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Old Sep 12, 2010, 05:11 AM
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Joined Sep 2010
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newbie, first flight, first crash, a (lengthy) review

hey all, new to the forum and the hobby!

had some spare money a few weeks ago and wanted to try something new, bought myself an Electrafun XP2 (I think it's mostly common here in Australia) ... 3ch trainer / park flyer (throttle, elevator, rudder, high dihedral, high wing pusher prop).

Did an hour or two on simulators (FMS and Clearview) - got used to the controls, landing etc.

Took her out for a maiden flight yesterday, probably a little too windy (ribbon on the antenna was hovering around 45 degrees) but i went for it anyway (it comes with a spare wing and tail plane assembly!)

So i plug in the batteries, trim by eye as best I can, deep breath, throttle at 75%, shoulder height firm throw into the wind .... oh my goodness it's in the air ... it heads off shakily forward and up (so far so good), i give it more throttle and some elevator (i think, was a tense moment!), it's off into the sky, i rudder stick left, it seems to turn, and dive a little, i give it too much elevator and she climbs higher (too much throttle too i suspect) ... not too panicky at this stage, suns in my eyes but that's okay.

I back off the throttle, try and execute my plan of flying a 4 sided box but she's climbing and not really turning 90 degrees like i hope. everythings still okay, it's gone waaay up in the air but i appear to mostly be in control. I fly her around for a few minutes, trying to lose a little height by killing the throttle and down elevating a little, she's catching some wind at times and gaining altitude but eventually coming down.

crash #1.

when she comes down to a more respectable height I think my plan was to try for landing, i fly her past me from right to left, bank a turn and ... oh crap she just nose dived hard into the ground. Not entirely sure what happened, i think i turned too sharp too low (went into a dive) and didn't correct with the elevator in time. no big deal, no damage so I launch again.

(insert 2-3 mins of flying)

crash #2.

everythings great, she's still very wobbly but i think i'm bringing her around for the final run to a landing ... BANG ... she hits an invisible tree and stops .... oh crap. takes me a minute or two to get her out, one side of the wing has bent up at around 90 degrees and the pusher prop has taken a big bite off the wing.

decide against rigging up the spare wing which comes with it and will wait for a less windy day.

post flight summary:

i'm not TOO disappointed with the first flight, i did manage around 5 minutes in the air which was better than my worst expectation. Doesn't seem like any damage expect for the wing (they are available after marker on their own for a small fee as well). Would have liked to at least perform a real landing but considering it probably was too windy, and i obviously was too close to trees (silly me) it has definitely not scared me off!

my main concerns was i always seemed to be slightly out of control (wind, nerves, trim ???) and never got a chance to do an in flight trim (was too wobbly, i was too nervy etc).

cheers,

Al.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 06:18 AM
Da' Cajun
Boogie_'s Avatar
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Joined Jun 2009
2,876 Posts
5 mins. in the air? sounds like you did awesome Al!

Of course, the calmer the wind the better.
Next time out make your goal trimming her out for hands off straight and level flight.

On your second flight it sounds like your stalled it on the final turn.
Make your turns gentle, wide and flat. Try to keep the model from banking too much.
Basically what you want try to do is just "adjust" the trim settings with the stick and fly the pattern.

And on final approach keep the nose down until it's about 1 meter off the ground then slowly feed in some elevator and flatten out the glide.


Hope this helps.

Julian
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 06:30 AM
Bye Bye VP Aug 2010 - Aug 2012
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United Kingdom, London
Joined Jan 2005
5,992 Posts
Al, crash #1. sounds like a downwind stall.

You might find this useful:

http://www.bmfa.org/publications/fil...02FullBook.zip

Quote:
BRIEFING 3 - THE EFFECT OF WIND ON THE AIRCRAFT IN FLIGHT

There is probably more nonsense talked and written on this subject than any other connected with the practical side of flying! In reality, the matter is very simple - it is just that so many people find it hard to accept.

Provided that your flying area is clear of vertical obstructions (houses, trees, hedges, hangers etc.) the wind will blow fairly steadily from a constant direction once the aircraft is above about 50ft. Below this height, and depending on the surface of your flying site and the proximity of obstructions, there will be some turbulence both vertical and lateral.

Once you understand this principle you will see that a turn from an into wind heading to crosswind will appear to be a fairly sharp turn when seen from the ground and a turn from downwind to crosswind will appear to be slow and elongated. You must accept these visual effects for what they are and remember at all times that if you have not altered your throttle setting and the aircraft is at constant height then your airspeed is constant and the aircraft is in no danger of stalling.

