Model Airplane News #02
In this issue:
Featured article: “3 Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Radio Frequency.”
A lead in to Jason Moore’s recent review of Cox’s latest ‘Tailwind’ trainer.
A lead to the best flying training guide available anywhere.
The News roundup
..and the perpetual Pit Lane humour
Featured Article -“3 Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Radio Frequency.”
When the RC frequency spectrum was first introduced to provide controlled facilities for radio control (RC) modelers, it was limited to a set of just six. These frequencies were not labelled with channel numbers as they are today, but were represented by multi-colored flags; purple/white for 72.320 MHz (megahertz), red/white for 72.240 MHz, etc. Having only 6 frequencies to choose from was quite restrictive and meant a lot of RC airplane pilots had to be grounded at any given time, waiting to take their turn when their frequency became free.
The RC model airplane frequency spectrum today is much broader, consisting of a much larger batch of 50 channels in the 72 MHz band in the USA, a similar batch in the 35 Mhz band in the UK and other bands according to country. In addition, there remain a few 27 MHz channels shared across many uses including for ‘park flyer’ model airplanes, and a handful of other more specialized channels reserved for licensed amateur radio operators. For convenience, I’m just going to refer to the 72Mhz band as the band allocated for model airplane use in the USA. You will need to read that as the band allocated for model airplane use in your own country.
So once you’ve decided to buy your RC model and radio equipment you also need to decide which radio frequency you are going to operate on. Unlike most other features of the sport such as the type of airplane or engine, choosing a popular channel which is used by lots of other people is not a good idea. Choosing a standard 72 MHz frequency for your radio can be as simple as going to the local hobby store and purchasing one with a standard radio setup. But randomly choosing a channel can result in you sitting out lots of good flying time if you don’t do a little investigation first.
Firstly, decide whether you are going to be a park flyer using 27 MHz or going for a more advanced setup on 72 MHz. The 27 MHz channels are primarily dedicated to what are considered “park flyers”. These pre-packaged systems usually come with everything you need to get up and flying and are intended for the casual flyer that just wants to get out, get in the air, and not mess with the higher cost of a more complex airplane and radio setup.
Choosing a RC model airplane park flyer package with a pre-set frequency needs little to no investigation since you have little choice as the packages give you a choice of only 3 or 4 channels, some FM, some AM. Channel conflicts in a RC park flying situation are less common due to the large number of parks and flying areas available to the casual pilot. But if you do invest in a park flyer then be aware that there may well be other people out there in the park with rc cars and boats as well as pilots all possibly using the same frequency as you – and that can mean expensive trouble when you lose control of your airplane, or even worse if some stranger accuses you of causing his airplane to crash.
Second, if you are going for 72 MHz then visit your flying field and find out what other people are using. Imagine arriving to your favorite RC model airplane flying field only to find someone else already using the channel you have just paid out good money for. Some clubs have rules pertaining to what happens in this situation.
As only one pilot can operate at a time on a given frequency this usually means pilots having to switch off and take turns using the frequency – and some means of the club controlling the changeover process either by physically taking control of the transmitter or just having a procedure written into the club rules. If you are flying at a busy site that is not a sanctioned flying club with rules and bylaws, you might find yourself sitting out and unable to fly for the day.
The smartest way to choose an RC frequency for your radio is to do some legwork first. Visit the field where you will do most of your flying. Investigate what channels are already in use and which channels are seldom used. Finding one that is infrequently used or not used at all will allow you to buy, secure in the nowledge that you will be able to fly with minimum interruption.
Third, make sure you can change the frequency after you have bought the equipment. If you take care to check before you buy whether the system will allow you to do a frequency change either by manual crystal replacement on older equipment or digitally on the newer stuff. Then if you run into a problem you can change later to a channel which is less busy. Some crystal changes you can do yourself while others have to go back to the factory to have the work done.
As always, doing a little footwork up front can go a long way to saving you money, time and frustration in the future.
A new ARF just released by Hobby Lobby
COX Models “Tailwind” .40 size ARF trainer review
June 23, 2006
COX Models, ubiquitous throughout the model aircraft community since 1945, has been most closely associated with 1/2A models, and engines. Many, many modelers have had at some point or another, a COX .049 engine, or two to their name. Recently, COX has thrown their hat into the .40 and larger “full house” RC model market, and produced a line of aircraft including the “Tailwind” .40 trainer. Having flown quite a few high-quality trainers in my time, I thought I’d give the Tailwind a try, and see just how good COX is at larger (than 1/2A) RC planes.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Learning to Fly
We all struggle when learning to fly our models. Sometimes they don’t seem so much like models as little monsters with a mind of their own. Well now is your chance to latch into the very best guidance written on the subject. Andrew Rosz is a master of the craft, both flying and teaching how to fly. Over the years he assembled his knowledge and expertise into the acknowledged master class in his book; “Basic Flight Instruction”.
The good news is that you can now get it right here.
Click right here on “Basic Flight Instruction” and learn from the Master!
Did you know?
Hugo Chávez, the fiery president of Venezuela, who has called President Bush a “donkey,” among other things used to be a rep for a model airplane magazine.
