United States, VA, Fluvanna
Joined Jan 2011
various planes I've tried
Since I started flying rc aircraft with my son in January, we've gone through quite a few models. Taking the wrong path, buying cheap kits, having a great time and having some bad days too.
We live out of town on a 3 acre lot surrounded by other lots of various sizes. The 3 lots behind and adjacent are 10 acres so we have quite a bit of usable airspace to play in.
We started with a Champ (and keep going back to it) and a HZ Mini super Cub. Flew the Champ in a gym on weeknights and outside on the weekends. Even when it was snowing. Flew the MSC on more windy days. I flew it just today with a keychain cam for fun.
Then I got a UM P-51 for my son as he was getting very good at flying the Champ indoors. But I didn't realize how much different it would be. That didn't work out. So I got out an old SlowStick and we added that to our rotation. And an E-Starter later. The old EPS stuff just can't take a head on collision with a power pole, the wood pile, or the ground. The cowl area was pretty hollow after those. The E-starter is repairable if the damage is from the main wing back. The GWS firewall in these EPS planes is a 10mmx10mm hole in the nose. Once it's messed up you have to start adding your own materials to build it up again. I considered getting a replacement but it was too much work in the first place. After that, we tried a T-34 Mentor of similar quality. The motor was underpowered and not heavy enough to balance it. After a few crashes I put the E-starter motor in it and it flew much better. Alas, it was EPS foam and one day my son really didn't want to fly it and crashed it straight into the ground.
I got a few cheap "micro" models from HobbyKing. The quality was terrible. One broke the tiny motor shaft the first time we flew it and I still haven't felt like buying another motor and trying again. The wing loading is way too high so I know it's never going to fly good. One had the vertical stabilizer glued on at an angle. I tried it anyway and ended up burning up the ESC. One day I might try to get it working again but it's not a good flier either.
At some point I thought I might be able to fly an Electrifly Pluma. It is a fantastic flier. Beautiful in the air. Just don't ever land it. That's where the trouble starts.
The Pluma foam should be measured in mils it's so thin. And brittle. Probably on par with the 4-site. Well, a grass landing will destroy the wheel pants or pull the carbon fiber lg loose since CA is the only thing holding it to the fuse. Tall grass and weeds would get in between moving parts and crack the foam. A nose in broke the whole nose off several times. I kept repairing it with hot glue and popsicle sticks until I messed up an inverted pass at 15' and broke it beyond repair. My son never even got a chance to fly the Pluma.
There have been a few others that came through and didn't make the cut. And I haven't even mentioned the bad days haha.
There was one devastating day around March when my son was flying the Champ in the gym a little too fast. He clipped a post of some sort and broke the wing into two pieces at the saddle. I tried repairing it but the location meant I couldn't do much to support it underneath and I couldn't get the dihedral angle right so it didn't fly like a Champ anymore. This was bad but the next day I found out the wings were on backorder at Horizon and we had to wait several months for a replacement that costed a reasonable amount. He cried about that.
The other bad times were when I finally had a plane balanced and trimmed perfectly and eventually one of us would crash it. The fear that it would never fly that good again was overwhelming to a 6yr old. Sometimes it wouldn't. Other times I made it even better.
All of this didn't happen as often as it may seem. Keep in mind that we were flying 2-3 hours during the week indoors and another 1-4 hours on the weekends during the cold months. Once spring came, we were able to fly more in our backyard so the weekday time went up to about 4 hours during the week. Then when summer came we were flying at least 8 hours a week. Now it's down to maybe 4 hours a week. All told, we have several hundred hours of stick time and a lot of sim time too between us. At least 1000 flights of various aricraft. Yes, we have some small indoor coaxial helis that we enjoy flying.
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