Setting up your T-28 to race by Steve Neu.
The most important thing that many people miss when starting to race RC planes is that going fast is nothing without control! The FMS T-28 is a small plane and setting it up to race IS very different than for your basic sport flying. Getting the CG and control throws dialed in are key to getting the plane to “go fast and turn left” and keep in control. As a racer running at full throttle— the elevator and aileron travels needed are minimal. A properly setup T-28 will actually be easy to fly with only small control deflections.
The control throws suggested in the FMS instructions are intended for a plane flying much slower on a 2S battery. We are flying much faster with 3S. Here are the control deflections I have on my plane:
Ailerons: 6mm up 6mm down
Elevator: 3mm up, 3mm down
Rudder: 6mm left, 6mm right
CG measured from edge of wing at fuselage opening 71-72 mm—see picture below.
I like about 30-40% expo on both aileron and elevator—helps make the plane less sensitive around center making it easier to do fine adjustments to the plane’s track. A little nose heavy helps make the plane positively stable in pitch and the elevator less sensitive but the recommended CG in the FMS instructions is too nose heavy for my taste. Too rearward CG locations will make the plane neutral in pitch stability or even negative which will make it more difficult to find a stable track down the course. The trade offs in moving the GC is stability vs turning ability with the aft CG setup being able to turn more quickly. You need to be careful with the CG and elevator throws in that if you get too aggressive the plane will tend to snap roll in tight turns.
If you find the racing setting a little too mild for take off/landing and general sport flying I suggest setting up a dual rate switch so you can easily swap from control rate one to another.
Some of you did not read my previous article regarding the “AD” for the nose wheel strut—I learned the hard way that on our rough field the stock strut puts the nose wheel too close to the prop which will result in props getting busted when the blade hits the nose wheel rubber. The fix is easy—just turn the nose wheel around (be sure to put a flat on the shaft on the opposite side!).
Our first T-28 race will be in July!