How Important is the Selection of a Trainer?

How Important is the Selection of a Trainer?
First, I should define a couple of terms. When I refer to balsa, I mean
the typical balsa lite-ply RTF or ARF. When I make a comparison or
contrast, it will be to a similarly sized model. Perhaps the best way
to put it is to characterize by class, so we will be talking about the
.40 class of models.
Before I get into the topic, I should clear up some misconceptions some
of you have regarding the Duraplane Trainer 40. It's hard to understand
what some of you are rambling on about when you say the plane has too
high a wing loading and in a second breath complain it flies too fast.
First heavy planes don't fly faster than similarly sized planes that
weight less. They fly not only slower but need more power and a longer
take off roll to get airborne. This also implies a heavier plane will
use more fuel.
Does the Duraplane fly too fast? At full throttle with an OS LA 40, the
model makes a rapid transit of my private flying field of about 100
acres. However, I can easily slow the model down to a crawl by closing
the throttle and increasing the angle of attack to maintain altitude.
In fact, I can slow the model down to a point where it does slow flight
(high angle of attack with enough power to maintain altitude) across
the runway. For amusement, I like to perform this stunt about a foot
off the runway.
Along with the whining about the wing loading, is the bad rap that the
plane lands too hot or fast for the novice pilot. Only very ignorant
pilots make statements like this, since they don't understand the
mechanics of how to land an airplane. Always remember model planes
operate on the same principles as full-scale planes.
First a landing is simply stalling the wing at the point the wheels
touch the ground. To learn this in a full-scale plane, the student is
taught to stall the wing (high angle of attack and reduction of power)
and then recover (decrease angle of attack and increase power). The
next step is slow flight (very high angle of attack and increasing
power to maintain altitude). The pilot must stay on the rudder (step on
the ball) to maintain the balance of the plane in the air as it will
want to fall off to one side or another.
Slow flight is difficult in a model, since most models are over powered
and rudder control is obviously more difficult. The whole point of slow
flight is to demonstrate that increasing pitch reduces airspeed while
application of power controls sink rate.
Now we come to landing the Duraplane. Very few model plane pilots know
much more that to cut the power and guide the plane in. However a
skilled pilot can place his model any where on the runway by
controlling the rate of descent with power and the airspeed with pitch.
The model can land at any speed above the point where the wing will
stall, and on the Duraplane, this is about the speed of a fast walk of
a fat guy.
How about the maneuverability of the Duraplane? It has a fair amount of
dihedral to maintain stability (level flight) in the air, but I find
the model is very responsive to the stick inputs. A few weeks ago, I
started flying it upside down. I approached this with a fair amount of
trepidation fearing the model would be a handful, but it wasn't. I can
now make passes over the runway inverted and a few feet off the ground
all to the utter amazement of spectators (when I allow them on my
property).
The facts are the Duraplane Trainer 40 will fly as fast or slow as any
other 40, and you can land it gently or hot. The model has outstanding
fuel economy getting more than 16 minutes on an 8 ounce tank of fuel. I
estimate that I could probably fly it at least two more minutes before
having anything to worry about.
So now to the topic. I have visited many flying fields over the world,
and what I mostly see are a lot of old men who probably came to the
field more for some companionship than flying. Occasionally I saw a
young fellow or two, and once, I saw an eight-year old boy doing a
fairly good job of piloting his Sig LT-40. Frankly the hobby has mostly
old men who are likely retired and probably very lonely.
Many of these old fellows bragged about being in modeling for 30 or 40
years, so I expected them to be expert flyers. I noticed some of them
flew beat up battered fuel soaked balsa trainers while the rest had
models a step or two above the typical trainer. I would say none of
their planes would offer a challenge to a modestly competent pilot.
After observing these field geezers pilot their aircraft, it was
obvious that a simple trainer on a calm day was more of a challenge
than most of them were up to. Am I putting these people down for their
inept flying skills? No not really. They can't be blamed, because they
were taught on planes where the emphasis was on low-risk flying. Models
that were very light (low-wing loading) and stable (lots of dihedral)
that had the flight characteristic of kites rather than airplanes.
Flying models or full-scale involves some risk if you want to gain any
flying skills above piloting a dirigible. Most novice pilots are
between a rock and a hard place when choosing a trainer. Most trainers
are too stable making it difficult to maneuver them around, and they
are too light to make accurate approaches unless the wind is dead calm.
