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Control line hints and tips for beginners.

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Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  ian1954 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:21 am

I am gradually getting closer to my first control line attempt after many, many years absence.

I use to fly with a club and "did what everyone else did". Also being younger whizzing an aeroplane around overtook logic and thought.

We have many avid control liners in the forum and there is a lot of advice buried in the posts but I am having trouble separating fact from "afterthought"

I have established that : (and please correct my errors!)

1. The line length to start with for 1/2A and lower (assuming trainer/stunt model) is probably best set at 35 feet (although 42 feet is the norm)

( The club lines started at 52 feet for combat, three sets of them and they were used for anything under 3.5cc up to 72 feet for above 3.5cc, one chap had 90 foot lines for a 10cc model!)

2. The control line handle should only separate the lines 2" to reduce the throws and tame sensitivity.

Then - the topics tend to indicate what not to do rather than what to do.

For example, I paint a 35 foot diameter clock face on the ground and stand in the middle. The wind, a mild breeze is blowing from 3 0' clock to 9 o'clock.

Where should the model be placed for take off? 9 O'clock?

What would you suggest as a maximum wind speed? ( For my RC planes my judgement is based on size and I tend to give up at 10 mph (I have "treed" a few at 15 mph + but still get tempted!))

For hand launching - Position in circle? Just let go? A really good swing? Launch level?

Speed? Obviously 1/10 sec lap time is not a good idea. What would be gentle and practical?

I have larger 4ft RC model that will do walking pace but the smaller ones (I know there are exceptions like the AS3Xtra) tend to need to zip about.

Open for all comment, questions and corrections.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  duke.johnson on Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:36 am

Ian
Happy to hear you're getting so close to flying CL again.

Length of Lines? Depends on plane/engine combo. And what you want it to do.

Control line handle spacing? I like my line spacing to match as close as I can to the bellcrank spacing. And tame the controls by which holes I use in the bellcrank and control horns.

Wind? As lite as possible when starting.<5mph

Hand launch? I like to take a couple steps then a small pop with my fingers when letting go. With a little out board tip down and a little up.

Just my opinion, others may do things way different.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  Cribbs74 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:46 am

Ian,

I think you may find that your answers will vary and you will still need to do some experimenting on your own.

I agree with Duke concerning line spacing.

I fly in wind no more than 10mph for 1/2A, less is better though.

I don't do a lot of hand launches but when I do I hold the outboard wing and give it a gentle release like throwing a frisbee.

Lastly I would say 35ft is the line length standard. 42' is usually used for today's engines as they are more powerful than the old Cox Bee type. You can probably get away with 42' on the Norvels and TD's etc.

For you, if you know what your power output is you can guesstimate.

Ron

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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  ian1954 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:59 am

Thanks guys but we have a missing answer.

When I fly RC - I take off and land into the wind for as long as it takes.

Spinning in a circle - into the wind for take off? Might not have much choice when landing!
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  Cribbs74 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:45 am

Sorry, take off with the wind so you have enough airspeed when you come around and can cut into the wind. 5-10 mph winds won't be a big deal.

When the engine quits you just do the best you can. Light winds don't normally present a problem, plus you can whip it if needed.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  RknRusty on Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:34 pm

I launch from rolling with a tail wind or tail + slight cross. The latter helps keep the prop out of the grass. I launch from hand or wing-trap stooge with more cross wind than tail, because it needs to get into the wind sooner for lift. Your hand launcher should know to point the plane slightly nose up and out while making sure the lines are not slack. If the plane has enough power, it's better to tell the launcher to wait for your signal and then just let go. Drop it. Tossing or flipping adds possible complications, but if you don't have enough power, I guess you have to. Get your signals clear before cranking. Rehearse. Then fly.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  ian1954 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:46 pm

So in my original example above.

Me in the middle of a clock face - breeze blowing from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock - the plane should be launched at around 12 o'clock.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  duke.johnson on Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:51 pm

Yes
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  JPvelo on Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:20 pm

When I hand/stooge launch I do it with a crosswind to keep the lines tight. In your example I would launch from 9 o'clock. When I you hand launch with a tailwind you start with negative airspeed.

