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Old Sep 25, 2010, 10:13 PM
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Preparing for the first flight

Hi all, I would like to get some information prior to my first flight. I have a Hawk Sky that I researched as my first aircraft to learn to fly with. I also have a Phoenix 2.5 flight simulator that I have been working with. The Hawk Sky had some issues (battery charger is not functioning once built, Nitroplanes is replacing). So I have a couple weeks before flying.

So I have a couple questions. First will flying the real aircraft be anything like the simulator models? I ask because the flight simulator has allowed me to quit over responding with the gimbles (actually smooth the way I fly with my thumbs on the Tx), become comfortable with the aircraft coming at me, and landing. But I can fly it with the wind gust settings and landing it has become somewhat "natural". How will flying on a calm day be differnt?

Second question that i have is what am I doing wrong with the rudder; other than take-off with a side wind gust I dont find myself using the rudder at all; everything is with my right thumb for elevator/ailerons for smooth flying. There has to be something that I am not doing correctly in this learning process ( I say this because many folks recomend a basic 3 channel unit that is rudder/elevator/and throttle, not ailoron/elevator/throttle)?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 07:45 AM
It's just a plane.
ZackJones's Avatar
USA, SC, Goose Creek
Joined Aug 2010
2,104 Posts
Sim time will help but nothing compares to real flying time. I have Phoenix 2.5 as well and probably spent 20+ hours flying in it while deciding which plane to start with. I ended up buying a ultra micro Champ and have loved flying it. The champ is 3 channel R/E/T but the way it is connected the rudder runs off of the aileron channel so even though you are doing turns with the rudder you're using the aileron channel to do so. This works fine up in the air but can be confusing on the ground because I'm expecting the rudder to be controlled by the left stick like it is on 4 channel setups.

In the simulator just concentrate on flying level and making nice smooth turns using small stick inputs. The time you invest in the sim will help you for sure once you get to fly for real.

As far as the side winds and taking off which direction is the wind blowing from? Assuming it is blowing across the airplane from left to right the wind may be countering the motor torque. Try taking off in the opposite direction and see how things go. Which plane(s) are you flying in Phoenix?
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 09:55 AM
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USA, MD, Hagerstown
Joined Jun 2009
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Practice on the sim to get orientation and smooth stick movements is a great start. Practice with the wind settings higher than you will actually go out to fly is also good training. That being said I find that no matter how smooth I get on the sim I'm never able to be quite as smooth with the real thing. At least not on the first flight of the day. It always seems to take about half the first flight to settle down and adjust to the real wind conditions and the fact I can't just hit reset.
As far as the rudder goes I don't think you are doing anything wrong. I'm only in my second summer of flying so take this with a grain of salt. At first the only time I used the rudder was on take off and landing. Never really used it in the air, just bank and yank through the turns. Sooner or later you start to notice in the bank and yank turn you normally start to loose altitude. A little rudder used in those turns to keep the nose up starts to make those turns look like they should. Then there is the hammer head that just can't be done without the rudder, and snap rolls etc.. the more you fly the more uses you will find for the rudder.
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 01:23 PM
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sterling, Illinois
Joined Feb 2006
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Couple cautions on your maiden, trying to recall my first experiences.. Have plenty of room no reason to be near trees or obsticles. Best option is to have a seasoned rc pilot helps prevent misshaps and save the day for you. If you do manage to take off and fly its then the landing, usually go down wind abit and land into the breeze. Pay attention, this is where things suddenly go wrong. Don't go too low many lose orientation here, suddenly the plane wants to keep turning away and your losing things. If it does happen, simply apply some throttle as gives a better chance to regain control. Altitude is your friend so keep it up there. As mentioned Simulators defintely help but don't always prepare for the real thing. Hang in there, you'll make it.
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 03:07 AM
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United States, MI, Monroe
Joined Jun 2009
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Biggest problem of mine while starting I think was trying to take the plane up in too much wind, resist the urge until you get the hang of things. Especially the first several of flights.
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 07:21 AM
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eye4wings's Avatar
Ware, herts. U.K.
Joined Sep 2008
3,362 Posts
As witness the fact that you're asking, the main enemy you have is nerves!
The big difference is that you are about to risk an actual model and the money it took to get it this far. It helps if you can relieve yourself of the pressure a bit by telling yourself that whatever happens the loss of the model is not the end of the world as we know it. It may take time and effort to replace but it is all possible given time and effort.
Next thing to tell yourself is that your sim time has given you at least some of the reactions you need to fly for real. The real world can throw things at your model that a flight sim won't though (another reason for staying well clear of trees and other obstructions which in any kind of breeze can produce air turbulence), so as well as being relaxed you need to have thought through the 'what if' scenarios so that you arrive at the take-off ready to react to any unexpected twitch from the model.
Relax before opening the throttle and tell yourself that the model is NOT going to dictate to you where it goes and that you will not tollerate any deviation from your intended flight pattern.
What is your intended flight pattern?
Without a flight plan the model will fly YOU and you will learn very little.
Immediately after lift-off will be your busiest time because your model will almost certainly need trimming. Hold the model on a gentle climb out and ease in aileron and elevator trim as neccessary. Make your first turn downwind and make sure you are able to fly straight and level without stick inputs. Ideally an experienced pilot should undertake this procedure, but if you have to do it don't panic. Stay calm and logical. Believe in yourself.
You do need a flight plan and the best beginners one is to do simple circuits with the upwind leg directly into wind, a full 180 degree gently banked turn, a straight and level downwind leg and another 180 degrees turn to bring you back over the take-off area on the same line as the take-off. If you do that a few times until you are confident the model will do as you want you will be well set up to do your first landing.
No mystique in landing. Once you can fly straight and level during the time flying circuits reduce the throttle setting from time to time so as to guage how quickly the model sinks at the lower setting. To land simply throttle back into wind to a speed you already know will give a steady descent and ease gently back on the elevator just before touchdown.
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 08:58 PM
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Joined Sep 2010
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All, I really appreciate your input and help. I think the info on the wind is really good advice and I will make sure I dont overlook it when I attempt to fly.