Balsa complicates things further, since the novice is likely to wreck
anything that doesn't gently float in like a feather.
Most aspects of the hobby have advanced over the years with technology
except the models. They are still basically the same as they were forty
years ago, i.e., balsa. When was the last time you read something in
Model Airplane News or one of the other airplane rags about anything
but balsa and perhaps a few foam models?
Even in the area of electrics and foam models, the AMA and the airplane
rags have only reluctantly and recently begun to pay any attention to
them. In regard to composites, SPADs, and the Duraplane, all planes
that would make good trainers, they are pretty much ignored. The
controlling forces in the model plane world, mostly old field geezers,
don't want to give up their precious balsa models and give way to
better airplanes.
Anyway, I am exploring new pathways, because I refuse to fly balsa
models. I like to fly with abandon, and I don't like to repair or build
fragile balsa planes. In this vein, I have discovered a new and
interesting source of planes:
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I have ordered the FX Easy Goer and a new OS 40 FX engine to put on it.
I will be giving a full flight test report in the near future. I'm so
excited!
Ciao,
Mr Akimoto
Reply to
Mr Akimoto
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I'm surprised that so much of your focus is on the crash durability of the trainer's airframe. I'm new to the hobby of R/C flight this year. I've logged dozens of flights on my trainer, both with a flight instructor and solo, and I didn't crash at all until after I solo'd. My one crash involved starting my final approach too far away and flying gently into a grove of trees that I thought I was past. The plane came down the next day, and after a bit of patching to the wing and fuselage, it was flying like brand new again.
I chose the NexStar Select RTF as my first ever glow-powered plane. Durability of the airframe was a tertiary consideration. I wanted a plane that I could get in the air quickly. The NexStar required almost no building at all. I liked that the NexStar was fairly large for a .40 sized airframe and it would be easy to see from the ground. I appreciated the fact that it came with a special editon of the G2 Simulator so I can practice flying before I ever went out to the field. I liked the way the NexStar looked, and the fact it didn't require rubber bands to attach the wing. I also liked the fact that the NexStar came with the O.S. .46 FXi motor, providing it with plenty of smooth, reliable power.
I didn't focus on airframe durability per se, I focused instead on not crashing. I bought my own buddy box and training chord so I could get extra stick time in instead of having to wait for training night at the club. I went through our club's flight training program thoroughly and patiently so I had plenty of skill and flight experience before hanging up the buddy box. A single bad crash could indeed total out my NexStar's airframe, so I've simply worked hard to make sure that such a crash hasn't happened.
Sure, I flew into a tree once. It didn't hurt the plane that much, though. I had the fuel tank stopper pop open on me and I flooded my entire fuselage with nitro. I learned how to clean up the plane and the value of kitty litter to the novice aviator. I managed to catch a loose motor mount before my engine fell off in mid flight. Fortunately the folks I fly with emphasize the importance of thoroughly ground-checking your plane before every flight, so I didn't have to learn that particular lesson the hard way.
I've looked at the Duraplane kits available through Tower Hobby. They're actually more expensive than an ARF in most cases because of the parts they don't include like covering, fuel tanks, and what not. They also require more building than a typical beginner is likely to want to start out with. Some folks like duraplanes and some folks don't. I have know idea how they fly, but the amount of extra build time and construction cost prevents them from being an ideal first plane.
Top quality Ready-to-Fly glow plane trainer packages like the Hangar 9 Arrow/Alpha, the Hobbico NexStar/Avistar/SuperStar/HobbyStar, and the new Thunder Tiger RTF Super Combo training packages allow folks new to the hobby to get airborne and learning to fly without having to figure out engine mounting, center of gravity, and engine break-in and tuning before learning how to fly an oval. They also give new R/C pilots a handsome trainer they can show off with pride.
Duraplanes are too much work to be good trainers for folks without modelling experience. They aren't very attractive looking. Once you're done with training, there isn't much else you can do with them (assuming you built yourself a Duraplane trainer), either. As for my NexStar, it will hopefully continue flying long after I'm done flying it as a trainer. I'm hoping to build a pair of floats for it over the winter, so I can use it as my float fly plane next spring.