Jim
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  ian1954 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:43 pm

Thank you everybody.

I now have a 020 equivalent, an 049 equivalent and am about to start a 1.5cc jobby (equivalent).
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  roddie on Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:02 pm

Hi Ian, I got most of this written several hours ago.. but had to run unexpectedly. There's been a lot of comments since then. Here's some "food for thought"... I used to fly 1/2A with rather short lines, due to the size of my flying area. I had less than 60 clear feet of area to work with.. so my lines were between 25-27' long... and I had my center of circle marked with the lid from a plastic pail, anchored with a long nail through it's center into the ground. This is helpful if there are obstructions (bushes, fences etc.) You can feel the lid with your foot for reference.. but it's thin enough not to be a hindrance. Of course; shorter lines means faster laps..  affraid  and less "sky" to work with.. but also provided better line tension.

I used to fly alone all the time back then.. so I built a "pin-stooge" to hold the airplane while running.. with a release-line leading to the circle's center. I enjoyed the realism of a R.O.G. take-off from my LAWN...  and if my models' wheels were particularly "small".. I'd lay out some tarpaper on the grass for a taxi-way. Landings usually resulted in a cartwheel or nose-over... but there was usually no damage. Building/balancing a model with the gear placed as far forward as possible and fitting larger "thin" wheels (you could "print" some...) helps the model to taxi on a freshly mowed lawn. I used to mow my circle shorter than the rest of the lawn. Incidentally.. if your model has a tail-wheel, you can make a quick-link for a pin-stooge by clipping a large safety-pin on the tail-wheel strut.

Like Duke mentioned; keeping control-throws "short" (least sensitive) is a wise choice.. especially on a new model. You can move your push-rod closer to the pivot points later; after you're used to the models behavior. As a rule; you want a 1:1 ratio; handle's line-spacing.. to the bell-crank's lead-out hole spacing.

Some pilots control the model with their "wrist".. and some by raising/lowering their arm; while holding the handle in a "vertical" position. Some hold their handles "horizontally".. It's a matter of preference. It's helpful to mark (paint) the terminations of either your up or down line so as not to confuse connections at the lead-outs/handle. ALWAYS check for proper up/down control before signaling for/releasing the model for a flight.

If your flying site is some distance away from your shop.. make a check-list... and be sure to have some extra equipment in your flight tote... for example; a spare glow-plug/wrench, extra prop(s), CA glue, a hobby knife, sandpaper, extra starting batteries, maybe an alternate-length line-set. Bring a small duffle bag packed with other essentials such as sun/safety-glasses, bottled water, a snack, a small first-aid kit, a small wind-sock/flag and don't forget your mobile phone.

Of course.. it never hurts to bring an extra airplane... or two!
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  pkrankow on Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:19 pm

Preflight: make sure the controls are laced right and reverse if needed. Some people leave the handle attached to the plane and band it to the wing. Preflight all the same. Inspect for wear, neutral, etc.

Reed .049 engines on longer than 35 ft lines are sometimes too loose to fly. Shorter lines have more tension. Rotory engines generally have more actual power for given displacement, so they are frequently flown on 45 ft lines.

For rolling starts a downwind start is good since it helps the plane accelerate along the ground, then gain line tension, then get added airspeed to take off as it comes into the wind. So with the 3 to 9 start at noon is best.

With a wing wrap stooge a more downwind start, say 10:30 or even 9 instead of noon might work better since line tension and whipping come to play. Noon probably will still work fine if the plane is not too heavy.

Nose heavy flies badly, tail heavy flies once. This means that nose heavy will be sluggish to control, and want to land hard. Tail heavy will "figure 9" ( loop uncontrollably, or just sky into a wing over with little control response) and crash hard, frequently "fly swattering" the fuselage, where the tail breaks off the fuselage about the TE of the wing, or there about.

I personally recommend holding the handle upright for upright maneuvers, and sideways for inverted maneuvers. I was taught this way. It makes you remember that "down is up and up is expensive" when inverted.

