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First control line flights in 40+ years

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First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  ian1954 on Sat May 07, 2016 2:02 pm

I have been a member of this forum for almost 5 years and have often referred to a desire to return to control line but have come up with every excuse for not doing it.

No stooge, no launcher, IC engines banned, local park very popular, too wet, too windy, too cold, too muddy, grass needs cutting ......... you name it I have used it as an excuse. Even considered myself too handsome and debonnaire for control line flying. Smile  Not to mention - too old, too bind and often of a lazy disposition!

I had completed two models and have seven under construction (not including the one I ruined finishing it!).

I had a few criteria to meet. My local park is used for football matches, cricket and on Saturdays it is teeming with children engaging in sports training of all forms. (Hundreds of them!).

For RC park flying there is a spot between 7am and 9am when the park is occupied by dog walkers having their morning constitutionals. It is easy to avoid the attention of little doggies at this time - they soon get tired of plane chasing  and I have the option of turning off the motor so they won't get hurt.

I also walk to the park and then fly solo and so whatever I do has to be easily portable and quick to setup (because of time constraints).

It starts to get light at around 5.30 am here at the moment and so I reckoned on a window of opportunity between 6am and 7am.

I have a whole host of timers and ESCs of varying complexity. Within the electrickery lies a danger. I have said it before and will say it again - a cheap unconsidered set up is dangerous.

If you crash and can't turn the motor off - if you are lucky the motor will burn out or the ESC. If not there is a good chance of the battery exploding in a ball of flame - no matter what there will be acrid smoke and potentially flames. A stalled propeller will not stop the motor trying to turn it!

So an ESC that recognises a stuck motor and cuts off the power is a must. For me, the timer has to have a configurable startup delay, the ability to adjust the motor speed, set a time for the flight and issue a warning when the time limit is reached. The ESC should also warn of a low battery.

I also made a recommendation to Mark on the subject of timers - another of my references to "one day flying control line"

https://www.coxengineforum.com/t9709-sickbed-therapy#123183

This week I finished the ACE+. It is configurable as a trainer and a mild stunt model. It looked ideal as an introduction to control line for one of advancing years.

Simple and quick to build.





I looked at the weather forecast and it was predicted as zero wind this morning. No more excuses - plane set up as a trainer - 6x3 prop and 20ft lines (as recommended) three charged batteries.

I gave the flight time some thought and decided on a 30 second start up delay with a two minute flight. With this propeller the batteries will last 4 minutes.

I don't have Jose's editing abilities but I decided I would record the flights. So I strapped on my GoPro thingy to my chest (some of the scraping noise is the zip on my jacket scraping the case - not my breathing!).

My first attempt never left the ground. Here is where I was pleased to have the ESC cut out and sound an alarm. Quick reset and start again!



Second flight, I managed a take off!



The landing was equally bad - not much of a glide and I just watched it fall.

Now we reach the magic 7am and I have visitors. (as expected!)



Third flight - bungled the take off and another crap landing!



Two minutes was plenty of time for me - I did get dizzy and did a bit of staggering about after the "landings". Not so much after the third flight but still couldn't walk a straight line!

Back home - charge the batteries.



and prepare for stunt mode.

Add more tip weight (per instructions)



Replace prop with a 5.5 x 4.5



I now have to increase line length to 25ft (per instructions).

If the weather is fine tomorrow - there may not be much chance of this surviving. I am leaving flight time to two minutes  - I can't spin around for four minutes!
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  fit90 on Sat May 07, 2016 3:06 pm

WOW!! That is too cool. The plane looks great and it all looks like great fun! That timer is incredible. I can't believe it does all that and costs so little. It looks like you did a lot of research before you started building and it all paid off. Congratulations. I haven't flown control line since I was a young boy. But, after seeing this, I think it may be on the list of things to try soon. I hope it is as much fun as you make it look.
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  jmcalata on Sat May 07, 2016 4:19 pm

Ooooh very good cheers  Sir. Ian, you have a young spirit  bounce and also record the flights with a GoPro !!!!! what level !!!!  affraid

You seem very dizzy at first flight that I when I fligh control line for a first time ..... 33 turns, was a very very long flight that Beatles song Hey Jude more than 8 min.



