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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:28 AM
polyfractal's Avatar
United States, SC, Charleston
Joined Jun 2012
113 Posts
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First flight and lessons learned

Over the weekend, I took my Sky Surfer out to a local green space for her first, maiden flight. The area was down close to the ocean, so there was a strong breeze...that should have been my first warning sign. This was also the first time I've ever flown an RC plane, so that really should have been the second sign that bad things were to come

No matter how much you read about flying a plane, nothing really prepares you for that first flight. It lasted about 5 seconds and was pure terror. Nose-bombed straight into the ground, but not too much damage.

Second flight, 15 seconds of anxiety, pile-drived the ground again. A bit more damage, the side of the cockpit fuselage was starting to buckle.

Third flight, about 30 seconds of excitement...it was still in the air! Then I got too ambitious and tried to turn and, you guessed it, straight into the ground. Alas, this was one crash too many for my poor plane:



I packed up and headed home with a head full of thoughts. From my little adventure, this is what I learned:

Fly in a larger field
The area I was flying in was too small. I underestimated how quickly the plane eats up ground. After just a few seconds it was racing towards the edges of the field and I desperately didn't want to lose it
Fly with more altitude
Because I was flying in such a small area, I was afraid to take the plane up very high because I didn't want to lose it. Unfortunately, I discovered the hard way that low altitude means you have no time to correct mistakes. Anything that goes wrong...goes into the ground
Flying is not like driving
When you turn a car, you keep the wheel turned until you are done, then straighten out the wheel. I probably should have known this ahead of time, but you don't hold the stick in position. All three crashes were because I held the ailerons to the side in an attempt to straighten, causing a roll into the ground.

Lesson learned: move stick and then back to neutral.
Foam is easily repaired



Nothing a little gorilla glue and duct tape can't fix
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 11:48 AM
Smells like SCIENCE!!!
ibillwilson's Avatar
Canada, ON, Toronto
Joined Jun 2012
341 Posts
Too bad about the maiden woes, but you definitely learned the right lessons. I just started flying a few months ago and I had to learn those same lessons too... the hard way, of course.

I read that you flew again after the repairs, with more success... way to go! Hopefully you can fix that nasty turning problem without too much trouble.

Once you master this plane, what are your plans? I don't know if you'd enjoy scratch-building, but I've found that it's at least as much fun as the actual flying. More frustrating sometimes, but also more rewarding when something you designed and built yourself actually flies well.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 01:19 PM
polyfractal's Avatar
United States, SC, Charleston
Joined Jun 2012
113 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibillwilson View Post
Too bad about the maiden woes, but you definitely learned the right lessons. I just started flying a few months ago and I had to learn those same lessons too... the hard way, of course.

I read that you flew again after the repairs, with more success... way to go! Hopefully you can fix that nasty turning problem without too much trouble.

Once you master this plane, what are your plans? I don't know if you'd enjoy scratch-building, but I've found that it's at least as much fun as the actual flying. More frustrating sometimes, but also more rewarding when something you designed and built yourself actually flies well.

Have fun!
Hehe, I imagine this is one of those hobbies where you only learn from experience. The experience of hitting the ground

I took her out again this morning and managed to fix the turning problem. The tail feathers were out of alignment, so it was being forced into a bank at all times. I added a carbon fiber rod and it straightened out nicel.

My short term plans are to turn this plane into an FPV plane. But after that, I'd love to scratch build! I've always loved building things just as much as actually using them, so scratch building sounds fantastically fun. It sounds even harder than regular RC building/flying though, so I'll probably have to spend a few more months reading up on everything.

My friend is an aeronautical engineer, so I'm trying to get him involved in building and flying RC planes too
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 05:49 PM
Transmogrified.
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,842 Posts
Welcome to the insanity, bro.

Looks as if it patched up nicely!
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 08:52 PM
Couger/ merlin mavrick / goose
Kylejazz123's Avatar
Joined Aug 2012
53 Posts
when you turn , and want to straighten out , your going to have to move the stick back PAST neutral for it to straighten back up
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Old Sep 29, 2012, 08:00 AM
God is my pilot
JimTMich's Avatar
United States, MI, Kalamazoo Township
Joined Aug 2006
2,370 Posts
Good job putting it back together. See if you can find someone to help you for a few flights. The first time you throw a plane, it's not going to be trimmed out, so it's most likely going to try to do something unexpected. Combine that with just a new experience and it usually ends in quickly in a crash.

Do you have sim experience? That helps a lot, but takes the thrill out of the real thing....
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Old Sep 29, 2012, 03:56 PM
polyfractal's Avatar
United States, SC, Charleston
Joined Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimTMich View Post
Good job putting it back together. See if you can find someone to help you for a few flights. The first time you throw a plane, it's not going to be trimmed out, so it's most likely going to try to do something unexpected. Combine that with just a new experience and it usually ends in quickly in a crash.

Do you have sim experience? That helps a lot, but takes the thrill out of the real thing....
I think there is a club nearby, I'll check them out sometime soon. I've taken her out for a few more flights and have everything pretty well trimmed now.

I've played with some simulator apps on my iPad. I imagine they aren't close to a real sim though...I've definitely been thinking about purchasing a good sim program.
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Old Sep 29, 2012, 07:46 PM
God is my pilot
JimTMich's Avatar
United States, MI, Kalamazoo Township
Joined Aug 2006
2,370 Posts
Congratulations! Now that you have a few flights under your belt, you don't need a Sim! Enjoy the real thing!
Jim
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