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        Discussion So, How am I doing? My short RC history.

#1 cwolfe Dec 21, 2011 08:07 PM

So, How am I doing? My short RC history.
This is a bit wordy, but would welcome any feedback.

So, My daughter was born this past August. I took a month off from work and began to get bored. After all my wife was nursing so other than changing a few diapers and making dinner there wasn't much for me to do.

My 10 yr old daughter and I go to the hobby shop and I notice some of the walnut scale Dumas balsa kits. Ahhh. I tell her. "Grandpa and I used to build kits like this when I was about your age.". So I pick up the AM6 Zero. I build it in about 4 days. Put it together before I covered it. #1 lesson learned. It came out looking ok (like crap). So as I'm building it I'm thinking. "I bet you can RC these things up these days." RC equip was way too big and expensive when I was young. I start to google. Sure enough you can.:)

I buy a PZ Micro Corsair. My first RC plane at 40 yrs old. A life long dream fullfilled. About a minute later were driving home from our maiden with a broken plane. Some Scotch tape and foam safe glue and we're in the air again. "Crash!"..repeat. I finally got a couple flights out of it until it just couldn't be repaired again. So I take out the guts and pick up the Dumas Mr. Mulligan in an effort to do a conversion. About a month build. (you can see it on my blog) Ends up too heavy and not enough wing area. I never get in the air. :(.

I order a 4 channel 27" J-3 PNP from Hobby King and a DX5E from Horizon Hobby. I go a little electronics crazy and now have two AR500, 3 AR600E's and 3 Orange RX's. Servos out the rear. 2 350mah, 1 500mah and 2 1000mah bats. Plus the guts from the Corsair and much much more. The J-3 comes. I take a week to set it up nice. Finally get the guts to take her out. I first fly her on the 350 mahs. I'm flying!!! Nice flights. Slowing down to 1/3 throttle. Two nice landings. One nosed over but no biggy. Loving the DX5E by the way. Throw in the 500 mah. Another nice flight! But Uh-Oh. coming in for the landing I get switched up. Invert her and SMASH! Broken nose bent motor shaft, cracked wing. I can never find the right motor to get her to fly properly again.........I get her in the air, but she's all over the place. Finally I bench her.

Back to the conversions. I have the Guillows 24" Cessna kit #309 and the 24" Thomas Morse lasser cut kit, but want to do a smaller build to get some experience. So pick up a little 20" J-3 Guillows junior kit. I build it in about a month and use the AR6400 out of the Corsair. I only go with 3 Channels. Need a new battery. got It! A little 120mah. She flies like a champ. Probably exactly like the Champ. Smooth landings. 2-3 minute flight times. Some sucess finally!

It's December now. So about 4 months since this all started. I've started the Cessna conversion (It too is on my blog.) I couldn't help myself and there is a SIG Jenny JN4 ARF and the Airfield T-28 800mm PNP sitting under the Christmas tree. Plus about a month ago I got a deal on a Green models Neuport 18 ARF. It's sitting under the build table waiting until I'm ready. So I've had two really nice flights on the bigger J-3 before a slip of the thumb, and a few flights on the little 20" J-3 conversion.(She is still in one piece and ready to go on a calm day.)Plus the crazy out of control flights on the PZ UM Corsair at the beginning of all of this. My conversions are getting better everytime. I'm hoping the Cessna turns out well. I can't wait to do the Thomas Morse. So I ask. How am I doing?:rolleyes:

If you took the time to read this. I thank you.


#2 Glacier Girl Dec 21, 2011 10:22 PM

You are doing great on the build side if you can get a Guillows kit to fly without mods. Most of the time they build heavy, and are more designed for ascetic looks vs flying capability.

A wise step would be to get some more flight time under your belt with a trainer, so to speak before you risk the new Christmas presents.

Buy yourself something like the Hobby Zone Super Cub from Horizon. You can get it in a bind and fly set up. They take a beating, and are easy to repair.

