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C/LCombat L

earning to fly Combat can be a blast. The first problem can be finding at least a couple of buddies to give it a try. Hopefully you’ve got them. The next problem is learning to fly Combat, which we’ve covered here over the last year with some pretty extensive ad- vice drawn from world champions on down to beginners.

Flying Combat is a lot more fun and pro- ductive if the pilot has mastered standard wingovers and reverse wingovers, flying multiple laps inverted, inside and outside loops, figure eights in both directions (lazy eights starting with an inside loop and de- fensive eights starting with an outside loop) and some practice flying the plane “eyes-off” by at least being able to do a figure eight without watching the plane every foot of the way and being able to keep it under control while looking at your pit crew for half a lap. Half-A Combat can be a good way to get started. The engines (049–061) are cheaper, the planes are slower and quicker to build and repair. Even a solidly built Speed Limit plane can get damaged hitting the ground. Flown over good turf (solid grass 3–5 inches tall) Half-A planes will usually survive even a straight-in hit.

Almost Ready to Fly planes are available from the usual F2D suppliers and are cheap- er than F2D planes. Many folks cut their own foam wing cores and good pre-cut wings are available from several folks. The main issues are selecting and prepping engines and trimming the planes to be stable enough to be easy to fly. Due to down sizing issues — the engine weight goes down relative to plane size and much faster than the air- frame weight—the engine usually has to be mounted further forward than what looks “right” on a bigger plane. It usually ends up a half inch or so ahead of the wing. Selecting engines can also be a little trick- ier. The AMA rules recognize two species of Half-A: standard (35-foot lines) and high performance (42-foot lines). They don’t mix, period. Standard Half-A planes go about 55 mph on engines such as the old TD 049, a couple of high performance reed valve varia- tions, and the Norvel 049 CL.

High performance Half-A uses a bit larger planes running double ball bearing motors such as the Profi 049, the Fora 049, and the older Cyclon 049 (which appears to be un- available new right now). They fly about 65 mph using fiberglass props on the longer lines.

On the East Coast, at least, most Half-A meets allow a plain bearing 061 (Norvel) en- gine flying on the 42-foot lines. The combi- nation is inexpensive and fairly competitive if the high zoot guys stick to using plastic propellers. A good Norvel flies about 60 mph on the right plane and can still compete since the whole plane is lighter. The AMA kill rules help a lot since a sneakily timed pass can score a kill without having to do a lot of flat-out chasing.

You and your buddies have to make a 46

by phil cartier You can reach Phil Cartierat 34 Sweet Arrow Dr, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania 17036, or via e-mail at


Rylan Ritch’s got the foamie Sonic Chicken(by Jeff Dawson) on the left and Neil Simpson is flying the open bay plane. Rylan’s plane got hit by a gust and is free-flighting, making lining up for a cut impossible. Bryan Stas watches the plane come down while Circle Marshal, Chris Gay, relaxes and watches the pilots.

choice. You can buy three plain bearing mo- tors for the price or one high zoot motor. Or you can go with the plain bearing 061s or 049s. Unless you are really, really serious you might think about putting off the high zoot motors until you are really, really seri- ous about Combat.

The various Cox engines using a TeeDee piston/cylinder, the Norvel 049 CL and the Brodak 049II will all work well. Just make sure that when all is said and done the planes are evenly matched for better prac- tice. Using 30-pound test SpectraTM braided fishing line standard Half-A makes a good choice for learning and Combat training. The lines are very user friendly and don't get tangled or kinked. The planes are rela- tively slow and tend not to break. The lines weigh much less than steel and don't tend to make the planes flop around.

All the standard Half-A engines, includ- ing the TeeDee 049, can benefit from a cou- ple of modifications. Buying a couple of re- placement heads that will take a Nelson plug, or similar, is a good idea if you plan to run other engines such as a regular F2D en- gine to minimize the amount of kit to keep track of.

Putting a head that takes a regular glow plug of any kind really knocks the rpm for a loop though. The regular TeeDee high com- pression heads are available and still fit all the Cox style cylinders out there for added performance. The other change is a preci- sion needle valve. Texas Timers has a cus- tom assembly to fit a Cox 128 tpi (threads per inch) conversion needle valve to a TD and also 128 tpi conversions to fit most other engines.

Another way to make the conversion is to get parts from They

have everything you need to keep old Cox engines running and even some new produc- tion engines. The product engine backplate (a plastic backplate without a tank) includes a 128 tpi needle valve body and you need the matching needle. The backplate and a TeeDee piston/cylinder will give any com- patible engine a real kick in the pants for a firewall mounted engine made from mostly old parts.

To use the 128 tpi needle on other engines

press the needle valve body out of the back plate. You can use it to make a remote needle valve by soldering it to a small piece of brass sheet and adding a piece of brass tube to make a “T” assembly. Just make sure not to solder the fuel hole shut. Use a piece of music wire stuck into the fuel hole and through the brass tube. Twist it out after soldering. The other way to use this assembly is to install it in the crankcase of a front valve en- gine. Exactly how depends on the engine and how it's been mistreated if it isn’t new. All the Norvel engines run best when set up like their Aero 049 with a wide open venturi. For an older engine there are two ways to go. If the case has not been drilled out to take a larger needle valve, remove any venturi in- sert and other extraneous bits. The case needs to be drilled out to about .115 inch. As you can see from the picture the needle valve body has knurling on it for a solid press fit and it has a diameter of about .119 inch. If you haven’t done this type of work before, ei- ther send the motor and needle valve to someone who has, or get some local help. A small drill press makes it easier to drill the holes. Start with a scrap of 1

⁄16 -inch alu-

minum and drill a #33 hole (.113-inch) in it. Get it nice and straight and try not to let the metal jump around and hog out the hole. Try


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