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Ignition Set Up With Solid-State Ignition Units

First, see my list of items attached for reference.
For free flight, Control Line or R/C Assist systems you will need the following:


Solid-state ignition unit (SSIGN,  SSIGN2 or SSIGNCO) *

High Tension Lead, HTRC for R/C and HTFF for free flight or CL.

For R/C a 5 amp (micro) switch in the positive lead from the battery can be used to stop the engine using the throttle servo. (I don’t sell them).

Battery power

I use 3 NIMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) 700 MAH cells in series for the power supply.

Make sure you order them with solder tabs and solder them together in series for 3.6V. NiCads will give the same result. ALSO, one 3.7V LIPO will work. 500 MAH or more will do the job. Make sure you are familiar with Lipo charging, etc.

I also use three-pin Deans connectors to connect the battery to the system. (Tower Hobby) or your local hobby shop. Check out your local hobby shop for a charger.

I don’t supply them. Try on the web for 700 MAH NIMH Batteries, #10300-1 Tenergy 2/3AA 700 MAH Flat top rechargeable W/Tabs and solder them in series for 3.6V. 510-979-9969

Make sure all the connections are soldered properly.

You will also need a battery charger if using the NIMH or a Nicad battery. (Your local hobby shop)

You may use 2 AA Alkaline batteries in series, to produce 3 volts in a battery box to keep it simple

Quite a few are now using single-cell 3.7V LIPO batteries, 200  MAH or more. Be sure you know about using these LIPO’s as far as charging, etc.

This should get you running ignition engines like the pro’s do!

Larry Davidson

* Most use a solid-state ignition unit which saves the arcing and pitting of the points and doesn’t need a condenser, however you can use just the coil and condenser (I don’t sell condensers) The SSIGN2 has Hall effect & points instructions. All the SSIGN, SSIGN2 and SSIGNCO come with hook up instructions.

*The SSIGNCO will save the coils and points if the points are closed longer than 2 seconds, by cutting off the power from the battery. Just turn the prop again and it’s ready to go again. This is my most popular unit lately.  Most popular: SSIGNCO + Coil+ Hi-Tension lead

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Wing Loading Charts for Model Airplanes

Figure wing area using formulas above by picking the wing shape that best matches your plane.

Wing loadings are figured by dividing the wing area of your plane by 144 to convert square inches to square feet. Then divide the weight of your airplane by your wing area in square feet. Wing area in sq. in./ 144 = wing area in sq. ft. Weight of model in ounces/wing area in sq. ft. = ounces/sq.ft.of wing loading.

The charts below provide a shortcut to figuring wing loading for those competition events that require a minimum wing loading such as those flown in SAM (Society of Antique Modelers).

To figure a minimum weight for a wing area other than those on the chart you divide wing area in square inches / 144 to get wing area in square feet. Multiply wing area in square feet by minimum weight in ounces per square feet desired which equals target minimum weight. Sq in. wing area /144 = ounces/sq ft. ; ounces/sq ft. x min ounces per sq ft desired = target minimum weight.

(example: a plane with 485 sq in of wing area and we want a target minimum wing loading of 20oz / sq ft. (485 / 144 = 3.37sq. ft. x 20 oz. per sq.ft. = 67oz target minimum weight of airplane.)

Minimun Weights At 8 oz/sq ft
Sq. In. Of Wing AreaWeight in Oz. and lbs.
1448 oz. / .5 lbs
28816 oz / 1 lbs
43224 oz / 1.5 lbs
57632 oz / 2 lbs
72040 oz / 2.5 lbs
86448 oz / 3 lbs
100856 oz / 3.5lbs
115664 oz / 4 lbs
129672 oz / 4.5lbs
144080 oz / 5 lbs
158488 oz / 5.5 lbs
172896 oz / 6 lbs
1872104 oz / 6.5 lbs
2016112 oz / 7 lbs
Minimun Weights At 10 oz/sq ft
Sq. In. Of Wing AreaWeight in Oz. and lbs.
1168 oz. / .5 lbs
23116 oz / 1 lbs
34624 oz / 1.5 lbs
46232 oz / 2 lbs
57640 oz / 2.5 lbs
69248 oz / 3 lbs
80756 oz / 3.5lbs
92264 oz / 4 lbs
103772 oz / 4.5lbs
115280 oz / 5 lbs
126888 oz / 5.5 lbs
138396 oz / 6 lbs
1498104 oz / 6.5 lbs
1613112 oz / 7 lbs
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Prop Charts For Model Airplane Engines