I recomend test a low pitch propeller to flight slow.

I like you enjoy fliyng control line ... go on forever. RC Plane

By the way .... I don´t believe No! that is the first control line flight in 40+ years ... because Yoda has more than 800 years old. lol!
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  Cribbs74 on Sat May 07, 2016 6:54 pm

Ian,

I am beaming! So happy you were able to get out and get the job done. I am going back to watch the videos, but wanted to comment first!

Ron
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  Cribbs74 on Sat May 07, 2016 7:20 pm

Ian!

You are nose heavy my friend. I'd rebalance, it would help your takeoff a little and fix your glide. Do you have a little cardboard sheet?

Good stuff!

Ron
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  Kim on Sat May 07, 2016 7:27 pm

IAN DUDE!

Big Congrats. This especially cool with what you have to overcome to get your plane in the air !

Congratulations Again !
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  RknRusty on Sat May 07, 2016 7:36 pm

Bravo for you, Ian! Not only the maiden for the plane, but a re-maiden for you, both of which come with their own unknowns. I switched over to the Tube so I could see it in a bigger screen, and watch your hand on the handle. Looks like about 5.5 to 6 second laps.

How did it feel on the lines, did it have enough pull to make you feel confident your control inputs were acting as you intended? Next time you fly, look at your wheels to confirm the inboard wheel is slightly ahead of the outboard wheel(partially eclipsing it), in other words, yawed slightly outward. That helps keep it tight. Engine thrust angle can correct that. The static yaw can be roughly bench tested by clamping the elevator at neutral and hanging it by the leadouts and observe if it's hanging at a slightly nose down angle. Since it's built from a kit, it's likely fine this way, but still good to check. You would change this angle by moving the leadouts fore or aft at the wingtip.

I hope you found it to be fun. Once you get over the dizzies, feel you have a solid control connection to the elevator, and work out the dizzies, you can start roller coaster climbing and diving, basically bonding with the machine, and feeling out how much climbing authority it has, and how much ability to pull out of a dive. Before you try a loop, I would recommend working up to a wingover, 10 degrees at a time until you can get it to fly 90 deg. over your head and pull out level. When you have the feel of that, try flying it through a loop. I can give you some tips to help that first loop to be a successful one, so let us know when you're ready.

Meanwhile, do some dry flying when it's convenient to completely conquer the dizziness.
Keep it up, and I'll be watching. Thanks for the entertaining videos.
Rusty

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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  ian1954 on Sun May 08, 2016 4:02 pm

There's more!

Thank you for the comments and tips. I was on a high yesterday! (very rare for me - been there, seen it, done it, read the book and watched the film!)

Here are a few answers while I am here - the GoPro was set to 1440/48T/Wide yesterday. A mistake - it was difficult to process them as the codec wasn't recognised. Today's are 1080/48T/Wide - much easier and quicker to process.

I see from the videos what was meant with it being nose heavy - I did have it balanced on the bell crank pivot though - the instructions wanted the balance point forward of that. It is easy to adjust though by shuffling the battery around but I did leave it where it was today - didn't want too many changes.

It does fly cockeyed - the motor has 2deg offset and the fin is 1/8" offset. I have taken a picture of it hanging to go with Rusty's comment. The leadouts exit at an angle towards the rear - with the bellcrank level - the model hangs slightly skew whiff!



I thought about a cardboard mini runway but I don't fancy carting a sheet of cardboard to the park. When I got there this morning the grass was wet with morning dew - the cardboard would end up a trifle soggy! I will probably get a rubber or plastic carpet runner - something that I can roll into a tube to make it easy to carry.

I have to say that I am a little nervous about moving the C of G further back - I am struggling with the dizzy and am pleased that it can fly! Today I struggled with something else - I had forgot to mention it in my excuses but it hit me today - more later.