I also recommend flying circles and low wing over only for the first few flights. This means you can "stiff arm" the controls and lock your wrist out. Raising your hand will provide enough "up" to go up, and lowering will provide "down". The plane will find "neutral" control deflection, which is where your arm is pointing.

Looping and more aerobatic maneuvers with a locked wrist are near impossible, so wrist control is necessary and proper as you advance in skill.

Most of all HAVE FUN!! if this ain't fun why are you doing it?

Phil
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  ian1954 on Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:33 am

Thank you all for the tips - I am getting closer to the day - time and weather permitting.

I know that once I have completed a couple of full circles (which is my target anyway!), I will succumb to seeing what it will do (assuming the model can do it).

I have just completed the control handle. Soon to be displayed in another topic.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  RknRusty on Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:45 am

If no one has mentioned it yet, do some practice circle turning for a few days before you fly. This will tune your inner ear to the motion and prevent dizziness.
Rusty

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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  roddie on Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:35 am

RknRusty wrote:If no one has mentioned it yet, do some practice circle turning for a few days before you fly. This will tune your inner ear to the motion and prevent dizziness.
Rusty

Dizziness can also be overcome in the way a dancer/skater preforms a pirouette/spin. They focus on a fixed object. Seeing that your model in-flight is not a fixed object; you can simply divide your circle into focal-segments while letting the model fly in and out of them. You will still see the model.. you just won't be focusing on it. Be it 90 degree segments... 120 degree segments... or whatever feels comfortable. It's the combination of a blurred distant moving background while trying to focus "near field", and turning your body at the same time... that can cause vertigo.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  getback on Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:42 am

Cool glad to see you getting fired up for some CL , it really broubht back some good memories as I got started back in the circle , Enjoy cant wait to hear how it goes Ian the best of luck and skill to you . I have been taking off into the wind glad I read this post  Surprised I will do the other next time out , I just thought that with the wind pushing from behine would force a down syndrome  Huh...  guess not Thanks again guys ....Getback Flying
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  RknRusty on Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:13 pm

getback wrote:Cool glad to see you getting fired up for some CL , it really broubht back some good memories as I got started back in the circle , Enjoy cant wait to hear how it goes Ian the best of luck and skill to you . I have been taking off into the wind glad I read this post  Surprised I will do the other next time out , I just thought that with the wind pushing from behine would force a down syndrome  Huh...  guess not Thanks again guys ....Getback Flying
When taking off into the wind, it's the crosswind a quarter of a lap later before you hit full speed that's the potential killer.
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1/2a line length

Post  706jim on Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:38 pm

I wouldn't believe it possible to fly 1/2a on 35' lines, but apparently it is actually done. I used to fly on lines anywhere from 8' to about 25' in an attempt to keep line tension.

In later years, I flew Black Widows running pusher props in reverse and found this helped a lot when line tension was lost as the plane would tend to fly outwards rather than inwards.

"Loops" on 8' lines were really just inclined circles IMO.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  RknRusty on Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:49 pm

A good running 1/2A in proper trim turns 3-4 second laps on 40' lines. I'd hate to think of hanging on to one of those on 25' lines. If you click the Youtube button under my avatar, most of those 1/2A videos featured are on 40 or 45'. The Baby Streaks, Li'l Satan and Refried bean are all on 45'.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  Cribbs74 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:52 pm

8' lines?????

Maybe a .010, but even that is hauling.

35' is the standard length for 1/2A and nowadays most go out to 42" with today's engines. TD's don't have a prob with 42' lines either.

Ron
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  batjac on Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:39 pm

I guess this is as good a thread as any to post an observation.  

1) There are dozens of websites that talk about beginning in C/L.  There are also many forums where it's talked extensively about, usually in response to questions asked on those forums.
2) There are hundreds of YouTube videos of C/L flights, and hundreds of hours of footage.  Some of beginners, but most of people who already know a thing or two about flying.
3) There are NO YouTube video tutorials on beginning control line.  There are video tutorials about learning to build and run R/C planes, helicopters, quadcopters, foamies, sailboats, powerboats, etc.  But none I could find on the phases of learning C/L.

