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Old Mar 22, 2014, 08:46 AM
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Free flight electric

Have been in R/C modeling for 25+ years, but would like to try
building/flying free flight. I'm clueless about timers, DT, etc. Is
there a good book, web site, forum, that could answer my questions?
Thanks;

61rcpilot
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 10:04 AM
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Freeflight dot org

That is the website for the National Free Flight Society. There is good info there on the Forum.

Where are you? There might be good help nearby.
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 12:12 PM
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There's a fair amount of information in the electric FF forum at HipPocket too http://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/...php?board=20.0

(and also quite a bit round here if you do some searching or just look at "Similar Threads at the bottom of the page)

Steve
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 05:31 PM
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For free flight the cost will be a slight bit higher because of the need for a specialty timer for the new brushless motors. You can't just switch the power on and off,

The internet has just about killed the book side of things. But some google searches or even searches within the RCG forums will get you a lot of information to get set up. And advice from us here is always free and copious....

What about starting out with some hand or elastic launched all sheet gliders? Or some simple rubber models? Often for the smaller ones we don't even bother with DT systems. For a low cost and quick build you'll get into this side of the sport and learn to trim the models at a lower cost in time and money.
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 07:57 PM
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I was thinking about this the other day. Why not use a regular RC setup, minus servos, for Throttle Only Free Flight. I am not sure if you can put the throttle on an on/off channel such as flaps or retracts, though.

There are lots of FF designs out there in the interwebs. Lots of them Old Timer Gas Jobs that would be great for Throttle Only or Throttle/Rudder only.
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Rhudson1960 View Post
I was thinking about this the other day. Why not use a regular RC setup, minus servos, for Throttle Only Free Flight. I am not sure if you can put the throttle on an on/off channel such as flaps or retracts, though.

There are lots of FF designs out there in the interwebs. Lots of them Old Timer Gas Jobs that would be great for Throttle Only or Throttle/Rudder only.
The same thought has crossed my mind. If you use a Rx and a esc you will have full throttle control only, if you also want rudder just add a servo. While this is not true FF for fun flying it should work well.
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Rhudson1960 View Post
I was thinking about this the other day. Why not use a regular RC setup, minus servos, for Throttle Only Free Flight. I am not sure if you can put the throttle on an on/off channel such as flaps or retracts, though.

There are lots of FF designs out there in the interwebs. Lots of them Old Timer Gas Jobs that would be great for Throttle Only or Throttle/Rudder only.
And many many people already do something like that, particularly for vintage models. Though most add rudder as well because the big benefit is avoiding long distance retrieval....lots of us are getting a bit too old for much of that .

OTOH there's still a lot of fun to be had with genuine FF. Most of the ones I make are small indoor models with a brushed motor, single lipo cell and a home made (for about $2) timer (no ESC required). I've also made similar outdoor FF models because they're a good way of using up some of the old brushed/geared motors that I have hanging around. Powered flight doesn't get much cheaper and easier .

Steve
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 12:04 PM
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.....Powered flight doesn't get much cheaper and easier
<cough>glider<cough>

<cough>rubber<cough>

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Old Mar 23, 2014, 01:47 PM
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<cough>glider<cough>

<cough>rubber<cough>

Err...you're the first person I've met who imagines that a glider counts as "powered flight". And have you priced decent rubber recently ?

Though I suppose to some extent my comment was a bit like those people who claim scratch building is cheaper than buying models. It certainly can be, but only if you already have a lot of what's needed....a bit like I already have a bucket load of old brushed motors, batteries and other components .

Steve
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 02:18 PM
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Have a look at post #99 on the Free Flight Resources thread. Although a lot of the material there covers rubber, glider and i.c. free flight, it's one of the best souces of practical information on today's free-flight, and it has the big advantage of being in real paper format !
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 02:36 PM
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<looks out smugly and says>..... Gravity powered....



I know. I no sooner hit the send button and I realized I'd jumped the gun on the glider bit. But I thought I'd let it ride.

And while a pound of rubber isn't cheap I can make a LOT of motors for smaller models with a pound of the stuff. And the amount of support equipment needed is minor.

