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Old Sep 02, 2012, 01:08 PM
Absolute Beginner
Joined Sep 2012
13 Posts
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Help Getting Started

Hi all,

I've gotten started in RC flying kind of by accident, and found this site a little ways into my journey. I've been reading and lurking for a while, and would like some advice. Here's my story:

I got started in all of this with an article from MAKE magazine, and built a flying-wing based on their kit. A link to the article: http://makeprojects.com/Project/-The...1#.UEOPwNZlRD2. They have a kit with all the parts: http://www.makershed.com/Flying_Wing_Kit_p/msfw1.htm.

Put it all together, kids loved helping out, and ended up with all the basics needed: Hitec Optic 5 transmitter, battery, charger, receiver, and something to fly around.

Did more crashing than flying however. Good news is it's pretty much indestructible. Made the assumption that the problem was more with the plane than the pilot - which is probably not true. Certainly didn't find it as easy and forgiving as advertised.

Kids loved building it so much, that I went out and picked up a kit to build a "real" RC plane. Found a Mountain Models EZ Scout kit, grabbed the EZ Wing version (foam wings), and have started the assembly process. A little more was left to the imagination - I picked up an engine and ESC that I think match (Scorpion S2 2205-1490, and Thunderbird 18 Brushless ESC), and construction has been going well.

A friend suggested a simulator, so I picked up Phoenix V 4.0 and figured out how to get the Hitec transmitter hooked up. Finding out this flying stuff is a lot harder than I expected! I can get things to land - but not where I want them to. My main issue with the simulator is it's tough to keep track of where the plane is compared to it's surroundings, which I'm assuming is much easier in real life. Basic controlling the flight of the plane, at least with a 3-channel setup, is getting easier.

Kids (13 and 15) are having a tougher time, and I'm getting nervous about letting them fly the plane we are building. To be honest, I'm a little nervous about flying it myself!

So this brings me to my questions:
  1. Would it be a better idea to start with a different plane?
  2. Any suggestions on the setup of the plane I'm currently building?
  3. Any other advice?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!

Mike.
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 03:29 PM
Registered User
Joined Nov 2008
474 Posts
Inorder not to discourage your kid, you should start with something easy to fly right out of the box. understand rc plane building is more than just build, you will have to balance the cg as well as trim the control surface inorder to have the plane fly. Get a rtf hobbyzone firebird strato, it has self level design and is a stronger plane, can take more wind than many other rtf mircos, until they have more confidence and start learn how to build. You should let them have fun first.

Edmond
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 04:29 PM
Look out below
mcnowhere's Avatar
United States, OR, McMinnville
Joined Aug 2011
1,370 Posts
Yep I think a RTF high wing trainer would be the place to start. Like champ cub or super cub.

You said you have been lurking here and using a sim have you read the sticky Six Keys to Success for New Pilots?
What happens when you try to fly the towel?
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 04:36 PM
Sure, I can fly after sunset!?
United States, MI, Novi
Joined Jan 2011
524 Posts
My main issue with the simulator is it's tough to keep track of where the plane is compared to it's surroundings, which I'm assuming is much easier in real life.

Not necessarily true.

The wind can carry your plane away from you, and flying back toward youself into the wind can be really challenging. Don't discount the effect of looking into the sun. It seems the sun is always interfering with your takeoffs or landings or turns or.... And losing orientation due to too much sun, or too little, or just plain flying too far away adds to the fun. And don't underestimate the "pucker factor" as your $100 or $200 or $300 investment is whizzing by overhead. THAT cannot be replicated in a simulator! And, your transmitter doesn't have a reset button.

As for a good beginner plane, the CHAMP and SUPER CUB have a large fanatic following. Just look at the THOUSANDS of posts in their forums. Me, I'm a SC guy.

Perhaps someone can suggest something based on the equipment you already bought.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 05:31 PM
Hot glue held together by foam
United States, WA, Vancouver
Joined Aug 2010
2,652 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gopher5 View Post
Hi all,

I've gotten started in RC flying kind of by accident, and found this site a little ways into my journey. I've been reading and lurking for a while, and would like some advice. Here's my story:

I got started in all of this with an article from MAKE magazine, and built a flying-wing based on their kit. A link to the article: http://makeprojects.com/Project/-The...1#.UEOPwNZlRD2. They have a kit with all the parts: http://www.makershed.com/Flying_Wing_Kit_p/msfw1.htm.

Put it all together, kids loved helping out, and ended up with all the basics needed: Hitec Optic 5 transmitter, battery, charger, receiver, and something to fly around.

Did more crashing than flying however. Good news is it's pretty much indestructible. Made the assumption that the problem was more with the plane than the pilot - which is probably not true. Certainly didn't find it as easy and forgiving as advertised.

Kids loved building it so much, that I went out and picked up a kit to build a "real" RC plane. Found a Mountain Models EZ Scout kit, grabbed the EZ Wing version (foam wings), and have started the assembly process. A little more was left to the imagination - I picked up an engine and ESC that I think match (Scorpion S2 2205-1490, and Thunderbird 18 Brushless ESC), and construction has been going well.

