Welcome to Control Line Flying

If you’ve ever thought about building and flying control-line model planes, we have a few words for you…

First, congratulations on picking a terrific hobby! Model-builders come in all ages and levels of experiences. Whether you’ve been working with model-building for years, or whether you’re just getting started, you’ll find there are plenty of challenges and lots of satisfaction!

Second, we want you to know that every model-builder we’ve ever met started out with more questions than answers. But, just about everyone agrees that getting started right is the key to getting the most enjoyment out of model-building.

To help first-time model-plane builders, we have put together some ideas on the first steps you should be taking. Of course, once you get started, you’ll probably have lots of other questions…and we are more than happy to answer them. Brodak Mfg. & Distributing Co., Inc. is more than just a supplier of airplanes and supplies. We want to help you learn more about your hobby, so when you have questions, call us at (724) 966-2726 or write to us at 100 Park Avenue, Carmichaels, PA 15320 and we’ll be glad to help you in any way that we can.

Choosing Your Kit

Model airplanes that are built for flying come in two basic styles, The Profile airplane has a flat body, much like the small, balsa wood gliders that have been flown by young boys and girls for many, many years. The Built-Up Fuselage airplane has a body design similar to the body you would find on a model airplane built for display.

The Profile airplane is the best choice for a beginner, for several reasons. First, it is easier and quicker to build. Second, it is easier to learn to fly a Profile-type airplane. And third, a Profile-type is easier to repair. As you begin learning to fly, wrecks are almost inevitable, so having an airplane that is relatively easy to repair and get ready for the next flight is an important point to consider.

As you select a kit for your first control-line model airplane, look for an outfit that has a .35 size engine. This engine has plenty of “lifting” power, and is a “slower” engine. Since your airplane won’t be traveling as fast, you will have more time to acquaint yourself with the “feel” of the airplane and the “feel” of flying…without the extra pressure of excessive speed. Remember, when an airplane is traveling faster, you have less time to react and adjust! Also, the .35 engine is a popular size that will fit a great many different airplanes.

Before You Start Building

Once you have picked a kit, we recommend you prepare your work surface. The best work surface is both flat and stable. Purchase a piece of glass that is at least three feet wide, four feet long, and one-quarter inch thick, and a piece of drywall or sheetrock that is the same size.

Place the glass on your work area, and put the drywall sheet on top of the glass. The glass will protect the surface underneath it and give the drywall more stability. An advantage of this work surface is that the drywall is porous enough that you can stick pins into it. When the drywall becomes covered with glue, paint and holes, it can be easily and economically replaced.

Getting Started

Once you have purchased a kit and have a work area, we recommend that you do several things before you actually begin building.

  • Read the plans through once to make sure that you have a complete set of plans.
  • Take all of the pieces out of the box and match them up with the plans, making sure that you have the right number of pieces of each part.
  • Read the plans thoroughly a number of times to familiarize yourself with everything you are going to be doing. Pay particular attention to any special sequence that the manufacturer recommends in building the model.
  • Make sure that you have on hand all of the materials and tools you might need to build the airplane.
  • Pick one section on which you want to start, then concentrate on that section. (Many of us who have been building these planes for years choose to start working on the wings).

Four other tips about the building process:

  1. First, always work in a well ventilated area, especially when you are sanding and painting.
  2. Second, C-A glue works extremely well in assembling the plane. It is relatively easy to use and can give you professional results.
  3. Third, Super Coverite fabric is an excellent choice for covering the wings. The fabric is durable and easy to use, and the package includes easy-to-follow instructions.
  4. Since the object of building the plane is to learn to fly it, we recommend that you do not put a lot of time into sanding and finishing your early models. It is almost inevitable that you will have wrecks, so you want a finish that is both easy to do and durable. We recommend that you put three coats of clear “dope” on the entire plane to seal it against fuel damage. Once the “dope” is dry, go out and fly the plane!

The basics of control-line model airplane building can be learned fairly easily.

As you practice, you will become more skilled and will look for ways to improve your talent. There are several excellent books available on model-airplane building and finishing. We recommend the book Flying Around which is available through Brodak’s. Good luck with your model-building, and welcome to flying the way it was meant to be!