View Full Version : Rudder vs. Ailerons

01-05-2006, 01:48 AM
So far, all of my RC experience has been with park flyers, aerobats and 3D foamies. While I get a big kick out of pattern and 3D stuff, I still very much enjoy sending my Slow Stick up so high that I can barely see it, and then seeing how long I can keep it up there. So...I've been thinking it's time to have a powered sailplane in my hanger. I've got my eye on the Cermark Mini Phoenix (58" span, 22 oz.) at my LHS because I can afford it ($80) and it is a size and weight that will accommodate electronics that I already have. Most of the entry level warmliners that I've seen have 3 channels using rudder for steering. But...THIS one uses ailerons and has a fixed rudder. Would that be an advantage? Or a disadvantage as I rather suspect? Any advice?:confused:

01-05-2006, 05:21 AM
Thre of us got the Mini Phoenix. If you ever get the bugs out of it it flies nice.

My suggestion is replace the whole prop assembly. If you are lucky you might get a good one, mine tore the motor mount out of the fuselage. That pretty spinner is a bummer, vibrates bad, they finaly got me a good one, I repaired the fuselage.

One other friend has had his fuselage replaced, it had splintered while in the air, lost a prop blade. He got a graupner prop. His fuselage was all cracked. It flies very nicely.

The third has some cracks in the fuselage and gave up on a replacement from Cermark and also got the Graupner prop. He wont try it now.

They fly like a champ once you go through all of this. The Mini Phoenix is discontinue also from Cermark.

Everything that we have gotten from Cermark has been on top.

One of us has a Easy Electra 72 about 4 years old and I have one, about two years old, that was strained through a pine tree, I ended up with the scraps, replaced the wing and rebuilt the tail and it is ready for a flight test.

One bad one doesn't ruin all of them (the Mini), guess that is why they discontinued it and did a clearance sale. Our return postage on all the replace parts offset the savings.

The Dragon Fly is a sweetheart.

By George

01-05-2006, 04:35 PM
I have a Sky Sergio, 82" aileron/elevator and an AVA E 3.2 meter Rudder/elevator. The Rudder/elevator has a couple of advatanges, but the biggest of which is turning ability at slower speeds and crabbing on landing.

Can I suggest you take a look at the Multiplex Easy glider. Its full flying, and is a great floater. Can hotline, is near indestructable and only $89 everywhere. Plus its bigger at 71" so you can see it more easily. It shoul dbe readily available at local hobby shops.


01-06-2006, 02:28 AM
Thanks for the good info. But what about the Rudder vs. aileron issue? Is it an issue? What is your preference? Why?
It sounds like you prefer the rudder. I'll take that to heart. It also sounds like you are very fond of your M.E.G. (which is 4 channel). I checked out the M.E.G. on the Tower site. You'll probably think this is juvenile and arbitrary but I don't care for the way the wing tips turn upward (told ya') and I really wanted a covered balsa plane. Some of my best performing planes are foamies but nothing thrills me more than sun shining through transparent monocoat silhouetting the rib structure. You know...maybe I should save up for a while and get a fancy sailplane like they have in "Quiet Flyer". Which one is your favorite? Thanks for your input, pal.

01-07-2006, 03:08 PM
I added ailerons on a modified slow stick wing to get better handling in winds. I put the aileron control on the right stick and the rudder control on the left stick. Only use the rudder to keep it straight on takeoff. Everything else is just like before except now I have better control on that downwind turn. Slow sticks have a tendency to "death spiral" when trying to turn downwind back to upwind. Much better flying now! Also added a scratchbuilt wing to my Lil' Poke, but weather has kept me from maidening it.

01-08-2006, 03:52 AM
I like it! I just bought my THIRD Slow Stick today (no, I don't have three now). I'll always need to have one even though my training days are way passed. I think I'll try the aileron mod. Did you take some of the dihedral out of the new wing? It looks like it. Also, I have saved all of the wings from deceased planes in the hope that I can use them for something someday. Your Lil' Poke gives me hope that I may find a use for them eventually.

01-09-2006, 05:16 AM

Thanks for the good info. But what about the Rudder vs. aileron issue? Is it an issue? What is your preference? Why?