Once the aircraft has climbed out of this turbulent level it is, in effect, flying in a steadily-moving block of air. Thus, with a windspeed of 10 mph the block of air in which your aircraft is flying is moving downwind at a speed of 10 mph. So, your aircraft which flies at a speed of, say 20 mph will appear to be doing only 10 mph when flying into the wind (flying speed less windspeed) and 30 mph when flying downwind (flying speed plus windspeed). In point of fact your aircraft knows nothing about the windspeed at all and is flying at a steady 20 mph all the time!

You will often hear people say that their aircraft tends to climb when turning into wind and dive when turning downwind. What is really happening, of course, is that they are subconsciously trying to compensate for the apparent variation in speed and themselves causing the aircraft to climb and dive.

One major point to remember - don’t try to keep your apparent speed constant or you will find that you will have your aircraft at full throttle when going into wind and stalling when it goes downwind.

If you find all this difficult to visualise, try to imagine yourself piloting a model boat from the bank of a fast-flowing river. In this situation you will find that you can understand the problems outlined above.

When flying in a wind of any strength you will find that your model can be carried away from you very quickly when it is travelling downwind. It is essential not to let it go too far. If you do, not only do you stand a good chance of losing control because you just can’t see the aircraft properly, but it is a long and slow slog back to your position against the full strength of the wind. There is another major factor - if your engine stops it will be difficult or impossible to glide the aircraft back to your position if it is too far downwind.

So always try to keep your aircraft upwind of your position as much as possible. By doing so you will save yourself from falling into some very difficult situations.
BTW, sounds like you did pretty good.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 06:30 AM
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thanks for the encouraging words,

pretty sure i did let it bank too much, all the movements seemed quite drastic rather than smooth.

i think i'll wait out a much calmer day and concentrate on trimming like you said and try some more controlled movements.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 06:51 AM
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Gerry__,

thanks for the link, will take a good read through the guide before i hit the skies again.

reading the quoted paragraph, some of the flight patterns now make sense, heading upwind seemed so slow and it really climbed up, i think i jammed the thottle up because the apparent speed was slower. downwind it raced along and i think that freaked me out.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 08:11 AM
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winchester, UK
Joined Jul 2010
195 Posts
I really think you need to have someone who flys with you. There are several reasons for this:

1) If something happens to you (you chop your finger off, have a heart attack e.t.c.) they will be able to summon help.

2) If they are competent at flying they will be able to tell you where you are going wrong, where you are going right, and how to improve.

3) Its much nicer to have company

4) Its much nicer to have someone to help you look for your plane after an 'incident' or look after your kit while you have a pee in the bushes).

5) Anyone worth their salt will look over your plane, make sure its put together ok, make sure the control surfaces are set correctly, and really importantly, trim the plane out on its first flight.

6) They will settle your nerves, and allow you to think about what you are doing rather than panic. Panic = wild control movements = crash

If you are not in full control of your 'plane at ANY point in your flight then you probably need some help from someone more experienced, and they need to be there to help, not on a forum in an ideal world. This is often best acheived in a club setting, and this also helps to make things safe for others.

I 'buddy boxed' to learn, and indeed to come back to his hobby after a 10 year break. I could not recommend it enough. It allows someone to get you out of trouble, and lets you relax a little knowing that someone is there who can help. A second best to this is someone who will take the transmitter off you and get you out of trouble if you really need it, and give you advice as you fly, training you up as you go.

Ive had no crashes (with powered flight anyway my glider is a slightly different story due to a hi-start incident) either when being taught with the buddy box approach or since I have been 'ok-ed' to fly solo. I dont think this is because I am an excellent pilot, I think its because I was taught well.

If you do have to fly on your own I would suggest the following:

1) fly on 'low rates'. If your transmitter allows there will be a high and low rate setting for rudder and elevator. Low means less movement, which means you dont have to be so gentle on the controls. Since most people tend to use too much stick input, this especially helps when you are starting out. If this isnt possible on your transmitter, you can often adjust the amount of throw on a control at the servo horn, just move the rod in a hole or two. your planes instructions should tell you about suggested throws.

2) when you get into trouble, be it orientation or otherwise There are two tricks.

a) Throttle back (less speed is almost always good especially if you are heading towards the ground)

b) Allow, or make the wings level using small control inputs.

3) dont try anything fancy. Basic circuits with a landing approach on every other circuit will set you up nicely. Nothing worse than 'having' to land rather than planning and practicing to land.


Hope this helps and isnt too condescending.

