the clevises. Here the 3/16 inch hole for the 6-32 strut attachment bolts is being drilled. It is much easier to trim the brackets to size after the holes have been drilled. The smaller 1/16-inch holes are for the clevis attachment. To aid in drilling, mark the hole placement on the brackets with a Sharpie, then center punch to prevent the drill from wondering out of place. Use a larger drill bit to deburr the edges of all the holes on both sides of the bracket. Here a finished bracket for dual rigging wire attachment. All the Flying wires (leading from the bottom of the fuselage to the tops of interplane struts are doubles. The Landing wire, (running from the tops of the Cabane struts to the bottom of the interplane struts) are singles. A total of 12 cables are required. Here are the parts for a typical cable end. (Left to Right,) Du-Bro Threaded Rigging Coupler, Sullivan steel Clevis, 4-40 jam-nut, Du-Bro Crimp and the 0.032 inch steel cable. Start by slipping the crimp onto the cable and then insert the end of the cable into the hole in the threaded coupler. You need to have about an inch to an 1 1/4 inch passing through as shown above. Bend the cable over onto itself and push the crimp over the end of the cable. Make the loop snug, but too tight against the coupler. Place the crimp into the crimping jaws and squeeze. Place one of the handles on the workbench and use the extra leverage of both hands to make the crimp. Here is a properly applied crimp. it should be straight centered on the cable and with no cr*cks. Now apply a drop or two of thin ZAP CA glue. This helps lock the crimp into place on the nylon coated cable. The final step is to slip a length of heat shrink tubing over the crimp and heat with a covering hot air gun. This also sets off the ZAP glue forming a very secure cable end. Here is the bottom end of the left landing wire attached to the bottom of the front interplane strut. The attachment brackets are held in place under the head of the 6-32 cap-head bolts used to attach all the wing struts. And here’s the top of the front right landing wire. The attachment bracket is also held in place with the cabane’s 6-32 attachment bolt. It is important while making the second cable end, to first slide on the crimp and the heat shrink tubing before attaching the clevis and threaded coupler. Under Tension There is no secret formula for figuring out the length and tension of your rigging wires. Attach one end of the cable and then loop the cable though the other coupler and check the overall length. Loosen the attachment bolt which allows the bracket to hang slightly. Then through trial and error, adjust the loop until the second clevis can be attached snuggly into place. Then when retightening the strut bolt, it removes all the slack. Once you have all your cables attached, you can “pluck” the cables to judge their tightness. Loosen the jam nut and twist the cable a few turns to fine tune the tension. Double Cables Here is the double cable installation. Thee effort to get both cables close to the same tension is time-consuming so work slowly and you’ll get them adjusted properly. Here’s the bottom of the left front Flying wire group, attached to a single bracket. Notice it is attached to the bottom of the fuselage with a single #4 scr*w. The scr*w threads into hardwood landing gear block. The lock clips have yet to be installed on the clevis pins. Here’s the top of the left front Flying Wire group. This long shot shows the attachment of the aft flying wires just above the bottom wing. In the full-size aircraft, there were openings in the top and bottom of the bottom wing root that allowed the aft flying wire group to pass through and attach to the bottom of the fuselage at the aft landing gear strut attachment cl*ster. A bracket is installed above the bottom wing root. Very similar to the other double cable brackets it is placed so the bottom wing can slide on and off the wing tube without disturbing the cable attachment bracket. You can see here that a cut is slit in the fuselage in the wing root saddle area and the bracket passes through it and is anchored internally. Here’s the inside view through the belly hatch. The end of the bracket is bent 90 degrees and a scr*w secures it to the plywood doubler supporting the aft landing gear strut. The large hole is the passage for the aileron servo leads. Here you see the double flying wires and the single landing wires on the right side of the Camel. Also a note here to make sure to check the tension of your rigging when you set your model up to fly for the day. After checking all the wire tensions, snug down the jam nuts, then add a drop of ZAP Formula 560 Canopy Glue to the nut and coupler. It dries quickly and acts like thread-locker but is much easier to deal with. So that’s it. The rigging wires add both strength to the Sopwith