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December 05, 2020, 15:43:54 pm

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What makes a good trainer

Started by tsr, February 05, 2015, 22:37:10 pm

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February 05, 2015, 22:37:10 pm Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 22:43:34 pm by tsr
A long time ago I asked this question on another forum because I wanted to build one for my Godson. He was a bit young at the time and I had a whale of time flying the outcome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7t4-EUVduU# it was very light but coped with flying in a stiff breeze quite happily on its remaiden the first effort had revealed the design had insufficient aileron authority and was unstable in the glide due to a lack of fin area. In the video I was really trying to see if I could get it to hang on the wind but failed dismally and the landing was a mess as near the ground the breeze disappeared. It did eventually get to have a go with a complete beginner and worked pretty well. It was three function but elevator aileron throttle rather than rudder. However I eventually built its successor. Stronger heavier and able to fly with a prop or with an EDF. It was not as much a trainer though.

So the question is what makes a good trainer?
All ideas welcome, as I keep hearing different ideas whenever this comes up. I think it has something to do with the environment where people learn to fly.

So perhaps this should be divided into two sets of answers. What makes a good self teaching trainer? and What makes a good trainer for someone learning with an instructor?
We are not looking for specific models here but the attributes a model should have.

I will start off with one that almost never gets mentioned and that is that it should look interesting. If it looks good then people will want to fly it.
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
You may need a box of tissues though!


The best way to illustrate what is required is with an example.  I nominate the ATS/Flair Kite.

It is tough, it is attractive to look at.  It flies well but is sufficiently challenging to allow the pupil to progress from first flight on a buddy lead probably to a B cert.  It performs well on a cheap and basic motor like an OS46LA.  Radio installation is simple.  Access to all vital areas including the tank bay is simple and quick.  Repairs are also straightforward with a traditional veneered foam wing and a substantial balsa and proper ply fuselage.

I've still got one in the hangar and wheel it out a couple of times a year.  I still enjoy flying it.
Strangely I find I do not have a single picture of mine but here is the Flair write up etc http://www.flairmodels.co.uk/Aircraft/Vintage_and_Trainers/Kite.htm
Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.  (Terry Pratchett)


February 06, 2015, 00:18:17 am #2 Last Edit: February 06, 2015, 06:02:59 am by tsr
ATS Flair Kite not sure i have seen that design before. I have led a sheltered life you know. So rugged, easy to repair and build straight. trike or taildragger. Flies well can progress with the pilot. Maybe one for the instructor led student do you think or is it going to work for the self taught brigade as well.?
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
You may need a box of tissues though!


"Self taught" - that depends what you mean.  I think after an afternoon of professional tuition, in theory a quick learner could go off and learn to fly but I don't think it would be a good idea to do that with any model or with any traditional model.

I do not believe that anyone can simply be self taught.  They may think they are and some will do it with minimal live interventions from others, but there will always be an external input - be it screamed advice before a potential crash, or more measured advice afterwards!
Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.  (Terry Pratchett)


lots of slopers are self taught.
you can tell which ones, they have a battered bullet or zagi.
I know you believe you understand what you think i said, but i am not sure you realise that what you think you heard is not what i meant.


February 07, 2015, 19:30:44 pm #5 Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 20:05:51 pm by tsr
I taught myself with a bit reading and a love of aeroplanes and I scratchbuilt most of the planes I learnt on. cheaper you see and started with freeflight models so had a good understanding of what did what from trimming those. Cactus' zagi and bullet are made of epp a material that is great for people who are teaching themselves as it bounces rather than breaking. It can also be glued with regular cyano. Or any other  commonly used modeling adhesive.
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
You may need a box of tissues though!


I taught myself the basics with a Flying Wings V Trainer with initially the 3 channel polyhedral wing and then progressed to the aileron 4 channel version;  based on this I think that particular model is a good blueprint for a trainer. I also added an undercarriage to mine so I could learn to take off and land.
But when I came to club flying I had to star again and learn with a high wing model (I had an ST Discovery) and get shut of the bad habits I'd picked up by teaching myself - like flying behind myself and turning round to follow it!
If you are not interested in club flying or BMFA awards then my original recommendation stands but if you are then get a proper high wing trainer - preferably one that your local club recommends.
I think.......I think I am........Therefore I am. .....I think!


