Control-line Model Airplanes

Companies for Control-line Products | Low-Cost Starting Battery | Control-line Airplane Links
Learning to Fly Control-line Model Airplanes
The Rittenhouse Electric AirCraft | Propeller Pitch
Magazines, Books, & Tapes

Companies for Control-Line Products

The Core House
1249 Jill Drive
Hummelstown, PA 17036

Phone: (717)-566-3810

Supplying foam wings for Combat, RC and Control Line in general for over 15 years.

Brodak Manufacturing & Distributing Co
100 Park Avenue
Carmichaels PA 15320
1/2 A Control-line Planes with Built-Up Wings - $19.95 to $21.95

Just Engines

NEW TEL FAX (0)1228 712800

Email or

Popular engines plus spares, pipes, manifolds, silencers; Specialists in MOKI & MVVS

Fox Manufacturing Company
5305 Towson Avenue
Fort Smith Arkansas 72901
Phone (501) 646-1656
Free Catalog Available - Glow Engines

Aero Products - Randy Smith
1880 Scenic Highway
Snellville, Georgia 30278
Phone: 1-770-979-2035
Thanks Aaron Little for sending info

Pro Stunt Products
Windy Urtnowski
Rutherford NJ
Phone: (201) 896-8740

Organizations for Control Line

Shareen Fancher
158 Flying Cloud Isle
Foster City CA 94404 Membership $20

Miniature Aircraft Combat Association
Gene Berry
4610 89th Street
Lubbock TX 79424Membership $15

Navy Carrier Society
Bill Bischoff
3734 Truesdell Place
Dallas TX 75244 Membership $6

National Controlline Racing Association
Jerry Meyer
8 S. Grace
N. Aurora IL 60542 Membership $10

North American Speed Society
Box 82294
Burnaby B.C. Canada V5C-5P7 Membership $24

Low-Cost Starting Battery

Years ago, a friend of mine had gotten a Cox starting kit which contained a starting battery which he took apart for some reason (we were kids, kids always take everything apart). Anyway it consisted of four D size flashlight batteries connected in parallel. Just recently, I created a battery by soldering four D batteries with heavy wire, and wrapping with electrical tape. Works pretty good and I had a starting battery for under $2. A dry cell battery in a hobby shop was over $8. Now if there was some kind of battery box that wasn't a serial connection, (batteries connected from end to end), it would be easy to change batteries.

Control-line Airplane Links

Windy Yurtnowski Website

Control Line in the Classroom
Control Line Info
Nyffeler's Control-line Page
Control Line Introduction

Magazines, Book, and Tapes

How to Fly U-Control by Dick Mathis Book Available Through Sig
The cover of this short book has the following statements:

I really don't think the other books about U-control were written by liars, but I do think this book will help the beginning stunt pilot get started doing the fancy stuff. Don't expect to find photographs, but there are many illustrations.

Introduction to Control Line Building and Flying Tape Available Through Sig

Although I would have liked to have seen more flying, and less building, I think this is a good tape to get people interested in control line. The two planes featured are the Sig 1/2A Skyray and the Skyray 35. With both planes you see many of the construction steps in building, and then out to the flying field for some flying.

Wired For Excitement Tape Available From AMA

This well done tape covers all the major areas of control line competition; stunt, carrier, scale, speed, racing, and combat. Sometimes I thought the tape focused in more on the pilot flying, than on the airplane in flight. Some parts of the tape were kind of funny to watch, like the underpowered scale jet that kept bouncing into the air, or watching the speed pilots running in circles like they were going mad. Over all, I really enjoyed this tape, lots of flying, lots of variety.

Learning to Fly Control-line Model Airplanes

Learning to fly control-line model airplanes is not as simple as one might think. Over controlling is a common problem with beginners; on takeoff too much up control is used causing the plane to zoom skyward at an impossible angle, the natural reflex is to apply down-elevator, but too much is applied which starts a succession of up and down gyrations that can end with an abrupt meeting with the ground. One technique that works well for beginners, is to keep your arm rigid and only move the up and down while keeping your elbow and wrist rigid.

