Much discussion has taken place here regarding the best trainer, and
many aver that a lightly-loaded, flat-bottomed wing is best. However,
it seems to me that a higher wing loading is easier to fly in wind, and,
unless the person is learning to fly on his own, without buddy box, an
advanced trainer/sport plane with more weight and a non-symmetrical
wing makes a better trainer overall. Your comments, please!
This is only my opinion, and as I'm a new student without much R/C
flight experience, you'll need to take that into consideration.
A trainer needs a lower wing loading. The lower the wing loading, the
slower the airplane will fly, and the easier it will be to handle.
While a higher wing loading will provide better turbulent air
penetration, at least in a full sized airplane, it requires that the
airplane be flown faster in all flight regimes, especially in the
Since most trainers are not equipped with flaps as 'lift devices' (I
have a Hobbico NexSTAR, which comes with the 'Speed Flaps', but were
never installed on my airplane) then a higher wing loading means that a
pilot must fly the airplane onto the ground, usually under power.
Managing that aspect of the flight for a new student can be taxing at
best, and downright disasterous!
If it were possible to do a study, say twins, and offer one a standard
40 trainer, and the other with a heavier airplane with a higher wing
loading, we could, possible, divine an answer. But, without that kind
of study, it might be hard. However, I feel that the first to solo
would be the 'standard' trainer. My opinion, of course.
Perhaps a bit of background would help you see where I'm coming from: Today at
the club trainer got pranged, so I offered my Avistar with no dihedral and
throws as a substitute. One student flew it with the instructor on the buddy
box, and he
did very well, commenting afterwards that it was EASIER to fly than the club
experienced much the same thing in full scale years ago when I soloed in a
Cessna 150, then
switched to a Piper Cherokee. Gimmie that heavier, higher horsepower Piper any
found it much easier to fly.
> This is only my opinion, and as I'm a new student without much R/C
> flight experience, you'll need to take that into consideration.
> A trainer needs a lower wing loading. The lower the wing loading, the
> slower the airplane will fly, and the easier it will be to handle.
> While a higher wing loading will provide better turbulent air
> penetration, at least in a full sized airplane, it requires that the
> airplane be flown faster in all flight regimes, especially in the
> landing configuration.
> Since most trainers are not equipped with flaps as 'lift devices' (I
> have a Hobbico NexSTAR, which comes with the 'Speed Flaps', but were
> never installed on my airplane) then a higher wing loading means that a
> pilot must fly the airplane onto the ground, usually under power.
> Managing that aspect of the flight for a new student can be taxing at
> best, and downright disasterous!
> If it were possible to do a study, say twins, and offer one a standard
> 40 trainer, and the other with a heavier airplane with a higher wing
> loading, we could, possible, divine an answer. But, without that kind
> of study, it might be hard. However, I feel that the first to solo
> would be the 'standard' trainer. My opinion, of course.
I learnt on a World Models World Star 40 - it has a semi-symmetrical wing
with no dihedral (or none that I could see - the wing seemed to be dead
flat) it was a very stable aircraft - maybe a bit too floaty sometimes, but
with a very calm and stable stall. The advantage with this kind of trainer
was that once I'd gotten the basics down, I could progress a lot further
with aerobatics that would have been possible with a standard flat-bottomed
trainer. As a result, I went straight from the World Star to an Extra.
I also learnt from an instructor who didn't use a buddy lead - he just took
hold of the transmitter when things looked excessivly dire (no before!).
That, and his positive attitude, helped me to quickly gain self-confidence
in my ability to recover the aircraft. In hindsight, I think that the style
of trainer and the use of a buddy lead is far less important than the
quality of instruction.
The reason the student thought it was easier is that you took the dihedral
out of the wing and increased the control throws. The normal dihedral adds
lots of adverse yaw when banked, your plane banks very easily and does not
have that adverse yaw.
