Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some
form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle
my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD
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article appeared in the December 2010 edition of
that addresses the problem associated with trying to keep your tail dragger tracking
in a straight line during takeoff. The author, Ben Lanterman, an aeronautical engineer,
describes the physics of what causes the sometimes disastrous weaving and bobbing
down the runway during takeoff, and then describes his solution to the problem.
As you might expect from an engineer, the solution is high-tech, but simple enough
for anyone to implement. Ben recommends using a low cost heading-hold (HH) type
gyro in series with the rudder servo to keep the plane on course, in this case the
EFLRG110HL (even cheaper models can be found). The article in
includes photos of two dozen models in which he tested the scheme. All were successful.
As his well-made video documentary demonstrates, even the most notoriously troublesome
airplane, such as the Bf 109, is able to take off in a crosswind without ever touching
In case you do not have access to the article and decide to try it
on your own, a strong caveat is issued by the author whereby the pilot must connect
the gyro to an auxiliary channel (along with the rudder channel) in order to be
able to switch off the gyro once the model is in the air. Otherwise, it makes handling
very difficult... if not impossible.