[Headline: The often unused and misunderstood rudder]
[Callout: See more event photos in the digital edition or online at www.ModelAviation.com]
Many of us who go to the local field see fellow modelers flying their aircraft with little or no rudder input during the entire flight. With many aircraft today you can get away with it, but is it the right thing to do? No!
With a Scale model, especially if you are preparing for a fly-in or contest, you need to make the aircraft fly as closely as possible to the full-scale version. Sure, you use the rudder on the ground, but do you also use it in the air when making turns? Some of us do, while others don’t.
I’ve looked at several sources to explain the use of the rudder, and the FAA website states it about as well as anyone. The rudder is used to control the vertical axis or directional stability of the aircraft. In aviation jargon, it is the yaw of the aircraft.
Some of the best flights I’ve ever seen were those of simple aircraft, where the pilots knew exactly how to use the rudder. Some made a sideslip landing and approach with a simple J-3 Cub, while others used a combination of rudder and throttle in aerobatic maneuvers—not RC Aerobatics, but what a full-scale aircraft can do with the rudder.
I attended the 2014 Top Gun Invitational and I had the opportunity to watch many of the flights. I paid particular attention to contestants who were flying World War I aircraft and the way the aircraft made turns.
One pilot, flying a 1/3-scale fighter, never used the rudder, even on the ground. The airplane looked as though it was missing something at the back end while making the turn. The pilot either didn’t know how to use the rudder properly or didn’t know how to use it at all. He only changed the throttle setting when he landed and wasn’t the only flier with this problem.
Yes, we can now set up our radios to have a rudder/aileron mix—approximately 25% rudder to the full throw of the aileron—but this will only work for some maneuvers. You have to switch the rudder link on and off, which can cause mistakes. It’s best to know how to use the rudder.
The rudder on most radio systems is located on the left stick with the throttle in Mode 2. This is why I will not purchase a radio without a ratchet on the throttle stick. The ratchet stabilizes the throttle, while you use the rudder to control the yaw of the aircraft in a turn. Practice this on a sport model.
The next time you are out at the field, try either one and add a little rudder in the turn and see what happens, especially if you are flying a J-3 Cub or another tail-dragger. You will be surprised at how much better the airplane looks and performs in flight.
WW I Commemorative Event
The National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA) World War I event at the NASA Scale Classic will be open to anyone who wants to attend and it’s based solely on having fun. The flights require only seven maneuvers and there will be a special prize. Static judging is simply a beauty contest. There will be no documentation or detailed judging.
The flight maneuvers include takeoff, fly-by, Immelmann turn, Chandelle, Reverse Chandelle, and landing. Realism will be a factor in all maneuvers. This should be fun for everyone—which is exactly what it’s for! Join in!
Air Camper Update
My 1/4-scale Pietenpol Air Camper is built from AMA Plans Service plans. The 84-inch wingspan model is being powered by an O.S. 72FS engine. I modified the plans by adding a three-piece wing. The wing tube leaves the center section of the wing attached.
For information about the plans, contact the AMA Plans Service plans coordinator, Greg Prater, at (765) 287-1256, extension 507. Plan number 61D7 was designed by Gene Wallock and was in the Old Time Plans Service catalog.
I settled on Solartex covering for the silver portion of the model and I will spray the black trim and details. When I prepared to cover the flying surfaces, I first added any hardwood mounts for struts or jury rigging for the airframe! I made sure I was working in a clean environment without dust, balsa chips, etc. This will help to obtain a smoother finish.
It makes sense to plan ahead, put these pieces in place, and mark them for future use. I made sure that the airframe had a smooth surface on which to lay the fabric covering so I didn’t end up with bumps and blisters on the covering.
I brushed a coat of Sig Manufacturing Stix-It on seams and edges, using an epoxy brush to paint it on. After it dried, I could start covering that part. The additional adhesive will help the seams stay where you want, and the covering won’t pull loose later in the model’s life.
Solartex can be ironed on or adhered with a heat gun. I’ve had excellent results using both appliances on low settings. Afterward, go back over all of the seams with the iron on a high setting.
Warbirds Over the Rockies
Warbirds Over the Rockies will be held at a new site and location on September 12-14 in Arvada, Colorado. The facility covers approximately 60 acres for parking, tents, and infrastructure, a 750-foot concrete runway, and an open flying field of roughly 200 acres. If you haven’t been to this Scale fly-in, you need to try to attend.
There are vendors, air shows, thousands of spectators, and plenty of food for sale. The event is conducted by people who know what they are doing. It’s a highlight of the year for many modelers.
The Saturday night banquet and auction are great. The aviation speakers who attend the event are always interesting, and the auction is a great place to pick up some goodies at fantastic prices. I went two years ago and to say that I was impressed is an understatement. I had a great time.
U.S. Scale Masters Championship
The U.S. Scale Masters Championship will be held at the Ohio River View RC Flyers field in southern Indiana, September 18-21. All Masters classes will be held at that venue, which has been the site of two successful championships in recent years.
The Scale Masters had a huge increase in numbers at last year’s championship in California. We hope to see that increase again this year here in the East. I hope to see you there!
For more information, please check out the Scale Masters website.
2016 Scale World Championship
The 2016 Scale World Championship was announced at the spring meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. It will be held in Romania in July or early August. Classes will include F4C (Museum Scale), F4G (Large Scale), F4H (Stand-Off Scale) F4J (Team Scale), and we may see the first international F4K Scale Helicopter class held as well.
For more current updates, please check out the NASA website at www.nasascale.org.
Fair skies and tail winds.[dingbat]
Sig Manufacturing, Inc.
U.S. Scale Masters Association
Warbirds Over the Rockies
AMA Plans Service
WW I Commemorative Event
Additional photos from Warbirds Over the Rockies: