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A Tale of Two Trainers

9/2/2003 by John Adams

Copyright:© 2003 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

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Traditionally, trainers with flat-bottom airfoils have ruled the flying field. Flat bottom airfoils offer positive self-recovering flight characteristics. Simply releasing the sticks will cause the airplane to recover to straight-and-level flight. Hundreds of thousand of modelers have successfully cut their teeth using a flat-bottomed trainer.

Alpha Trainer RTF Arrow .40 Trainer RTF


Transferable Skills
Today nearly everyone has basic remote coordination skills as a result of using the mouse on a computer or playing video games. For example, 10 years ago it would typically take several months of weekends before a pilot new to RC would solo. Nowadays it's common for a pilot to successfully complete a first solo flight the second weekend out. I've even seen it done in one weekend alone.

The Alpha's flat-bottom airfoil (bottom) gives positive pitch recovery returning to straight and level flight when controls are released. The Arrow's semi-symmetrical airfoil (top) offers improved aerobatic performance.

Because people are finding it easier to fly, the demand for semi-symmetrical trainers is on the rise. While semi-symmetrical airfoil trainers lack the authoritative self-recovery characteristics that flat-bottomed wings do, they do offer improved aerobatic performance. For pilots who are able to progress easily through the learning stages, the semi-symmetrical trainer might be slightly tougher at first, but the aircraft will be able to do a lot more once the pilot has mastered the basics of flight.


Easy and Easier
Hangar 9® caters to all types of entry-level pilots with the Arrow and Alpha trainers. The Arrow offers semi-symmetrical maneuverability, while the Alpha features the reassuring, self-righting characteristics of a flat-bottomed airfoil. Both are equipped with Horizon's new Evolution Trainer Power System and a JR™ Quattro 4-channel radio system, making them the highest quality, easiest starting and easiest-to-fly trainers in the class.

The Arrow and Alpha are expertly handcrafted from balsa and plywood using only epoxy and CA glues. Both are expertly covered and trimmed in Hangar 9 UltraCote® and come with the engine and radio installed. And while the box says, "ready in an hour," we can routinely put either one together, flight ready, in about 10 minutes using only a Phillips screwdriver.

Both Hangar 9 trainers feature the Evolution Trainer Power System (TPS) that includes a specifically designed 3-bladed prop and spinner providing slower flight speeds. The TPS is becoming known as the easiest to start, most reliable, and safest engine available.

Perhaps the biggest benefit both planes offer is the installed Evolution Trainer Power System. Horizon engineers designed the system's engine from the ground up to be the easiest-to-start, safest, most reliable engine available. Its specially developed three-bladed prop provides powerful static thrust (5.1 pounds) for short, easy takeoffs, even in tall grass. Its low pitch keeps full throttle, level flight speeds about 20 mph slower than other trainers. This slower speed makes learning to fly much easier because the pilot has more time to think, react and correct. Add the JR Quattro system, which is considered by most to be the quality choice 4-channel radio, and it's easy to see why Hangar 9's Alpha and Arrow are the finest trainers out there.


Not Just for Beginners
The Arrow and Alpha have more to offer than just a great learning experience. At flying fields across the country, I've been amazed at the number of experienced pilots who own and regularly fly trainers. It seems that many pilots enjoy the gentle handling that trainers offer. For these folks the Arrow is the way to go-more axial rolls with less altitude loss; smoother, tight turns with no ballooning and even inverted flight with minimal down-elevator. Then again, a lot of these guys just want to cruise. You know, slow flybys, gentle touch-n-gos and just kickin' back and relaxing. For them, maybe the Alpha is a better choice.


Two of a Kind
Many ready-to-fly trainers offer semi-symmetrical or flat-bottomed airfoils. Only Hangar 9's Alpha and Arrow offer these choices with the unparalleled ease of the Evolution Trainer Power System and outstanding quality of JR's Quattro radio system. So whether you choose Arrow maneuverability or reassuring, self-righting Alpha stability, you'll enjoy hassle-free flying that's second to none.