Anyway, my first flight today. Excuse the video - you miss most of the flight because the camera is strapped to my chest and I was flying high and performing a la Rusty - coasting a roller!



A take off and a landing but I nearly fell over at the end. As for the pull on the lines - it may sound a little odd. But I don't know - I could fly this with two fingers but it is responsive to waggling the handle. I do find the bow in the lines (dacron) a little disconcerting - it doesn't look right but the plane shows no sign of coming in my direction. In fact, flying cock eyed makes it seem like it is try to escape!

Second flight today - I got a bit more aggressive upping and downing but as you will notice in this and the first video the sun had crept over the tree line. Low sun and my eyes do not agree - sudden changes in light intensity and my eyes are slow to react.



I should have called it a day here - dizzy and my eyes had spazzed but I still had another battery in my pocket and no sign of doggies.



I really haven't a clue what happened - I couldn't see. Must go earlier next time - my shadow seems to tell me that I was doing a wing over but whatever happened, happened in a quarter of the circle.

When I examined the model - the timer was disconnected and I need to look at this further as when I got home - it (or the ESC) doesn't appear to be configured with the motor. Whether this is a result or a cause - I don't know - a trifle annoying but I just need time now to reconfigure.

Damage - almost nothing. The battery put a little dent in the motor mount.



but the battery has a dent in it.



I need to discharge a disable it. It is always one of my worries about electrickery flying. Those batteries are dangerous if damaged.

Thanks again for your comments and support. It will fly again!
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  rsv1cox on Sun May 08, 2016 4:55 pm

Congratulations Ian,  I was unable to view the videos, but I get the general idea from your text.  

Neat little motor on that bird, neat little plane and for you a wonderful experience.  

Bob

Edit add: I switched brousers and was able to view your videos. Nice going. You put me to shame, as you know I ended up horizontal on the ground after my first flight in many, many years.

Bob
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  RknRusty on Sun May 08, 2016 6:30 pm

Haha! I bet you were dizzy! Those were 3 second laps. That's how fast my Li'l Satan flies, albeit on 40 foot lines.

It looks like the hang test is good, although I usually hook both leadout ends around the same point. No matter, I think she's fine that way. The power looks good with that prop, and if the engine is not getting too hot, I'd say you've got the power plant trimmed. Generally speaking, once you find a happy combination of engine and prop, leave it like it is. With that in mind, I'd say adjust your lap speed to 4.5 or 5 seconds by extending the lines. Nobody needs to turn that fast. Not sport flyers anyway. Any slower than 5.5 and you are at the mercy of the wind. A good strong 1/2A setup can fly in 10 mph if its steady without object(tree/structure) induced swirls. Btw, how much does this one weigh?

Once you get more confident with your control inputs, think about holding the handle behind the first finger joints rather than the second. But not until you are comfortable doing that. As you advance, you will appreciate the nimble response of fingertip action. If you do that with oily IC engines, you better use grip tape on your handle.

Are you having fun?

Rusty

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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  Cribbs74 on Sun May 08, 2016 6:47 pm

Ian,

Not much I can say, mostly cause you were doing this before I was even born! I will say a pair of polarized sunglasses will do wonders. My vision is still a very good 20/15 but I too have problems with my eyes regaining their composure after I get a blast of sunlight. A hat helps too. One of those great British driving caps would do the trick Very Happy heck you could even wear a bowler...

Mostly I just want to say that I am very happy to see you out there flying. Makes me smile.

Ron

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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  RknRusty on Sun May 08, 2016 6:56 pm

ian1954 wrote:...It does fly cockeyed - the motor has 2deg offset and the fin is 1/8" offset. I have taken a picture of it hanging to go with Rusty's comment. The leadouts exit at an angle towards the rear - with the bellcrank level - the model hangs slightly skew whiff!...
Yes, that leadout rake is correct. It's amazing how much the lines bow with drag. What are you using for lines, Dacron? That's pretty draggy. .008" 7 strand steel has less drag, but it's too much trouble and delicate for 1/2A outside of serious trimming considerations. Braided high performance polyethelene fishing line is popular these days.