Sounds like this glider is in the Ascent class and price- which has some easily resolved issues that flies great with r/e and poly.

Polyhedral is self righting and can keep itself upright and trim with less control than an aileron wing more like a freeflight. Mainly, poly banks the wing as offset by a rudder caused slip, while the pilot sets the bank angle with ailerons. The rudder is there mostly to correct for the adverse yaw of the ailerons, which can be designed out. It saves a servo and probably turns fine if it has a touch of dihedral as well but is unusual.

There were times I wished I could have cheated the rudder around a turn with my non-aileron setup but I love the natural simplicity of a poly bird that can fly efficiently mostly by itself with its 'physical intelligence' built into its shape and balance.

Seriously, for a glider- The main reason you would want ailerons (and not di or poly) is if you wanted to fly inverted and be aerobatic or scale, and generally fly faster than a big floater.

Green air,

01-09-2006, 02:14 PM
Ribcracker, got to maiden my new lil' poke wing with ailerons. It is a Clark Y M15 (fairly thick and semi-symmetrical) with built-up ailerons hinged with monokote. First flight in 8 mph wind was WILD! Even though I used a calculation program to determine the new center of gravity, the plane acted like the CG was too far to the rear. Landing was uneventful. Shifted battery forward about an inch and went up again. Much better but still acted like it was a little too tail heavy. A lot of fun - lots of nimbleness and what I gave up was the stabilty of the polyhedral wing tips. I remembered my "dual rates" switch and now everything running sweet. About a 10 minute fllght and it passed directly over my head. I lost perspective and it became a lawn dart! At first glance the wing did not seem to be hurt that much, just a little leading edge sheeting damage, but found it to be warped out of true. Will scrap the wing and build another. This time, will make it in two pieces with about a 2 degree dihedral for a little more stability. The reason for the seeming balance problem was that the new airfoil chord did not fit the cutouts for the wing saddle in the old fuse. It was pointing upward too much. Will correct that next time on the fuse, probably shoot for about +1 degrees.
I LOVE this hobby!!!
Yes, you are correct, the slow stick wing has no dihedral at all and flies very well without it. In the wind while being hauled around by the eflite park 370, the wingtips flap quite a bit, but the wing is strengthed by carbon fiber rods in leading, center chord and trailing edges. Also joined by fiberglas cloth and 5 min epoxy.
Keep on building and flying!

01-10-2006, 02:22 AM
Well said! You've made a very good case. This is the information I was looking for. And I've decided to go with the Ascent. I love Horizon products. I have the Gypsy, Mini-Funtana, and many of their various motors, speedies, lipos, etc. I'm sold. So...the Ascent it is. Thank you!

How does one hinge with monocoat? Do you tack it on like tape? Or do you cut small pieces and use it like ca hinges?
Iv'e had many WILD maidens because the cg was too far aft. And I'm relieved if I can just get it back down to me. Yikes! My hair goes greyer just thinking about it. I'm glad you got that straightened out.
When you build a wing, do you use a plan, or do you lay it out yourself?
Believe me, man, I love this hobby too. When the weather's good, I'm out flying. When the weather's bad, I'm in building (or REPAIRING!) My wife thinks I should get a life but HEY...this IS my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. Ain't we got fun?

01-10-2006, 02:35 PM
I got the information about hinging with monocoat from a great planes kit build manual. Sorry, don't have it hanging around anymore for the pics. Start out before you cover the wing with the aileron in place. Move the aileron all the way upward until it is lying upside down on the wing. Cover the hinge side of the aileron and the hinge area of the aileron cutout on the wing with monocoat. Flip aileron all the way down to it's lowest point of travel and hold with temp tape. Cover the top of the aileron and enough of the wing to secure it. Now cover the wing in the usual manner. This was the first time that I used this technique and the advantage is that the aileron joint is completely sealed. I was concerned that the stiffness of the double thickness of the covering material would be a problem on a park flyer with the smaller servos, but was not a problem at all! Hope this helps and great flying to ya!!

01-11-2006, 08:59 AM
Well said! You've made a very good case. This is the information I was looking for. And I've decided to go with the Ascent.