The fastest RC model airplane in the FAI record books is a glider – Sitar (pilot) and Fritz (technical), Austria, in 1978, over a measured 50 meter course using photocells in the timing devices to assure accuracy. The record was 242.9 mph. The glider was flying faster than that before levelling out to fly through the course. The flight took place at a location at 6600 ft elevation and the model dove from a height of over 10,000 ft.
Information courtesy of Bill & Bunny Kuhlman
- founts of all knowledge at their aviation bookshop at www.b2streamlines.com
Pit lane humour…
“When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.”
I reported on this next item headed “LA Crime Fighting…..” in my blog during the week. It’s the next stage of the story of the adoption of the SkySeer UAV currently being tested by the Los Angeles Police Dept. The story was picked up across the news media as the implications of privacy and cost effectiveness sank in. In essence this is a 5lb model airplane with a fancy video camera built in and intended to bring all the advantages of low cost, access to remote areas and portability to the police.
More interesting in the longer term is the second item down on the FAA developments relating to UAV’s and how it overlaps with model airplane regulation.
LA Crime Fighting Could Get A Huge Makeover
CBS 2 – Los Angeles,CA,USA
… The aircraft — not much bigger than a model airplane — will initially be limited to scanning rooftops for break-ins and finding lost children or hikers. …
See all stories on this topic
FAA studies three-category UAV classification system
Flight International – USA
… This category includes radio-controlled model aircraft, particularly model helicopters adapted for commercial use in aerial photography; small blimps used…
Selma Times Journal – USA
Model airplanes of various shapes and sizes took to the sky Saturday during the Control Line Model Aircraft Fun Fly held at Grace Lane Hobby Shop in Selma.
Taking the controls
Maryville Daily Forum – Maryville,MO,USA
… just west of Mozingo Lake dam Saturday morning, enthusiasts waited patiently to participate in the 13th annual Nodaway Radio Control Model Airplane Club’s Fun …
Model pilots inspire young island fliers
Enterprise-Record – Chico,CA,USA
… Members of the Aer-O-Nuts, a model airplane club, have flown wired planes at Bill Osborne Model Airplane Flying Field on Bay Farm Island for more than the 60 …
Brant Flyers Awards
Paris Star – Ontario, Canada
… Association of Canada (MAAC) Hall of Fame Award (2006) for outstanding lifetime achievements in the hobby and sport of model aircraft construction, flying and …
MIT Technology Review – Cambridge,MA,USA
… To cool its next generation of commercial servers, the company is using electric-ducted fans (EDFs), originally developed by model airplane hobbyists to power …
Flying aces show off skills
Port Huron Times Herald – Port Huron,MI,USA
… Clair County Propbusters R/C Model Aircraft Club’s Interclub Invitational Fly-In, which featured several varieties of model planes and helicopters.
Models take to the sky at event
Pensacola News Journal – Pensacola,FL,USA
The high-flying crafts were part of the final day of the Tom McLaughlin Fiesta Model Airplane Meet, sponsored by Fiesta of Five Flags and conducted by …
Straight & level: 27 June 2006
Flight International – USA
… To mark the occasion, the museum will host a Concorde Celebration day on Saturday 29 July, beginning with a flying display of jet model aircraft by the BMFA …
Air show features ground control
Quad City Times – Davenport,IA,USA
… “Once you see what it is,” Kaas said, “you get hooked on it.”. The society has more than 100 members who build and run model aircraft, boats and cars. …
Another UAV surfaces…
New way of surveillance is being created in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Florida – At the Model Flying Field in St. Petersburg, radio operated airplanes soar through the skies. Jim Alman has been doing this since he was a kid.
- Jim Alman, Cyber Defense Systems:
- “Probably ten or 11 years old flying models.”
But he’s not flying just any old model airplane, it’s a Cyber Bug.
- Jim Alman, Cyber Defense Systems
- “They’re unmanned air vehicles they have cameras on board and they’re used primarily for surveillance.”
The light weight planes have come in handy for the military. Jim has sold several to government agencies. The Cyber Bugs cost around 30-thousand-dollars each.
Funny way to write a news story…never mind, read the whole story here: http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=33158
I’m fascinated by the way small UAVs are finding uses with official agencies. And it’s pleasing to see an increasing number of ‘small guys’ i.e. modellers, finding a way to convert their skills into a saleable product or services rather than watching industry throw lots of money at designing and producing new small unmanned vehicles. Although I’m sure the technology they contain and the reliability and performance levels required far exceed that achievable in your average modeller’s workshop, it’s galling to see our patch of sky being taken over by big industry.
From our ship modelling friends – I’ve included it here simply because it is so astonishing.
Now is this a model? Or is it a launch/yacht whatever with the appearance of an ocean liner? For myself I don’t think this qualifies as a model. I think this is a cruiser built with conventional tools and materials while replicating the appearance of a much larger ship. But for one man to dedicate 12 years of his life to building anything at all is an act either of dedication or of lunacy. Judge for yourself.
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This is a great time of year for modellers. The weather is glorious, well, just for the moment, and there are shows and open days all over the place practically every weekend.
So I’m not going to keep you from your flying fun any longer. Happy flying till next time.