Large Power (LP)

The Model

The test can be performed with virtually any large powered fixed wing model, that qualifies for Certification as a Cat 1,2 or 3 aircraft as described in the Large Model Code of Practice. It is an MFNZ requirement that anyone flying a model in these categories must hold the Large Model qualification.

The use of a gyro is permitted, the use of an autopilot is not allowed during the test. If any such system is fitted to the model it must be disabled during the test and you should check that this has been done.

Electric Powered Models must be treated as LIVE as soon as the main flight battery is connected, irrespective of radio state and great care must be demonstrated by the candidate. The arming sequence should be clearly understood and discussed/demonstrated to you by the candidate.

Whatever model is brought by the candidate, it must be suitable to fly the manoeuvres required by the test they are taking. You do not have the authority to alter the required manoeuvres to suit a model and if, in your opinion, the model is unsuitable for the test then you should explain this to the candidate and tell them that they cannot use that model. The selection of the model to do the test is the responsibility of the pilot and it is their ability you are testing, not the model. 

Carry out pre-flight checks as required by the MFNZ safety codes.

The pre-flight checks are laid out clearly in the MFNZ member’s manual. The candidate should also go through the pre-flying session checks, also laid out in the member’s manual. Ask the candidate to go through their checks as if the test flight was their first flight of the day. Particular attention should be given to airframe, control linkages and surfaces.

Points to look for are that the candidate has a steady and regular ground routine, especially when starting and tuning the engine. Nerves may play a part in the pits but you should  satisfy yourself that the candidate is actually in control of what they are doing when  preparing their aircraft for flight.

Pay particular attention to the way the candidate uses the local frequency control system and make sure that they fully understand it and use the correct sequence appropriate to their model. For 35 MHz, this is usually 'get the peg, Tx on, Rx on'. For 2.4 GHz, the candidate should be aware of any local transmitter usage limitations and if a flight peg is required, it must be obtained before the usual Tx on, Rx on sequence. Some radio equipment and, occasionally, a specific model requirement requires that the Rx be switched on first and, if this is the case,  the candidate should explain this clearly to you.

With electric powered models, take note that the candidate is aware that the model is ‘live’ as soon as the flight battery is plugged in and that they take appropriate safety precautions. If a separate receiver battery is fitted, the candidate should have the opportunity to check the operation of the radio equipment before the flight battery is plugged in.

Watch carefully and take note that the transmitter controls, trims and switches are checked by the pilot.

All candidates are required to be aware of the local the frequency control system and  anyone who is required to use it but switches their radio on before doing so should be failed on the spot.

If there is no one else available then there is nothing to stop you aiding the candidate by holding the model for the power check, carrying it out for take-off etc. but any such actions must be performed by you directly on the instructions of the candidate. You must not prompt them or carry out any actions of your own accord. Talk this over with the candidate in your pre-flight briefing.

If the test is being taken with an electric powered model then the candidate should show that they are familiar with the safe handling of such models.

In particular they must demonstrate to you the ‘arming’ sequence for their model. For safety reasons many speed controllers have a pre-programmed sequence of actions that have to be followed before the motor will respond to throttle stick movements. For instance, after switching on Tx and Rx and then plugging in the main flight battery, one type of controller requires that you move the throttle stick from low to full throttle and then back to low before the motor is ‘armed’ and ready for flight.

The candidate must be fully familiar with the system fitted to the model and should brief you on the system and demonstrate it working at some time during the pre-flight checks.

Generally, they must show that they are paying particular attention to the transmitter and receiver switch on sequence and they must make you aware that they are treating the model as ‘live’ as soon as the flight battery is plugged in, no matter what arming sequence they may then have to go through.

The pilot must stand in the designated pilot area for the entirety of the flying part of the test.

Take off and complete a left (or right) hand circuit and overfly the take-off area.

The model may be carried out by the candidate or a helper or it may be taxied out from a safe position in front of the pits/pilots area. Taxying out of the pits is an instant fail. Prior to carrying or taxying out, the pilot should inform other pilots flying that his model is going out onto the active area.

Take off must be done with the model a safe distance from the pits area and on a line which does not take the model towards the pits, other people or any other danger area.

Take off should be reasonably straight with the model not being pulled off the ground too soon. It can be a point in the flyer's favour if, in the case of the take-off going wrong, they abandon it in a safe manner. It's far better that they think about what they are doing rather than try to coax a model with a sick engine into the air. If a take-off is aborted in a safe manner you should immediately reassure the candidate that they will not be penalised for taking correct actions, even though these may conflict with what the test requires.

Climb out should be at a steady angle and straight until operational height is reached when the throttle should be brought back to cruise power, the model levelled out and the first turn of the circuit started.

The type of circuit is not stated so either racetrack, rectangular or circular is acceptable. This choice of circuit type applies to the rest of the flight as well except when a certain type of circuit is specified for a manoeuvre.

On completion of the circuit, the model will be flying into wind past the front of the pilot and, for safety reasons, just over the far edge of the take off area. Tell the candidate prior to the flight the line that you want them to be following.

You must make sure that the candidate is clear on this, the line will be set by the model  flying across in front of them on a heading which should be agreed before the flight (usually, but not always, into wind) and passing over a set point. This first pass in front of the pilot is extremely important as it sets the standard height and line for the rest of the test and this standard height and line will be referred to often in these notes. 