Good choice, Ribs- she's a fine glider. A gazillion threads adress it's cooling, prop and warp issues but with a 3 cell 1500ma Kokam lipo pack that fits and balances like it was made for it and a 7.2V Speed 400 with a 6x3 CAM folder/spinner you can have a lot of fun with that (up to) $10 motor if you can keep it cool enough to last awhile- that's the Maxed Out version.

My favorite setup was a lighter-still 2 cell 2100TP pack and a 6V S400 & 6x3, a more conservative setup with much longer motor life and runtime. Hot or mild. Add a light reduction drive and get a lot more climb for your amps but pay for it with a heavier faster bird.

There is no substitute for sheer lightness and the Ascent stays up, turns and handles turbulence fine up to a point.

Trim it well and it will give you your first hr long flight.

If I had to choose between going brushless or going lipo- I'd go lipo first. THEN go BL and apreciate the difference! 2 giant tech leaps changed everything.

I lost my Ascent straight overhead soaring with turkey vultures, all getting along beautifully in a thermal and it vanished. It may have been lifted all the way to cloudbase and beyond, a mile overhead, and landed 100 miles downwind eventually... or Zeta Reticuli...

She was the bird that went everywhere with me and got the attention and sweet airtime, in her coroplast box in the truck. 2 screws pop the wing on in seconds and if you have the time and the room you can make a memory.

01-12-2006, 01:30 AM
Wow! That was a powerful missive. I'd be willing to bet that sales of the Ascent blip up after people read your post. I'll be ordering mine tomorrow. Most of us purchase lower end stuff because of financial constraints, so naturally we're always looking for the most bang for the buck. Sure, we all dream of flying the high-end frames and equipment...and maybe someday we will. But for now...
Anyway, I'd be curious to know what happened amid that kettle of vultures. Did you end up out of range before you could nose it over? Your story is a sad one. It kind of reminds me of an experience I had a while ago. Check this out: http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3176

01-12-2006, 01:47 AM
Thanks for the treatise on hinging. So far, my build experience is limited to about a dozen ARFs. I found it difficult at first but now I very much enjoy it and have learned a lot of the tricks. Oh...I did recover a wing one time (no aileron, though) that had gotten ratty and it came out beautiful. I really think I'm ready for a kit build. Besides...I need something to work on those nights when all the mods and repairs are done. Sometimes I just stare at the tools and pine for something to build. Maybe I really DO need a life!
Thanks again.

01-12-2006, 06:12 AM
Pickin up the pieces...

LOL, Bones! Hey, when ya love somethin and lose it- write a song- and belt it out, ya know? Three choruses. Backup singers- the works! I've had more fun with RC since electric got really interesting than I can tell ya. Been at it since I was a kid then laid off till 7 yrs ago. If you don't lose a plane once in awhile they tend to congregate!

If I had to choose a way to sacrifice a favorite plane, it would be just like that- lost overhead OOS. No messy forensics to pick thru like a vulture with a slow possum!

Yeah, Bones, a kettle in the air as they soar socially, and- I just learned- they are known as a VENUE of vultures as they gather on the ground. Go figure, huh? Probly the same guy who called a bunch of crows, a MURDER of CROWS.... y' figger? It's always tragedy or comedy with those guys...

I've always had a strong attachment to vultures and the large soaring birds and studied them since I was a kid. That led me to take a few running steps off mountain tops too, soaring on wings of my own. It was the full flare landing to an easy step or two that got to me... just HAD to try that!

I flew with one as I soared a ridge in Pennsylvania in a hang glider and it was magic, then yrs later idling in a powered trike, opposite a big friendly ol skinhead vulture as we turned in the lift for long minutes eyeballing one another and staying respectfully on our own side, as the altimeter wound up. We could learn a lot from them. The Wright Brothers did and figured out just how to turn these wingthings- a scary slipping near stallspin of a thing to dare attempt.

My first trike didnt climb so hot and spotting a vulture all fluffed out for minimum sink was a REAL good sight to steer for as I scratched for altitude as a part of the climbout... anyway...

Flying is flying and the high dollar equipment- if I had to stretch hard to own one, it would kill the fun for me- like flying with the video camera and downlink aboard- ya tend to be a bit too careful.