Camel’s wings and they also add much to the model’s appearance. Stick and fork in it, this Camel is done and ready for the flying field! The post Making Functional Biplane Rigging Wires appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  3. When it comes to competing at Top Gun, there are two parts to the aircraft’s score; the static score and the flight score. Before the flight rounds are flown, aircraft in the Masters, Expert, Team, and Unlimited classes must first be judged for their static score. The model is inspected and evaluated according to the modeler’s own doc*mentation booklet and points are given for Outline, Color, Markings and for overall Craftsmanship.In case of a overall Static Score tie, then the tie is broken by the highest Outline score. Then the aircraft is flown in several flight rounds with the lowest being a throwaway and the the others added up for the flight score. The final flight score and the Static score are then added together to come up with the contestants overall score for final standings. Here below are the top Static Score Winners Class Modeler Aircraft Static Score Sponsors Masters David Hayes Ayres Turbo Thrush 99.167 CARF-Models This 99-inch-long, 1/5-scale crop-duster is powered by an E-flite Power 60 electric motor turning an APC 19×10 prop. David flew his Thrush with a Spektrum DX9 radio to earn 161.842 total points and placed 3rd in the class. David won the “Mr. Top Gun” title with his Rockwell Thrush, (a different model) in 2008 and 2009. Expert Peter Goldsmith Hawk 100 99.00 Warbirds West Built from the Tomahawk Aviation all-composite kit, Peter’s Hawk 100 earned a nearly perfect score with 99 points from the static judges. It’s powered by a KingTech 210 turbine engine and weighs in at 50 pounds. Peter flew it with his Spektrum DX 20 radio to earn 196.1 total points, winning the Expert class and the coveted Mr. Top Gun title. Team Phil Noel / Rei Gonzal*z MiG 15 96.33 Red Bull Built by Phil Noel from the Skymaster kit, this 1/4-scale jet is powered by a Jet Central Cheetah turbine. Rei piloted it with a Spektrum DX20 radio to earn 191.158 total points and placed 4th in the Team Scale Class. Unlimited Joe Castelao T-34B 98.25 Metal Building Supplies The Best of the West Beechcraft T-34 was built by Joe Castelao and piloted by Ali Mach*ncy. it has a 136 inch span and was built from enlarged Bob Patton plans. Ali flew the Mentor with a Spektrum DX18 radio system to earn 196.850 total points which allowed the aircraft to win 1st place in the Unlimited class for the third year in a row. The post Top Gun High Static Winners appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  4. Each year at Top Gun, there are dozens and dozens of amazing scale aircraft that find their way to the Static Judging table . With the best judges in the industry, the Top Gun Scale Invitational has the highest level of excellence you’ll find at any scale event. Several judges share the tasks of checking scale outline, color and markings and comparing their findings against the modeler’s doc*mentation. The work is non-stop and all the judges deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Craftsmanship judge and MAN contributor Rich Uravitch has a very unique point of view during the judging process and he has shared just some of the photos he took this year. See these amazing aircraft up close and personal brings you a whole new level of appreciation of the work and craftsmanship involved in producing a truly Top Gun level scale model. Up close and personal, Rich Uravitch gets right up to the aircraft to check out all the fine details and how precise the builders of the models accomplished their builds. Below just some of the photos Rich took during the Static Judging process. The post Top Gun From the Judging Table appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  5. We always learn how to perform new maneuvers by watching the stick movements of a top notch pilot, but what the pilot knows is that there computer mixes is what makes their life easier when controlling the aircraft. Now we are going to present a few tips that will make it easier for you to perform those same aerobatic tricks. Our main focus this time is on radio programming and setup. This knowledge is a key element that enables pilots to fly outrageous 3D maneuvers with a computer radio system. Learn to take advantage of your computer radio, and you’ll be able to improve your flying in a variety of ways. Having a properly set up plane with the right radio programming makes performing both simple and complex maneuvers a little easier. Let’s see what we can program in and how it will help. DUAL AILERONS Dual ailerons allow you to program some mixes that will keep the plane on track. Yes, in some cases, this doubles the weight of the aileron servo, but not always. Depending on the