James
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 09:31 AM
Oh you pull BACK on the stick?
Varmet6's Avatar
Bloomington, IN
Joined Feb 2010
500 Posts
Hi Al,

Sounds like you've got all the info you needed so I just thought I'd stop and say good job, 5 mins of flight on your first flight is an accomplishment! When I started flying I didn't have it that long!


Welcome to your new addiction

Have fun and keep it up!
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 10:15 PM
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Canberra Australia
Joined Jun 2009
735 Posts
Yeah, I never lasted more than 10 seconds in my first attempts with a similar plane. BUT, I sooo slowly got better. I remember being stuck in trees for days, flying with more tape than wings, nearly loosing it downwind a few times and the prop tearing great chunks out of the wing.

A few simple tips:
(1) If it looks like a crash, turn the throttle off and let the controls go. This will avoid the prop tearing the wings, probably save the prop/engine fro damage. There is a chance the plane will sort itself out, in the absence of hand fisted attempts, and land itself. In any case, it is likely to be slower when it crashes and there will be less damage.
(2) Concentrate on trying to keep the wings level. On landing, face it into the wing, make sure you have at least 100m, turn the throttle off and just concentrate on keeping the wings level until you hit the ground. Once you can do this, you're well on your way.
(3) Do not fly when the wind is >5km/hr, keep the plane upwind of you at all times, and have the sun at your back.
(4) You will get better and better. After about 40-50 flights, you will be able to fly in winds up to 15km/hr, can fully control the plane and land it safely without damage. When you are in a potential crash situation, 4 times out of 5 you will do the right thing and get out of it (compared to when you begin when 4 times out of 5 anything you do will probably make the crash inevitable).
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 01:25 PM
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United Kingdom, Birmingham
Joined Jul 2010
86 Posts
First Flight

Ahhh... I remember my first flight only about a month ago.. I own four planes.. Art-tech Cessna brushed...Never flown. Utra-fly C14.. still boxed and unbuilt.. Unknown Balsa and Ply P51 Mustang... and My new recently purchased Parkzone P51 micro..all to my wifes amusement, cos she just thinks its a waste of money lol . I have spent many years messing around on Microsoft flight Simulators as well as being in a Flight sim Clan for 6 years and using Aerofly deluxe. I had managed to learn how to hover my Walkera 60b helicopter and fly around my garden , all self taught, which also I could build blindfolded due to crash damage, but I was aching to fly planes. I had the Cessna about 4 years ago but was afraid to fly it. The Ultrafly and the Unknown P51 mustang I bought recently and the Parkzone , just over a month ago, then my brother told me about a group of friends he knew who flew electric gliders that meet up at the local park quite often and that we should tag along and get some advice. I took along my PZ P51 micro and met one of the guys there flying his electric glider 3 channel and learnt that he had aircraft for years but' had just recently learnt to fly his 3 channel glider. I watch for a while, then took my micro from the box, turned tx on, inserted the battery.. did a flight check all looked good.... held my breath..facing a very ,very slight breeze at 3/4 throttle, held aircraft in left hand ,by the canopy, right hand on right stick with slight down elevator. then a gentle under arm throw...... then ...wow she was in the air.. I banked to the left and did a few circuits for about 5 mins , my hands were shaking and my heart was pounding...what a rush.. I did a gentle land on grass ,as I didnt want to get over confident and crash, plus I needed to stop my knee's from knocking.
The other guys who had been watching were interested in the Micro and said what an excellent flyer I was.. I was a bit embarassed to say it was my first time. I changed the battery as I had bought a few spare ones and flew all afternoon without one mishap. One of the guys bought along a big nitro trainer and said he had been flying for around 30 years, only thing was he crashed just after take off.. had a servo fault.. but I noticed that he had'nt done any preflight and took off in a crosswind. I have flown that baby nearly every evening after work. weather permitting and even fitted Nav lights from Tinybrite lights so I can see her at dusk. now I'm gearing up to build and fly the others and fly with the big boys......
Ian
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Perth, Australia
Joined May 2010
124 Posts
mralastair, I can't see on your profile where you're located. The reason I bring it up, is there may be some fellow aussies around who see your post and can offer to lend a hand or a second pair of eyes if you need it.

With that first crash, I've done much the same and seen it many times. The electrafun is a three channel, so you turn with rudder - one wing goes faster than the other and it banks as a result. The problem is if you turn too hard at too low a speed, the 'slow' wing stops flying altogether and the plane falls over and out of the sky. If you can find a nice big park with plenty of room you can fly a bit faster and with much wider turns so this doesn't happen and/or you have space in which to make decisions.
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