I have probably built and flown hundreds of models in my lifetime? Fast, slow and in between. Most all have been fun, but when I think back on all of those airplanes, the ones that really stand out as having been the most fun were those simple 3 channel rudder/elevator/throttle models. There is something about the simplicity of them and their normally well behaved flight characteristics that make them attractive to me. When Flitetest announced the Tiny Trainer, I was all in.
I will give you a few details about my particular airplane at the end of this article. I'll start by describing how it flys. I can sum it up in two words. AS PREDICTED. This model just looks like it should fly right out of your hand at half throttle and it does. It is completely well behaved in the air. The Tiny Trainer enjoys a super wide performance envelope. It can go super fast or really slow. With my power setup (3 cells) it very easily climbs straight up and up rapidly! You will only climb for a few seconds before it specs out. Gliding decents are really nice. It isn't an awesome sailplane but it does have a nice glide and in the right conditions it would probably hang in some thermals? I don't have the place to do it here but I suspect it would slope soar REALLY well.
I've had my airplane out in a fair amount of wind and it handled unusually well. Is this airplane truly a trainer? Absolutely! I would limit power to 2 cells however. It is simply too speedy on 3 for an absolute beginner.
The name my be deceptive? Tiny Trainer. The airplane is not what I would call tiny by any means. It is a nice manageable size. It is actually rather huge compared to lots of other so called trainers like say the Park Zone Champ. And....it can be a trainer, but it can be a lot more depending on how you configure it. I'm expecting warmliner performance with the four channel wing that I am building right now.
Okay, just a little about my build. My airplane is basically completely stock. The most notable exception are the servos mounted on the outside of the fuselage near the tail, rather than inside the airplane under the wing. I would encourage everyone to make this simple modification to avoid adding a ton of weight to the tail to reach the correct CG. The TT builds extremely nose heavy. Also....Josh called for 5 gram servos. I went ahead and used 9's because I needed the weight. With a 850mah battery my CG is perfect. No weight added anywhere.
Here is my setup. I basically used items I already had laying around the shop. I got lucky I guess because I wouldn't change a thing.
Motor is a Sunnysky x2204 2300KV I bought it for something else and never used it. Can't remember where it came from but it is an excellent motor. I think there will be lots of motors that will work well on this design. One thing that won't work very well is an X mount. ( There isn't room for it on the small firewall) You need to be able to mount your motor with screws coming from the back side of the firewall into the existing mounting wholes for an X mount. Be prepared to re-drill your firewall to match your motor unless you purchase the FT motor. Their's of course should fit perfectly without re-drilling. It isn't a big deal. Us your X mount as a template for the holes.
Prop is an APC style 6x4
ESC is an old 10amp that I think came from Hobby King years ago?
Servos = cheapy 9grams
Receiver = Orange super light 4 channel but almost anything will do.
Battery= The Zippy (compact) 850 3 cell is delivering awesome power and it balances the airplane right on the CG marks. Fits real nice too. My flight times are usually close to 25 minutes. (I glide around a lot)
I used packing tape for the finish. The fuselage is completely covered in white and blue tape. The tail is naked foam with the edges ironed down for looks and to help the paper stay on. The wing is also mostly naked except for the packing tape trim stripes.
Thats about it. There isn't too much you can say about an airplane this simple. Simplicity really is it's virtue. In a complicated, hight tech world it is sometimes a pleasure to take a step back an enjoy something not so complicated.
I am really enjoying everything about this model. The build was really fun. It builds fast but not so fast that you have no since of accomplishment. I really took my time to get it right and still had it completed in a couple of really enjoyable build sessions. I might have a total of 5 hours invested in this Speed Build Kit. Of course the plans can be downloaded for free but now I am a bit spoiled with the Speed Build Kits. There really arn't many parts to cut out for this model but I kinda dislike assembeling the plans and cutting out parts. If you have the funds, I suggest the kit for this one. It is a super great value considering it is 3 airplanes in one really. They include a glider nose and the 3 channel plain wing and the 4 channel wing. How can you beat that?
This really is a little airplane to build and love. I am confident that if you decide to build one you will be happy with it. It's a gem in my book.