plane, you don’t always need a servo of the same size as you would use to power both control surfaces. You might be able to get away with using smaller and/or lighter servos because they each have to power only one control surface. The programming advantages of having two separate aileron servos far outweigh the weight gain. When you install two aileron servos, make sure that you plug them into separate channels on the receiver. Don’t use a Y-harness because it will negate the programming advantages of having separate servos. If you have a servo for each aileron, you can use the spoileron or flaperon program, and this will allow both servos to work as one aileron servo. This program also allows the ailerons to serve a dual function: with a flip of a three-way switch, you can have both ailerons drop and function as fl*ps while still working as ailerons. Flip the switch the other way, and the ailerons move up and work as spoilerons-again, while still functioning as ailerons. Both mixes also allow you to program in some aileron differential. This is the ratio of up-to-down movement of each aileron. Many planes need more movement from the upward-deflecting aileron than from the downward-deflecting aileron. This allows the plane to roll true, and it eliminates unwanted yaw when the ailerons are applied. The spoileron or flaperon program allows you to have a servo for each aileron yet still allows them to function as one. The advantage is that you have control of the rates, endpoint adjustment, centering and the amount of differential for each servo; this lets you refine your plane’s flying characteristics. The Stylus’s Spoiron screen is shown. DUAL RATES Dual rates allow you to switch from one control deflection to another. By simply flipping a switch, you can reduce or increase the amount of deflection. This feature comes in handy when you’re flying a plane that is used for normal flying and hard, 3D flipping around. Standard or low rates (small deflections) are used to fly the plane smoothly around the sky; but right before you enter a big 3D maneuver, you flip a switch and then have 45-degree movements (or more) on the control surfaces. Though you might need that much deflection for the maneuver, it would be hard to fly the plane smoothly and precisely at normal speed with those deflections; that’s where dual rates come in. When you’ve finished flying the maneuver, flip the rate switch back to standard rates, and continue to fly with lower deflections. Above: dual rates allow you to switch from one control deflection to another. On the Airtronics RD8000, the screen shown is where you program that in. When the dual-rate screen is in position 2, the aileron servo has 125-percent throw. EXPONENTIAL Another program that works with dual rates is exponential. Exponential programming is mainly used to soften or decrease control-stick sensitivity around center stick. Without exponential, a control-surface servo will move in a distance that’s proportional to the stick movement. For example, if you move the stick 50 percent of its available movement, the servo will also move 50 percent of its available travel. This is often referred to as “linear throw” or “linear movement.” Using exponential (“expo”) changes the relationship between stick deflection and servo travel. With expo, you might move the stick 50 percent of its available movement, but the servo will move only perhaps 20 percent of its available travel. Of course, the servo travel depends on how much expo has been programmed in. Keep in mind that exponential settings do not change the servo travel available at 100 percent of control-stick deflection. If the stick is at the end of its range of movement, the servo will be at the end of its available travel. Exponential changes how much servo travel you get with stick deflections of less than 100 percent. Expo helps pilots by reducing the stick’s sensitivity at center stick and allowing them to fly more smoothly with larger control throws. Imagine having large, 45-percent throws on a control surface on a plane flying straight and level. You move the stick ? inch, and the control surface moves Ω inch, so the plane veers off-course quite a bit and makes your flight look j*rky and erratic. With expo programmed in, that slight stick movement doesn’t cause any surface deflection, and your flight looks smooth and controlled. Expo also helps if your hands shake while you’re flying; it prevents your anxiety from being “transferred” to the control surface. Above: exponential programming is used mainly to soften or decrease the stick sensitivity of the control around center stick. Expo helps pilots by allowing them to fly more smoothly and with larger control throws. On this screen, when the dual rates switch is in position 2 (high), the ailerons have 70-percent exponential. MIXING If you use the mixing