Lately rudder offset has fallen out of favor as it causes unnecessary drag and interferes with more advanced maneuvers. I wouldn't change it now, but consider leaving it straight in future builds. Even 3 degrees thrust offset is acceptable.

One very important aspect we haven't discussed, is super critical with electric planes; free control movement. If the control surfaces cannot freely and instantly adapt to ripples in the air currents, the plane will hunt... updownupdownupdown until it wears you out and you finally plant it. That's why we don't use CA hinges on light planes. A vibrating IC engine will help less perfectly free controls find their groove, but an icy smooth running electric will not. So when building your controls, this is of paramount importance. Free controls. Gravity should flop the elevator down whichever way you hold the plane.

However, be aware that hunting can be also caused by other things, such as tail heavy and too sharp of a leading edge, and possibly too blunt of a Stab LE on large planes. Precision Stunters all have a blunt LE. Remember that diamond winged 1/2A sport combat model? I bet it won't fly a straight line very well.
Rusty

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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  roddie on Sun May 08, 2016 8:55 pm

It's really great to see you out there figuring out this airplane Ian! You'll get it and yourself dialed-in to what's comfortable!
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  Cribbs74 on Sun May 08, 2016 9:29 pm

Originally when watching the vids I kept seeing the nose drop and Ian compensating which is why I said it's nose heavy. However subsequent flights it looked much more stable.

Ian is a good builder and has a pretty colorful CL past. He probably doesn't need our help, but hey we are all friends on here. lol!
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  RknRusty on Sun May 08, 2016 10:46 pm

Cribbs74 wrote:Originally when watching the vids I kept seeing the nose drop and Ian compensating which is why I said it's nose heavy. However subsequent flights it looked much more stable.

Ian is a good builder and has a pretty colorful CL past. He probably doesn't need our help, but hey we are all friends on here. lol!
And here I am treating him as a rank novice. Ian, I knew you're a superior builder, but did not know you had a colourful CL past. I hope you're not straining your eye-rolling muscles reading my Suggestions. No wonder you can fly out a "tank" dong 3 second laps.
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  Cribbs74 on Sun May 08, 2016 10:56 pm

Shoot Rusty,

That's not what I mean't was only speaking for myself. Kinda a respect my elders post. I am sure your advice is welcome and I know it's good as I agree with it. I was feeling guilty for popping off before thinking.
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  ian1954 on Mon May 09, 2016 10:53 am

I may not be a Rank Novice but I do welcome all the comments as they are a benefit and encouragement to anyone who wants to either start or pick up control line again.

It is the details that count. There is no club that I can join - this forum is a substitute for a club and advice at whatever level is very welcome.

My spinning around only lasted two minutes - I would not have lasted three without falling over.

Tips on handle holding, line length and hints are welcome and, remember, when I was a lad we didn't have RC or electrickery. It was Free Flight or Control Line - you built and flew using anything to hand. We were not sophisticated modellers (nor, in my case, fliers!)

I never won a single combat round but enjoyed it. I was never good enough to enter a stunt contest let alone compete. I enjoyed the engines, building and flying.

With this posting and the contributions - I want to show that anyone can give control line a go. It is fun! I shouldn't have put it off for so long.

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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  fredvon4 on Mon May 09, 2016 12:51 pm

Ian...I am 61 this July

Just a note to say that when I "returned" I had always been in awe of RC and as kid no funds for that aspect...so where I started anew

I rapidly got bored with RC and desired to get back to C/L and started here on CEF with 1/2a and cuz I was into combat in the 60~70s started with easy /fast built combat wings and had one hell of a time (before the MC accident) trying to be competent at CL flying

lap times under 4 min for us old farts is hard to do

Recently got a RingMaster ARF and good running engine set up and the guy helping me used longer than recommended lines knowing I need much slower lap times... IN this case a 29 oz aircraft at 67 feet and 5.5 second laps.... I flew the 5th flight and had the best time ever just doing comfortable climb and dive laps...cant wait for weather to let me do more flying

