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You Can Do Almost Everything with a BTE Flyin' King

by Bruce Tharpe

Okay, I'll admit right up front that there's two things that the Flyin' King will probably never do - win a pattern contest or a beauty contest. From day one it was meant to be a utility plane, a workhorse, something that modelers could use as a basic aerial platform and modify to suit themselves. It won't get you an invitation to the Tournament of Champions or a Best-of-Show trophy at Toledo, but it may be your ticket to exploring some of the other wonderful aspects of this hobby.

Many of us have a five- or six-channel radio on hand, just because we planned on building something someday that might need an extra channel or two. And many of those radios are installed in your basic four-channel sport ship, waiting for "someday" to arrive. Well, the Flyin' King can finally make use of that fifth channel. The plans and instructions show the flaps as standard equipment. Yeah, you can build it without them, but why? If you've never tried it before, you'll find these big, effective flaps are a lot of fun to play with.

These aren't fancy split flaps or fowler flaps. They are built just like the ailerons and are hinged, with Sig Easy Hinges, just like the rest of the control surfaces. The center wing panel of the Flyin' King is flat, allowing the flaps to be mechanically linked which prevents any chance of one flap moving without the other. The outer wing panels have a bit of dihedral, and each aileron has its own servo (with flaps, that's a total of six standard servos required). When finished, the one-piece wing spans over 80 inches, making the Flyin' King IMAA legal.

Oh, and that sixth channel? You could use it to open bomb bay doors to drop parachutes, candy, toilet paper streamers, flour "bombs", whatever. Or you could use it to trigger a camera, release a sailplane, or switch on an autopilot (for your flying buddy, of course!)

This model design is actually very simple, very traditional. The box fuselage is primarily built from sticks, with lite-ply doublers and formers. The windshield and side windows are clear, which is something you don't always see on high-wing sport models. The tail surfaces are also built from sticks; the sheet balsa rudder and elevator are provided in the kit pre-tapered and pre-beveled along the hinge lines. The wing is a pretty typical D-tube design with pre-shaped leading edges and spruce main spars in the center section, for strength.

What makes this kit stand out; however, is the commitment to quality that BTE has become known for. At BTE, our sole guiding philosophy is this: Building a model airplane kit should be as enjoyable as flying it. That means quality materials, parts that fit without any fudging, nicely drawn plans that are easy to understand, and instructions that are easy to follow. In short, we're making kits as though we were the ones buying them and believe me, I'm my own toughest customer.

There are no die-cut (commonly referred to as "die-crunched") parts in this kit. BTE parts are machine cut and sanded to their final shape using templates to maintain accuracy. It takes a lot of effort on our part, but it results in smooth, square edges that make solid contact when assembled. In my mind, assembling and gluing finely-cut parts without frustrations is just as satisfying as a no-bounce landing. Why should building a model airplane be a project? That sounds like work!

Enginewise, this is the kind of airplane that begs for a smooth, quiet four-stroke. With all that wing area, the Flyin' King doesn't need a bunch of power to haul it around. With a Saito .80 there's plenty of power for big loops, stall turns, and ten-foot takeoff rolls. Most of my flying time is spent just goofing around at 1/3 throttle, shooting touch and goes, or playing with the flaps (great fun in a stiff headwind). Choose a reliable engine, relax, and enjoy.

How does it fly? Well, my current smart-aleck response is "Air flowing past the wing creates a pressure differential resulting in lift..." Of course, that's not what they mean, but it's so hard to resist. Anyway, it flies great! Although highly useful as a utility aircraft, it's a safe bet that most builders will use it strictly for relaxed sport flying. It's as stable in the air as many trainers. (I hesitate to recommend it as a trainer because most first-time builders should start with an ultra-simple trainer design.) The airfoil is technically semi-symmetrical. On the bottom, it's flat from the main spar back, but the front is symmetrical. You could say it's a flat-bottom airfoil with an exaggerated Phillips entry. However you look at it, it's easy to build flat on the building board, but it still allows for some pretty decent aerobatics. Pattern-like aerobatics? No. Cub-like aerobatics? Yes.

Not all pilots measure fun in m.p.h. A lot of us enjoy big, slow flying models that are easy to see, easy to fly, and easy to land. So what if it's not the prettiest thing to come along since the Spitfire? If it puts a smile on your face while you're building it and flying it, I think it has served a very useful purpose.

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