Gotta think about it this way, real pilots didn't jump right into a Corsair or even a T28 right off the bat. They learned on a trainer and as their skills increased then they were promoted to a more difficult plane.

Something else, these smaller birds like your builds and the micro Corsair are going to be a hand full to say the least in any wind at all. The SC will handle stronger winds and give you more of a feel of how to handle them.

Best of luck!

#3 cwolfe Dec 21, 2011 10:33 PM

Thanks Glacier Girl. I did replace a good bit of the wood that came in the Guillows J-3 with better quality. I got that 27" J-3 from Hobby King thinking it would be a good trainer, and it was. Until I put it in hard. Almost ordered another one since I couldn't find the right motor. The CG is all messed up with the motor I have in it. I'm hoping to get the Cessna done and get some flights in on it before the T-28 or the Jenny takes to the air. I also want pratice the tricycle landings with it before the T-28. Also plan to have the little J-3 up more, but as you mentioned it has to be a super calm day. She comes in at 58g's. I am also eyeing the Super Cub down at the hobby shop. That would put me with quite a few planes in the hanger. LOL! I have a very supportive wife thankfully.

#4 restlessswind Dec 21, 2011 11:42 PM

check out the kits from www.stevensaero.com My LHS now stocks these kits. They frame up in about a day and are designed to fly well. Most use parkzone micro or GWS type gear.

www.mountainmodels.com is a similar type business

and this outfit www.manzanolaser.com sells laser-cut short kits from plans of popular designers.

#5 cwolfe Dec 22, 2011 12:00 AM

Thanks Restlesswind. I knew of mountain models (I want that P-51) and Stevensaero, but had not seen Manzanolaser. Some great kits there! Love the Scout.

#6 ausf Dec 22, 2011 08:34 AM

We're following roughly the same path (46 and have two boys, 10 and 12). Always loved RC, never could afford it as a kid, revisited it this past Spring and am completely hooked.

I wrestled the UMT-28 to the sky as my beginning, moved on to the Corsair after the DX6i. Got my sons Champs and they had the easiest time learning.

It's great what you are doing with the conversions but you can't got wrong getting a Stevens kit, especially one for a DSM2 brick. I bought the Hummingbird when it was introduced and it was one of the best decisions so far. It taught me so much in terms of design, it really helps with future conversions. It's like taking a class in different woods and construction techniques. It's also my best flyer, I haven't flown foam since.

There are two Stevens Farman kits under the tree for my sons and I'm starting a Fieseler Storch scratch build myself.

Sounds like we are both doing okay... ;)

#7 rtbates Dec 22, 2011 10:03 AM

You sound perfectly addicted.... At least you didn't wait until you're 62 to 'start' again, as I did...

#8 jasmine2501 Dec 22, 2011 01:50 PM


Originally Posted by cwolfe (Post 20201066)
If you took the time to read this. I thank you.

It's not the length, it's the lack of paragraphs.

But it sounds like you have learned most of the basic lessons, some the hard way :)

You are having fun and progressing, so what's really important is how you think you're doing. Do you feel as if you could be learning more quickly, or learning a different way, or do you think you're moving too quickly, or whatever... we can advise you about that, but it's hard to assess your progress "in general"

#9 cwolfe Dec 22, 2011 01:55 PM


Originally Posted by jasmine2501 (Post 20207587)
It's not the length, it's the lack of paragraphs.

Sorry Jasmine. It is a bit of an eye sore.

I think I'm progressing well. It's a bit of a steap curve. I really enjoy the satisfaction of building and converting, but I spend most of my time at the build table and just want to get in the air sometimes.

Thank you. :)

#10 jasmine2501 Dec 22, 2011 02:08 PM


Originally Posted by cwolfe (Post 20207644)
Sorry Jasmine. It is a bit of an eye sore.

I think I'm progressing well. It's a bit of a steap curve. I really enjoy the satisfaction of building and converting, but I spend most of my time at the build table and just want to get in the air sometimes.

