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Author Topic: RC runway surfaces  (Read 209 times)
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Tiger Tim
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« on: November 16, 2021, 05:58:02 PM »

This is a bit of an odd one but for those who take off and land (not just hand-launch and skid on) what kinds of surfaces have you used and what are your thoughts on them?

I quite like parkflyers but am not a fan of packing my car and driving half an hour to the local club field so I built my own RC flying park at home.  Right now the whole surface is fairly stiff grass and the minimum tire size to take off and land is about three inches, even on freshly mown turf as short as I can get it.  I want to be able to fly stuff with smaller wheels so I’m thinking I’ll need a runway at some point.

So far my thinking is that asphalt or concrete, while excellent surfaces, are both far too expensive and also prone to heaving and cracking with the frost I get.  The local club has probably a hundred feet of worn-out heavy industrial rubber conveyor belt laid out and staked down but as the sun shines on it the stuff expands and ripples, often enough to toss a landing model on its back.  My thought was to lay down finely crushed stone like you’d see on a baseball diamond in a public park but I haven’t tried flying off it and no one else seems to be using it for a runway.

Thoughts?
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lincoln
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2021, 09:36:50 PM »

I've seen a guy use a tightly stretched plastic tarp as a runway, but it kills the grass underneath in hours. Only for park flyers, I think. If you leave it out in the weather, it would probably die in a year or two, and get puddles when it rains.
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Tiger Tim
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 10:01:13 PM »

I've seen a guy use a tightly stretched plastic tarp as a runway, but it kills the grass underneath in hours. Only for park flyers, I think. If you leave it out in the weather, it would probably die in a year or two, and get puddles when it rains.
There might be something to that if a custom tarp could be made out of something stretchy and water permeable.  If nothing else it would be a great lazy way to kill the grass before building a more permanent runway.

In any case, the ground is frozen here now so a runway will become next year’s problem.  Anyone want to come fly off skis in the meantime?
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lincoln
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2021, 01:44:24 AM »

Maybe a tarp like that would be just the thing if you had deep powder or glazed ice with footprints.

I'm sure there's a suitable material. Why would it need to be custom?
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faif2d
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2021, 10:16:57 AM »

They make a shade cloth material that has a weak weave.  The 80% shade might work but the grass would make lumps.
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TimWescott
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2021, 10:41:44 AM »

For park flyers, I think I'd use a big sheet of cardboard (like one side of a refrigerator box).  Just take it out and lay it down, fly, then put it away when you're done.  Either accept that you'll land in the grass and flip, or practice your carrier landings.

Even finely packed gravel will chip props.  Outdoor carpet over finely packed gravel would probably do, as would some used astro-turf if you could find it.  For that matter, for a park flyer an outdoor carpet rolled out on the grass, then taken up when you're done would probably work.

I have seen stuff that's specifically marketed for RC runways, but it's been long enough that it'd take me just as long to find it in a web search (or fail to) as it would you.

Are you rolling when you mow?  My old club field was pretty poor grass on pretty poor soil, but we rolled it and cut it low (well, scalped it) and you could routinely take off with smaller wheels than you're describing.  Even if the grass is still too high for you after that, it'll be a good base to lay carpet onto.
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Tiger Tim
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2021, 11:53:59 PM »

Either accept that you'll land in the grass and flip, or practice your carrier landings.
Funny you mention that, at one point I was thinking of making a big plywood carrier deck to fly off of from time to time.  Maybe to get the creative juices flowing at the local RC club.
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ffkiwi
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2021, 12:19:47 AM »

I hesitate to offer this as an R/C option-but in NZ we still occasionally fly FF Payload.....we few, we gallant dying few...!  This of course requires a compulsory ROG...and with a 15 sec max engine run you don't want to muck about on the ground taxying....we've tried various options-tarpaulins, plywood takeoff boards (used at the Nats and shared with the FF scale guys)...but the most user friendly option for 1 or 2  man use is a takeoff strip made from coreflute...in my case=real estate agents signs-you tape these end to end, alternating the tape top and bottom-and you get a nice smooth strip that folds up into stack about 4ft x 3ft and 'x' high. 'x' being variable depending on the number of signs taped together.

Now coreflute is available in sheets 8ft x 4ft from memory-and not too expensive-especially if you were buying in bulk...I see no reason why my approach would not work when applied to a full size sheet-so long as you had sfficient space in the transport vehicle to cope with the 8x4 dimension without having to bend or distort it.  To hold it down we just used the wire tent pegs-the cheap 'n nasty 'L' shaped ones-which only required a small hole punched in the material.

The great thing about this stuff is it is very smooth, only takes about 5 mins to set up, and the same to tear down....the only nuisance factor comes when the wind vector changes and you have to realign it. Unlike a tarp-which tends to follow the ground contours-this stuff has sufficient thickness and rigidity -even though fairly flexible-to lie flat and not be distorted by tufts of grass or clumps of weeds.

   ChrisM
   'ffkiwi'
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raggedflyer
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2021, 05:01:20 AM »

Who remembers seeing Hanno Pretner flying from sheets of hardboard taped end to end, laid onto the quite long grass race horse track at the Sandown Park Symposium years ago?

Correx would be the lighter alternative nowadays though.
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