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RC Airplane Flight Tech: Flying Scale Maneuvers

RC Airplane Flight Tech: Flying Scale Maneuvers

In competition aerobatics, we’re concerned only about the execution of the maneuver, period. For example, loops must be perfectly round and centered, and precision is the key to achieving the highest score. In scale competition, however, you have to execute a loop just like the full-size aircraft would have performed it. For example, a loop done by an old vintage biplane would be more egg-shaped, and that’s the way a scale flier has to do it! A heavy metal warbird from WW2 would do the loop much taller and rounder. It has to fit with the performance of the airplane you are flying.


An interesting twist in scale competition is that before a pilot flies a round, he must tell flight judges how the full-size airplane flew and how he will fly his model in a realistic fashion. So the first thing you have to do to be successful is to find out as much about the full-size aircraft as you possibly can. Very lightly loaded aircraft that were modestly powered might have had a cruise speed of only 75mph because lots of rigging and fixed gear created a lot of drag; old biplanes simply would not do a loop like an Extra 300S!

Scale Moves

To fly a simple loop, a vintage aircraft would have to perform a long, steep dive to increase its speed (often doubling its cruise speed), or it simply would not make it over the top of the loop.

Capture2So armed with this information, the next step is to test-fly your model. You must determine the best engine size, prop, etc., for the model to fly realistically, slow or fast, depending on the full-size plane’s characteristics. It is mandatory that you fly your model in a prototypical fashion.

For this article, I’ll explain my techniques for scale flying. Different planes require different flying styles, but my approach can be adjusted to suit your model. The flying at most scale contests represents half of the total score; your static score accounts for the other half. Because both carry equal weight, flying well is very important. Usually, you will fly four or five rounds, and the average of the best three scores is used for your final flight score…

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