While faster and higher wing loaded birds DO penetrate faster and ARE less
susceptible to the vagaries of the wind, they rapidly outpace the average
students ability to keep up, much less learn. I frequently 'first flight' a
prospective victim, er student with a Sig Kougar and THAT is no trainer. In
almost every case when things go bad they do so rapidly.
Gary, I very seriously doubt he meant THAT heavy! If you have to carry
power to the flare, something is wrong in your set up. Do a search and you
can find lots of discussion about the correct approach and landings. If
not, holler and I will retype one for you.
There are yeas and nays about the whole thing. As a newbie, I went through
several Stick 40s and have a Telemaster 40 trainer that lands like a
butterfly. It floats so much and is so light that it's very difficult to
get it down and control it on the ground. I flew an Easy Sport for a
while, and although it's a sport plane and fairly heavy, it also had the
"floater" characteristics. A fellow club member sold me a Sig Skybolt bipe
with a Webra .61. It was heavy with a fairly high wing loading and was fast
and unforgiving, but I loved the way it landed. It seemed to have a very
solid feel and I was able to use throttle to put it down where I wanted it.
Alas, I stalled it into a death spiral trying to slow it down so a friend
could get a picture of it in flight. Although heavier-loaded planes are a
delight to fly, they do fly faster and things happen too quickly for a
newbie to recover from. I've also seen folks who started out with one of
the many Ugly Stik clones who've had no problems at all. It depends on the
individual. I've had students who could fly sport planes right off the bat,
and I've also had students I wouldn't even trust with an Aerobird!
IMHO, it all depends on the student and his/her abilities. Whether we will
admit it or not, younger people have much faster reaction times and better
reflexes that some of us "older" folks. For some of them, the heavier wing
loading will suffice. However, just as others have said, when things go
wrong, they go wrong fast. If the student is aware of this, it may be no
problem. For those who are reactively challenged, I would vote for the
light, slow AC as it gives the student time to react and correct whatever
problem they are having.
Just for some background. I taught my father to fly many years ago on a Sig
Senior Kadet. It is still one of my favorite trainers. It did everything
that was asked of it and more and when he was ready to move on, he sold it
to another beginner and has progressed nicely.
This summer I taught my 16 year old to fly with a Sig LT-40. He enjoyed it
but was ready for "more" much sooner than my father was. In fact, after I
let him have a turn with my Ultra Stik, he won't fly the Sig anymore.
However, the LT-40 allowed him to make the typical beginner mistakes of
overcontrolling and apparent control reversal with little or no damage to
the AC. I don't think it would have gone so smoothly if he had begun with
the Stik buddy cord or not. Yes, he "outgrew" the LT-40 fairly rapidly but
he learned the basic principles of aeronautics with it in a relatively
benign environment that wouldn't have existed with the Stik.
Where am I going with all this? Simple, I really believe that the first few
flights should be with the traditional lightly loaded, slow flying primary
trainer. Throttle and rudder control normally don't come easy but if the
student can take off and land the floater well, he/she can probably step up
to the next level. With some this may be in as few as 2-3 flights. With
others, it may take 15-20 or more.
Just my opinion.
| Much discussion has taken place here regarding the best trainer, and
| many aver that a lightly-loaded, flat-bottomed wing is best. However,
| it seems to me that a higher wing loading is easier to fly in wind
That much is true. A plane with higher wing loading will be seem to
be affected less by wind and turbulence because it flies faster.
However, it also flies faster, and many trainers already fly too fast
for a new student's untrained reflexes to deal with.
You're better off with a plane with lower wing loading, and not
learning to fly in heavy wind. Save flying in the wind until you get
some stick time.
Also, lighter wing loadings mean the plane doesn't crash as hard, so
if there is an accident, it's likely to be less severe.
| and, unless the person is learning to fly on his own, without buddy
| box, an advanced trainer/sport plane with more weight and a
| non-symmetrical wing makes a better trainer overall.