A friend suggested a simulator, so I picked up Phoenix V 4.0 and figured out how to get the Hitec transmitter hooked up. Finding out this flying stuff is a lot harder than I expected! I can get things to land - but not where I want them to. My main issue with the simulator is it's tough to keep track of where the plane is compared to it's surroundings, which I'm assuming is much easier in real life. Basic controlling the flight of the plane, at least with a 3-channel setup, is getting easier.

Kids (13 and 15) are having a tougher time, and I'm getting nervous about letting them fly the plane we are building. To be honest, I'm a little nervous about flying it myself!

So this brings me to my questions:
  1. Would it be a better idea to start with a different plane?
  2. Any suggestions on the setup of the plane I'm currently building?
  3. Any other advice?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!

Mike.
A good beginner plane is one that can fly slowly ( gives you time to react ) and is self-righting . Slow flight is a matter of light wing loading ( overall light weight RELATIVE to the wing area ) . Self-righting is a matter of the wings mounted high on the plane , with dihedral ( the wings angled up ) and pendulum effect ( most of the weight being underneath the wings ) .
If you're a little nervous about letting your kids fly ( crash? ) the plane you're building , here's one you can make that costs $1.25 ( plus some hot glue and tape ) , is SUPER EASY to make , SUPER EASY to fly , and it protects your electronics if you do crash . It looks weird , but it's meant to be kind of a disposable trainer . After you and your kids learn to fly on it , then you could put your electronics on a " real ", nicer looking plane .

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1685988

Step by step build instructions http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1702077

Al
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 06:30 PM
Proud of Brushless Sprouts
Commander Clumsy's Avatar
Belgium, Flanders, Antwerp
Joined Feb 2007
328 Posts
Start with something that flies by itself and can withstand rough landings, like a Multiplex Easystar. Take a look in the Foamies (Kits) section.

That EZ Sport of yours is good as a second - or even third plane.
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 10:55 PM
Absolute Beginner
Joined Sep 2012
13 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnowhere View Post
Yep I think a RTF high wing trainer would be the place to start. Like champ cub or super cub.

You said you have been lurking here and using a sim have you read the sticky Six Keys to Success for New Pilots?
What happens when you try to fly the towel?
Did read the sticky - good stuff.

I think our problem with the towel is not near enough throttle (scared of crashing fast...), and way, way, way, way too low to the ground. Basically a quick over-steer a few feet off the ground, and we meet the ground. Going to give it a try again after playing around on the sim for a while.

Looking into a high wing trainer, want to find something that fits in with the equipment I've already bought..
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 11:27 PM
Absolute Beginner
Joined Sep 2012
13 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by balsa or carbon View Post
A good beginner plane is one that can fly slowly ( gives you time to react ) and is self-righting . Slow flight is a matter of light wing loading ( overall light weight RELATIVE to the wing area ) . Self-righting is a matter of the wings mounted high on the plane , with dihedral ( the wings angled up ) and pendulum effect ( most of the weight being underneath the wings ) .
If you're a little nervous about letting your kids fly ( crash? ) the plane you're building , here's one you can make that costs $1.25 ( plus some hot glue and tape ) , is SUPER EASY to make , SUPER EASY to fly , and it protects your electronics if you do crash . It looks weird , but it's meant to be kind of a disposable trainer . After you and your kids learn to fly on it , then you could put your electronics on a " real ", nicer looking plane .

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1685988

Step by step build instructions http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1702077

Al
Thanks for these links. This looks like an improved version of what we started out with. I think we'll give this a try.
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 11:37 PM
Shelter Kitty "Orange Death"
bartricky's Avatar
United States, FL, Monroe
Joined Jan 2008
3,165 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Commander Clumsy View Post
Start with something that flies by itself and can withstand rough landings, like a Multiplex Easystar. Take a look in the Foamies (Kits) section.

That EZ Sport of yours is good as a second - or even third plane.
+1 The EZ Scout is a great easy flyer but will sustain more damage than an Easystar type foamy. Save it for a second plane. JMHO
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Old Sep 03, 2012, 12:27 AM
Hot glue held together by foam
United States, WA, Vancouver
Joined Aug 2010
2,652 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gopher5 View Post
Thanks for these links. This looks like an improved version of what we started out with. I think we'll give this a try.
Let me know if you have any questions during the build - I'll be glad to help .
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 11:03 PM
Absolute Beginner
Joined Sep 2012
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Originally Posted by balsa or carbon View Post
Let me know if you have any questions during the build - I'll be glad to help .
OK, plane is cut out and glued together, I figured out a motor mount, just have mounting the rest of the electronics left. My order of connectors for battery and ESC, along with some control horns, arrived via UPS this week. That's one place your directions left me stuck - how to get the push rods connected to the control surfaces. I think I have something figured out, will find out tomorrow if that's true.

Weekend weather looks like it will hold out, plan on cranking up the soldering iron and getting this guy up in the air this weekend!

