Routinely check and remove the spark plug to ensure no excessive
carbon buildup is present.
Using common connectors between airframes is a must for
Make sure you’re prepared for race day
by John Glezellis
Preparation is a key element to success in any competition. In the interest of Scale Aerobatics, preparation takes two forms. First, a competitor must practice and better his or her skills in an effort to execute the perfect flight sequence.
Second, he or she must ensure that the radio system, aircraft, and engine work
flawlessly on all competition airplanes, and that all spare items have been packed
before travelling to an event.
At the Nats it is common to see pilots who have two airplanes
that are fully assembled and ready to use, and all for good reason!
Such pilots want to ensure that if any problems occur when it is
their turn to fly, they have spare systems ready.
In this month’s column, I want to explain a few practices that can
help new and experienced pilots. I will explain aircraft preparation
and which electronic components could fail at any time. I will also
examine a few basic problems that can occur with the engine and
I will also discuss spare components, because when competition
day comes, a pilot should only think about performing the sequence
to the best of his or her abilities, not about the functionality of the
aircraft! Without further delay, let’s begin!
The Right Connections
Aeromodelers often collect and use different types of batteries,
switches, etc. Because technology changes each year, so does a
modeler’s inventory. However, no matter what electronics are found
within an airframe, it is important that common connectors and
switches are used.
Receiver batteries should be compatible. I equip my Giant Scale
aerobatic airplanes with 4,000 and 6,000 mAh LiPo batteries from Spektrum that
come with EC3 connectors. The connectors are compatible with the Spektrum
nine-channel PowerSafe receiver and the Spektrum VR6010 high-current voltage
Although these are great connectors, I have used Deans Ultra plugs for years. I
don’t want to have one airplane that uses all EC3 connectors and another that uses
Deans Ultra plugs. This would make the need for spares a nightmare!
For airplanes on which I am not using
a voltage regulator, I have the battery
leads long enough that they can
be plugged directly into the
receiver, if needed. I’ll
In the past, I have
had connectors fail
because of vibration
joints. This has
roughly 10 minutes before a flight
demonstration on an airplane that used
high-voltage servos. Because I didn’t
have enough time to replace the switch,
(which is the component that failed),
I plugged the battery directly into the
receiver. The problem was temporarily
Because common connectors are used
between all airframes, you can bring a
spare battery or a spare switch to the
airfield in case you need one on the day
of competition. Even if a pilot brings
two airplanes to a competition, he or she
may prefer one over the other, making it
his or her primary aircraft of choice. By
having two airframes that use the same
electronics, you can simply remove a
component from one aircraft and install
it in the other airplane in minutes!
Using a computer radio offers many
advantages from a programming
perspective, but it also offers the end
120 Model Aviation APRIL 2014