I'm no Duraplane hater, I just don't think they're the ideal first trainer for folks who don't know how to build models. That happens to describe almost all new R/C pilots. The first thing somebody new to the sport wants to do is fly, not build. There will be time to learn the art of building after the hobby has already captured the novice's imagination.
Reply to
Ed Paasch
Ditto here. Fly it and try not to crash. Works for me.
Use a paste of corn starch and denatured alcohol to dry out fuel soaked balsa. Let it sit overnight and vacuum it off the next day. Repeat until it's acceptably dry.
Sorry if I sound like a Duraplane hater with nothing better to do than spew hatred against people who are obviously far more skilled and intelligent than I am, but I recommend a very small .049 to .15 glow or similar size electric plane if learning without help, or a lightweight balsa plane if learning with help.
Reply to
Robbie and Laura Reynolds
To the those who might read this and believe it : This is only one persons opinion. Please please seek additional input. There are very many other valid options. There might be some good points in this post but I tend to discount advice given with self defense and insults built in to reinforce it.
mk
LOL! Question, do you think a plane with lighter wing loading flies better than a plane with higher wing loading? (I am very ignorant in some regards)
Always remember model planes
Size does matter!
Hey, I resemble that remark!
Yeah, that's right to topic
Is all just an elaborate troll? mk
Reply to
Storm's Hamburgers
| Before I get into the topic, I should clear up some misconceptions some | of you have regarding the Duraplane Trainer 40. It's hard to understand | what some of you are rambling on about when you say the plane has too | high a wing loading and in a second breath complain it flies too fast. | First heavy planes don't fly faster than similarly sized planes that | weight less.
If you take a specific airplane with a specific weight, and add some ballast, the stall speed _increases_. I believe the formula would be approximately the square root of the weight difference -- so if you double the weight, the stall speed would go to a factor of sqrt(2) -- it would be about 40% faster.
| They fly not only slower
Adding weight makes a plane _slower_? Better not tell that to the glider pilots. They add weight to their gliders on windy days so the plane will fly faster so it can better penetrate the wind.
| Does the Duraplane fly too fast? At full throttle with an OS LA 40, the | model makes a rapid transit of my private flying field of about 100 | acres. However, I can easily slow the model down to a crawl by closing | the throttle and increasing the angle of attack to maintain altitude.
And by using your units, a lighter plane with a similar shape could be slowed down to perhaps 80% of a crawl. Though crawling at 30 or so mph seems a bit fast ...
| In fact, I can slow the model down to a point where it does slow flight | (high angle of attack with enough power to maintain altitude) across | the runway. For amusement, I like to perform this stunt about a foot | off the runway.
It all depends on how you define slow. My Butterfly stalls at 8 mph. And even that's faster than `a crawl' in my book.
(And as I said before, the Butterfly has half the engine of a Duraplane 40, twice the wing (8' wing span), and weighs less. And would make a wonderful trainer for a place without much wind.)
| Along with the whining about the wing loading, is the bad rap that the | plane lands too hot or fast for the novice pilot.
Really, the two things are very tightly interwined. The speed is a direct consequence of the heavy wing loading. Putting a 60 sized wing on the 40 sized Duraplane would probably help a lot.
| Only very ignorant pilots make statements like this
i.e. everybody in this thread but you?
| since they don't understand the mechanics of how to land an | airplane. Always remember model planes operate on the same | principles as full-scale planes.
Thanks dad. We had no idea.
| First a landing is simply stalling the wing at the point the wheels | touch the ground.
A landing is when the plane touches the ground. A stall immediately before is nice (as it helps insure that the plane stays on the ground), but optional.
| The pilot must stay on the rudder (step on the ball) to maintain the | balance of the plane in the air as it will want to fall off to one | side or another.
Then how do we land models with no rudder at all? They don't `fall off to one side or another'.
| Now we come to landing the Duraplane. Very few model plane pilots know | much more that to cut the power and guide the plane in. However a | skilled pilot can place his model any where on the runway by | controlling the rate of descent with power and the airspeed with pitch.
Go fly gliders for a while, and then come back and tell us about controlling the rate of descent and how very few pilots `know much more that to cut the power and guide the plane in.' It's a very different game when you have no power at all to begin with.