Further complicating the flight of the control-line model is the fact that sufficient centrifugal force must be maintained to keep the tension needed to control the models up and down movement. This is especially true when the model is flying on the upwind portion of the circle, where the wind will be pushing the model inward slackening the lines.

There are techniques to cause the model to fly outward at all times. Most common is having the rudder turned so as to direct the model outward. Another technique is to have the engine thrust line titled outward. Sometimes weight is put in the tip of the right wing.

Any Ideas on Making the Learning Easier

In teaching beginners, I find they just can not seem to get over controlling. I have thought of putting stops on the bellcrank so as to allow little up and almost no down. If anyone has any ideas, please e-mail.


Beginners do best if someone helps them with the first couple of flights, either with a trainer type handle, or simply holding a hand over theirs.

The plane should be a trainer type- nose heavy, realtively large tail, mechanically very slow controls. Use the innermost hole on the bellcrank, a tall control horn, and a large bellcrank, so everything is set up to require the most movement of the handle to get from full up to full down. If the plane can manage a loop, it is probably set up too sensitive.

The Midwest Half A Warbirds do work pretty well. They are relatively easy to build, stable, and hold up pretty well if flown over heavy turf. I met several kids this summer who had built one of these and taught themselves how to fly. It helped that one of the dads involved was a machinist and pretty on the ball mechanically though.


One thing that helps, rather than installing stops on the bellcrank, is to ensure that the training aircraft is set up with a very short moment/distance between the bellcrank pivot point and the pushrod connection point (Tom Dixon uses 3/8" in his stunt ships) and placing the pushrod to the max distance away from the control surface on the elevator control horn. PIO is exacerbated by sensitive controls; reduce the sensitivity to reduce the severity of oscillation onset. Most of us as young control liners figured that "more was better"; thus we put the pushrod in the hole furthest from the bellcrank and positioned it on the elevator such that we virtually created an airbrake from the extreme deflection of the control surface.

Couple of years ago, I designed a training handle that uses two handles that sit in tandem to each other, with a lateral separation at 1.75 inches. Specifically, I used two short pieces of 1x2" pine and mounted the two handles such that they were on opposite corners of the rectangular 1x2" pieces. The trainee holds the handle closest to the airplane and the instructor pilot (IP) the handle furthest from the airplane. Once the IP releases his grip on his handle, that handle then rests against the forearm of the trainee, essentially enabling him to use it to keep his wrist stationary. This, along with the de-sensitized controls, virtually eliminates PIO. There was a picture of a handle with forearm brace from "yesteryear" in a recent issue of PAMPA's Stunt News that accomplished the same thing. Hope these thoughts help!

Chip Largent
Norfolk Aeromodelers
Virginia Beach, VA

The Rittenhouse Electric Aircraft

Possibly a predessor to the control model airplane, was an electrically powered model airplane produced by the A.E. Rittenhouse Company of Honeoye Falls, New York. Introduced in 1913 and produced for almost twenty years, these models would take off and fly in a circle by a combination of centrifugal force and the power of the wings while tethered to a revolving ceiling fixture by two light wires. The heart of the system was the special swiveling counterbalance mounted on a screw hook that was inserted in the ceiling of the room where a model was to be flown. Electrical power was from 6 to 12 volts a.c. or d.c. and could be operated from dry cells, a storage battery, or alternating or direct current by means of a transformer or direct current reducer.

The first model airplane introduced by Rittenhouse in 1913 was a 22-inch wingspan model of a Bleriot that could be flown in a circle of 5 to 100 feet in diameter and would attain an actual speed of 12 miles per hour on 8 dry cells. By 1915 two more airplanes had been added, a smaller 16-inch Bleriot and a Curtiss biplane.

Propeller Pitch

Pitch is the horizontal distance the propeller will screw forward in one complete revolution. The pitch number can be used to determine the theoretical speed that any combination of motor and propeller will deliver. Propellers are sold by using the diameter and pitch. For example an 8x6 propeller would be 8 inches in diameter and have a 6 inch pitch.

Example Computations

6" pitch x 17,000 rpm x 60 (minutes per hour)
12 (inches per foot) x 5280 (feet per mile)



= 96.59 miles per hour With No Drag

Drag will vary but 30% reduction is likely

96.59 x .70 = 67.61 Actual Miles Per Hour