Prop Chart For Two – Stroke Engines

Alternate PropellorsStarting PropEngine Size
5.25×4, 5.5×4, 6×3.5, 6×4, 7×36×3.049
8×5,8×6,9×59×4.19 – .25
9×7,9.5×6,10×59×6.20 – .30
9×7,10×5,11×410×6.35 – .36
9×8, 11×510×6.40
11×7.5, 11×7.75, 11×8,12×611×7.60 – .61
12×8,14×4,14×513×6.78 – .80
13×8,15×6,16×514×6.90 – .91

Prop Chart For Four – Stroke Engines

Alternate PropellersStarting PropEngine Size
9×5,10×59×6.20 – .21
10×6,10×7,10×8,11×7,11×7.5,12×4,12×5,12×611×6.45 – .48
11×7.5,11×7.75,11×8,12×8,13×5,13×6,14×5,14×612×6.60 – .65

Starting Propellor sizes are mid range pitch props that should fly just about any plane designed for that size engine. Use these first as in most cases they will be close to being the correct size. Then use trial and error to try and fine tune the maximum performance from your ship by trying the alternate props. If none work better stick with the recommended starting prop.

Below are some safety items that although seem elementary still need to be repeated regarding propellers and their use.

  • Install the prop with the curved side of the blade facing forward and tighten the prop nut or bolt with the proper size wrench.
  • Recheck the tightness of the nut or bolt often, especially on wood props which tend to compress and loosen more often.
  • When starting the engine, keep spectators at least 20 feet clear of the model and out of the path of the propeller.
  • Keep hands away from the prop as much as possible. Use a chicken stick or and electric starter.
  • Keep face and body out of prop arc as engine is started and run.
  • Make all adjustments from behind the prop except on pusher prop installations.
  • Never throw anything into the prop to stop the engine. Use a kill switch or pinch off the engine’s fuel supply.
  • Discard any prop with nicks, scratches, splits, cracks or any other sign of damage. Never attempt to repair, alter or bend a prop.
  • Don’t run an engine in areas of loose gravel or sand for the prop can throw such material into your face and eyes. It’s not a bad idea to wear eye protection.
  • Keep loose clothing, shirt sleeves, and other such items away from the prop and avoid carrying objects that can fall into the prop such as pens, screwdrivers, etc.
  • Be sure to keep the glow driver wire out of the prop path.
  • If a spinner is used, be certain that it’s edges are not in contact with the propeller blades.

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The Value and Use of Torquemeters

Editors note: The following information; which proves invaluable to rubber fliers, was shared on Free-Flight Digest and permission was given to share it with anyone who could use it. Hope it is as useful to you as it was for me.

by Tony Becker

What is a torque meter and how is it used to help indoor model builders? A torque meter is a device used to measure torque(power) in a rubber motor at any number of turns. It assists the modeler in improving duration and/or altitude of any endurance or scale model.

One of the new techniques I discovered after over 30 years of Inactivity, was the need to purchase a torque meter and how to effectively use it. After having the privilege of flying indoor models In the dirigible hangers at Lakehurst, New Jersey, and winding rubber motors to capacity, winding motors today has now become more complex. With most ceiling heights of available flying sites between 20 to 60 feet high, you must control your model from climbing too fast and too high.

A torque meter is a winding stooge with a hook attached to a short piece of .012 to .016 music wire with a numbered gauge and a needle attached to a winding hook. The small diameter wire is for rubber motor sizes up to .055 and the heavier wire is for big endurance and scale models.

As you put winds into your rubber motor, you can read the torque developing. With the unusual and varying types of rubber that we buy today, a torque meter is a must. I have found variances in the rubber I am able to buy and a torque meter can show a difference of over 20% for 2000 turns. This is rubber from the same 50 foot length!

The use of the torque meter is simple. As an example, let’s take a loop of .045 x .038 x 16-inch rubber motor for an EZB model. Assuming your model is adjusted, put 1000 turns in your motor and carefully observe the torque meter reading. Record the data such as the rubber size, the torque meter reading, and the turns on your flight chart (see chart which follows). Fly the model and record the time. Let’s say your model climbed half-way to the ceiling (or your desired safe altitude) and landed with a time of 5 minutes. The rubber had 500 turns left. Your torque meter reading for 1000 turns was 2.5. Try another flight of 1200 turns and a torque meter reading of 3.0. If the time did not increase by at least 2 minutes, and your climb was slightly higher than the first flight, record the data on your flight chart and determine what to do next. I would suggest to either increase the size of your motor or reduce the length of your original motor. (You could also change props to one of the same diameter, but with a lower pitch). Here is where your torque meter is worth its’ cost. When you wind again, put in 1000 turns. You will notice the torque meter will be over the 2.5 that you recorded on the first flight if you changed only the rubber. You should unwind until the torque meter reads 2.5. This will enable the model to again climb to the same height, but the model will fly longer and land with fewer turns. Again record all this data on your flight chart and then analyze your results. After a few flights, you can determine the amount of turns, the torque meter reading you need for best results, and also develop a good concept regarding the potential of your model in any existing condition.

