"1/2 A" & "1/8 A" airplanes These are the small ones...more popular now than ever.

Which engine for an RC Trainer (1/2A or higher) ?

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Old 11-26-2013, 02:07 AM
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Amulite
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Question Which engine for an RC Trainer (1/2A or higher) ?

Hi everyone,

Many years ago, I used a Cox Babe Bee engine for many CL models, as well as an RC Trainer (Sure Flite "Baby Turkey"). The CL models were all good, but the RC trainer just glided to the ground after hand launching, as it was too heavy (both by design, and due to the standard size servos I used at the time ).

Since then, I've acquired a few more small engines, including the Cox Surestart, OS 10FSR and Enya 11CXD RC.

Now, I'd like to get back into RC by starting off with a suitable trainer.

Looking around the web, I've noticed that most people recommend a "40 size engine" as a minimum, since trainers designed for these engines are large, easily transported in a car, and stable, even in windy conditions. Others recommend electric "foamie" type models.

In the interests of saving money and using what I have, is it OK to use a small engine for an RC trainer (due to the lighter and smaller RC equipment available these days), or should I just go ahead and buy a larger (.40 or .46 cu. in.) engine?

Alternatively, would an RTF electric trainer be just as good ?

To help me decide which way to go, I'd like to hear your opinions please.

Thanks very much
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:18 AM
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Hey mate, good to see another fellow aussie on here.

If you are willing to build it yourself have a look at this thread Building and flying the LST 1/2A Trainer Its called the Lyn Snipes trainer in memory of a gentleman many of the guys on this forum knew (before my time on here)

It was the very first plane I ever built from scratch and it is by far my favourite to fly, so gentle and great for 1/2a engines like you have or brushless like mine.
The plans are on this page Building and flying the LST 1/2A Trainer post 831 to save you looking for them.


Hope this helps, he other guys with WAYYY more experience should chip in shortly
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Old 11-26-2013, 12:32 PM
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First off I would be remiss if I didn't tell you to go up to your local club and ask what they like training on, which will most likely be a 40 size trainer. Training at a club with a GOOD instructor with a buddy box increases your chances by about 1000%. Trust me. I am self taught and I was on my 3rd plane (after many repairs) before I did my first landing on purpose.

If, and ONLY if, however, you live in one of those places where they film the "Outback" and "Forester" commercials and getting to a club requires swimming a couple of crock infested streams, putting a starter in the rover and driving to a small airstrip to catch a flight to a remote station to take the train into Sydney, then you might want to give it a go alone.

In that case the LST metioned is good for a 1/2a trainer. While many instructors will disagree, I still start off the people I have trained on a small 2 channel 1/2a trainer in the middle of a big field on a buddy box just so they can get their feet wet without having a bunch of on-lookers. Gets them past the nervousness and builds a little confidence before a trip to the club.

The benifits of 1/2a for self training include being cheaper and easier to repair (Yes, plan on that) and a baby bee only makes for about 4 minutes of white-knuckled terror before it runs out of gas and you only have to glide it to the ground to call it a successfull flight I would also suggest removing the landing gear at first for 3 reasons. 1st it is easier to hand launch in the beggining. 2nd it is much easier to belly land on your first landings. And 3rd it is one less thing to repair in between attempts at flying. I would also set it up for just 2 channels, rudder and elevator. Having only 2 things to control (Up/Down and right/left) is enough in the begining and leaves you with only 3 possible incorrect responses rather than many. Set it up according to the plans, the balance (cg AND right/left), control throws set to minimum, and make sure everything is straight before you start and have a go at it.

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Old 11-26-2013, 06:06 PM
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G'day Aussie Damo,

Thanks. The LST looks like a great trainer to start with (simple to build etc). After looking at the Youtube videos, it flies well too.