(c)       Immelmann Turn (Optional manoeuvre may be omitted for lightly stressed aircraft)

From a straight and level flight the model pulls up into the first half of a circular loop (commensurate with the performance of the subject type), and when inverted,  performs a half roll before resuming straight and level flight on the opposite track. Low powered aircraft types would be expected to commence the manoeuvre by executing a shallow dive at full throttle in order to pick up the necessary speed.

(d)      Side Slip:

The model commences the manoeuvre in level flight by reducing power on base leg, and then turns onto a higher than normal final approach that is parallel with the Examiners’ line. As the model enters the turn it starts a sideslip by the application of opposite rudder to the direction of turn, achieving a yaw of at least 20º off track. A marked loss of height must be apparent whilst maintaining final approach speed. The aim of the sideslip, if continued, would be to effect a landing in front of the Examiners. Before reaching the Examiners’ position however, the sideslip is corrected, normal  flight is resumed and the model carries out an overshoot from below 15 feet. before climbing away. The purpose of this manoeuvre is to demonstrate a marked loss of height on final approach without an excessive build up of speed or the use of flap.


(e)    Wingover.

The model approaches in straight and level flight on a line parallel with the Examiners’ line. After passing the Examiners’ position a smooth climbing turn is commenced away from the Examiners. At the apex of the turn the bank should be at least 60º. The nose of the model then lowers and the bank comes off at the same rate as it went on. The turn is continued through 180º to recover straight and level flight at the same height and on a heading opposite to that of the entry.

A low powered aircraft would be expected to execute a shallow dive at full throttle in order to pick up speed before commencing the manoeuvre.

(f)     360 deg Descending Circle at Constant Low Throttle Setting

Commencing from straight and level flight, the model performs a gentle 3600 descending circle over the landing area, in a direction away from the Examiners, at a constant low throttle setting. The manoeuvre terminates at a maximum height of 6 metres, resuming straight and level flight on the same path.

(g)      Chandelle

From a straight and level flight the model passes the Examiners and then performs a 1800 climbing turn in a direction away from the Examiners, resuming straight and level flight on the opposite heading. The rate of climb should be commensurate with that of the prototype. 

(h)  Perform a stall and recovery

The model should decelerate whilst flying straight and level.  At the point of stalling the nose should drop. The model should accelerate with the application of power and recover to straight and level flight, maintaining the original heading.

(i)           Perform a landing, wheels to touch within 10 metres of a pre-designated point.

The pilot should call LANDING when on finals. Visual checks of the active area are still very important and must be seen to be done even at this stage of the landing; again you should watch for head movement.

If the candidate opens the throttle and climbs away then they should have a very good reason, such as people on the runway. Any reasons offered by the candidate for an unscheduled overshoot cannot include not being lined up correctly or anything similar. However, a forced overshoot for good reasons should not be penalised and a new approach and landing should be allowed.

Touchdown should be smooth and within the designated landing zone and the model should decelerate and turn off the runway in a controlled manner. Ground loops and nose over landings are not acceptable at this level.

The model should taxi in from the landing area, stopping a safe distance form the pits and other pilots, ready for recovery. Any attempt to taxi close to other pilots or close to or into the pits is an instant fail.

The candidate must NOT take their transmitter with them if the engine has stopped after the landing and model has to be retrieved. If no one else is available to hold it then you should offer. When the model has been retrieved and returned to the pits area the transmitter  should be returned to the pilot.

If the model does not taxi in then the Examiners should take this into account when assessing the candidates flight as a pilot at this level should be capable of controlling his aircraft in all active phases of the flight. If the candidate has performed an excellent flight then not taxying in might not weigh too heavily but it might well affect the decision if the candidates flight was average but passable. In borderline cases, it might be appropriate to ask the candidate to repeat the take-off/landing manoeuvres so that safe taxying out and in may be demonstrated.

(j)                               Remove model and equipment from the take-off/landing area.

The candidate should ensure that it is safe to go onto the runway before leaving the pilot box.  The model should be rendered safe as soon as possible by activating failsafe or shutting down combustion engines.

Remember that electric models must be assumed to be ‘live’ until the flight battery has been disconnected and the handling of the aircraft by the candidate must reflect this during retrieval and in the pits area.

(k)                  Complete post-flight checks as required by the MFNZ Safety Codes.

These are set out clearly in the members manual but you should watch particularly that the Rx off, Tx off, frequency system cleared sequence is followed correctly.

The Questions

The candidate then must answer correctly a minimum of five questions on safety matters, based on the MFNZ Large Model Code of Practice.

Remember that on no account can a good performance on the questions make up for a flying test that you considered a failure. If you have failed the candidate’s flying you should not even start to ask the questions. On the other hand the Proficiency scheme is a test of both flying ability and knowledge. It doesn’t matter how well the candidate can fly, if they cannot answer the safety questions they should not pass.

How many questions you should actually ask will depend on the circumstances at the time. For instance, if the candidate has done a good flying test and answers the first five questions with confidence then you need go no further. An acceptable test but with some rough edges can be offset to an extent by the candidate performing well in the first five questions.

A candidate who has done a test which you found only just acceptable and who hesitates on the questions should be asked a few more than five and if you are not satisfied that they have actually read the safety codes, you should not hesitate to fail them.

As an examiner, however, you should prepare yourself thoroughly for any testing that you do and you may wish to sort out your own personal and private list of sensible questions. Don't forget that you can use any local rules which you know and which the candidate should be aware of.

PDF downloads
Annex G, Large power LP

Annex I, Oral questions

Examiners Checklist
- click to view/download PDF

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