function on your transmitter, you can really improve your plane’s flight characteristics. These suggested radio mixes will help to improve the way the plane flies in a variety of attitudes. Radio mixing allows one transmitter control input to affect two or more flight functions. How much they affect the secondary function can also be programmed in. RUDDER TO ELEVATOR/RUDDER TO AILERON MIX. This allows the plane to fly straight when you use the rudder, especially during knife-edge flight. To figure out what to program in, fly your plane in knife-edge. If it pulls towards the canopy or the gears, you need rudder-to-elevator mix; if it rolls to the right or left, you need rudder to aileron. Radio mixing allows one transmitter control input to affect two or more flight functions. On this screen, when the rudder stick is moved, it also affects the elevator’s movement. This mix is used for knife-edge flight.THROTTLE TO RUDDER. This mix will help the plane fly straight when at full throttle; it’s generally needed when flying a vertical upline. Most of the time, you will need to mix in a little rudder input when the throttle is at full. This keeps the plane flying straight during the vertical upline. This rudder input will be activated by the throttle stick. THROTTLE TO ELEVATOR MIX. This helps the plane to maintain a straight downline. Most planes will try to “right” themselves as they build up speed when traveling downwards. If you program in a little down-elevator when the throttle is low, you’ll prevent this from happening. On this screen, when the throttle stick is moved, it also affects the elevator’s movement. This helps the plane to maintain a straight downline.That’s it. By taking advantage of your computer radio’s programming features, you can make any plane fly better. Check your radio’s manual to see whether you have these features and how you can program them in. Then see how quickly your aerobatic routines and maneuvers improve. The post Ease your pilot load — Easy programming for 3D maneuvers appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  6. After you’ve painted your model, add some weathering to really bring a scale plane to life. Each technique by itself is very effective and, added together, really produce astonishing realism. My friend Dave Reid commissioned me to paint his giant-scale SNJ Texan, and it has been the example for these ongoing how-to articles. I weathered and detailed the Texan, which I painted with latex in early U.S. Navy markings. As I mentioned in the earlier article, a little goes a long way, so always use a light touch when d*rtying up your scale models. How much weathering should you do? Always consult your reference photos, and stop when you think you’re halfway there. “Steel”-colored paint and coa*se steel wool make great-looking “chipped” paint. The wings take a beating. Flaking and chipped paint is a must. Be sure to add a small amount of chips to your tail feather’s leading edges.After getting the base paint just right and you’ve done basic weathering, a typical worn look can be made by simulating paint chips flaking off. Getting the paint to look like it is flaking off is not very easy. Some use a silver undercoat and then sand off the paint over it to give a worn look. To me, however, aircraft paint doesn’t flake off smoothly unless there’s a consistent wearing agent such as feet on walkways and arms resting on window rails. I think to get the most realistic paint flakes, you have to paint them on. I use two techniques. The first works well for very small chips in the paint, and it produces a very random effect. Dip plain old steel wool (I use a coa*se grade) in a little puddle of steel-colored paint (not silver!). Silver is too bright; you want the chipped-off area to look like it has been there a while. Steel paint looks more like oxidized aluminum and appears more natural. After dipping the steel wool in the paint, pat it on a piece of cardboard or cloth to remove the excess. Then pat the steel wool on the surface you want to look like chipped paint. Vary your angle, and rotate the steel wool to keep it random. The second technique is a little more time-consuming and more tedious. I use a “liner” brush and steel enamel model paint and just paint the chips on. The fine liner brush adds to the linear effect that looks scribbled along the leading edges of control and flight surfaces. Again apply the paint in a random pattern. Just keep in mind the effect that may be happening on the aircraft. On the leading edges of the cowl and wings, the paint will chip more with the airflow due to rocks, grit, bugs and so on that knock the paint loose. On fuse-lage side panels, the paint chips on edges and runs along the panel seams. Hatches get more wear, so around those edges the paint flakes, and sometimes the panels get thrown on the ground and