I know you have many constraints but I highly recommend the relearning be on a bigger plane... costly... but Brodak has a ARF or two and the properly sized electrickery.... no stooge required as you know

Just my tupence ( I hope that is the correct way to spell it)
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  ian1954 on Tue May 10, 2016 4:37 pm

fredvon4 wrote:Ian...I am 61 this July

Just a note to say that when I "returned" I had always been in awe of RC  and as  kid no funds for that aspect...so where I started anew

I rapidly got bored with RC and desired to get back to C/L and started here on CEF with 1/2a and cuz I was into combat in the 60~70s started with easy /fast built combat wings and had one hell of a time (before the MC accident) trying to be competent at CL flying

lap times under 4 min for us old farts is hard to do

Recently got a RingMaster ARF and good running engine set up and the guy helping me used longer than recommended lines knowing I need much slower lap times... IN this case a 29 oz aircraft at 67 feet and 5.5 second laps.... I flew the 5th flight and had the best time ever just doing comfortable climb and dive laps...cant wait for weather to let me do more flying

I know you have many constraints but I highly recommend the relearning be on a bigger plane... costly... but Brodak has a ARF or two and the properly sized electrickery.... no stooge required as you know

Just my tupence  ( I hope that is the correct way to spell it)

Contributing "tuppence worth" or even a "ha'penny worth" is welcome and being a slightly older old fart than you (I will be 62 in September), I can only agree. My reaction time is not what it was and my instinct tells me that longer lines will give me more time to get out of trouble.

Where I fly, I think I will be limited to 52ft lines unless I have a watcher. This is a public park and I am conscious of the effect an old git spinning round and round will have on the unsuspecting particularly with 60ft+ lines and a six foot wing span model. Not to say I won't do it!

Brodak kits aren't easily available in the UK - otherwise, I would be considering an ARF. I do have an ARF, the Top Flight Nobler - I am following Rusty's build and modifications quite closely - I have had this for over two years. When I got it I was impressed how light it was and realised that the chances of me building something so light was not feasible.

However, when I looked at the controls and the engine mountings  - the word "flimsy" sprang to mind and I have left it alone since. I have many engines that will fit this and even have the appropriate electrickery to convert it but ............................

If you see my sixth video - I pranged the model - still don't know how  - if I had done that with the Nobler ARF I am sure it wouldn't have survived.

I have another model lined up - the BlackHawk Wizard - I built this a mere three years ago. It is lighter than the ACE but more delicate.



I also have the Frog Aerobat - still needs work but has more sophisticated electrickery. This needs a strong covering but after really messing up the P41 - i have shown some reluctance to complete it.



Interesting though that you mention the Ringmaster. I have the RSM version of this waiting for me to build.



As I have mentioned - I am in a quandry at the moment as to what caused my last incident as I don't want to end up carting home a bag of firewood.

I am also considering converting a RC foamy that has evaded all my efforts to destroy it by bouncing it off the ground at every conceivable angle.

I am still into RC but have changed tack. I now only fly Old Timers and Fun Flyers so I can fly at lower speeds. I have given up on any thoughts of fast aerobatics but still dally with slow 3D. I like to see the model dance!
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  Cribbs74 on Tue May 10, 2016 10:08 pm

Looks like you have the beginnings of a wonderful CL experience. Too bad about the electric shenanigans.

IC would be so much simpler. I understand you can't noise pollute that the Queens park with your filthy castor slinging engines. lol!
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  ian1954 on Mon May 16, 2016 3:01 pm

I must start a new topic as this title is no longer relevant.

But .......... I revisited the park at 5am on Sunday morning - unfortunately (or fortunately for anyone subjected to my videos), I didn't put the SD card in the camera and wasn't willing to walk back for it.

Anyway, I took the Ace+ and the Wizard with me - still dacron lines but now 32ft and the flight time set to 3 minutes. With the longer lines the lap time was 5.5 to 6 seconds and I was quite happy with that. Still a little dizzy at the end but not wibbly wobbly!

The first minute of the flight - it went up and down on its own - only by a foot or so but noticeable. Porpoising? I couldn't correct it and tried dragging the lines - no difference.