Thank you. :)

I know a guy who builds the nicest possible airplanes you could ever want. I mean really nice scale jobs, with lots of detail, all fully functional and flyable. He doesn't fly though, he builds them for other people to fly. He flies foamies and he can fly with reasonable skill, but he just doesn't like the idea of putting his masterpieces in his own hands. He knows enough about flying to build good airplanes, and he's enjoying the hobby in his own way.

We all enjoy it in our own way - the tricky and sometimes frustrating thing is achieving your own goals, and defining your own goals can be tricky also. There was a great article about this in the latest Model Aviation magazine - the author was writing about a friend who all he wanted to do was power passes with big warbirds. He had to break that down to achieve it - first learning to fly warbirds with reasonable skill, but he doesn't have to be the best fighter ace in the club.

As long as you're doing what you want to do, you should be happy with your progress. If you're not happy, then maybe we can help you define and achieve your goals more clearly and easily. You are still in the exploration phase. It took me a couple years to figure out what I really like to do - 3D flying, and the occasional pylon racing.

#11 Tony K Dec 23, 2011 07:55 AM


Originally Posted by cwolfe (Post 20207644)
Sorry Jasmine. It is a bit of an eye sore.

I think I'm progressing well. It's a bit of a steap curve. I really enjoy the satisfaction of building and converting, but I spend most of my time at the build table and just want to get in the air sometimes.

Thank you. :)

Sounds like ya got your heart into this! I really don't have or want to spend most my time building or repairing, but I love to fly. I had got into this hobby with the recommended Supercub, then T28. Had my share of mishaps, but still managed to spend most my time flying. Pickup yourself a easy to fly plane such as the supercub, champ, etc, and enjoy the crap out of flying. Continue your building as well. You will love spending more time in the air, hand in there and good luck!:)

#12 daver22 Dec 23, 2011 08:32 AM

I'll second Tony. Started with micro's but they can be a challenge. Went to the HZ Supercub and never looked back. Took crazy beatings, glued her back up and flew again. Now have a PZ T-28 which I really like. But that SC is still a keeper. Now with ailerons and brushless setup (mostly to tinker and build). Lot's of fun. But having one you can fly with confidence is great. The SC will get you there.

#13 Byrdman Dec 23, 2011 04:10 PM

IMO, if you want to learn to fly better and faster, spend a month or two on a Slow Stick or since you like building, check out the scratchbuilt foamies section and look at all the plans that are available. When you plant one of those in the ground, it is usually just an hour or two repair or rebuild and less than $10. Plus, you can learn a lot on what works and what doesnt by coping proven designs. I have to hand it to some of those guys, their foamies are unbelievable builds.

It all comes down to what you enjoy as mentioned above, personally, I dont like spending a lot of time on a plane that I cant fly well because it kills me when I wreck it. I prefer to spend a few hours on something and fly the hell out of it:D

#14 cwolfe Dec 23, 2011 10:03 PM

Thanks for all the responses I've received. I don't know why, but I somehow felt that everybody was going to say " Your way over your head", "You should pick a new hobby" I'm pretty happy with the way things are progressing. I just wanted to get some feedback.

Everybody that I have met through RCG has been great! There are some very kind and extremely knowledgeable people on here. Some of the builds I have seen completely blow me away!

I guess my goals would be. To be a good scale builder and a reasonable flyer. I want to be able to fly my builds with confidence and also be able to diagnose and correct any aerodynamic, CG, or structural issues.

I feel I'm on the right track. I'm not breaking the bank or anything. Sometimes I just have to get the guts up to (as an acquaintance on here put) "Commit to aviation".

Thanks all. Keep 'em coming.

Merry Christmas!


#15 600Bob Dec 24, 2011 08:34 PM

I started with the UM T-28 and a friend bought the UM Corsair. Maybe his was a lemon but it flew like crap, very twitchy and under powered compared to the T-28. I have the larger PZ Corsair and it flies nice. I recently bought a used Multiplex FunCub and it really is a great plane, love the flaps and rough field capability!

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