Control Line

Control Line at the Leicester MAC
Peter Catlow

The Control Line group of the Leicester MAC is a small, but enthusiastic group. On most Sundays there will be four or five members at the site enjoying flying their models, such as Aerobatic, Racing, Carrier Deck or Combat planes.

At present we have an established grass circle, which sadly for serious Stunt fliers, slopes quite a bit.

We run regular Club racing competitions for fun, see article by Zoe below. We do not have enough interested members to hold true team race events, so they are very simple and any member is welcome to enter. We can even provide a model if you feel the urge to have a go.

Control Line fliers, of any standard, are welcome to join us, and are sure to find the support they need to make the most out of this great branch of aeromodelling!

LMAC CL Team Race Events
Zoe Quilter

As this is the only event we run on a regular basis, so it's worth giving an insight into the rules. These races are a bit of a misnomer, a more accurate description may be Time Trials. The reason being that we don't have enough willing people available to organise anything approaching true team racing.

The races are run on the first Sunday of each month.

There are three classes (which bear only a passing resemblance to true team race, past or present). The rules have evolved to be as inclusive and simple as possible  to encourage anyone to have a go.

1) Race run over 50 laps, with one compulsory pit stop.

2) To keep things simple. Line length is actual line length, not centre to centre.

3) Class 1/2A - any model - line length 12.8m (42') - any engine up to 1.6cc (.10)
Owner of the model pits, any competent pilot flies the model. Owner can still pit and fly if they wish.

4) Class A - any model - line length 16.8m (52') - any engine up to 3.5cc (.21)
Owner of the model pits, any competent pilot flies the model. Owner can still pit and fly if they wish.

5) Class OPEN - any model - line length 16.8m (52') - any engine up to 6.5cc (.40)
Owner of the model pits, any competent pilot flies the model. Owner can still pit and fly if they wish.

Control Line Models
An Introduction
(Originally taken from the 2007 BMFA Nat's program)
Control Line (CL) models have one thing in common - they all fly connected to the pilot's hand by lines which restrict the flight path to a hemisphere, and give the pilot control over the model. The simplest control uses two lines that allow the pilot to move the elevator that makes the model climb or dive. More complex systems use three lines, where the third line controls the throttle to allow the model to fly at less than full power; there is now a growing use of electronics to control servos in the model and do away with the third line. Some Speed models (see below) use only one line. This is known as a 'mono-line'. Just about all modern CL aircraft fly using stranded steel control lines that give a good margin of safety and the majority use internal combustion engines which fall generally fall into two categories, glow, or diesel, that give more than adequate power. Electric power is also making inroads at the time of writing.

Control Line flying has been around for much longer than people realise. It was certainly around in the 1940's, and is a never ending challenge to those that take it seriously. As technology evolves so do the models, power plants, and ways of flying them. It is far from an outdated form of model flying, and not quite as easy as it may look at first glance.Many CL fliers fly just for fun and build models that give them pleasure in building and flying, without regard to the rules that regulate competition flying. However, competition flying gives an added dimension, and can improve technique and knowledge at a greatly accelerated pace. There are a great variety of classes and many sub divisions in control line competition. Please be aware that what follows are extremely brief descriptions of the basic categories to give a flavour of what goes on; the actual rules can sometimes be far more involved. Basic classes in each category, tend to be simplified versions of the rules proper to encourage newcomers.

Fly one at a time against stopwatches. The fastest model wins.

Pilots fly one at a time before judges, and describing specified shapes in the air.Team Racing

Three pilots fly together. Racing with pit stops for refuelling.

Miniature versions of full sized aircraft. Pilots fly one at a time before judges

Pilots fly one at a time, take off from a model carrier deck, fly as fast as possible, as slow as possible, then attempt to land back on the deck.

Two pilots fly together. Each model has a streamer tied to its tail and each pilot tries to cut his opponent's streamer.

To start, if possible it's best to join a club, or work with an experienced control line flier, this way you will be able to progress quickly and have your many questions answered. Compared to RC, CL has minimal amount of regulation and if common sense is used, flying sessions are low risk affairs. Flying control line is not dangerous if approached sensibly.
It is always wise to choose a model that is easy to build and repair in the beginning, but you will need to learn how to tackle starting an engine. Hand starting is common and convenient. But unless flying in certain competitions electric starters can be used by the inexperienced; except on diesel engines which is probably the easiest way to destroy one! Electric motors also have properties that you need to be very aware of! So learning with an experienced modeller will make things much easier and more fun, and if nothing else, will help ensure that your model stays in one piece for longer!
A web site dedicated to Control Line and well worth a visit, is:
Barton Model Flying Club, Control Line Forum
And my own site (shameless plug!)  (Zoe Quilter)

For Control Line Carrier info