About the Venture 60, BTE, and Life
by Bruce Tharpe
If there is one guiding philosophy at BTE, it's this: Building
a model airplane kit should be as enjoyable as flying it.
I want our customers to want to build a second BTE kit even
before they've flown the first. What makes a kit enjoyable
to build? In a nutshell, quality. Good materials. Parts
that fit without any fudging. Clear, understandable plans
that would allow an experienced builder to proceed even
without instructions. A complete instruction book that anticipates
and answers all questions, explains design reasoning, and
leaves nothing for the builder to guess at or engineer themselves.
This is a kit that even fussy scratch builders will like.
I know, because I'm basically a fussy scratch builder too.
When cutting parts for myself, I try to be as accurate as
possible so that they fit well the first time. It's a satisfying
feeling that shouldn't be limited to fussy scratch builders.
Kit builders that put down good money to purchase a BTE
kit should be rewarded with parts that are just as good
(and maybe better) than I would cut for myself.
The major parts found in a BTE kit are machine-cut. They
are actually sanded to their final shape using templates
for accuracy that rivals laser-cutting, but without the
charred edges. This takes a lot of time and effort on our
part, but it results in smooth, square edges that make solid
contact when assembled. Skilled modelers know that firm
wood-to-wood joints are a must for maximum strength.
Most modelers have built or have seen kits with the typical
Lite-Ply fuselage that uses slots and tabs for assembly
and alignment. To get the parts ready to use, first you
have to push, pry, cut, snap, or break them out of their
die-cut sheets. Then you usually have to sand the edges
to get rid of rough spots, hoping that you don't change
the shape too much. When you finally put them together,
you find the slots are too small, or worse, too big. Sure,
lots of very flyable models get built that way and lots
of modelers don't mind because they're simply used to it.
But there IS a better way.
Now imagine opening a Venture 60 kit and seeing all of those
lovely Lite-ply parts already precision cut, sanded, and
ready to assemble. It's a snap! The tabs fit firmly into
the slots, just the way they're supposed to. Instead of
fixing, you're building! And the structure is solid and
The Venture 60 wing features such things as pre-shaped leading
and trailing edges, spruce main spars, and shear webs that
are precision cut in height and width. The airfoil is flat
on the bottom from the main spar to the trailing edge, which
makes it very easy to build on a flat table. The front of
the airfoil is almost symmetrical, and it handles aerobatics
like it has a symmetrical airfoil. The leading edge is fairly
blunt which enhances its low speed flying characteristics.
Torque rods are provided in the kit for aileron actuation
with a single servo, but many builders have opted for separate
servos in each wing.
The tail surfaces are solid balsa parts that are sanded
and ready to glue together. The elevator and ailerons are
tapered for better streamlining and all of the control surfaces
are pre-beveled along the hinge line. Why don't all kit
manufacturers do that?
When asked, "How long does it take to build?",
I just reply that chances are good you'll spend as much
time covering the plane as you did building it, if not
more! One builder jokingly complained because he bought
60 for his "winter project" and had it done in
Ground handling is precise and easy with the Venture 60.
I recommend it highly for anyone looking for their first
taildragger model. The aluminum landing gear legs are swept
back for the simple purpose of proper wheel placement. Bolting
the gear to the fuselage makes sense from a structural standpoint,
but it tends to place the main wheels too far forward of
their ideal position. The result? Bouncy landings! Trust
me, you can still bounce the Venture, but sweeping the gear
back minimizes that tendency. It looks nice, too.
To finish the model, you'll need an engine, radio, 16 oz.
fuel tank, fuel line, an engine mount, two 3" wheels,
a 1" tailwheel, three rolls of covering material, a
pilot figure if you wish, and common modeling tools. You can
order many of these items from BTE right along with your kit.
An optional wheel pant kit is also available.
To me, the model just doesn't look right without the pants
and they're plenty tough even if you fly from grass.
I know that modelers love to over-power their airplanes,
but that's simply not necessary (or recommended) for the
Venture 60. This is a sport model designed for sport .60-size
engines. At the design weight of 7.25 pounds, most sport
.60s will pull the Venture straight up as far as you want
to go. To me, reliability is much more important than raw
power. A lot of my flying is done at reduced power to fully
explore and appreciate the wonderful low-speed ability of
the Venture. You can't do quarter-throttle inverted passes
over the runway with an engine that might flame out. Stick
to the recommended engine range, get a reliable idle, and
you'll be able to fully enjoy the airplane.
The Venture 60 flies the way I like to fly. With a fairly
low-pitch prop it chugs its way through big, graceful maneuvers
at mild speeds. Using its massive wing to grip the air,
the Venture does things that heavier ships just can't. When
the mood strikes, throw in a combination snap or a spin.
With generous control throws it'll flat spin like a falling
leaf and fly knife-edge as long as you can. Some customers
have bought the kit with the intent of using it as their
first pattern ship. Good choice! Slow down a bit and it
will float in for some of the softest, slowest landings
you've ever witnessed (which is another reason to work on
getting a good idle).
Want a second opinion? R/C Report magazine reviewed the
Venture 60 in the May '95 issue (it even made the cover!).
Keep in mind that most modelers agree that R/C Report really
tells it like it is. The reviewer wrote "The Venture
60 kit is, by far, one of the most impressive kits I've
ever assembled! Every aspect of the kit - the quality of
the materials, the cutting and preparation of the pieces,
the plans, and the instructions - just might be the best
I've seen in any kit I've built." Wow. Thank You.
And life? Well, life is just too darn short! Don't spend
it working on a frustrating kit that just won't go together
right. Treat yourself to a BTE Venture 60 and find out how
enjoyable, relaxing, and satisfying this hobby can really
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