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
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
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
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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