get scratched. Also, paint peels away from rivet heads, so to get that effect, you have to paint steel around rivets too. Keep all this in mind, and apply your paint with a purpose, but also keep it random. When in doubt, check your reference. Wing walks This color doc*mentation photo shows how really worn out the wing walks can get. Duplicate the wing-walk pattern with bits of masking tape.Now, to make the Texan look like it has been used by many flight cadets, you have to add some severe wear on the wing-walk areas near the fuselage and c*ckpit entries. On the full-size aircraft, these were coated with a nonskid coating, much like rough sandpaper, to prevent the skyward-bound aviators from slipping and falling off the wing. I found a photo of a Texan that I thought would be very interesting to duplicate its worn wing-walk areas (see at left). Note how the nonslip coating has peeled off from use. After masking off the basic rectangle shape of the wing-walk area, I tore little bits of masking tape and placed them in a random fashion to simulate the wear patterns shown in the photo. I mix microballoons into my “wing walk” paint to produce a convincing, non-slip surface. Mixed with the microballons, I use a brush to apply the Liquitex paint to the wing. Here, the dark non-slip has been applied, but it still needs weathering. A good dose of Model Master acrylic “leather” paint has been applied.I created a scale nonslip coating because I didn’t think sandpaper glued to the wing would look very convincing. I used Liquitex acrylic paint, which is fairly thick, and mixed it with microballoons. The microballoons give the paint a grainy texture that looks just right. Add enough microballoons so the Liquitex is saturated with them, and then just paint the mixture on with a brush. Of course, you can’t just paint the wing walk a deep rich black and leave it that way. It doesn’t look real! To weather it down a little, I airbrushed a light gray wash over the black. After that had dried, I wetted the surface down and applied a good dose of Model Master acrylic “leather” paint, rubbing it back and forth to spread the color out while the paint was still wet. I dabbed at it with a paper towel very lightly to break up the streaking and give a little “pitter-patter” effect. Mud and grime collects on the surface; it then gets ground in by people walking on the surface. Then with rain and airstream, it dissolves and flows back and against the fuselage. This subtle mottling of the various colors replicates the color and appearance of the actual wing walk. The effect is subtle, but very effective. When you’ve finished, pull away the masking tape and see how beat-up and realistic the wing walk looks! The last photo really shows the grain and peeled effect very well. The blue paint under the nonslip coating will eventually look like it has worn down to the aluminum, but that can be done later. Rub the “leather” color in with your fingers and really spread it around while it’s still wet. Dab with a paper towel and you now have that mud and grime look. Here are the finished results. Pretty “beat up,” ‘eh? A little bit of steel color makes the wear look like it has reached the aluminum wing skin. TEXT & PHOTOS BY LYLE VASSER About the Author RC modeler and warbird lover Lyle Vasser has been hooked on aviation all his life. He received the “bug” from his father while watching him fly one-channel models in the 1960s. Lyle has been flying RC aircraft for over 30 years, and is also a full-scale pilot. One facet of the hobby that has always been interesting to Lyle is how to make pilot figures in scale models look lifelike. After being frustrated by the unrealistic pilot figures on the market, he decided to make his own, striving to create pilot figures that are just as detailed as the models they go in. He owns a company called Best Pilots (bestpilots.typepad.com), that arguably offer the best pilot figures in the hobby. The inset shows one of Lyle’s pilot figures in a scale P-47 Thunderbolt. The post Scale Modeling: Weathering Tips & Tricks appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  7. A First Class Stick & Tissue Compet*tion During the past few years, event org*nizer, Leonard Bechtold, Bob Curry, and L*N Henderson, have been striving to keep alive the old tradition of the free-flight, mass-launch event. The roots of the event were planted several years ago by Dave Platt who showed everyone how free flight models are suppose to perform, back in the very early days of Top Gun. Model aviation in its purest form, the Top Gun free flight event is both very challenging and ultimately rewarding. Open to anyone who wanted to compete, the free flight rubber power scale event is open to all Top Gun pilots, their crews, event staff, photographers, and anyone else who wants to show up early for the mass launch. The planes need to have a minimum span of 36 inches for monoplanes and 24 inches for biplanes. The model have to represent an actual manned aircraft but they can be from any time period. Models can be built from kits or plans, but no ARFs or foamy models wre allowed. There were no limits on the model size or number of rubber motors used. Trophies were awarded (to third place) for Flight Duration and for Craftsmanship. Each year, this is a fun event and the craftsmanship of all the aircraft remains very high. