Flying Lessons at KidVenture


On two grass circles at Pioneer airport, veteran volunteer aeromodellers are teaching kids how to fly control-line model airplanes. Control-line flying predates radio control. The model is tethered by a pair of lines attached to to a handle held by the pilot. At the airplane the lines are attached to a bellcrank that moves the elevators. The pilot can control the pitch of the model by tilting the handle up and down.

Control line flying is the only form of model aviation where the modeler can actually feel the airplane in flight. Many EAAers, including this author started our aviation journey flying control line models.

The models used at KidVenture were specially designed as trainers. They are made of Coroplast®, and powered by the venerable Cox .049 engine.  The Coroplast makes the airframes nearly (but not totally) indestructible, so they withstand the bumps and bangs of unplanned intersections with the ground during training flights. Quick change engine mounts make it possible to quickly move an engine from a damaged model to one of the large number of spare airframes on hand.

Spare Coroplast airplane models
Spare Coroplast airplane models

Every kid gets their turn in the center of the circle, with an experienced modeler to help them fly. The flights are rarely smooth, with many ups and downs, and the occasional abrupt landing, but every kid who tries it leave with a smile.




5 Replies to “Flying Lessons at KidVenture”

  1. At end of week we logged over 1400 flights this year!! 20 years, over 30,000 flights! If you have interest in helping us next year, we are seeking new volunteers with or without current control line experience! Contact Melissa Olson 262-751-3776.

  2. My granddaughter was able fly one of these during the show. The staff sent me the plans for a plane and I intend to build one for her and her brother. Very nice people working this event.

  3. A friend of mine was talking to me about wanting to take flying lessons. This inspired me to look into a way to inspire kids to want to fly since I have a niece and nephew that are fairly young. It would be wonderful for them to each have an opportunity to fly the plane.

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