James May's Toy Stories - Free Flight Glider - 22 Miles

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TerryM76

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That was way cool! Mostly autonomous but in the very last scene someone was holding an RC transmitter.......
 

Aerowerx

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Does "Free Flight" have a different meaning in English than in American?

The only control I saw was the rudder.
 

TFF

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RC backup. It is the world where RC is on the government’s mind and not celebrated like in Lichtenstein. Still auto pilot directed. Not FAI record worthy as it would have to be launched from the ground to count that. I very happy someone did good with a model airplane. It was amazing. Maynard Hill’s RC Atlantic crossing was mostly autopilot, controlled for takeoff and landing. People have added clockwork controls to gliders and powered planes forever. RC just got cheap for most to mess with it. RC technology saved its day with radio off or at least standby.
 

cheapracer

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Folks - please enjoy this lovely film on Youtube as James May (Top Gear & now Grand Tour) relives his childhood in a grand way!
Nice story, good watch.

"The Stupid One" (LOL!) AKA "Captain Slow", is a pilot himself and a genuine flying enthusiast.

To his credit he has flown the the 1954 Taylor Aerocar (Flying Car), and flown a dirigible out of control across controlled commercial airspace (a major airport)!

 

Victor Bravo

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Does "Free Flight" have a different meaning in English than in American?

The only control I saw was the rudder.
SOME European languages use a translation of "free flight" to mean gliding or soaring, ("Vol Libre", "Vol a Vol", etc.) however in the model airplane world Free Flight means not being remotely controlled by an operator.

I'm pretty sure that an autopilot or control circuitry, with an airplane full of R/C servos, is not considered Free Flight by the modeling community, FAI, etc.

So the short answer is that James is hugely entertaining, and it made good television, but it is not considered a "free flight" glider by anyone with balsa dust in their veins.
 

TFF

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Not traditional free flight.
I believe though RC de-thermalizers are legal now in the US for competition. I believe an American won the F1E championship a couple of years ago. That’s the traditional self steering free flight glider, but it can’t navigate.

Not a glider, but I can watch videos of this guys planes all day. He is the best of his type of free flight.
 

cheapracer

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it is not considered a "free flight" glider by anyone with balsa dust in their veins.
It can not be expected by any sane person that such a challenge of distance, can be performed without some control outdoors.

Chuck plane distance records are set indoors, and for good reason.
 

Victor Bravo

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I agree, a true free flight model could not be expected to get across the English Channel by any sane person.

However there should have been a responsibility to not proclaim his model is a free flight either.
 

Pops

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Old free flight modeler took me under his wing when I was 18 years old. He won the NAT's in free flight in 1941. It was normal for him to toss a hand launch glider up and it would fly around for 3 or 4 minutes and as it passed him, he would reach out and grab the wing tip. Stand in one spot and hand launch again. Then at times the glider would hit a thermal and fly away.
Back in early RC, the tube receivers was temp unstable. You had to do a range check and tune the receiver to the temperature at the time. If the temp changed a few degrees the receiver would go out of tune and the rudder only with escapement airplane would fly away. The crystal controlled transmitter was a ground based box that was 5 watt output, CW with a 9' antenna powered by a 6 volt car battery. One time, I lost a RC on Thanksgiving day and a few days before the New Year a deer hunter found the model and found my name and address and phone number I always put inside and returned it to me. When I was flying free flight, I have lost many. That is why we started having the stab go up 90 degs with a rubber band when a timed fuse would burn a small rubber band holding it in place.
A RC modeler friend of mine and myself use to fly cross country with RC along beside the interstates highways from a big engine, hot rod pick up truck. Ride in the truck and fly the model about 100' off the side and about 150' high. Some times we were going 90 mph and sometimes 50 mph, if going up a long hill. I learned the hard way that it better be a warm day. We did it one day when it was cold and rainy. I was begging to stop.
Had a lot of fun.
 
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