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Josh Says "Fly the wing, not the motor"

Hey Josh and friends.
At only 2 years in the hobby I'm still learning a lot, especially the lingo and if anyone can help me with this phrase, that would help me fly my Carbon Z much better.

At 12:13 they discuss the pitfalls to this plane and Josh says, "Fly the wing, not the motor"
What does that mean?

HE also said the term wing loading, which I have searched and read about, but at this point the only reason to find or figure out wing loading is to see a. how much room you need to take off, b. Stall speed. Right ?
Well stall speed would be enough motivation for me (as a newb) to learn wingloading and how to find/figure it out.

I've stalled my Carbon Z probably 3 times, to it's demise. I've rebuilt it each time (so I could crash again) and it wasn't until recently that I learned two things about this plane. It must fly faster than I'm used to flying (with my Eflite Apprentice, or T-28 Trojan) And I need a lot more space to fly it.

Thanks in advance to everyone that is able to share some wisdom and insight.



Don't Touch ANYTHING!
On the "fly the wing. not the motor" statement, Josh means that you need to fly the aircraft considering the functionality of the control surfaces and not worry as much about the motor. I'm not sure if I said that right, so if I didn't, feel free to correct me.
As to wingloading, it is a mathematical relationship between the total weight of the aircraft divided by the total wing area. In RC models it is generally ounces over square inches oz./in2. In practical terms, the lighter the wingloading the slower and floatier the plane can fly. In the case of the Carbon-Z it has a higher wingloading and therefore needs to be flown at a higher speed to prevent stalls.

As for flying the wing, I think he is basically saying to stay with in the capabilities of the airframe. This plane is more scale like in its characteristics and needs to be flown in that way, that is using the wing to stay in the air. Where as a 3D style plane relies heavily on the power of the motor to stay in the air rather than the wing most of the time.

Clear as mud right? :D


Welcome to the forum, Michael! Yep, as stated above, in a couple of different ways, Josh is saying that you can't simply power out of any situation. On many small rc airplanes, the motor is such overkill that you can "hang the plane on its prop" for a reasonable period of time. That means the motor is producing close to or exceeding a 1 to 1 thrust to weight ratio.

As planes get more "scale," this is not an option. Ya can't just firewall the throttle of a full scale Cessna 172 and pull yourself out of a bad situation. You have to maintain enough airspeed to keep adequate lift and avoid stall.

The higher the wing loading, the higher the stall speed. In addition, the higher the wing loading, the more likely that you can get into a high-speed stall. This happens in a tight turn or loop. The centripetal force required to maintain the radius of the curve adds to the weight of the plane. Its very common that warbird will snap roll if you try to turn too tight, even when well above the "normal" stall speed. This can be very disconcerting if you aren't prepared for it.

There is a saying that is very helpful when operating a plane at low airspeeds, as in when on approach to landing. "Control airspeed with elevator and altitude with throttle." If you are setting up a landing approach and the plane is dropping too fast, which would result in landing short of the runway, apply throttle. Do NOT pull back on the elevator without applying throttle or it will stall. If you are coming in too hot (fast), you can pull back on the elevator to decrease the glide slope, thereby decreasing speed. Throttle=altitude, elevator=airspeed when operating at low speeds.

Hope this is helpful!


Flyer Of Many Things
Ill make an atrempt to dumb some advanced sciency stuff down.

Flying the wing means using the lift of the wings to stay up, as opposed to the thrust of the motor. This means that you generally dont do 3d acrobatics such as hovering or harriers, but it also means that you dont do sharp turns at slower speeds, likely resulting in loss of lift of parts of the wing, whereas flying the motor would be using all that power to keep up, not the lift.

Wing loading is a relationship of weight to how much lift an area of wing generates. A heavy, small plane must have high wingloading, and in turn must keep fast to generate the required lift and not stalll, thus we have a stall speed (not enough lift to stay up)
I agree with everything said so far, but I think you guys may be looking at it too mathematically. When I hear the term "Fly the wing, not the motor." It means to me that you are truly feeling the characteristics of the airframe. When you overpower an airplane they all start to feel the same because you are feeling the speed and the thrust of the motor rather than what the plane is really doing in terms of flight behavior.
Not to mention the fact that a properly powered aircraft is much more enjoyable to fly. That is why scale cubs are so popular. You feel the airframe, not the motor. If you put a monster motor in one it would fly fast, but I think it would lose something. Maybe that is where wing loading starts to come into the equation.
my take on the quote "Fly the wing! not the motor!"
simply put, is you fly to the abilities of the craft, do not rely on the power of the motor.

for example, i fly a way under powered storch, i could simply put a better motor in there yes. but i am flying scale, if i do too aggressive a manouver, i could lose a wing (loss of lift on one wing) which will lead to a tip stall. so i dont do it. its all about staying with in the envelope of the wing, if you go beyond the wings capabilities, things will happen that you may not be able to pull out of.

If i put a bigger motor on, it w2ould be easy to fly to the motor, and will lead to me becoming complacent. :) 6 of one, half a dozen of the other i think :)

just my 2p worth.
An extremely helpful array of responses. I've actually re-read this entire post a few times now along with more 'googling' and I cannot thank you enough. I went out with a smaller cub (the baby red version of the carbon z) and tried to "feel" the difference between flying the wing vs the motor.. (although I didn't have as smooth of a landing... I did begin to understand)

Thank you so much for your guidance and wisdom ... this 2yr rookie is better off because of your help.