Why do you suppose no club has ever done tutorials to get people started and learning the basics?  If there are any out there, my search phrases have never brought them to light.  It'd be nice to have tutorials on:

a) How to take off and fly straight and level, skills that the rank beginner needs but often lacks. Things like where to fly, and where not to.  How long for the lines. How to take off with the wind instead of against the wind.  How to land (I'm still working on that one).  What makes a good trainer, both with a club and learning by yourself.
b) Making your first wingover.  Your first loop.  Your first figure 8.  Maybe with both views from outside the circle and from the pilot perspective.  Having voice over audio talking the student through it.
d) How to smooth out your maneuvers without over or under controlling, pointing out the pitfalls that beginners encounter, and common mistakes beginners make.
c) Progressing to inverted flight and on into maneuvers for the Beginner pattern.

I would say that I'm almost proficient enough to do part a), but I'm no experienced flyer who could do the others well enough to ensure success of the tutorial watcher.

Just something I've been thinking about for a while.  Is this something that we could do as a group to promote the CEF?  Does this deserve its own thread for discussion?

The Beginner Mark
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  706jim on Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:46 am

Cribbs74 wrote:8' lines?????

Maybe a .010, but even that is hauling.

35' is the standard length for 1/2A and nowadays most go out to 42" with today's engines. TD's don't have a prob with 42' lines either.

Ron

Cub, Tornado and Cox 0.049's on those 8' lines.

We never even thought about the dizzy factor, we were just thrilled to be able to fly in a tiny front yard without the hassles of bullies and idiots at our local schoolyard.

And made planes out of cardboard and meccano parts that would hover in a sabre dance, a predecessor or today's "3D" flying.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  roddie on Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:04 am

batjac wrote:I guess this is as good a thread as any to post an observation.  

1) There are dozens of websites that talk about beginning in C/L.  There are also many forums where it's talked extensively about, usually in response to questions asked on those forums.
2) There are hundreds of YouTube videos of C/L flights, and hundreds of hours of footage.  Some of beginners, but most of people who already know a thing or two about flying.
3) There are NO YouTube video tutorials on beginning control line.  There are video tutorials about learning to build and run R/C planes, helicopters, quadcopters, foamies, sailboats, powerboats, etc.  But none I could find on the phases of learning C/L.

Why do you suppose no club has ever done tutorials to get people started and learning the basics?  If there are any out there, my search phrases have never brought them to light.  It'd be nice to have tutorials on:

a) How to take off and fly straight and level, skills that the rank beginner needs but often lacks. Things like where to fly, and where not to.  How long for the lines. How to take off with the wind instead of against the wind.  How to land (I'm still working on that one).  What makes a good trainer, both with a club and learning by yourself.
b) Making your first wingover.  Your first loop.  Your first figure 8.  Maybe with both views from outside the circle and from the pilot perspective.  Having voice over audio talking the student through it.
d) How to smooth out your maneuvers without over or under controlling, pointing out the pitfalls that beginners encounter, and common mistakes beginners make.
c) Progressing to inverted flight and on into maneuvers for the Beginner pattern.

I would say that I'm almost proficient enough to do part a), but I'm no experienced flyer who could do the others well enough to ensure success of the tutorial watcher.

Just something I've been thinking about for a while.  Is this something that we could do as a group to promote the CEF?  Does this deserve its own thread for discussion?

The Beginner Mark

This is a really good point Mark. I think it would be very beneficial.. even to pilots with more experience. So many "would be" pilots have given up quickly, because no one helped or explained the basics to them. Allen Brickhaus had been working with a group of youngsters "The Patton St. Pirates" https://www.coxengineforum.com/t5654-patton-steet-pirate-pilots-update-12-13-13?highlight=the+patton just before he sadly passed away recently. Kim Stricker was documenting his mentoring of these kids. It would be nice to start a CEF training program in his memory.
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Re: Control line hints and tips for beginners.

Post  Cribbs74 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:58 am

I think it's a good idea. I have a lot of things to share from a beginner standpoint.

If it wasn't for Ken Cook, Rusty, Jim and others here I would still be flying in circles.
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