February 08, 2015, 00:24:20 am #7 Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 00:30:54 am by tsr
what makes the difference between the two models when it comes to what you learn from flying them. Stability levels  relative speed and the level of control authority all jump to mind. One is a very basic trainer and the other is a very capable model that can be flown as a beginner or as an intermediate. The v trainer is good at getting you into the air. The club type trainer let's you fly with good deal of precision. So what are the specific qualities that can be distilled out of them that would possibly make for a trainer that would work both at the club and for the solo learner. The 4 function v trainer will compare quite well perhaps I haven't flown one so would be interested in hearing more about your experiences between the two models. Weight I imagine would be a significant difference.
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
You may need a box of tissues though!


February 08, 2015, 10:21:17 am #8 Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 10:27:48 am by DarrellW
The polyhedral wing version is great for getting the basics of getting into the air and learning about orientation, plus the fact that it's almost indestructible (I had a good few go's at destroying mine :-D ) but it's still flying to this day with more power and the aileron wing.
The Aileron wing version is a big step forward,  it gives it much more precision in the air - I personally wouldn't recommend it for a first timer without being buddied. I think it is a great model for upgrading,  initially using the polyhedral wing and then converting it az I have done.  The most important thing I think you would need to do it give it an undercarriage,  mine has a skid at the tail and Funcub size wheels forward of the cog; I have recently removed them and installed a more powerful motor - a 2212 2200kv as recommended on the flying wings website,  it completely transforms it! It now is a real bundle of fun, aerobatics are easy to do and it climbs very rapidly, for its price I think you would find it very difficult to find aanything better.
I think the best feature of the model is the ability to change from the polyhedral wing to the aileron wing, it gives the learner the option to upgrade without having to buy a completely new model, making it less like having to learn a new model from scratch.
Saying that,  I have recently started building model from foamboard and am sure that there is something in the huge volume of plans that would fit the bill.
I think.......I think I am........Therefore I am. .....I think!


I think that we are making a little progress on this thread. Essentially we have some major similarities between both approaches and some major differences that cover a few areas.

Similarities are:-
1 Docile flying characteristics.
2 Some level of general stability
3 Rugged construction
4 Moderate flying speed / lowish wing loading
5 Some level of aesthetic interest.

Personally I would always say have ailerons on any model, but many would say otherwise.

1 All up weight
2 Undercarriage
3 Level of stability
4 Degree of control authority
5 Survivability of parts of the aircraft, props undercarriage.

Probably missed a few.   
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
You may need a box of tissues though!

The Saint. (Owen)

The ideal trainer is the Super Tauri, it is docile, it is stable and you can build it with or without ailerons.
It flies very well without ailerons and you can always build an extra wing with ailerons. :)
Electrickery is the work of the devil.
Proper aeroplanes are powered by engines.


February 08, 2015, 18:23:27 pm #11 Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 19:16:27 pm by tsr
I quite like the Super Tauri I found a picture on the web. It ticks a few boxes I think it comes in at about 4lbs, It is a high wing trainer type without looking too boring. It looks a little bit like a mid wing type with the Cockpit above the wing or I suppose it could also have a canopy. As I have said before I favour ailerons from the start. In electric form it could easily be engineered in EPP as well as wood or depron so could easily be very rugged and it is small enough to be easy to transport, but big enough to be seen. Landing speed would be good for a club scenario but might struggle flying from a small sort of 1 acre flying area, it would depend on what was around it.

It looks a simple structure so easy to build accurately and quickly  the two key things to my mind when introducing people to building. Particularly those who prefer flying to building as I think most do initially. After a while that probably changes.

With a tricycle undercarriage prop strikes would be lower than with taildragger trainers.

So it has a lot of the attractions that mean it could be a universal trainer. Perhaps it could be made a little lighter a target weight of 3lbs I think would give the ideal trainer for those in the club and those in the local field. Over the BMFA minimum weight for the A certificate so you could take part in the personal achievement scheme. At 3 lbs it should be very happy in pretty much any decent breeze up to 15 to 20 mph But light enough to be built to survive a bit of an arrival.

So next question what power source should we use personally having started on diesel and then glow and now electric I would always say electric. It is quieter cleaner every bit as powerful and can be used with materials that glow fuel attacks. Structures can be just as strong nowadays because of the advances in motors and batteries.

However if your ambition is to fly 1/3 scale and above then IC has more attraction. Some say that it is different in terms of needing further skills to master an IC motor and there is some truth in this but it could be said that they are just different skills.
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
You may need a box of tissues though!