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon, (weather permitting) some of the free flight contestants performed test flights so they could fine tune their model’s trim setting in the hopes of an acceptable flight during the mass launch. Craftsmanship 1st Place Bob Curry SE5a Scout 2nd Place Frank Mintz Rearwin Speedster 3rd Place Leonard Bechtold Stinson 108-2 (Blue/White) Duration 1st Place Dave Platt Cessna 180 2nd Place j*ck Buckley Stinson 108-2 (Yellow) 3rd Place Frank Mintz Rearwin Speedster 4th Place Bob Curry SE5a Scout 5th Place Leonard Bechtold Stinson 108-2 The post Top Guns Free-Flight Scale appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  8. This 80% scale Mustang, built in the U.S., puts on a show at the Willis Warbirds Fighter Meet in Little Gransden, UK. Love that V8 engine and 4-blade prop! The pilot is eerily lifelike. The post Mini Mustang: Is it scale? appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  9. Every year at the Top Gun Scale Invitational special achievement awards are presented to the standouts in the various classes. Here is are the 2019 winners starting with the High Static awards. (Photos by David Hart) (Below) “Mr. Top Gun” Peter Goldsmith Awards Modeler Aircraft Static Score Sponsors Masters High Static David Hayes Thrush 99.167 CARF-Models Expert High Static Peter Goldsmith Hawk 100 99.00 Warbirds West Team High Static Rei Gonzal*z MiG 15 96.33 Red Bull Unlimited High Static Joe Castelao T-34 98.25 Metal Building Supplies X-Class High Static Rob Lynch F-18 97.75 Cortex Demon Gyro Civilian Runner-Up j*ck Buckley Mini-Mac Homebuilt JR Propo Best Civilian (Pilots Choice) Steve Thomas Waco YMF-5 Riff-Raff Best Military Runner- Up Mike Fetyko Spitfire Ray & Robin’s Hobbies Best Military (Pilots Choice) Chuck Hamilton SBD Dauntless Horizon Hobby Best WW2 Wayne Layne P-38 Lightning Dr. Jet Best Biplane Frankie Mirandes DH-88 Tiger Moth Model Airplane News Best Golden Age Richard Feroldi Davis D-1K Desert Aircraft Best WW 1 Todd Bixby Albatross Balsa USA Best Pre WW2 Jeff Pike Stinson SR-10 Warbirds over the Rockies Best Jet Henry Castellanos F-100 Falcon Propellers Best Pro-Am Pro Roberto Zelaya L-39 Albatross Your Pal Sal Best Pro-Am Sport Carl Stewart Jr. A-26 Micro Fasteners Best Multi Performance David Payne Boeing B-17 Cortex Demon Gyro Engineering Excellence Mike Barbee Beech King Air Robart Mfg. Outstanding Craftsmanship Wayne Layne P-38 Lightning Bob Violett Models Best Unlimited Showing Ali Mach*nchy / Joe Castelao T-34 Special Recognition Ted Roman Super Cub Hitec Radio Special Recognition Cody Hague Ju 87 Stuka EZ Balancer Everybody Loves You Sal Becherano JOHN & SYDNI SMITH Critic’s Choice Runner-up Joe Castelao T-34 Metal Building Supplies Critic’s Choice Jordan Hall Peterson CL-13 (Canadian F-86) ZAP Glue Top Buns Award Joe McBride FLY Girls The post And the Winners Are… Top Gun Special Awards! appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  10. Our main focus this time is on radio programming and setup. A key element that enables pilots to fly outrageous 3D maneuvers is the computer radio system. Learn to take advantage of your computer radio, and you’ll be able to improve your flying in a variety of ways. Having a properly set up plane with the right radio programming makes performing both simple and complex maneuvers a little easier. Let’s see what we can program in and how it will help. DUAL AILERONS Dual ailerons allow you to program some mixes that will keep the plane on track. Yes, in some cases, this doubles the weight of the aileron servo, but not always. Depending on the plane, you don’t always need a servo of the same size as you would use to power both control surfaces. You might be able to get away with using smaller and/or lighter servos because they each have to power only one control surface. The programming advantages of having two separate aileron servos far outweigh the weight gain. When you install two aileron servos, make sure that you plug them into separate channels on the receiver. Don’t use a Y-harness because it will negate the programming advantages of having separate servos. If you have a servo for each aileron, you can use the spoileron or flaperon program, and this will allow both servos to work as one aileron servo. This program also allows the ailerons to serve a dual