And then there's the glider contests, where one of the most popular formats is to fly for X minutes and then do a precision landing. The skilled pilots generally are within a few seconds and a few feet of the goal -- all with no power.
| The model can land at any speed above the point where the wing will | stall, and on the Duraplane, this is about the speed of a fast walk of | a fat guy.
Ok, what are you smoking, and why aren't you sharing?
| After observing these field geezers pilot their aircraft, it was | obvious that a simple trainer on a calm day was more of a challenge | than most of them were up to. Am I putting these people down for their | inept flying skills? No not really. They can't be blamed, because they | were taught on planes where the emphasis was on low-risk flying. Models | that were very light (low-wing loading) and stable (lots of dihedral) | that had the flight characteristic of kites rather than airplanes.
Please, educate us on the flight characteristic of kites as compared to airplanes.
| Flying models or full-scale involves some risk if you want to gain any | flying skills above piloting a dirigible.
I've never flown one, but I'm guessing that piloting a full scale dirigible is a good deal _more_ challenging than piloting a small full scale trainer.
| Most aspects of the hobby have advanced over the years with technology | except the models. They are still basically the same as they were forty | years ago, i.e., balsa. When was the last time you read something in | Model Airplane News or one of the other airplane rags about anything | but balsa and perhaps a few foam models?
Perhaps you haven't read a magazine in five years, but now around half of the advertisements in the magazines are for planes made of foam. Even many of the glow planes have foam wings, just like your duraplane.
The reason that foam is so popular isn't just that it's strong. It's easy to work with, and one can make a nice looking and flying plane without much work.
| Even in the area of electrics and foam models, the AMA and the airplane | rags have only reluctantly and recently begun to pay any attention to | them.
Reluctantly? How do you determine reluctance?
| In regard to composites, SPADs, and the Duraplane, all planes | that would make good trainers, they are pretty much ignored.
Really? I see lots of park fliers that would make great trainers, explored in depth. MA probably goes into them a little less than the other magazines, but the other magazines definately take up the slack and then some.
And by the way, I'm still curious about why you were shunned by the clubs and about their racist policies ...
Reply to
Doug McLaren
That was an extremely rude thing to say, rather than look at the points he made. Take the chip off your shoulder if you want to come in here and make huge posts giving advice to beginners, and learn to listen. You have some misconceptions about wing loading and several other areas that absolutely NO ONE on this group agrees with. That's a hint. We're not trying to be ugly, but when you present your incorrect facts, expect to be called on it.
It's pretty obvious MOST of us here on this group, and flying in general, learned on something other than a duraplane. There is a reason that 40 size balsa trainers have endured so long, and it ain't momentum. In todays world they cost more than the electrics, yet they are still sold by the boatload. Recommendations on trainers should take everything into account, such as students budget, areas of interest in the hobby, availability and convenience of flying sites, flying conditions, instructor availability, etc. There is no single trainer that is best for all situations.
As far as your duraplane is concerned, it's a very mediocre trainer. It's heavy and HAS to be flown faster than it's balsa counterpart. No, not a typo, I've flown it. You might be thinking it flies slower because with the same motor and prop, it flies slower. That's absolutely true. That's also what that left stick is for. If I back out of the throttle, it can't fly as slow as a typical balsa trainer. It's a hopeless dog that requires way too much input to haul itself around. A Kadet on the same engine will outrun it, out-slow it, and out-fly it in every way shape and form. Where you get kite from I have no clue. I've drug the wingtip on my PT 40 numerous times doing figure eights a couple feet off the runway. All that dihedral really gets a good roll rate going when you remember to put some rudder in. If you want durability above all else in an easy to fly plane, get a Zagi or something similar.
I don't worry about a student crashing when he's on the buddy box. If he does, it's my fault, plain and simple. I shouldn't have let that person get that far into trouble without taking over. I'm not counting things like bouncing on the runway and such, but if it goes in nose down, it's the instructors fault. Another point I'd like to make is that the slower flying balsa plane gives the student more time to react and digest things that just happened. It picks up the pace of the learning if the student spends maximum time in front of the plane, rather than reacting to what it just did. I'd rather say "OK, level out now and take it to the end of the runway and make a right turn and come back parallel with runway" rather than "OK, level out and take it to,... Your getting out too far, turn right".
