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Starting a modelling club at school - which model to build?

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Jon Kemm14/10/2015 13:25:39
5 forum posts


I'm an experienced slope soaring pilot & teacher looking to start a modelling club at my school.

I've been looking at the FT Tiny Trainer as a quick build beginner model, but then thought I'd ask the modelling community for their thoughts.

So what do you think I should get them to build? The reason I chose the FT Tiny Trainer is because it looks cheap and there is a construction video the students could follow.

Cheers in advanced...

iqon14/10/2015 13:34:04
1481 forum posts
239 photos

Definitely a trainer, which one, upto you, but if you found one with a video, why ask, choice made...

Giuseppe Saroli14/10/2015 13:38:19
195 forum posts
1 photos

You can go wrong with the BMFA Dart one each to the kids to start Or are they to build one trainer to share!

Andy Green14/10/2015 14:17:24
2279 forum posts
67 photos
2 articles

I would stay away from the FT stuff for beginners. My Nephew and B in Law built a few, and while they fly OK they do have to be flown, if that makes sense.

Whether it's the weight / wing loading or poor aerodynamics you have to be on the sticks all the time.


Engine Doctor14/10/2015 15:48:01
2461 forum posts
39 photos

I have done this a couple of times in the past with local ATC .Started them off with a simple chuck glider with a simple comp at the end for longest flight . Sweets for prizes was a great success. Then moved onto control line models and sa couple of RC trainers but never finished them due to lack of commitment from ATC staff.

Some of the pitfalls along the way included :

One cadet trying out a scalpel on his fingers as he never believed me when I told him they were sharp !

The same cadet gluing his fingers together with superglue as again he didn't believe me when I said it was designed for glueing skin ! By the end of the evening he really looked like Kenny Everetts character  Reg Prescott !

Another cadet eating the tail plane of his glider for a bet !

Then there was a cadet who was trying to cut some balsa with a straight edge. I had obtained saftey rulers to make cutting strip etc easy. He proceeded to cut some distance away from the marked line . When asked why he was so far off he said" I wasn't wearing my glasses " I then asked why ? He replied "it's not cool !

You really couldn't make it up. Although Kenny Everett Managed it.

So good luck . Be prepared to laugh with them , they will certainly keep you on you toes and test your patience  .

I certainly wont be doing it again as with all the modern H&S it will be almost impossible to run a class.

Edited By Engine Doctor on 14/10/2015 15:51:57

john stones 114/10/2015 16:07:40
11434 forum posts
1511 photos

I would think as a flyer and teacher you're already aware of the problems/challenges ahead teeth 2

Looks like a good choice to me Jon yes


Levanter14/10/2015 16:19:15
882 forum posts
437 photos

I agree with Guiseppe completely. The BMFA have a range of Education Programme Kits listed as suitable for teachers and pupils. I would say if you took this route, your first step to H&S compliance would have been made sensibly.

Every pupil can have a plane and fly it with minimal outlay. If you go a shared-trainer route that will involve capital outlay unless you have spare gear your are prepared to lose. A trainer and perhaps something a bit more exotic for those who show aptitude could be a useful follow on. Control line can be exotic too.

It should be different from the ATC as they did not volunteer particularly to make models. Yours have a different motivation and perhaps as it is a Club you could further benefit by joining the BMFA not least for the insurance.

Anyway it is a great idea and if you can develop these youngster's interest there are lots of exciting things do, see and enjoy. Good luck to you.

Don Fry14/10/2015 16:26:10
4557 forum posts
54 photos

Jon, you will get as many answers as members, no matter what you decide, you will build one before you expose yourself to your kids, so go with your first thought. After all a trainer is a trainer, if it looks right........

Edited By Donald Fry on 14/10/2015 16:26:51

Tomtom3914/10/2015 17:02:53
691 forum posts
1 photos

Hello Jon,

If you are in the UK its possible that your region(BMFA) has an Educational coordinator , who should have a range of information packs , kits and some guidance on the subject. Failing that then I suggest you speak to either Andy Symons or Manny Williamson at the BMFA offices in Leics. They are both very helpful (I've been down this path and also happy to help if you want to send me a PM)

Tomtom3914/10/2015 17:05:19
691 forum posts
1 photos

By the way choice of models will also depend on the pupils age range too.

