Abilene RC Society

Seabee Park
Abilene Texas

How to Fly A Warbird

 Before you even consider attempting to fly a scale warbird you need to insure that all of the aircraft’s systems are functional. The check and recheck plan here will insure the model is ready. If anything on the model checks out unsatisfactorily, DO NOT FLY. It’s much better to come back another day than put your plane at risk. You have to understand that you are the ground crew as well as the flight commander and putting a dysfunctional aircraft in the air is extremely dangerous and not a wise thing to do. Setup on many warbirds is a complex task and you often find there are many distractions occurring while you assemble your plane.

Most planes go to the field in pieces and as the assembly process takes place great care needs to be taken that all of the assembly steps were completed to perfection. You make the decision and also bear the responsibility of a plane being airworthy. Take this seriously because the survival of your plane depends on it.

Check your batteries before every flight. If the batteries are even marginal take the time to recharge them. The little charging units that you get with a radio are good chargers but they are very slow. A full charge will normally take 16 – 18 hours. There are many battery system checkers on the market and you should use a device that loads your batteries as they are being checked.

Make sure your fuel tank clunk is free and in the proper area of the tank. Many models get stored on their nose and this often leads to the clunk in the tank bending around and going to the front of the tank. If the clunk stays there you will probably loose the engine on takeoff and a low and slow deadstick warbird is a disaster waiting to happen. Take the time to check the fuel clunk.

Carefully check all of the fuel lines and make sure they are secure at all connections. Also make sure you have used the proper diameter line and that the line is the right type for the fuel you are using. Glow fuel and gasoline fuel line is not interchangeable. All of your fuel should be filtered and make sure you clean your filter regularly. Many modelers have a filter in the filling line as well as one between the carburetor and the fuel tank. Clean fuel enhances engine performance and it increases reliability.

Retracts also require a thorough check.. Pump the system up and see if it holds air. A pressure between 80-100 PSI is about normal and your should be able to get four or five gear cycles completed before you loose air pressure. If you run out of air after two cycles check for leaks first and if no leaks are found you most likely need a larger storage tank in the plane. I prefer the metal tanks over the plastic bottle tanks. If the retracts loose pressure find the leak before you fly. Repair it and then recheck the system.. Monitor the air pressure with the gear in both the extended and retracted positions. Also make sure the gear lock in the down position and if they are designed to lock in the up position insure that feature works as well. If a retractable tail wheel is used make sure the steering of the tail wheel does not interfere with the tail wheel retract operation. Double check all of the wheel collars that hold the wheels on the axles too. I have see many warbirds take off and leave a wheel behind rolling down the runway.

Flight control surfaces are next. Make sure all linkages are secure and tight. You are required to use some type of method to insure control linkages will not become disconnected in flight. Make sure they are properly secured and that they deflect in the right direction when commanded to do so from the transmitter. Make sure the throws are even and opposite flight surfaces have equal travel when compared to the opposite control surface. I am not saying they need to travel the same distance in each direction they just need to be the same distance movement when compared to the opposite surface moving in the same direction. When you compare the ailerons as an example. When the right aileron is up it should move the same distance in the up direction as the left aileron moves when the stick is moved in the opposite direction. Both should go the same distance up and both should go the same distance down when they are compared side to side. This is really critical on flaps if the plane is equipped with them.

Warbirds need flaps and they should be built whenever possible. They are extremely effective for landing and they dramatically increase slow flight stability. Also make sure that all of you flight surfaces are securely mounted and that all hinges are securely mounted and free of any bind. Double check every thing a second time and if anything is not right DON”T FLY. Fix the problem and then get ready to fly. Make sure you check all of your servo mounts as well. They will loosen up and losing a servo mount could be the end of your plane so look them over before you fly .

Check the engine mount and the muffler before every flight. Vibration is your enemy and it is difficult to remove all of the vibration. Carefully balancing the prop helps but there will always be some vibration. It will loosen everything over time so stay on top of this. Also check the prop for an signs of problems and don’t fly with a damaged prop. If you loose a blade in flight it will destroy the airplane. Don’t chance it. The money you spend to replace a bad prop is far less than replacing your entire airplane.

If your plane passes the complete inspection it’s time to put on your pilot hat and sunglasses and get ready to put your pride and joy into the air. The next unit will cover Radio range checking, starting and engine proveout, taxi and takeoff procedures.

Flying warbirds is different and there are several thing you need to know before you fly. Understanding the things that can happen before they do happen will aid you in being able to correctly react and give you the chance to enjoy the reason you took all of this on in the first place. Warbird flight is a thrilling experience and getting you there successfully is the reason we decided to do this article. We will discuss all aspects of flying a scale warbird from takeoff through post flight inspection and hopefully pass on some tried and proven information that will keep you involved with this great area of radio control modeling.




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