What is Control Line?
Control Line is the method by which a person can input direction and therefore control a moving model aircraft. In it's simplest form 2 lines are used, one is called the Up line and the other the Down line. Rarely are the lines longer than 70 feet from the control handle to the aircraft. By means of a directional transfer called a "belcrank", control surfaces on the model can be manipulated to cause altitude change. The airplane can be made to go up or down, but because the area covered is a hemisphere, the plane can do very intricate maneuvers, very beautiful and pleasing to the pilot and spectators. At the pilot end of the lines is a "U" shaped handle turned at 90 degrees, so the pilot holds the bottom of the "U" and each line is attached to the top and bottom prongs respectively. Often you will hear Control Line described as "U-Control" for this reason. The handle acts as a "joystick", just as one would find in a real airplane. By holding the handle vertically with the thumb at the top and little finger at the bottom the pilot need only tilt the thumb towards himself slightly to input Up directional control and vice versa for Down control.
The actual flying area can be imagined thusly; if one were to cut a ball in half, you would have two domes. Imagine one dome sitting on the ground with a flat bottom. In the very center of that circular bottom is where the pilot would stand holding his control handle with the lines going to the outside of the bottom circumference to the aircraft. The plane can be maneuvered anywhere on the curved surface of the dome, so the pilot can control the airplane from a point on one side of the circular bottom up across the top of the dome and down again to a point 180 degrees opposite from the starting point. Most often the lowest to the ground an aircraft is flown is about 5 feet, except of course for takeoff and landing. One other execption to that is a Crash! And when first learning to fly Control Line crashing is often the rule rather than the exception. In short order however, those events reverse themselves and the aircraft survives to fly yet another day.
This is Control Line Model Aviation. There can be, and is, much much more to enjoying this hobby/sport. Click on the other respective links to learn more about Control Line Carrier, Combat, Racing, Scale, Speed, Stunt, and Fun flying.