It depends. Most people think a plane with light wing loading,
generous dihedral and limited control throws makes the best trainer,
and it's best to fly it in little to light wind. But as one's skills
improve, you can increase the wing loading, control throws and wind,
and decrease the dihedral.
I think most trainers are flat-bottomed winged because that type of
wing is very easy to build.... flat on a surface, and as a result
I personally find the pitch/speed sensitivity of an FB airfoil to be a
pain in the butt. Put a good semi-symmetrical airfoil on the plane
for much better handling.
I guess I was talking more about the 'stabilized approach' with a
heavier aircraft, which basically means that you carry a little
throttle (not a whole lot) over the threshold. Of course, if you lose
an engine on final, you're in trouble, and if I said 'into the flare' I
probably shouldn't have said that.
The most important requirement of a trainer is that it fly slowly.
Period. For that reason a trainer must be relatively lightly-loaded.
I feel that a flat-bottom wing on a self-righting aircraft is
counter-productive to the learning experience, in that it simply
teaches the student to release the sticks when in trouble.
Lightly-loaded airplanes with semi-symmetrical or symmetrical
airfoils are much more capable of handling windy conditions than a lot
of people give them credit for. My 4.5 pound Somethin' Extra was
(oops) a primo example of this.
Therefore, the best trainer for students on a buddy-box in a windy
area may well be a "Stik" type, or an Avistar or clone.
My personal favorite, and the trainer that I own (despite being an
"intermediate" pilot I like to have a trainer around), is the Sig
Kadet LT40. I've flown a lot of different trainers while helping
folks to get their wings, and the LT40 is hands down the best of 'em.
BTW, we got plenty wind in this part of the country and the LT40
handles it just fine.
according to you, the best trainer would be park flyer - lightly loaded and
slow. that's nonsense. there is no such thing as a "best" trainer - and there
are certainly definite disadvantages to a lightly loaded slow airplane as a
trainer platform. that little stick on the left is a wonderful way to slow down
an otherwise "fast" airplane, btw.
I've helped a few misguided souls who showed up with Airmadillos and
Duraplanes, both of which I refer to as "good landers," because what
they do best is sink. A fast airplane that is also heavy usually
descends when throttle is reduced, and if it doesn't descend it
"mushes." People who need a lead sled to give the appearance of
piloting compentency just aren't very good flyers, in my opinion. And
I guess you didn't read the entire post. Here's the relevant part of
Perhaps you simply didn't notice the qualifiers in that
If you just want to be disagreeable that's okay with me, but you
might also try being rational.
That describes the Duracrap perfectly, Pete! It ain't no trainer!!!
Anyone with even a little flying experience knows a lighter plane flys better.
In wind, a light plane will fly just as well as a heavy plane, if there's a
competant pilot at the sticks.
Lighter planes respond easier, and recover easier, too. It's Newton's laws,
A heavier plane, given a fixed wing area, carries a higher wing loading. This
translates into faster stall/landing speed, more control throw necessary, and
slower response to the controls.
"There's a Hun in the sun!"
I will take issue with that in a couple of respects.
In turbulence, a heavier plane does not get tossed around to quite the
extent, and a plane that has to be slowed down to say 10-15mph airspeed
in order to land it is very hard to land in a 10-15mph wind.
As someone who regularly flies parkflyers, I can assure you this is true.
But something that lands around 20mph and is a little heavier is fine.
Aaprt from that I agree that light planes fly better - much better.
Thats true, but see above. Sometimes a plane that doesn't want to come
down untll its slowed below 15mph is a ruddy nightmare, unless you can
put crow braking etc on it,.
At 15 mph a 10 mph wind gusting +- 5mph takes you from your nice
expected 15mph airspeed/5mph groundspeed to a whacking climb at 15mph
airspeed and a subseqeunt stall at 10mph airspeed as you come in to land.
I've got a nice low wing loading tiger moth, but I won't fly it in
anything more than a light breeze. Its hell to control on approach.
Fine once up there tho as it tops out at about 15mph or 30mph.