Then it settled down and flew straight and level???? Bit of a mystery but I noticed when cleaning it that the elevator is now much looser than it was. I knew I overdid the stitching after I saw Jim's Thunderbird.

I chickened out of a wing over and sort of did an upside down "V"  - When looking up I became disorientated.  

A perfect take off and a perfect landing. Not quite - when the motor stops the ACE turns into a brick - it definitely does not want to glide and slows very quickly. This may be my view - I am used to RC landings (even dead stick!) and that slabby wing offers no lift.

This time when it landed - the prop was vertical - the electric props are brittle and it snapped. Naturally - I didn't take a spare with me. Doh!



Oh dear! How sad!  Never mind! (a British expression of sympathy!



Out came the Wizard. It flew straight and level - nice take offs and landings and a glide after the motor cut out. Same lap times as the ACE+ but more responsive.

However, the first flight was a little awkward. The lines were equal length but to fly level I had to apply far too much "up" at the handle. I could see that the inner wheel of the plane was in front of the outer wheel and so it was flying squiffy. Because I had the line gap at the handle set in the narrowest holes - the angle to keep the elevator level was two much for me to apply any more up and then overdoing the down.

After the first landing - I moved the up line to the top of the handle and then the following five flights were far more comfortable. All I did was roller coastering - mental issue to overcome. I can't get used to just seeing the profile view - as I fly higher - I am used to more of a 3D view. Something I need to get over.

The ground was wet, very wet with morning due - the planes were filthy when I had finished. Muddy and covered in grass.





Need more flights under my belt.

One more observation - because there was no wind and I was taking off from where I landed - I realised that I had wandered thirty feet away from my starting point .  Not good but it does mean that  50ft+ lines are possible in that area.

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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  fredvon4 on Mon May 16, 2016 4:22 pm

Happiness is a airplane that after play time still looks like a airplane and only needs a bath


Good show old boy!....grin


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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  RknRusty on Mon May 16, 2016 10:04 pm

Ian, I'm glad you're still at it.
Regarding the "up and down on its own - only by a foot or so but noticeable. Porpoising?", that's what I referred to as hunting. And stiff controls will be the most likely reason. It's worse on electrics because the IC vibrations help the controls find their home position.

You can do a wingover without looking up, if you are certain it has enough power to keep the lines tight on top. Just use your nose as a reference and turn it straight up(with the wind in your face) and pivot, following with your arm. I promise it'll come back down and into view on the other side. Take care to fly it into the upward turn rather than banging it into the climb, so as not  to lose momentum and line tension. Nip away, 10 degrees at a time to test its limits. It's fun to bang the turn on your pullout, and see how low you can get and still pull out flying.

Which of my builds are you referring to, my latest Nobler? My Oriental ARF thread would have the most information, as I was ignorant at the time and Ken and others held my hand as I constructed it. It was a marvelous bird. I should absolutely be flogged for busting it in such a needless fashion.

Could I trouble you for a copy of the Nobler ARF instructions? Just a couple of things I am curious about.
Rusty

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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  getback on Tue May 17, 2016 10:03 am

Ian , Very happy to see you flying some C/L and having fun too !! Looks like your coming right along nicly with it . Nice looking planes !! Eric Very Happy
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

Post  ian1954 on Tue May 17, 2016 4:33 pm

RknRusty wrote:Which of my builds are you referring to, my latest Nobler? My Oriental ARF thread would have the most information, as I was ignorant at the time and Ken and others held my hand as I constructed it. It was a marvelous bird. I should absolutely be flogged for busting it in such a needless fashion.

Could I trouble you for a copy of the Nobler ARF instructions? Just a couple of things I am curious about.
Rusty

It is your Nobler build I am looking for. The kit I have does seem flimsy - very light but flimsy.

Check your email. i scanned the paperwork but the files came out too large to email - 24 pages plus two addendums. You should receive a link that will let you download them.

Any problems - let me know and I will think of a different way.
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Re: First control line flights in 40+ years

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