Flying field ideas from Northwest control-line modelers
Let's have your contributions!
- New! Engine vibration dampener: Many fliers still like to use vintage engines such as the Fox .35 Stunt, but one of the known problems with some of these engines — especially the Fox .35 — is vibration, which is hard on airplanes and degrades the quality of the engine run. Gary Weems of Alpine, Ore., came up with an elegant solution for this problem. His first try was to put rubber from an old innertube underneath the motor mounts. This helped the engine run better but fuel caused the rubber to deteriorate and spread black goo on the airplane. Then he tried using silicone fuel tubing: He just punched holes for the mounting bolts and then tightended the engine down well with locking nuts. Result: Fabulously steady and strong engine runs and no more black goo. The difference in runs with and without the dampener is remarkable. >>
- CL Speed chart: Want to know how fast your plane is going for any line length? Check out the Metrolina Control Line Society's Excel Speed Spreadsheet.
-- Howard Shenton
- Take-off strip for grass fields: If you regularly fly on a grass field, you can make a dandy, easily transportable takeoff runway. Go to your local plastics supply house and buy two 4x8-foot sheets of 10mm Coroplast (its the corrugated plastic that real estate signs are made of). Cut the sheets in half, so that you have four 4x4' sheets. Use duct tape to join the sheets so that the whole assembly folds up like an accordion (tape on one side at the center and on the other side at the other two joints). (You can angle the joined ends a little to match the curvature of the takeoff run. Measure 47-1/4" on one side of the sheet and 48-3/4" on the other side of the sheet for the correct angle.) The 10mm is strong enough that you can walk on it, and very smooth so that any CL plane will get up to speed for a smooth takeoff by the time it gets to the end of the strip. One person can carry the folded sheets. The Eugene Prop Spinners takeoff strip made by Gene Pape works great!
-- John Thompson
- Keeping lines pristine: Here's a trick I've picked up to save wear on the lines when flying alone on a grass (or mostly grass) field. When you land and set your handle down to gather up the bird you invariably have to drag the lines getting back to the pit. I carry a large, long, screwdriver with me. I stick it in the ground then drape the handle over it. I then pick up the plane and pull out to put tension in the lines (handle is held by the screw driver); this tension lifts the lines out of the flora and you walk the circle back to the pit. Wish I could say it was my original idea, but I picked it up from a flying friend.
-- Gary Dowler
- A clear view: The show must go on, so sometimes at contests we have to fly in the rain. But we want to cover up our equipment to protect it from water damage. But, hey, what's under that tarp? If you cover the airplanes and equipment with bubble wrap, you can keep it dry and still see what's underneath. It protects the gear not only from rain, but from someone stepping on the equipment.
-- Buzz Wilson
- Handy line length guide: If you have permanent field
with asphalt pits, as we do at Eugene Airport, you can give fliers a handly
line reference by painting line length markers on the edge of the pit area.
We have a line that marks the airplane location, then additional markers
at 52 feet, 60 feet, 65 feet and 70 feet. This helps fliers remember where
the pit area is supposed to begin (out of exhaust range of the picnic table!)
and also helps make sure we don't put the wrong lines on the plane, etc.
All it takes is a can of white spray paint.
-- John Thompson
- 4-2-4 needle setting:
The 'holy grail' of some, the legendary '4-2-4' stunt run, has been overglorified, in my opinion. Foxes, particularly, are perceived to have been 'born' with it, but it still takes the proper needle setting, and a well broken-in engine. That last one is the one which 'bites' most folks, since the Fox 35 does take some time to attain that proper run-in fit. I have even hand lapped some earlier Foxes to attain that fit....and they still took another hour of running to be right. All that said, a 'true' 4-2-4 (more like 'rich-lean-rich') is tricky to attain. Folks tend to run too rich in an attempt to get there and find that the 'break' just doesn't happen the way they expect. My normal setting, for all my engines, is to set the needle with the nose of the plane pointing straight up, then set to a solid, but slightly rich, 2-stroke setting. It may or may not change significantly when you then hold the plane in the horizontal position, but you now have the power available for the vertical and square maneuvers. In flight, you will hear the slight change from level to vertical, but it tends to be minimized by the muffler. Back in the day of open exhaust, the note change was more obvious.
- Impromptu pit marking: Many flyers use or have a stooge of some
sort. On days that there are several flyers or spectators at the field,
your stooge release line makes a dandy marker for your lines in the pit
area. I use a florescent pink constuction marking line, its visable, and
isnt stretchy or springy.
- Save wear and tear on lines: If you find yourself a the field all by yourself, you can get a lot of good practice flying in by using a stooge to launch your plane. However, unless you land right at the launch point, you may find yourself dragging your lines across the pavement as you carry the plane back which means a lot of wear on the lines as they snag the asphalt. Here's a trick I've learned to cut down on the damage: Before you head for the launch area, carry your plane straight toward the handle, then go on past the handle toward the launch point. That tows the lines in a straight line most of the time, reducing the wear caused by dragging them sideways.
This page was upated March 8, 2022