I'll keep this model in mind, along with others, such as the Grace, DNU and Jr Falcon.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:21 PM
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The Jr Falcon is a nice flyer, I have 3, but the lst is a slightly better trainer. Its patterned after the Kadet Senior which is a fantastic trainer. The gracie isn't built for training and the dnu is a good choice for a 2nd plane after you have mastered the trainer.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hllywdb View Post
.....................but the LST is a slightly better trainer. Its patterned after the Kadet Senior which is a fantastic trainer. The Grace isn't built for training and the DNU is a good choice for a 2nd plane after you have mastered the trainer.
I agree.

The Grace falls in between the LST and the DNU. The Grace is two channel, as is the DNU, but Grace is R/E as opposed to the DNU which is A/E. Grace will be a more gentle flyer, it will be slower than the DNU and will not perform axial rolls or inverted flight very easily. The DNU is a quick, agile plane with a flat wing and little stability, so you will need to maintain control all the time, but it is a hoot to fly.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:30 PM
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Both the Enya and the OS are great engines and would be fine to learn on in the right plane. I haven't flown real trainers but old-school planes (rudder and elevator) are docile enough to learn on. After that you can get a "Stick" type of plane for aileron practice.

They have stopped making the Thunder Tiger scooter, but there are similar designs that fly at a walking pace;

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Old 11-27-2013, 02:21 AM
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Hi Hllywdb,

I understand, then, that it's quite OK to start off with a 1/2A Trainer, as long as I'm taught by an instructor with a "buddy box" transmitter. From there, I assume that I can "progress" to either a "40 size" trainer (better for windy conditions) through a local club and instructor, or build a faster sport model (Grace/DNU) still using the 1/2A (or a slightly larger) engine. Is this correct ?

I'm quite happy to mostly fly 1/2A models though, because, as you said, they are cheaper and easier to repair. But I also believe that with their low power and weight, they pose less of a safety hazard if (or rather, when) they crash.

As you've suggested, I'll get in touch with a few local clubs for more information.

As I live in suburban Sydney, I'm lucky that I don't need to wade through croc infested streams, or fly to a remote station and catch a train! . But when I get to the flying field, I may still need to contend with Funnelweb or Redback spiders

Thanks a lot for your help
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:58 AM
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Just a thought on the Surestart. If you want to abort a flight there is no real throttle to chop as it is heading at the ground. Not that that would ever happen?..
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:41 PM
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That's a good point you've got about the Surestart (or Babe Bee for that matter) - not that the model will ever crash

I suppose I could always do the "throttle mod" for this engine though.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:21 PM
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Again I would make the club your first stop. They may also know of members that are willing to sell a 40 size trainer that they have outgrown for a small amount. Not sure how it is there but I know most of the instructors at my local clubs don't realy fly 1/2a and tend to suggest more traditional trainers. The same goes for radio selection. The club will offer some sage advice as to what most of them are flying and it is an advantage to fly a similar brand to allow for easy buddy box flying as well as having plenty of help with radio setup. Note I said similar BRAND, you don't need a 12 channel super computer radio to learn on, or for that matter fly most planes.
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Old 11-28-2013, 03:51 AM
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Hillywdb, Andrew & Mr Cox,

Thank you all for your comments. Much appreciated.

I hope to visit a few clubs this weekend and get some more feedback.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:57 PM
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I endorse all the recommendations about club help and buddy boxes and so forth, it's exactly what I tell people too.

But.. just to throw a fly in the ointment.. in 1974 I spent my summer earnings on a Falcon 56 & Cox/Sanwa radio. Built it, took it to the club field, the instructor checked it over, took off, and on climb-out it spiraled in and got totaled. Never figured out why.

So.. with the summer job investment re-kitted, I scratch built a high wing almost-all-foam jobbie, ugly as sin, with rudder only proportional and a Black Widow. I took this out myself and just flew it - did not crash either, honest. Hot wire cut wings and stab and vertical fin, balsa rudder, sheet foam 1/2" thick box fuse, like a bloated ugly stick. I remembered what various articles said about flying R/O, and it behaved exactly that way - nose up and mush without rudder, but climbing turns with gentle rudder, and a spiral dive with full rudder. A good name for it would have had the initials POS, but hey.. a poor high school kid with my summer job earnings gone, you do what you have to.