Gimme a great flying cheap balsa ARF 2 or 3 meter with an E conversion and I will have enough fun with it to forget about another coupla points of L/D and exotic composites. It's not about the prestige- its how well it climbs, floats, turns and stays up and if a balsa box and if a builtup poly wing does that to my satisfaction then I'm all smiles over here! :D

I began the e conversion of my histart Aspire the day I lost my Ascent, planned it on the drive home with no bird. It was a lot more fun than moping- and I can mope with the best of them so I keep myself amused!

Considering the amount of flying I did with the Ascent over those yrs, the airtime was down to (cheap) per hour. 2nd only to my string of Zagis that will forever hold the e airtime record.

The ERC stuff really works when you get it right- and is a bargain when it delivers hundreds of flights for yrs, as many of mine continue to do. My 7 yr old Hitec single stick 3 channel AM system stills works perfectly and withstood a hundred Zagi crashes and a thousand flights with never a glitch. I have lipos over 3 yrs old and hundreds of flights on them that last longer than I had ever hoped. Just pick up the pieces and reach for the CA.

Fly like nobody's watching,

01-13-2006, 01:02 AM
I sure do hope that your crisp and clever writing has a broader audience than just us knuckle-draggin' RC folk. Would we be a conundrum of RC pilots? A passal? A mess?
Prose like yours would be fine fare for public consumption. I'll bet you freelance.
I also have studied the flight of birds...especially the soarers. Even in wind, they correct effortlessly. It kind of reminds me of a man standing on one foot. The brain instinctively feeds corrections to the foot muscles to keep the body in balance. I hope to become an instinctive RC pilot one day...all the acuity without the bother of concern. And speaking of vultures; have you seen the dihedral on those babies? Almost a V! And a four pound body with nearly a six foot span. THAT is a soaring machine! I've tried cozying up to red-tails but it just seems to perturb them. I was hoping to get a group of Canadas to fall into formation behind me. No luck. And when I tried to keep up, they just flew faster. Maybe I should take a Dale Carnegie course.
Anyway, it's posts like yours that keep me glued to this screen way past my bedtime, digging all the cool stuff that the fellas have to say...for free. I'm proud and honored to consort with such a fine group (mangle?) of loons.
Oh, and hey...what's this about murdering crows?

01-14-2006, 01:22 AM
Thanks, Bones, glad you're having fun here. Great people here- who tolerate my tortured prose- but the feedback from the newbies shows it helps to explain concepts and put them in perspective sometimes, at the risk of annoying the more experienced... but they are stayin anyway, and I haven't forgotten all those years ruining kits and failing to get any satisfaction for all my efforts- or answers to all my questions. I am glad I stuck with it to see all the new innovations and technology bloom.

Thanks for the link to your story on the loss- and recovery- of your plane! It felt very familiar. I had looked away for just a moment to tell my grand daughter, "Look, honey! I'm soaring with the vultures..." I let it get wayyy too high and it exceeded visual range- not radio range- same result tho...

I actually got published once- I was flying a Minimum Power System for a footlaunch hang glider in the late 80s (one of only 3 or so in the US at the time) and Drachenflieger (kiteflyer) Magazine in Germany published my article on the struggle for acceptance in the US and the techniques and possiblities of cross country soaring in a footlaunched motorglider- as the HG industry tried hard to distance itself from the newly emerging ultralight movement- and its terrible toll for all the usual reasons.

Sure, its all science with the hardware but its art also, and like a musical instrument, it one day falls effortlessly to hand and stops being a technical thing that must be consciously manipulated- and the magic starts.

I am always looking for unusual aircraft, concepts, building techniques and materials. Even after all these years I still find things that set my hair on fire! Easily amused, I guess!

I am gathering wood for my first plans built bird- a Turkey Vulture with articulated wingtip feathers for lateral control that is soarable and towable. Don Hovey's RCM plans are only $20. Red Tails are intense but TVs are laid back, friendly and curious. It helps to be at the top of the foodchain!

Hobby Lobby's Skimmer is a cheap and simple glider kit if you want a first time project. They fly very well too! You'll quickly find out if building is your thing- a lot of us find it as satisfying as flying!