The more comfortable I get on the simulator just has me wondering what will be different and I think the answers have been good. Would you say though that it is realistic to your first flight (if you used a simulator before flying)?
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 06:26 AM
It's just a plane.
ZackJones's Avatar
USA, SC, Goose Creek
Joined Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjjbrim View Post
The more comfortable I get on the simulator just has me wondering what will be different and I think the answers have been good. Would you say though that it is realistic to your first flight (if you used a simulator before flying)?
No it's not very realistic flying in a sim VS flying the real thing -- at least to me it's not. When flying in the sim your view is limited to the size of the computer monitor and there's very little distractions. In the real world you have a virtually unlimited view of things and if you're not careful that RC airplane can get mighty small in a hurry especially if you're flying an ultra micro.

Make absolutely certain you're comfortable flying the plane towards you. It's easy flying away but once you turn around and everything is reversed you can get yourself into trouble. Also, altitude is your friend. Give yourself plenty of working room and you'll be fine.

Be sure to report back after you've made that first flight.
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 11:40 AM
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Orleans, MA
Joined Feb 2007
2,058 Posts
You've selected a good plane to begin with. You might simplify things if your first flights are just straight ahead for a short distance. Advance the throttle until you can feel it pulling a fair amount and then hand launch it level with the ground directly into the wind.

Just keep it flying straight and level with small inputs to the rudder and elevator and then cut the throttle completely and let it glide. Try to maintain a flat glide until it just brushes the grass before landing. Though very short, such a flight will let you get the feel of the plane and how it reacts to the varying breeze without getting too high and worrying about turning.

Once you can do the short flights consistently, try a very gradual turn using small rudder inputs and small elevator inputs to maintain altitude. Advance to full throttle and launch level as before directly into the wind. Let it gain some altitude (30-75 feet) and begin the gradual turn. Try to make a complete circle starting back downwind and then returning into the wind. Always keep it upwind of your position. Once it has returned upwind, cut the throttle and let it glide into the wind until it lands as before.

If you can do this consistently, you should have a good feel for how it flies and should be all set for extended flying at greater altitude. Good luck with your first flights.
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