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Reader Tips

Reader Tips

The best readers (you!) have the best tips! Here are eight workshop tips submitted by MAN readers that we think will make your life easier.



While finishing a new cabin airplane and while putting in the aileron and flap Y-harness leads, I stumbled onto an idea that works pretty well. When the leads are disconnected from the wings, I use the little plastic tabs that keep plastic bread bags closed and clip them over the end of the servo leads to prevent them from falling back into the fuselage. Everyone has at least a couple of these things lying around, so you might as well put them to good use.


Flying small lightweight airplanes means that you have to know what the wind is like at the flying field. To make a portable windsock, I use a dowel rod and drill a hole in one end so that I can epoxy a nail in the bottom end. I then install a grommet in the end of a length of ribbon and use a wood screw to secure the ribbon to the top. It works like a charm!


For attachment screws on my molded foam fliers, I use old servo wheels as protective hard pads so that the screws do not compress the foam. The plastic wheels also help prevent damage should your screwdriver slip while tightening the screws. It works great on wing bolts and on top of T-tail glider stabilizers.



There are lots of great little scale details that can be added to a scale model, but they can often get snagged on something when you move the model or when it’s in flight. I have found that the small magnets available from the hobby shop and home-improvement stores make great “attachers” for things like antennae, pitot tubes, and machine-gun barrels that stick out of the wing’s leading edge. I install a brass tube where I want the antenna or gun with the magnet glued inside. I then glue the matching magnet in the base of the detail and slide it in place, where it stays put. When you are ready to fly, simply remove the fragile part.


We want your ideas for Tips & Tricks to MAN@airage.com or Model Airplane News, c/o Air Age Media, 88 Danbury Rd., Wilton, CT 06897 USA.

Updated: December 1, 2016 — 11:14 AM
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  1. I like the portable windsock however, that only tells you at or near ground level. I use a collapsible fishing pole (14′) with a 4 foot strip of surveyors tape tied in the loop for attaching the fishing line. I use a piece of Velcro through the door handle of my car to keep it upright.

  2. I have a collapsible flag pole (16 ft) and that I put into a removable trailer hitch on my van to hold it upright. I have a 1/4 size national flag to show the wind direction.

    Before my R/C days I was, and still am, a kite builder/flier. No wind, out comes my plane. Windy, out comes my kites (the serious kind). Win-win!

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