It is important to remember two facts; 1–Whenever You change the prop diameter and/or pitch, you must start over with your testing and 2–As you buy or cut rubber you will find variances in turns and torque meter readings with each motor of the same size. It is also important to remember that you must give your motor a chance to rest after each flight. I Iike to wash my motor in clear room temperature water after each flight and immediately air dry it before I re-lube it and fly.

There are a few torque meters on the market today. I have two from Jim Jones; one for motors up to .055 and the other for motors over .055. You may also buy winders with a torque meter attachment.

Good luck and better flying.

(Ed Note: Tony provided the Flight Log (14.6k gif) which follows on the next page)

The following schematic is for those of you who are mechanically inclined enough to want to build your own torque meter.

Calibrating a Torque Meter

The following document will help you calibrate that torque meter you just built or one you may have already had.

by Ken Rice

From: “Batsheet” via: Okie Free Flight Flyers

Most of the torque meter construction articles that I’ve seen call for calibrating the finished instrument by comparing it to a known-accurate torque meter, or by using a system of measured weights and moment arms. Neither of these is easy to do with any precision. Fortunately, there is a standard engineering formula for calculating the angular deflection of a solid shaft that works nicely for determining the dial marking instead. The simple formula is:

      C * T * L 

a = -----------

      D**4 * G  ( note **4 means D * D * D * D )

The formula shows how many degrees that a shaft will twist, given the diameter and length of the shaft, and the amount of twisting force. The parameters for this formula are described below in both US and standard units (standard in parentheses):

a = angle of pointer deflection in degrees (degrees)

C = constant: 36.5 (584)

T = torque in inch-ounces (newton-millimeters)

L = length of the music wire torsional element in inches (millimeters)

D = diameter of the music wire torsional element in inches (millimeters)

G = torsional Modulus of Elasticity for music wire in pounds/square inch

         (newtons/square millimeter):

        Wire Size                           G

--------------------------      --------------------------

less than .032 (.81)            12,000,000 (82 740)

.011-.062 (.84-1.6)             11,850,000 (81 700)

.063-.125 (1.6-3.2)             11,750,000 (81 010)

.126-.250 (3.2-6.4)             11,600,000 (79 980)

For example, one of my meters (for two to six strands of 1/4″ rubber) uses a increments of 10 in-oz each, I used the fornula like this:

                 36.5 * 10 * 12

          a = ---------------- = 25 degrees

                 .062**4  * 11,850,000               

 The dial face was drawn with 25 degrees between each 10 in-oz marking. Carefully verifying this calibration with weights showed it to be correct.

I’ve also verified the suitability of the formula by comparing it to published torque meter designs, such as Cezar Banks’ indoor instrument that was reprinted in the July ’83 Bat Sheet.

Working from the plan measurements, the formula accurately calculates the exact calibration of the dials as shown on the plan.

The formula can be used handily in reverse for designing a torque meter. You can insert the desired amount of dial deflection, and calculate the diameter or length of the music wire needed to do the job.

The three most important things in model building are: Keep it light, don’t build it heavy, and it shouldn’t weigh much.

Terry Rimert
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Conservative Torque (Inch Ounces) Chart for Super Sport Model Rubber

Torque chart for Super Sport model airplane rubber in 1/8″ size. This is my conservative starting point for rubber motors in various sizes that I use when flying. While different batches of rubber can yield far different results, this chart does give you a good starting point and basic information on what super sport rubber can take.

I find that I often exceed these limits but prefer to wind to approximately 75% of maximum torque and get more flights out of the rubber motor. In heated competition, this is not always possible and you find yourself pushing the winding to the limits. Winding to a lower level of torque and gradually increasing it on each flight allows the rubber to be broken in for multiple flights on a single motor.

It is always a good idea to test your own batches of rubber so you can come to your own conclusions on the quality rubber you have.

Conservative breaking torque in inch ounces for 1/8 Inch Super Sport Rubber Motors

Strands of RubberTorque Inch Ounces
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Welcome to My New Website

Are you a Free Flight modeler or would you like to give it a try? I can help.

You could spend years perfecting your sport as I did. On this website, however, you can find everything you need to know and have for success right out of the gate. The products I sell here are tried and proven to be the absolute best. Try them! You can’t go wrong.

If you need help and can’t find the answers in the Resource section, ask me. Send me a note on the Contact page. I’ll answer as fast as I can.

Thank you for your interest in my new website!

Larry Davidson