After that wore out a buddy gave me a Thermic 72 converted to 2-ch RC with a power pod, so the radio and BW went into that. It was easier to fly than the R/O model. After that I had a Sterling Fledgling on 4 channel. I figured it couldn't be much worse to fly than the others so I just took it out to the sod field and flew it. It wasn't. Not sure of the quality of my landings but I got it down safely. Hooray for sod fields.. if you have one available.

They were all docile fliers in their own way.

So it can be done. But... the probability of success is much higher with help and with the right models, and that is the best way to go.
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
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So it can be done. But... the probability of success is much higher with help and with the right models, and that is the best way to go.
I agree, 100%.

That being said, I think the larger .40 size trainers are easier to fly and make a better first plane than a 1/2A sized model. They can be flown more slowly due to lighter wing loading and having a fully functional throttle. The larger size also helps with orientation and maintaining good visual when flown farther out.

Our club has also been recommending the Hobbyzone Super Cub BNF as a first plane. You would need a DSM transmitter. Which leads to another option: the Phoenix R/C simulator. The sim may be purchased with a transmitter (Spektrum DX5e) or as a standalone program. If we have folks asking about the sim, normally we suggest that they get the standalone sim and move up to the Spektrum DX6i --- it's more expensive than the 5e, but you can quickly outgrow the 5e. The DX6i is a well designed 6 channel computer TX and will serve you well as your skills improve. I see a marked difference in beginners who have had a lot of sim time and in those who have not. Training time is cut by 70 or 80%.

I had a new club member at the field a couple of weeks ago who had flown hours on the simulator. I put his plane up, trimmed it and handed off to him. He flew as if he had been flying for a long time and greased the landing. After that, he was good to go --- I stayed by him, but his skill level was up to the task.

A sim can be an added expense, but I fly mine all the time, especially in the winter months when flying days are few. It's ported to my flat screen and with a USB extension cable, I can sit in my easy chair and fly to my heart's content. Additionally, I can learn maneuvers that I would be hesitant to try with a good plane (I've stuck thousands of dollars of helis in the dirt -- only to be fixed with a click).
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Old 11-28-2013, 04:08 PM
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I find myself out of touch with what are the (genuinely) good out of the box foamie lekkie trainers. Some time ago I would have suggested a Slow Stick to anyone but some assembly required. Still a riot in a slow paced and butt ugly kind of way.

Recently I got to briefly fly an Apprentice, seemed okay. OOP now though. So the Super Cub is a good one?

I imagine the Kadet 42 EP must be a good candidate in the ARF category, as far as trad construction goes.
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
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..............So the Super Cub is a good one?
It has worked out well for us here. Our LHS is a Horizon dealer and carries replacement parts for most of the HobbyZone products (if not in stock, he will order for us). It is R/E, so we usually recommend configuring with rudder on the right stick --- it seems to make it a little easier to transition to aileron models. I've seen some take some real hits and survive or be repairable. You can out grow it, but for a first plane, it gets people's feet wet and gives them something they can learn with --- they can master the plane before frustration sets in.

You can bash them by adding ailerons and a larger brushless motor. To liven things up, we sometimes have figure 8 races.

http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...lp-bnf-HBZ7380
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:47 PM
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I learned to fly with a cheap 6 foot span glider that had a TD .049 mounted above the wing. The owner of the hobby shop got it trimmed out, had me fly a few laps and told me that to avoid crashing you have to always be able to get the wings level without delay. When the plane is coming back to you, move the stick towards the low wing until the wing levels out. The other thing he did was dial in down trim so that the pilot flys with the stick constantly "engaged" to some degree to just maintain altitude. My first landings were 2-300 feet away from me but the glider was so stable at walking speed that the only danger was hitting a fence or a tree.
After a couple of flights he went back to the store and I spent the next 6 months just flying that glider every chance I could. The TD was plenty of power to get up there 3-400 feet on just an ounce of fuel. I remember the kit had a pine nose block and it needed quite a lot of lead poured into it to get the CG.
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:24 AM
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A high wing, slow flying, self stabilizing plane should be fine to learn on. A throttle is also good to have, plus bright colours to see it better in the air.