Mind you an electric free flight with a motor cutoff that only runs maybe a minute at a time means we can easily get 6 to 20 flights out of a single pack so technically I'd only need to take the model with one pack in it for a day of flying with NO ground support at all.

The wide variation in number of flights is related to the amount of power used. For a vertical climb contest like model I'd likely only get 6 to maybe 8 runs before the voltage begins to drop off too far. For mild "uphill glide" like climbs on a casual sport model with the low energy needed I'd be looking at more like 20 flights of a minute run each.

Le'see...... 8 oz model of 36'ish inch span running at around 15 watts/lb to get an "uphill glide" sort of climb. That's a whopping big 7.5 watts. With a 2S Lipo pack running 7.5'ish volts over the discharge that's 1 amp or so of power draw. So a 400mah pack would last for .4/1 x 60minutes/hr= 24 minutes of run time. So at one minute per run we're looking at a safe 16 to 20 runs.

In reality we likely would not run the motor for more than 40 seconds and then let it glide back down. So that would provide an easy two dozen flights safely even without a low voltage cutoff for the Lipo pack.

Hmmmm.... I take it back. The electric option has a lot to recommend itself. And no blown motors either.

And the old brushed motors such as the Mabuchi 280 would work great for this sort of flying.
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 11:03 PM
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I agree that a simple solution is to put in a throttle-only RC controlled system only. Construct the rudder to be able to be adjusted to a fixed position with stiff hinges so that the plane flies in a circular pattern to suit your flying field. This is really not much different (morally, if we are being picky about the definition of free flight) than a free flight with a Zombie "flight profiler", which is essentially a pre-programmed two stage timer. What you will have can be considered a continuous real-time manual "flight profiler" (using the Zombie venacular)
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 04:04 AM
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What you will have can be considered a continuous real-time manual "flight profiler" (using the Zombie venacular)
But only if you consider RC to be "continuous real-time manual multi-function flight profiled free flight"

Radio assist is fine but if you're going to all that trouble of carrying a receiver and using a transmitter why not add the other controls too ? Then it's down to your own personal moral fibre. I.e. can you bear to keep your hands off those controls and let the plane fly as it should .

Plus of course not all of us fly big outdoor planes that can easily carry a receiver etc. And RC gear suitable for small indoor models is extremely expensive.

Steve
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:36 AM
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But only if you consider RC to be "continuous real-time manual multi-function flight profiled free flight"

Radio assist is fine but if you're going to all that trouble of carrying a receiver and using a transmitter why not add the other controls too ? Then it's down to your own personal moral fibre. I.e. can you bear to keep your hands off those controls and let the plane fly as it should .

Plus of course not all of us fly big outdoor planes that can easily carry a receiver etc. And RC gear suitable for small indoor models is extremely expensive.

Steve
1) Reason for not adding other controls: Simplicity and "purity". Use the throttle only for a) timing the flight and b) controlling elevation - more throttle, more elevation.

2) Cost: The Parkzone motors are 15 USD. The Lemon LEM-CH6-LGT 1.5 gram DSM2 Rx is only 5.75 USD. You can get even cheaper motors from Hobby King, so I don't know your definition of "extremely expensive", unless you are thinking of Deltang. Of course all electronics are expensive, percentage wise, when compared to a rubber band.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 04:33 PM
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This is quickly turning into a discussion similar to the thread I started a couple of months back asking how much RC is acceptable in sport FF models.

The answer is an obvious" it depends...." one. We each have our own acceptable limits varying from the hardline of none at all to those that accept full controls with the idea to be to see how long they can avoid touching the Tx sticks.

We won't convert anyone that has already made up their mind. But it might suggest a possible middle of the road option for those of us with limited fields and nasty stuff outside the borders of those fields.

I've often ended up flying my 1/2A RC Texaco event models in a free flight style. Set the trims for a nice circling flight and if conditions allowed I sometimes didn't even need to touch anything even for the landing. Such times were rare though. Usually I used the last 100 to 200 feet of height to recover back to the runway of my RC field. But I'd get a good 3 to 10 minutes of watching it fly without touching the sticks when conditions were just right.
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