Control Line Challenge

by FliteTest | January 16, 2017 | (4) Posted in Challenges

At EAA Airventure we had the opportunity to fly control line. Control line flight is where the plane flies around in a circle tethered to two control lines that change the pitch of the plane. The cables put tension on a bellcrank that moves the elevator up and down with a push rod.

Unfortunately, the folks putting on the demonstration would not share the plans for the Coroplast plane we were flying, so we thought, let’s give it a try with one of our own FliteTest designs—the FT Mini Sportster.

It had been a while since Josh had flown control line, so the first few flights did not turn out as well as he had hoped. Fortunately, that’s what makes RC so fun, experimenting with one way and problem-solving to improve the flight the next time.

On the next attempt, with what we learned from the initial flight and feedback from our wise RC community, we built the FT Bloody Wonder and put it into action. Some of the things we changed:

  • We added even more right thrust
  • Put additional weight on the outer wing
  • Trailed the control leads
  • Ran a clockwise propeller  

With the new addition of the FT Bloody Wonder, we also brought along our dear friend, Bob Parmalee, who is practically a pro at flying control line. This time we were successful!

The number one thing we learned and is important to keep in mind if you take on the Control Line Challenge yourself is that tension is a priority! Tension on the line is what gives the cables the ability to control the plane.

You can achieve the correct tension needed on the plane by:

  • Keeping a proper thrust angle on the motor
  • Keeping proper rudder deflection on the tail
  • Applying weight on the outer wing to overcome the drag of the cables

What is your experience with control line flight? Share with us your photos and favorite moments from this historic way to fly!


TurtlesThatFly on January 18, 2017
im converting an old control line glider to RC
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Dave Evans on January 18, 2017
Had been a Sport Control Line an R/C pilot for 50+ years. Fun to watch you challenge your self's and make all the beginner mistakes. You need to look at what the Europeans have done with indoor control line planes made of foam core and the all out FAI/3D indoor R/C. Thanks for the memories and what you are doing to introduce the Hobby of model flight .
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Rootbeard on January 19, 2017
Control Line is a ton of fun.
Check out for everything CL.
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epilot on January 19, 2017
Your lines are very thick which creates a lot of drag. Thinner lines should be available. SIG might still carry C/L supplies?
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Clavin01 on January 19, 2017
Did CL Flying over 40 years ago, Recently I acquired a couple of 1/2a models and Flew them at a local event.
Then our club acquired an old Cub with a Saito 56 on it. One of our members decided it would be fun to convert it to C/L. added a throttle servo and 4 channel radio for throttle control, set the rudder to the right
put it a Bellcrank and we flew it. Loads of fun.
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akkalaria on May 29, 2017
It is really much exciting to find a viewpoint on correspondence from the manager. They are providing best article to the real life with best content evaluation content and content. That all made for having great opinions and ideas for customers.
Happy Birthday

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dholcomb on April 26, 2017
Good job. If you guys would set the rudder so the plane tries the pull away from you it would feel a lot better. You want a good hard pull on those lines.
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FireFlyer on December 17, 2017
Where can I find plans the control mechanism that mounts on the plane?
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Christoph on August 21, 2018
Oh my! What a laugh I had on this one!

You guys seem to have the most fun when you're out of your comfort zone.
Therefor you should move it up one step: after a normal take off, go inverted on the control line and see how that goes...

By the way, because of FT I picked up an old hobby and having a lot of fun again. Thank you!
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Rhino421 on February 14, 2018
Maybe a control line plane in kit form is in the near future?
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Control Line Challenge