Before getting into the "meat" of this post, I wanted to provide links to the previous articles since you might find this one first when you open the thread and this way you can navigate to where you want to go more easily.
- Part 1 - Preparation;
- Part 2 - Why the RC Powers Mig-29 V1?;
- Part 3 - Why the RC Powers F-18 V3?;
- Part 4 - Size and Weight;
- Part 5 - Wing shape/size;
- Part 6 - Motor location;
- Part 7 - Weight distribution;
- Part 8 - Stabilizers and control surfaces;
- Part 9 - Leading edge flaps and canards;
- Part 10 - KF airfoils.
I know that despite my best efforts I'm sure some of my opinions and preference came through a bit stronger than they should, I hope I haven't swayed you too much in the wrong direction. I'm obviously a bit biased by what I prefer from my park jets and the fact I am part of a team that produces some pretty good park jets :).
Obviously, some of my ideas are very different from those that you might read about on the RC Powers forum and perhaps are very different from yours and that is fine. I don't purposely want to disagree with RC Powers, I wouldn't be in this hobby or where I am at in my park jet career without the foundation of RC Powers and what I learned from their site and it's members. I'm certainly not purposely trying to bad mouth RC Powers, other design teams or individuals, but in four years of flying park jets, I have accumulated well over 5000 flights, so I have a pretty good base of experience from which to draw.
As I grew and learned, I felt I needed to strike out on my own and experiment, what I was learning from some of the folks on the forum weren't working for me. And perhaps some of what I wrote here won't work for you either, and I'm OK with that. If there is one takeaway from this I could hope for beyond really preparing and considering all your options before choosing your first or your 50th park jet is do what makes you happy. Don't be scared to experiment, if something you read or saw doesn't make sense to you, don't worry about going down your own path and not following what I or some "hot shot" on the RC Powers forum says. At the end of the day, the only person you need to keep happy at the field is yourself, not the "masses".
Scratch building park jets allows for an incredible amount of self expression, learning, experimenting, failing (yes, there will be that, just part of the hobby), but hopefully a lot of succeeding and incredible satisfaction when an experiment you try makes your plane fly better. Fortunately, when Stephan and I first started sharing ideas and tinkering around with planes, we realized right away that we shared common goals and ideas. We haven't always agreed on everything, but our partnership has resulted in what I think are some pretty darn good planes. As our third partner Dave Messina came along, things again took a big turn for the better not only for his engineering background and different ideas, but he helped turn us on to Dave Scott's Airplane and Radio Setup manual from the 1st US RC flight school.
Anyway, just something I urge you to consider if you find your park jet or RC flying in general has become stagnant and you are looking for ways to improve. We certainly get no credit or financial compensation from Dave Scott for recommending his book, but have found it works very well for the sport/aerobatic type planes that park jets are. On our videos page, you can find more videos on how I taught myself to become a more precise and better park jet pilot employing David Scott's principles.
In closing, I hope that this thread has helped you answer the question "which park jet for me?" or if nothing else removed some mystery behind why some planes fly so great and others might not be worth cutting foam to build them. Certainly follow your own path, experiment as you see fit, I'm all for that, but if by reading and considering some of what I have presented helps you dial in to the plane that might work best for you, then I am happy :)
Blue skies and calm winds to everyone!
Park jet noise...the "other" sound of freedom :)