Ready to get serious about becoming a better park pilot? Here’s a fantastic book to help you.
Park Flying 1-2-3D leads pilots from the basics of learning to fly through to advanced aerobatic and 3D maneuvers.
The author, David Scott, runs a popular RC flight school. He is also an experienced full-size airplane aerobatic pilot. He has what I call “been there, done that” in spades. His book is best when talking about flying, and every single page where he does that convinced me that this guy knows what he is talking about. The book is packed full of hints, tips, and observations that only come from years and years of experience.
The book is profusely illustrated. Nice diagrams of different model airplanes in flight are often combined with diagrams of the appropriate control stick positions. These combinations are very effective.
The writing style is good. It’s all very legible and easy to read. I can easily imagine Mr. Scott standing next to me at the flying field talking me through each maneuver and giving me tips all along the way.
The book is only about 100 pages long and costs over $20. On the surface, “bang for the buck” appears to be low. I hesitated to buy a copy in the first place because of the price. Having bought it, I’m happy with my purchase. You don’t need hundreds of pages to cover the subject. The book is spiral bound, which I appreciated to be able to hold it in front of me while using an RC flight simulator. I’m sure the binding method added to the printing costs.
At the bottom of many pages he has the abbreviation “KPTR” followed some good advice. It was driving me nuts, because I had no idea what KPTR meant! I finally tracked the definition down to one of the introductory pages: key point to remember. Doh! Using just “Tip” or even better, some sort of graphic, would have been preferable.
The book states that many foam park flyers use flat-plate airfoils. That may have been the case years ago, but I cannot think of a single current commercial foam park flyer design that uses a flat-plate airfoil. Even most of the scratch-built designs use something else. The foamy designs have just gotten more sophisticated over time.
The book also states that flat-plate airfoils tend to be unstable when compared to other airfoils. Flat-plates have sharp stalls, but the overall stability on an airplane is mostly due to other factors besides the airfoil. Much later on in the book he clarifies that he was talking about abrupt stalls.
The page on balancing your airfoil just had me shaking my head. The comments made on that page are only valid if you are working with a very conventional airplane design. This fact needed to at least be mentioned. If you have an unusual airfoil or a canard, for example, then following the advice on that page will lead to very bad results.
It gets worse. On the page on control functions, the book states that ailerons are optional on under-cambered or flat-bottomed wings. That’s like saying that a door has to be painted white if it opens to the outside. One thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other. This was not just an oversimplification, but a very misleading statement.
Despite my misgivings about the accuracy of the technical background pages, I strongly recommend this book. It is excellent at what it set out to do: helping you become a better park flyer pilot. The explanations of the more complex and trickier maneuvers are specially good. If there’s an aerobatic maneuver (including 3D ones) that you have been trying to master and are having trouble, I can make no better recommendation that to buy and read this book.