“Flying The RC Model Airplane — Stall Turn Or Hammerhead”

Here we are at the end of summer for some of us living in the northern climates.  Not much nice weather left for flying your radio controlled model airplanes or helicopters.  Although it is the end of the summer flying season for some of us, there is still a lot you can do to stay involved with our hobby through the winter months.

Some of the more durable and adventurous of RC modelers actually do some flying outdoors during the frozen months.  It is sometimes done on frozen lakes or if you have a large enough building available, you can fly some of the smaller electric powered models indoors.   And don’t overlook the sport of indoor RC model car and truck racing.  It is also a lot of fun and very much doable in any weather.

You may have the desire to build a new kit this winter or maybe you had an accident with your favorite model last summer and it needs some repair work.   Either way, the winter months are ideal for model building or rebuilding.  I have a couple of kits to build and one model that had a radio failure and it is in need of some serious repair.  My intent is to make a video of kit building and another one of rebuilding crashed radio controlled model airplanes.  However, these videos will be delayed for a while because I am in need of some serious repair on my right ankle.  I will be going in the hospital on the 13th of November for surgery.  I expect to be in a cast for several months and that will limit my ability to get into the basement to my airplane workbench.  I will prevail and the videos will be available as soon as possible.   Please bear with me and keep reading my blog for more RC information and be sure to sign up to receive my 7 day eCourse on getting started in RC flying.

Now, let’s get on to flying the stall turn.  It is also called the hammerhead because of the similarity to the shape of a hammerhead.  Begin with straight and level flight and make sure you are flying at a high enough altitude to give you time to correct any mistakes that may occur.   When you are ready to make the stall turn pull the nose up with full elevator and begin vertical flight and at the top of the hammerhead or at the point of the stall, reduce the airspeed with the throttle control and simultaneously give the rudder full left to make a sharp left turn without using the ailerons.  You will have to use some elevator control to head the plane straight downward.   Increase the throttle to get control of the model, but not too fast, because you will need to pull it out of the dive and you need to be careful not to overload the wing at that point.  At the bottom of the hammerhead, pull up elevator to return to straight and level flight in the opposite direction from where you began the hammerhead.

The hammerhead or stall turn is actually fairly simple to perform.  Just remember to start at a sufficient altitude to allow for mistakes and don’t dive at full throttle in order to avoid excessive G-forces on the wing when you pull out of the dive to return to level flight.  You can practice this by turning either to the left or the right at the top of the stall, but I think it is more common to turn to the left.

This turn is fun to fly and fun to watch and it often comes in handy when you have a limited amount of space to fly in.  As always, it is much better to have an experienced flier with you when you are first learning any of the aerobatic maneuvers to provide advice and emergency assistance when needed.

One more point on winter flying fun is to purchase one of the excellent RC flight simulators and practice these maneuvers in the comfort of your home and you won’t have to worry about crashes at all.

This is the OldManFlier and I will see you next time.

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