function: with a flip of a three-way switch, you can have both ailerons drop and function as fl*ps while still working as ailerons. Flip the switch the other way, and the ailerons move up and work as spoilerons-again, while still functioning as ailerons. Both mixes also allow you to program in some aileron differential. This is the ratio of up-to-down movement of each aileron. Many planes need more movement from the upward-deflecting aileron than from the downward-deflecting aileron. This allows the plane to roll true, and it eliminates unwanted yaw when the ailerons are applied. DUAL RATES Dual rates allow you to switch from one control deflection to another. By simply flipping a switch, you can reduce or increase the amount of deflection. This feature comes in handy when you’re flying a plane that is used for normal flying and hard, 3D flipping around. Standard or low rates (small deflections) are used to fly the plane smoothly around the sky; but right before you enter a big 3D maneuver, you flip a switch and then have 45-degree movements (or more) on the control surfaces. Though you might need that much deflection for the maneuver, it would be hard to fly the plane smoothly and precisely at normal speed with those deflections; that’s where dual rates come in. When you’ve finished flying the maneuver, flip the rate switch back to standard rates, and continue to fly with lower deflections. EXPONENTIAL Another program that works with dual rates is exponential. Exponential programming is mainly used to soften or decrease control-stick sensitivity around center stick. Without exponential, a control-surface servo will move in a distance that’s proportional to the stick movement. For example, if you move the stick 50 percent of its available movement, the servo will also move 50 percent of its available travel. This is often referred to as “linear throw” or “linear movement.” Using exponential (“expo”) changes the relationship between stick deflection and servo travel. With expo, you might move the stick 50 percent of its available movement, but the servo will move only perhaps 20 percent of its available travel. Of course, the servo travel depends on how much expo has been programmed in. Keep in mind that exponential settings do not change the servo travel available at 100 percent of control-stick deflection. If the stick is at the end of its range of movement, the servo will be at the end of its available travel. Exponential changes how much servo travel you get with stick deflections of less than 100 percent. Expo helps pilots by reducing the stick’s sensitivity at center stick and allowing them to fly more smoothly with larger control throws. Imagine having large, 45-percent throws on a control surface on a plane flying straight and level. You move the stick ? inch, and the control surface moves inch, so the plane veers off-course quite a bit and makes your flight look j*rky and erratic. With expo programmed in, that slight stick movement doesn’t cause any surface deflection, and your flight looks smooth and controlled. Expo also helps if your hands shake while you’re flying; it prevents your anxiety from being “transferred” to the control surface. MIXING The spoileron or flaperon program allows you to have a servo for each aileron yet still allows them to function as one. The advantage is that you have control of the rates, endpoint adjustment, centering and the amount of differential for each servo; this lets you refine your plane’s flying characteristics. The Stylus’s Spoiron screen is shown. If you use the mixing function on your transmitter, you can really improve your plane’s flight characteristics. These suggested radio mixes will help to improve the way the plane flies in a variety of attitudes. Radio mixing allows one transmitter control input to affect two or more flight functions. How much they affect the secondary function can also be programmed in. RUDDER TO ELEVATOR/RUDDER TO AILERON MIX. This allows the plane to fly straight when you use the rudder, especially during knife-edge flight. To figure out what to program in, fly your plane in knife-edge. If it pulls towards the canopy or the gears, you need rudder-to-elevator mix; if it rolls to the right or left, you need rudder to aileron. THROTTLE TO RUDDER. This mix will help the plane fly straight when at full throttle; it’s generally needed when flying a vertical upline. Most of the time, you will need to mix in a little rudder input when the throttle is at full. This keeps the plane flying straight during the vertical upline. This rudder input will be activated by the throttle stick. THROTTLE TO ELEVATOR MIX. This helps the plane to maintain a straight downline. Most planes will try to “right” themselves as they build up speed when traveling downwards. If you program in a little down-elevator when the throttle is