Aeromodelling Misconceptions

In this day and age the words 'Model Aircraft' are taken to mean Radio Control Model Aircraft, I find it sad that there seems to be no appreciation of the fact that R/C (Radio Control) model aircraft , are just one facet of a much wider field of controlled, or non controlled, models. View the family tree

To me all these branches of the aeromodelling tree have equal value and can be just as enjoyable, sometimes at a much reduces financial outlay to begin with.

Some people among the radio control fraternity can achieve quite a high level of snobbishness towards other forms of aeromodelling, which can denigrate the hobby as a whole. Below is an example taken from an R/C usenet newsgroup. Whilst these comments are aimed at C/L (control line) models and one concerning F/F (free flight) models, they do illustrate a point. The posters are clearly Trolls (someone that deliberately stirs up controversy with contentious remarks), or have no idea of what they are talking about. The quotations are taken verbatim from the original message. I will leave you to decide what message the dodgy grammar is sending out.

Taking the points one at a time:

1)    "Not trying to be funny but I just don't get why people like to fly on control lines.... everything's there to fly these planes 'properly' so whats the appeal?????"

1a)  What does properly mean? Unless you are sitting in a full size aircraft, with your hands on the controls, I would think it wasn't proper flying. In that respect C/L is closer to real flying than R/C, as there is direct control and tactile feedback.

2) "Anything that makes that much noise and then makes you dizzy!  Do I need to try it?"

2a)  A comment made by someone that has never flow a C/L model, or only once. You don't get dizzy.

I will qualify that by saying that the first time flyer, will, probably feel dizzy, and this is the point where some people give up and head for the R/C gear saying C/L is crap. For those that persevere the effect diminishes with each flight. Using myself as an example. I had not touched a C/L model for a gap of twenty years. When I did I got dizzy. Second flight was nothing like as bad. If there had been third the worst would have been over. This is similar to what I recall of the first time I ever flew a C/L model.

3) "AND intensely irritating and noisy for everyone else; Why do these control liners fly open ported most of the time??"

3a)  All model flying noise is covered by the law of the land, certainly here in the UK, namely THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT 1990 S.79 (1) (g). All internal combustion engines flown in any club environment must have mufflers fitted to avoid complaints, it's been that way for decades, failure to do so would result in the rapid loss of fast diminishing flying sites. The only exception would be, if you happen to be lucky to be able to fly far enough away from habitation not to upset anyone.

4) "I don't care how good you are with the elevator,  I don't get it either. Neither do I get free flight!  Chuck a model and see it crash uncontrolled into a tree?"

4a)  Why would any self respecting normal person spend precious time building a model then throw it into a tree? I think the problem is that an awful lot of R/C fliers have no grasp of the basic principals of flight, relying on the transmitter trims to do the work for them. F/F models are tested and trimmed first to avoid silly accidents, when was the last time you saw an R/C model trimmed prior to it's maiden flight? No, F/F models are not thrown uncontrollably into trees, although they may occasionally end up in one by accident.

With F/F there is no safety net, you have to know what you are doing, plus the fact that the models are designed to be self stabilising as much as possible. FAI competition F/F models have a degree of design, mechanical ingenuity, and sophistication that would frighten the average R/C flyer.

A point often lost, is that modern R/C has it's roots in F/F. Early models where basically freeflight models adapted to take the radio gear. When the only control was a rudder with three positions, left, right,and neutral, the models had to be trimmed to fly in a stable manner without the luxury of proportional control and transmitter trims; I know, I flew them.

I bet there are not many modern fliers know how to roll a model just using the rudder?

5)"It seems like these sides of the hobby is kept alive by those "hangers on" which don't want to acknowledge the existence of modern technology and radiowaves.  (probably associate with those that moan about the use of computer trannies, to trim out models!!)"

5a)  On a recent visit to the British National Championships (2002), There where a surprising number of so called 'hangers on' using some extremely advanced technology in the C/L speed event, neither were the pilots that particularly old. One of the things I always liked about this hobby (now referred to as a sport) was that mix of young and old. Even the Gold Trophy (C/L precision acrobatics) event seemed to be fully subscribed, and the C/L teamrace events where as exciting as ever. So much for hangers on!

I only wish I could have visited the F/F events held at a different venue, It would be interesting to see what's going on these days.

About trimming: doing it with the transmitter is the lazy, not very efficient or elegant, and prone to accidents way. What happens when the model is all trimmed to perfection the then the trim controls are accidentally altered before another flight, a big Ooops! panic moment probably. Trim the model, and that is much less likely to happen. Tx trims are OK if you are lazy and can't be bothered to learn the fundamentals I suppose.

Over the years I have flown most types of model aircraft controlled or otherwise, and enjoyed nearly all of them. Changes from one sort to another were usually caused by circumstances, you can't fly F/F if you haven't a sufficiently large space, indoor F/F needs a venue, R/C power (i.c. not electric) needs to be sufficiently far enough away from habitation to avoid noise complaints, and can become expensive.

lines C/L only needs a relatively small space but has the same constraints regarding noise, needs protection from over excited children, and the one brain cell characters that insist on wandering in to the circle when someone is flying, and other damaging actions, but can be immense fun for a modest outlay.

Another factor is, that almost all powered models require some form of personal transport to get to a flying site these days.

It's complicated mix, but there is a niche for everything, and every one, providing you don't wear blinkers. It's all about model aircraft, how or what you build and fly is up to you, as long as you don't loose site of the fact there are more ways than one of enjoying yourself. Sometimes the simplest can give enormous amounts of pleasure, try throwing a properly designed and built competition hand launch glider around for an afternoon, even in a club competition, and you will get my meaning; that's if you are fit enough, I couldn't do it now.