Congrats on your decision to get the Ascent. The changes needed for this bird are well documented- be sure to look up what the issues are as they are easily fixed and critical to your success with this lil bird.

Reports of my murdering crows are unfounded! No doubt a dihedral enhanced glide challenged pigeon is at the bottom of it!

Also- A bunch of RC guys running around a field in the sunshine on a beautiful day don't care WHAT you call them!

PS: Your comment on a builtup wing with the light illuminating the structure within is right on! Well said!

01-15-2006, 04:47 PM
An enjoyable thread to read. Just to throw in my opinion, give a good look at the Multiplex Easy Glider (even though you don't like the upturned tips:p). For the price it really is a lot of fun and quite a good glider too. The Elapor foam that Multiplex uses is very durable and easily repaired when needed. The stock motor will fly it although most will want to go to a better prop. You can even ballast the thing for better penetration in wind. All in all it seems to be a really good deal to me and I've enjoyed flying mine a lot.

TeslaWinger-- I have the same plans from RCM of the Turkey Vulture with the articulated wingtips. Haven't started it yet but maybe this winter I'll get started on it.


01-16-2006, 05:17 AM
Thermal, I'm looking forward to the Turkey Vulture project. I had a bizzarre thought the other day after soaking up some info on foamie jets and depron/zepron designs.

I imagined a single surface depron and carbon spar vulture at first but didnt want to miss the light shining thru the ribs. THEN to keep it more scale-like (:D) I thought of putting an E ducted fan in it! A Jet Vulture!

Theres no other good place for a motor and prop on this animal (critters are like that!). It would hide nicely in there- with just an inexplicable hole in his chest and another... aft... His aerial brothers would surely wonder what this boy's been eatin'


02-15-2006, 02:30 AM
Hey Tes!
A pride of lions? A crash of rhinos? How about these?
An absence of waiters.
An attitude of teenagers.
A brace of orthodontists.
A clutch of auto mechanics.
A drove of cabbies.
A flood of plumbers.
A giggle of little girls.
A quarrel of lawyers.
A groan of puns.

02-16-2006, 12:13 AM
Awright, Bones! English is like a second language to me... my first? Point and grunt!

Also, please note that groans are reserved for low level puns. A primal scream means you made your point masterfully!


Tucson Don
02-18-2006, 12:44 PM
Enjoyed all the great discussions. I have a Sig Riser with an Axi and
grupner folder. It goes up under power like a fighter and with power off
floats for as long as I can stand the eyestrain. Now I have an Easy Glider
that flys gracefully with the stock motor, but needs more power for
good performance. Am going to install brushless.

03-11-2006, 11:39 AM

Thanks for the good info. But what about the Rudder vs. aileron issue? Is it an issue? What is your preference? Why?


If you are looking for a thermal duration ship for riding the warm air currents, then you can use either.

Assuming your aileron plane has fairly flat wings, it will be very responsive but less stable than the rudder only plane with polyhedral wings.

When you are flying out near the limit of sight, having the plane self right is a big asset. A flat wing aileron plane will tend to take the attitude you put it into and stay there. When you are way out there, it is harder to tell.

The rudder on an aileron ship is used in coordination with the ailerons to make smooth coordinated turns for best efficency in your thermal turns.

But you can fly an elevator/aileron plane quite easily and if you are not a "contest" glider pilot, then aileron/elevator is fine. A lot of slope planes are A/E only.

03-12-2006, 02:23 PM
My park flyers are taildraggers. Even though I use ailerons in flight exclusively, hardly ever touch the rudder, my takeoffs would be difficult without rudder!

08-15-2006, 04:11 PM
I have attached a website which may address this problem. This is a flyer of full size sailplanes who discusses the above subject......hope it helps.

08-15-2006, 04:13 PM
I have attached a website from an actual full size sailplane pilot who addresses the above question.....hope it helps.


Jason T
08-15-2006, 05:10 PM

Welcome to Wattflyer!

08-16-2006, 05:55 AM
For those of you unlucky enough to have "lost her to a thermal or high winds IF you have your name,phone number and AMA # on the plane
You "may " get a call from a person who found the plane! It worked for me