Any suggestions on a plane model for PhoenixRC V4 that would be somewhat close to how this will handle - I'd like to get the kids some practice time...
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Old Sep 28, 2012, 03:12 AM
Hot glue held together by foam
United States, WA, Vancouver
Joined Aug 2010
2,652 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gopher5 View Post
OK, plane is cut out and glued together, I figured out a motor mount, just have mounting the rest of the electronics left. My order of connectors for battery and ESC, along with some control horns, arrived via UPS this week. That's one place your directions left me stuck - how to get the push rods connected to the control surfaces. I think I have something figured out, will find out tomorrow if that's true.

Weekend weather looks like it will hold out, plan on cranking up the soldering iron and getting this guy up in the air this weekend!

Any suggestions on a plane model for PhoenixRC V4 that would be somewhat close to how this will handle - I'd like to get the kids some practice time...
If you can post some photos of how you connected the push rods to the control surfaces I might be able to help you out with that .

I haven't done any flight sim myself , so I'm not sure if I can advise you about that other than to try a high wing trainer with dihedral , and have them practice making BIG turns ( SMALL movements on the control sticks ) with as little banking as possible . The most likely way to get in trouble flying the SE is over steering , since the rudder can be VERY responsive .

But when the time comes to fly the SE , after you have trimmed it , take it up high and hand the TX over to one of the kids and let them fly it around UP HIGH . If they get into trouble , take the TX back and save it before it gets too low to the ground .
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Old Sep 28, 2012, 03:45 PM
Your Pilot Ryan
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United States, IN, South Bend
Joined Nov 2008
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RC Flight lesson 1 part 4 Hobbyzone Champ final lesson (12 min 47 sec)
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 08:38 PM
Absolute Beginner
Joined Sep 2012
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It Flies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by balsa or carbon View Post
If you can post some photos of how you connected the push rods to the control surfaces I might be able to help you out with that .

I haven't done any flight sim myself , so I'm not sure if I can advise you about that other than to try a high wing trainer with dihedral , and have them practice making BIG turns ( SMALL movements on the control sticks ) with as little banking as possible . The most likely way to get in trouble flying the SE is over steering , since the rudder can be VERY responsive .

But when the time comes to fly the SE , after you have trimmed it , take it up high and hand the TX over to one of the kids and let them fly it around UP HIGH . If they get into trouble , take the TX back and save it before it gets too low to the ground .
Got the plane up in the air this weekend. It's definitely tail-heavy - I had to put quite a bit of weight up in the nose to get the CG where it needed to be. Didn't secure it the best, after a couple of rough "landings" it ended up looking like the first picture below. I'm amazed at how strong hot-glue is!

Did some adding to the front, and a little more solid of a platform for holding the nose wight. It seemed to fly OK for me with the CG right on the prop, about an inch further back than described in the building plans.. I thought about trimming some off the sides - making the plan narrower - to try and reduce the weight in the back.

It's a little tricky to get started - it wants some airspeed before it will level out, it's a good thing I'm 6 feet tall, it almost hits the ground on a toss. The video shows a failed flight (lost vision behind the tree), and another flight that worked better. I still get mixed up with the plane flying at me - turned the wrong way at the end of the video and almost hit the house.

Overall a great success - thanks for the plans! I did get my son to fly it a couple of laps, which was great. Lots of fun.

Video is here:
Plane Take Two (1 min 6 sec)
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 09:50 PM
Hot glue held together by foam
United States, WA, Vancouver
Joined Aug 2010
2,652 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gopher5 View Post
Got the plane up in the air this weekend. It's definitely tail-heavy - I had to put quite a bit of weight up in the nose to get the CG where it needed to be. Didn't secure it the best, after a couple of rough "landings" it ended up looking like the first picture below. I'm amazed at how strong hot-glue is!

Did some adding to the front, and a little more solid of a platform for holding the nose wight. It seemed to fly OK for me with the CG right on the prop, about an inch further back than described in the building plans.. I thought about trimming some off the sides - making the plan narrower - to try and reduce the weight in the back.

It's a little tricky to get started - it wants some airspeed before it will level out, it's a good thing I'm 6 feet tall, it almost hits the ground on a toss. The video shows a failed flight (lost vision behind the tree), and another flight that worked better. I still get mixed up with the plane flying at me - turned the wrong way at the end of the video and almost hit the house.

Overall a great success - thanks for the plans! I did get my son to fly it a couple of laps, which was great. Lots of fun.

Video is here: https://vimeo.com/50501464
Cool ! Nice how the nose is a crumple zone to protect those electronics , and it's easy to replace just the nose if you want to .

Do you have any larger batteries ? Or do you have more than one of the kind in the photo ? If so , you could make a parallel harness to connect them together ( doubles the flight time ) and have them BOTH on the nose ( one on each side ) to get your CG right without the washers . Just make sure it's a PARALLEL harness , NOT a SERIES harness , 'cause that will toast the ESC .

One trick you could try when the plane is coming at you is : turn around with your back to the plane ( so your body and the TX are facing away from the plane ) and look at it over your shoulder , then left is left and right is right again .

I did notice in the video that there seemed to be a lot of over steering , the most common problem for beginners . All you can do is keep flying and try to make BIG turns ( small stick movements ) with as little banking as possible .
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