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!