Josh Bixler's Tiny Trainer has been a huge success for Flite Test. And why wouldn't it be? There is something for everyone here. First of all it is really easy and fun to build. Secondly....depending on how you decide to build it determines what kind of airplane you get and all versions fly well.
The Tiny is really a component airplane. The airplane is built in different sections (forward section, power pod, tail section and wing) Once the components are constructed, it is just a matter of selecting the parts you want to use and mating them together with BBQ skewers and rubber bands. Up till now you either ended up with a very easy to fly 3 channel trainer,or a slightly zippier 4 channel sport/trainer. Even these 2 versions take on different personalities depending on the power of your battery pack. (2 cell or 3 cell)
I have to emphasise how really great both of these versions fly. If you are a newbe or just in a lazy mood, the basic 3 channel wing is your choice. Want something a lot more spirited? Then quickly switch over to the 4 channel wing and add a 3 cell pack. You have a Tiny Hotliner!
To me though, the obvious missing wing was one for gliding/soaring. The other two wings glide well but they really wern't designed with thermal soaring in mind.
With that, I took on the task of designing a wing to turn the Tiny Trainer into an awesome sailplane!
Just like everything else with the Tiny Trainer, converting it to a sailplane was relatively easy. The basis of what I did was I just simply took the 4 channel wing and extended it at the root end to a full 30 inches (the length of a sheet of Adams (DollarTree) Foam Board. I also lengthend the ailerons to full span and programmed my radio into making them ailerons/spoilers. THATS IT!
Here is a rough template showing a few details of what I did for each wing. Look at this photo and the origional plans and I am confident you will figure it out because it is nothing but a stretched out 4 channel wing.
Here is the underside of the wing decorated in packing tape in bright colors. Make it bright because this baby can really soar high!
Pre Flight Setup
The 60 inches of this wing create a LOT of lift. That combined with a rather short tail moment can make it a little twichy if you don't do a couple of things. Mostly....you just need to take a LOT of the throw out of the elevator. Fly it the first time with not a lot of elevator throw and work in more as you get used to it or simply set up some dual rates. The other thing I suggest to prevent a wild ride on your first flight is to launch with about half throttle. I set the aileron throw to about the same deflections as my stadard 4 channel wing and that seems about right. I'm using full flaps as spoilers. If you want to setup flaps I suggest you fool around with the control surfaces until you can get them to drop without binding to a full 75 degree position. This works like a lift dump and can really help you get her back on the ground without landing in the next county.
I like to launch into any wind with about half throttle, establishing a gentle climb and then powering up somewhat but usually not all the way to full throttle unless the battery is starting to sag. Even at reduced throttle, climb is brisk and it doesn't take but a few seconds to get this airplane to altitude. Once leveled off and motor to off, a very nice slow glide can be trimmed in. It really seems to sniff out every little bit of lift on it's own. Kinda reminds me of my old Gentle Lady. With the super long flaperons creating some drag on the lowered aileron a touch of rudder in the turns really helps, so don't forget the rudder in your turns. The Tiny Sailplane is very capable of tight pivot turns as long as you remember your rudder.
My favorite way to land is to setup a nice long final into the wind and then go to full flaps/spoilers. She will generally set up a nice smooth and rather steep slow glide to the ground. Because most of your ailerons have now become flaps you must remember to use a LOT of rudder to keep the wings level.
To the veteran sailplane pilot this model will seem completely natural to you. To the newbe sailplane pilot, this is a good way to get started.
If you haven't seen my other two articles on the other wings, there is more information there on my other two setups. Links are supplied at the bottom of this page.
My setup for the sailplane version is exactly the same as for the other two.
The SunnySky X2204S 2300 KV motor coupled to an APC 6X4e propeller is a beautiful combination on this airplane. However, I think many other motors and props will probably work as well. Use what you've got.
My favorite battery is a Zippy 850mah 3 cell compact 25C. Fits just right.
I use a 12amp esc and 9 gram servos all the way around on the sailplane version.
So, in a nutshell there you have it. It would be fun to fly this side by side with something like a Radian. I have a feeling that in the right hands it would deliver similar performance. Not bad for a couple of sheets of Dollar Tree Foamboard.