Nose heavy or tail heavy - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:22 PM   #1
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Nose heavy or tail heavy

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In flight, how does a slightly heavy nose plane fly compare to a slightly tail heavy plane? Hopefully it is not too badly balance that you can bring it down and do some adjustments!
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:39 PM   #2
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

You would rather be a little nose heavy than tail heavy,the saying is a tail heavy plane only flys once.I.f its a little tail heavy you will notice your elevator becomes sensitve
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:58 PM   #3
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

LOL, not to make light of a serious situation ..... nose heavy is acceptable and little up elevator will allow you to bring it down safely.
Tail heavy ..... pray you have a whole lot of skill, lots of speed and a large throw on your down elevator ...... and you still may not make it down in one piece.
Tail heavy is a very hairy experience, one you don't want because the plane is unstable.
It's always best to be a little nose heavy the first few flights. At least you'll have a chance to get it balanced correctly.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:17 AM   #4
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

Tail heavy is awsum if your model fly's backwards.

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Old 04-22-2015, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

I had a plane that was very tail heavy. It was in pristine condition until about 30 seconds after it took off... then it suddenly became a pile of sticks.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:50 AM   #6
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

Originally Posted by williame3590 View Post
Tail heavy is awsum if your model fly's backwards.

that's pretty funny Bill, in 40 years of doing the RC thing I can't believe I never thought of that!!
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:24 AM   #7
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

Tail heavy will cause the plane to be unstable on the pitch axis with you likely needing to give a lot of down elevator input to keep level flight and causing the plane to want to porpoise. It also leads to very uncontrollable flight and near disaster crashes.

On landing nose heavy the plane just wants to dip when you take it off power - tail heavy it will start to pitch upwards causing a further loss of airspeed causing an even higher nose up causing more loss of speed .... (it's a vicious circle that happens in seconds of less) ... end result .... tip-stall followed by a quick spin into the dirt or a fast plummet into the ground.

Try flying at landing approach speeds a couple 100 feet up and see what happens ... at least up there you have altitude on your side for recovery. The few times I've been in the situation the plane had to be flown at higher than landing speed right to the field surface and then cut power as the wheels touch the grass . If you're not up for that .... hopefully there is a nice area with really tall grass close by where you can ditch it relatively safely.

I agree with the other posters. Tail Heavy is a ..... Don't go there ....
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:25 AM   #8
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

Donald, find the recommended CofG. Preferably on the plans, or from the manufacturer.
This is the recommended starting point. A common theory is a little nose heavy is good a little more would better (safer). Start at the forward point of the recommended range. As balancing forward of that creates other difficulties. Eg increases landing speed.
Most of us, as we gain experience will start in the middle of the recommended range and work our way rearward. The more rearward, the more experience required. Or something like that.
Hope this helps.
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:51 AM   #9
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

Great advice Everyone. I also think the style of flying has a lot to do with CG. I like my 3D models to be super tail heavy, I have weights that I can put in the stab tube to adjust the CG to where I need it. On the other hand I like my WW1 models to be slightly nose heavy and not pitch sensitive.

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Old 04-22-2015, 10:06 AM   #10
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Re: Nose heavy or tail heavy

The centre of gravity should be between 23% and 33% of the "Mean Average Cord". That is any aircraft except a canard style aircraft.

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