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Old Dec 28, 2011, 12:23 PM
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Joined Dec 2011
6 Posts
Question
Align 3-Channel RC electric sailplane

I bought this plane in 2004 and tried to fly it a few times, but crashed. Eventually had to replace the tail and the propeller. One experienced pilot flew it but since he spoke Chinese and I only English (I live in Taiwan), it only proved the airplane with working.

Now, I've dusted off the plane, recharged the batteries and am ready to try again. From what I can guess, I had several problems on take off.

1. Either I was cross wind or the rudder was not straight as it veered and dove.
2. I may have been timid on the throttle. I seem to now see that sailplanes are powered full throttle or off - nothing in between (especially on take off).
3. It may have just been to windy on the days I attempted a first flight, though experienced flyers were flying other planes. (Their planes were possibly more powerful brushless ones, mine is a brushed 7.2V Lipo with 6.7X3 blade.)

I'd appreciate some detailed advice. From what I am guessing, since I have just motor, rudder, and elevator - I should move the elevator up a bit as I use the rudder in a turn to prevent diving on banked turns.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 12:35 PM
Registered User
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Joined Sep 2007
736 Posts
Loopy,

First...don't give up! From my own perspective, soaring is a wonderful aspect of the RC world.

Second...Hang out with the fliers at the site you visited. Find a mentor to give you some assistance. Let them know you need some help and you'll get it. It is always good to have someone with experience go over your plane and equipment. Most RC fliers are very eager to share their knowledge and they will want you to succeed.

I am a self-taught sailplane (now e-sailplaner) so I know the frustrations of learning on my own. If you can find a local club that would be a great help and speed you along in the hobby.

There is also much to learn here on RC Groups and, again, lots of fellow fliers happy to help where they can.

Good luck.

Dave
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Last edited by Highride; Dec 28, 2011 at 12:42 PM. Reason: omission
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 01:09 PM
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Joined Dec 2011
6 Posts
Find a mentor? I don't think you read the part about my being an English speaker living in Taiwan. So I am asking for tips here about takeoff, flight and landing.

I could hang out for years and not find someone to talk to. Culturally everyone is very polite and I can handle some Chinese and they let me fly, but getting into details about roll, pitch, yaw and so on just won't happen. I did try to find an RC Group as I had a friend that was an FAA Certified mechanic at the local international airport and he wanted to fly as well. But he was discourage by everyone wanting substantial cash for lessons. That option is no longer open as he passed away this year.

Someone has checked out the airplane and verified my frequency was clear. But that is about it.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 01:40 PM
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Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Joined Sep 2007
736 Posts
Understood
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 11:15 AM
Registered User
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Joined Sep 2007
736 Posts
Okay Loopy,

I see you haven't received any other input. I'll do the best I can, but DO try to find someone to help you. Understand that the advice is very basic but you may find some ideas that would help. My impression from your first post was that you may have stalled the plane on your take-off attempts. See my notes below on the launch.

Preflight:
Charge your plane and transmitter and test each of your control surfaces. Make sure every electrical connection is solid and your links to control surfaces are solid as well.

Flying day choice:
Pick a day when it is calm or near calm. This is so you can clearly see how the plane reacts to flight and commands from your radio. Before you go to the field, make sure everything is fully charged.

Think about your flight before you launch. Here's my thoughts for your first flight:

-Safe launch. When you're ready do a "wiggle" test and make sure all your surfaces move in the right directions and that your throttle responds. Go to full throttle and launch your plane toward the horizon, not on a high upward angle or you will probably stall. Let the plane build up speed and put in a little up elevator. Note: Some planes have the capability of looping right back over your head so be ready to back off on the throttle if it climbs too steeply for you.
-Climb! Altitude is your friend so get it up there.
-Level off THEN cut throttle. You don't want to be nose-up when you cut your throttle or you may stall then over-correct.
-Settle down and practice large turns in both directions. At first, you may over-correct so practice making smooth turns. This builds confidence in your ability to control the aircraft.
-Use your motor to climb and add elevator as necessary. The most dangerous condition for your plane is to be low and far out.
-Once you're comfortable that you can make the plane do what you want, make a few passes over your field in the direction you will be landing in.
-When you do decide to land, your plane should probably be about five or so feet off the ground at the edge of your landing area. Let the plane settle in and try not to force the landing. This is how many of us damaged our planes early in our RC days.
-Check your plane over and recharge it as necessay.
-Think through your flight and what you need to correct or practice and do it again and again.

Loopy, there is no substitute for practice and getting time on the sticks. Perhaps, one of the locals will step forward and give you some help. You will damage your plane so be ready with some field repairs.

Good luck,

Dave
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