low, you’ll prevent this from happening. That’s it. By taking advantage of your computer radio’s programming features, you can make any plane fly better. Check your radio’s manual to see whether you have these features and how you can program them in. Then see how quickly your aerobatic routines and maneuvers improve. The post Flight Setup & Programming for 3D appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  11. Congratulations to Peter Goldsmith for earning the top spot and Mr. Top Gun title at this year’s invitational! Peter flew in the Expert class, and his 145.66-inch-long Hawk 100 is from the Tomahawk Aviation composite kit. The static judges awarded the Hawk 99 points — the highest in the Expert class! — and Peter flew it two rounds with his Spektrum radio to earn 98.9 and 95.3 flight scores and 196.1 total points after throwing out his lowest flight score. The post Mr. Top Gun, Peter Goldsmith appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  12. Our good buddy and MAN contributor J.P. Ash is doing a great job competing at Top Gun and today on day two, he posted a great second round flight score. His MiG 15 is an impressive sight on the flybys for sure! Good Luck P.J. Photo by David Hart. The post Top Gun: Day Two — Flight Scores coming in appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  13. Mark your calendars June 7th-9th for a weekend of RC at Eli Field in Monticello, Illinois and sponsored by Horizon Hobby! The Horizon RC Fest is a fun-focused event that shares high-tech RC products everyone can enjoy. From the folks at Horizon: It’s almost time for the 3rd Annual Horizon Hobby RC Fest. There’s no other event like it. RC Fest is the largest gathering of radio-controlled cars, trucks, airplanes, helicopters and drones in the Midwest. Skilled modelers square off in thrilling compet*tions…vendors exhibit their newest and best RC merchandise…hobbyists and non-hobbyists alike enjoy an incredible variety of RC activities. Bring your own models if you wish for a weekend filled with fun, friends, and fastpaced, high-flying hobby excitement!* *Please note: RC pilots must have a current AMA membership to fly their own planes. RC Fest has som*thing for everyone. If you’re already an RC enthusiast, imagine being surrounded by bashing compet*tions, howling jets, scale warbirds, intense off-road racing…everything that gets your adrenaline flowing, everywhere you look. At RC Fest the action is nearly non-stop. There are countless opportunities to watch thrilling RC demos and join in the fun. You won’t want to miss any of it!If you’re new to radio control, there’s no better time or place to see what all the excitement is about. Bring the whole family. All ages will enjoy driving or flying at our “Try Me” tents, where experienced modelers love introducing new people to the RC hobby. Air Events Include: • Night Air Show • Ring of Fire • Aerial Combat • FPV Racing • Jet Demos • RC Flying “Try Me” • Open Flying Surface Events Include: • TLR® Cup Race • Bash Fest • King of the Hill • RC Pulling Compet*tion • Night Crawling • RC Racing “Try Me” • Monster Truck Freestyle Also Scheduled: • Air Camp • Barrage Kit Camp • Kids Activities (Games, Bounce House and More) • Food and Refreshment Vendors • Product Displays, Sales and Specials • Drawings and Prizes Family-Friendly Horizon RC Fest information is available at www.HorizonRCfest.com. The post Horizon RC Fest appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  14. Our good buddy and Top Gun competitor Bret Becker shared some flightline photos with us as the first day at Top Gun gears up for action. Check out these great airplanes! The post Top Gun Flightline Highlights appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  15. Today the 31st Annual Top Gun Scale Invitational kicked off the action with great weather and some amazing airplanes! Here are some of Bret Becker’s amazing XB-70 Valkyrie Supersonic Bomber. From Dayton, Ohio, Bret Becker will again be back Top Gun in 2019 competing with his upgraded XB-70 Valkyrie. Bret’s goal this year is to improve his flight scores and finish in the top half of the field. Over the past year his XB-70 has received several upgrades including larger LiPo packs for increased endurance, a scale drogue chute to help realism flight scores, and he relocated the landing gear to the correct scale locations for improved ground handling and an articulated c*ckpit windshield that changes shape. Built out of balsa and ply, the Valkyrie has a painted fiberglass finish and is powered by four Schubeler HDS-30 (70mm) ducted-fan units with 1540-9 Tenshock motors. Bret’s XB-70 is 8 feet long, has a 56 inch wingspan and weighs 25 pounds. The post The Road to Top Gun Leads to Excitement! appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
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