And yes, the same things that make Kadets and PT 40's good trainers are available in Slow Sticks and such. I'll teach on either kind. I've spent much more time on electrics lately. You say MA doesn't print much stuff on the electrics. True, but should it? Remember that it covers many aspects of our hobby, and electrics are really only big in RC. You won't see many in CL, FF, etc. MA does put pics of them in when they do show up, and if you count their relative numbers, they are probably over- represented. As far as the regular articles go, have you been to a contest? Not many scale electrics out there competing yet. There just aren't as many impressive electrics out there yet. People still like a little "gee-whiz" in the articles, and park flyers don't generate that as much as a quarter scale. Personally I like reading about the micro flyers, but there's only so much a mag that covers so many different areas can do without shorting some other aspect of the hobby.
Reply to
John Alt
John, What "world" do you live on??? I know mine is 3rd orbiting planet from the sun. You need to do some reserch on 40 size balsa trainers prices vs there electric counter part of similar size. Or go to
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and check out the most recent electric fun fly event. Might surprise ya
Mike
Reply to
Mike
You're right, but I wasn't comparing apples to apples. When people are talking electric trainers, they are generally talking Slow Stiks or the like, generally speed 180 to 400 or less. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
I don't know about you, but I rarely see an electric trainer the size of our 40 size trainers. When I do, they are often flown by the "Older" guys that are using them as a Cub alternative, not as a trainer.
Reply to
John Alt
AAHHHH now we are clear and both on the same planet. In my area there are a few beginners with Kadets runnin on amps rather then fuel. Cub!!! best aternative to those < yawn > boxxy trainers. Just my opinion and what I fly John
Mike
Modler once told me: " If you cant fly a Cub then you cant fly anything"
Reply to
Mike
The owner of one of our hobby stores in Kansas City has a Kadet LT25 with a stack of LiPoly batteries, a gear drive brushless motor, and a big fat speed control with a heat sink on it. It will go straight up, and it has very impresive endurance. It also cost a fortune to put it together!!
Not trying to make a point in an argument. I just thought I'd mention the airplane since you said something about older guys flying big electric trainers.
Reply to
Robbie and Laura Reynolds
What a remark from someone who is always accusing others of personal insults. Have you stopped to consider why NO ONE here agrees with you concerning wing loading and some other basic aerodynamics. Your lack of understanding of basic aerodynamics makes me wonder if you cut all your ground school classes.
You have made some good points concerning RC flying , so don't let your lack of ability to accept criticism overshadow those things.
I would imagine it takes some skill to pilot a blimp. What do you think ? We may have someone in here who fly blimps. Maybe they can enlighten us.
Ken Day
Reply to
Ken Day
Modelers are always open to materials that will make better airplanes. SPADs are a niche for people who want cheap, durable airplanes that are able to survive rough (sloppy) flying, or things like combat. They are only "better" in this sense. A well built balsa plane is still better from a flyability sense than your precious SPADs.
In other words, your flying is sloppy, and your landings are too hard for a well built, light airplane to survive. So, instead of keeping your plane light, they need to be overweight so they can handle your ham fisted flying.
Reply to
C G
Mr Akimoto wrote:
It's pretty obvious that Mr Akimoto has an air of superiority about him. The airs that he puts on here would not be tolerated in person and would quickly lead to him being shunned. Rather than looking in a mirror, so he could find the true source of the problem, it's much easier for him to blame it on the good old boys and their "racist policies".
Reply to
C G
Actually, momentum has much to do with it. A significant part of the flying community has been indoctrinated to believe that anything other than a 40 size trainer will be difficult to learn on. There's lots of other choices out there, but that does not fit into the one size fits all cubbyhole. Note, I've got nothing against 40 size trainers, I'm just pointing out that other viable choices are dismissed without thought. I've seen many people ask about a smaller trainer, perhaps .15, .25, or even electric. They are immediately innundated by responses from people who have been conditioned that the 40 size trainer is the only choice.
Reply to
C G
Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
One thing you are forgetting - A trainer is just that - To train you how to fly a plane. MOST trainers fly pretty much the same.
While you are learning to fly, slow is better. A lighter weight plane will fly slower due to a lower wing loading than a heavier plane.
Reply to
Ted Campanelli
I'm an ex pattern pilot and I doubt that many would call my flying sloppy - never the less, I enjoy flying SPADS. Not exclusively. Not very often. But they have their purposes.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger

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