Dave Bran14/10/2015 17:54:18
1896 forum posts
5 photos

Have run a school RC Club for more than eight years.

I start with cars at Yr7 (Mardave V12) then move onto Quads and Helis Indoors, then go BMFA Rubber, then fixed wing RC outdoors.

Reasons for this sequence are many, inc not exclusively..........11 year old's patience (or lack of it) ...........retaining interest ............. achievement of a reward/result in acceptable time frame ................ skill determining progression (Not all make it to flight, yet will have achieved something) ............ and lots lots more................

Dave Bran14/10/2015 18:01:33
1896 forum posts
5 photos

I think you are shooting WAY too high with a FT Tiny Trainer or ANY scratch build.


I start with the Slovakian range of EPP chuck gliders called Fik, which go from 450mm to 1500mm span, and start with bungee launch glider, then move to EP with a top mounted power pod..

Fik are cheap, almost fly themselves, and most of all are tough as old boots, yet still teach basic trimming/rc control in a perfectly safe way.

The flying Wings Vee Trainer (now sold elsewhere) was based on the Fik but with a Vee tail.

Edited By Dave Bran on 14/10/2015 18:02:03

ken anderson.14/10/2015 18:29:42
8623 forum posts
779 photos

hello jon...i would say a simple chuckie so as they can get their heads around the trimming bit and how it affects the model...which ever way you go/decide...keep the fun factor in for them...... teeth 2 ..... school seems to be heavy going for the modern kid's....compared to my era(Jurassic)

ken fun dept.

Dave Bran14/10/2015 18:53:38
1896 forum posts
5 photos
Re: I certainly wont be doing it again as with all the modern H&S it will be almost impossible to run a class.

Yes, lets all bail out and use H&S as a weak excuse not to put the required effort into the next generation.............then they can all kill themselves and each other at 18, and we can sit smugly back and say told you so..................... angry

eflightray14/10/2015 18:54:40
618 forum posts
132 photos

What's wrong with building rubber jobs these days, free flight gliders, or control line models ?

When I was a lad .......... wink


........ we had a school model club, (pre-RC, 1956-57).

It appears these days they expect to open the box and it's flying.


Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator14/10/2015 18:55:06
15748 forum posts
1460 photos
Posted by Donald Fry on 14/10/2015 16:26:10:

Jon, you will get as many answers as members, no matter what you decide, you will build one before you expose yourself to your kids, so go with your first thought. After all a trainer is a trainer, if it looks right........

Edited By Donald Fry on 14/10/2015 16:26:51

Mmm, I considered modding this - smile o but I'm prepared to accept its untentional! wink 2


Don Fry14/10/2015 19:10:02
4557 forum posts
54 photos

BEB, I see what you mean, souls and reputations are exposed, nothing else. Old enough to be back to simple.

Don Fry14/10/2015 19:16:28
4557 forum posts
54 photos

But getting wound up, Dave Bran is so, so, right. And when we talk about the next generation, don't forget, they are the same ingredients as all the last generations. And don't be upset when only a minority share your obsession. Perhaps one will.

Jon Kemm14/10/2015 19:17:47
5 forum posts

This is fantastic! There was me thinking the BMFA Faceache page would be the best place for info but this forum is splendid!

I forgot about starting from the beginning, I will invest in some polystyrene plates and have a go at following some of Bill Kuhl's work.

Control line is a good idea too. Keep it coming please!

Robin Etherton14/10/2015 19:42:41
295 forum posts
43 photos

I run clubs at two secondary schools when I was teaching and in the first used the control line Keil Kraft Gazelle as a starting point. We bought two PAW 1.5's paid for by the school and the pupils built their own airframes. For a display at the end of the year we had a mass fly in on the sports field.

At the second school in addition to Gazelles we run rtp indoors. Ballards were very helpful and you might still see me and the pupils in their catalogue. Great fun.

Good luck.

Ps the school also paid for a basic set of aeromodelling tools.


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