Here is what I learnt on in the early 80-ties, scratch build 2-ch and powered by a Babe bee, not ideal but the plane is still flyable...

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Old 11-29-2013, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
. If we have folks asking about the sim, normally we suggest that they get the standalone sim and move up to the Spektrum DX6i --- it's more expensive than the 5e, but you can quickly outgrow the 5e. The DX6i is a well designed 6 channel computer TX and will serve you well as your skills improve. I see a marked difference in beginners who have had a lot of sim time and in those who have not. Training time is cut by 70 or 80%.
I have the DX6i, a great radio and I still haven't out grown it.

Sims are awesome to learn on, save you so much money, after me and a mate bashing my LST a little (and him alot on his 40 trainer, read fence cutting fuse in half) we found out a guy down the road had a sim and he let us use it for an hour or two. I might have crashed 15 times but by the end of it I could cut circuits pretty easy and some basic aerobatics. It doesnt need to be a fancy sim, even the free ones are great just to help with orientation and landing

Damo
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:54 AM
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I'm self taught and have been in model aviation for over 40 years beginning with control line. My self taught RC plane was an Ace Wizard with a Cox TD .049 for power. I turned the prop around backwards for a few flights till I got the hang of it. I bought the plane, 2 channel radio and engine for $100, built it and flew for about 6 months. Then sold it ready to go to someone else for $100. That's a lot of fun for not much money!

I still see the Ace Wizard on auction sites regularly, in fact I may have a couple kits in my stash. If you want to try one send me a PM.

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Old 11-29-2013, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
I'm self taught and have been in model aviation for over 40 years beginning with control line. My self taught RC plane was an Ace Wizard with a Cox TD .049 for power...............

I still see the Ace Wizard on auction sites regularly, in fact I may have a couple kits in my stash. If you want to try one send me a PM.
The Wizard was one of many designs by Owen Kampen (the Pacer is another well known model). In its original kitted version, I always thought it was on the heavy side, mainly due to the weight of the foam wings of the time and the available radio gear. With lighter foam cores or a built-up wing coupled with today's micro-gear, it should be a superb flyer, either with a throttled NORVEL or electric.

I still think the design is one of the "prettiest" half-A models out there.
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Old 11-29-2013, 12:34 PM
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It was an awesome flyer with the TD. Great sport power (with the prop installed correctly) and surprisingly aerobatic. Towards the end of a tank I would climb as high as I could, wait for the engine to quit and revel in a nice long glide to a landing at my feet. Last flight of the day I took a folding chair, sat it down on the runway centerline (no one else flying), sit in the chair for the whole flight and catch the plane at the end while still seated. Great fun!

It was extremely easy to build with the crutch style fuselage and econokote covered wings. With maximum rudder and elevator throw I could fly by at full throttle TD screaming and slam the stick to one corner for a wicked cool snap that was so quick you weren't sure it did anything at all, then it would continue on flying straight and level like nothing happened.

I think I'll get out to the garage and build another!

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Old 11-29-2013, 05:57 PM
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The Whizzard is a bit portly as a trainer with a baby be, better with a medallion or TD, but a good flyer. Easy to build and you can still buy the foam wings from Select. http://www.selecthobbies.com/
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Old 11-05-2016, 10:07 PM
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I realize this is now an old thread, but I just wanted to thank everyone who replied to my original post. Much appreciated

Sorry for the late reply

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