• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Best FT design for windy days?

Foamforce

Active member
#1
The biggest problem with this hobby so far is waiting impatiently for a day with low wind to go flying. Short fall and winter days in Wisconsin make it harder.

What is the best FT design for windy days? I understand that bigger is better. Are there other factors? For example, do STOL planes get knocked around more in the wind due to higher lift?

Also, would adding weight to planes make them easier to fly in the wind, understanding that it will negatively impact overall performance?

I’ve been aiming to fly in <5mph wind as I’m learning. If I could fly in up to maybe 12mph wind that would open a lot more flying opportunities for me.

Here’s a picture of my latest build, a Simple Scout, because everybody loves a picture.
 

Attachments

#3
The biggest problem with this hobby so far is waiting impatiently for a day with low wind to go flying. Short fall and winter days in Wisconsin make it harder.

What is the best FT design for windy days? I understand that bigger is better. Are there other factors? For example, do STOL planes get knocked around more in the wind due to higher lift?

Also, would adding weight to planes make them easier to fly in the wind, understanding that it will negatively impact overall performance?

I’ve been aiming to fly in <5mph wind as I’m learning. If I could fly in up to maybe 12mph wind that would open a lot more flying opportunities for me.
Flying in wind is not so much what plane you are using but that it takes more skill for any given plane. You need to fly faster into the wind and the ground speed is faster when traveling downwind. If you don't stay on top of the plane and make a few wrong turns you can end up in a tree down wind of the field much faster than on a low wind day.

Bigger only helps in that it smooths out the bumps a little bit and can be seen farther away. A big plane will get swept away downwind just as fast as a small plane but you would have a better view as it runs into the downwind trees. Big planes also force the pilot to use the longer runway even if that requires crosswind take offs and landings. Small planes can "cheat" and land and take off into the wind even if the main runway points in the wrong direction. Depends a bit on how your flying field is setup. Bigger has a lot of down sides: costs more, takes longer to build, harder to transport and takes more room to fly. In my experience people with big planes tend to stay home when it's windy because they don't want to risk their big expensive planes.

The plane you already have can fly just fine in 12 mph winds but if you want build something new the FT-Mini Arrow and the FT Tiny Trainer with the speed wing will both fly in even more wind.
 
#4
I'm not going to name a plane but throw some things out that can help.
First the airplane, larger and heavy wing loading both help. Also a gyro like the Aura 5 can help a lot.
Finally and most importantly, get a good simulation and crank the wind up. Sims aren't exactly like flying but they help,,, a lot!

One more.. Make some airframes that you won't cry over and have fun. Yes have fun, moderate winds can be good fun.
 

Foamforce

Active member
#5
A big plane will get swept away downwind just as fast as a small plane but you would have a better view as it runs into the downwind trees.
:ROFLMAO: Nice!

That’s useful advice, thanks! What attributes make the Tiny Trainer and the Mini Arrow good in the wind?
 
#7
Thanks! So heavy wind loading would tend to be higher performance/faster planes right? So basically not trainers or STOLs? Is it because you want less lift to deal with the wind, or more power?
Not so much about power as simply a heavy wing loading gets kicked about less.
And yes, high lift devices fight you in the wind.
Say you are flying a high wing trainer with flaps, full flaps for landing would be great for landing in a low wind situation but in a windy gusty day you want about 1/4 flaps (if any) and you fly it to the ground (to not into!).
 
#8
What attributes make the Tiny Trainer and the Mini Arrow good in the wind?
For a simple foam board style planes they have relatively low drag and small wing area. This results in a higher top speed and better penetration in to the wind. But they can also still fly slowly and land a slow speeds.
 
Last edited:
#9
I'd have to advise against the Tiny Trainer (TT) for windy days. My BIL is just starting out and built the TT. Anything more than just a slight breeze and it's unable to overcome headwind. It ended up in a tree when he flew down wind (really fast) and couldn't bring it back towards him. The Tutor with a larger motor will have the muscle to fly upwind. Just be ready when you turn downwind as the ground speed of the plane will be it's airspeed plus the speed of the wind.

As Flying Monkey fab said, a gyro stabilizer will help smooth out the bumps caused by flying in wind.
 

Foamforce

Active member
#10
Today I was flying my Storch and my new Scout. It was windier than expected at about 10mph. I did better than expected in the wind, so maybe I‘be been more conservative than necessary. I’m sure it saved me a few crashes though.

My observation is that the Storch handled better in the wind than the Scout. I think they both have pretty light wing loading but only the numbers for the Scout are published. Plus, my Stork is kind of Frankenstein monster. I originally found modified plans on a different website and built those plans before discovering Flite Test. So mine is a mix of two plans and probably has some issues due to that. Maybe the biggest is that I’ve never figured out what the appropriate angle for the power pod is. It wasn’t listed in the other plans so I calculated the angle from the Storch, relative to the bottom of the wing, and used that, but it seems to be pointed too far down, and the up elevator trim I have to give it seems to agree.

It was neat getting a couple planes out there and try them out in moderate wind though. Definitely not as bad as I thought. Oh, and it was the maiden flight for the Scout and it flew wonderfully! It got tossed around in the wind a bit, but had plenty of power to recover when necessary.

My next step is to calculate the wing loading on both of those planes to compare. Fun times!
 

XSrcing

Creator of smoking holes
#11
My Arrow can take a bit of wind without issue. I fly it FPV with an 1807 2280kv spinning a 6x3 on 3s 850 mah.

I got caught in some 20+ mph gusts last week but never needed more than 3/4 throttle to keep it where I wanted it.
 

Foamforce

Active member
#15
Well, I flew a couple cubs with my boys in light wind today and they were similar to the scout. They may have gotten thrown around a little less than the Scout. The Scout was easier to control in the wind though, probably because mine is a four channel and the cubs are three.

I’m building a Guinea Pig next and I noticed that it has much higher wing loading than the others. I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs in the wind.