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Old Apr 12, 2012, 12:30 AM
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United States, WA, Bothell
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A Heli Pilot's First Hotliner: Take it Slow or Straight to the Real Thing?

Hey all,

To start out, I've spent a significant amount of time reviewing previous threads that focus on what a "good first hotliner" would be and what considerations need to be made and I thank you all for contributing such great info! I've learned a lot already and can't wait to get going on this little adventure...

My background:
I am a flybarless heli pilot with flight/building/tuning experience on all shapes and sizes of heli from 250's up to 90-size, electrics, nitros, etc and my flying style can most appropriately be described at big-air 3D. I also fly multi rotors in FPV and for AP/AV purposes.

All that having been said, I've never flown a fixed-wing aircraft, but I'm very interested in getting into hotliners due primarily to the speed/adrenaline and secondarily to the aesthetics of this class of aircraft. Man, they're sexy!!! I've been flying them on the sim for a while now and I'm as comfortable as I can be with them without actually going out and giving it a try on the real thing.

After much research, I've narrowed my selection of birds down to the following:

1. GP Siren or MP Blizzard: A low-cost trial period with more forgiving and mild flight characteristics, but an upper-limit on capabilities and thus, limited growth potential.

2. BulleT, Micro Flash II (V-tail), X-Ray, Bandit, Enigma: Definitely more pricey, but also more flexible in terms of growth...also, seemingly more robust given that they're fully molded.

My question:
Even though I'm an experienced heli pilot, does my lack of fixed wing experience still put me at risk of being overwhelmed by my #2 "true" hotliner choices?

For the record, I'm not interested in buying the biggest, craziest power system right off the bat regardless of what airframe I buy. I'd rather take it slow and upgrade to higher power when/if I'm ready, assuming that the airframe is capable of said upgrade...

I look forward to hearing from you all on this one...

Also, if you've got an opinion on a good first ship, then please let me know...whether it's on my list or not, I'm all ears! I'd just like to keep the airframe cost below $400 if at all possible, which is why I've limited my choices to the short list above. The power system cost is definitely negotiable though...

Sorry for the wordiness and thank you ahead of time for your help!

Cheers,
-->Justin
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 01:07 AM
200mph +
sykotic's Avatar
New Zealand, Manawatu-Wanganui, Palmerston North
Joined Sep 2010
931 Posts
If you wanted to go the low cost route, I would look at a E-wasp, minihawk or whatever you want to call it.

Amazing little planes and cheap too.

http://www.parkflyers.org.nz/modules...C&type=&mode=0 or theres a thread on here somewhere.

Fast enough to be "fast" but slow enough that you won't (or hopefully won't) get caught out. I fly mine every time I go flying as a warm up to faster things

Landing isn't a big deal with spolierons which is pretty key with faster ships.

EDIT:
Heres the RCG thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ght=wasp+jacko
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 01:13 AM
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United States, VA, Manassas
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I have taught alot of people to fly and observed a few heli pilots transition to plank. The challenge you face is landing. The energy management of bringing these very slippery birds it at a reasonable speed w/o stalling is the challenge of even very experienced sport type airplane pilots at first. Heli pilots transition easily because your spatial orientation to stick is very good. But landing a heli is totally different from landing a slick airplane. I have had a MPX Blizzard a couple of years and still use it as "warm up" before I fly my Enigma or pylon racers. That is what I recommend or something like it. It is a fun airplane and decent performance w/ the MPX performance power system. It is pretty tough and cheap too. I would set it up with spoileron mix and land with and without spoilerons. Then you should be ready for all out hotliner.

Brooks
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 07:09 AM
Crashing into the sky!
jackosmeister's Avatar
Auckland NZ
Joined Aug 2007
7,292 Posts
Yeh, I think you'd be missing a step if you jumped straight into a hotliner. Id get something cheap and cheerful so you can learn how to fly fixed wing, and then get a more serious toy. Even stuff like a radian pro would be a useful stepping stone.

BTW, dont expect to keep your helis long, they'll be up for sale soon

Jacko, who learnt to fly on CP helis (the hard way...)
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 09:40 AM
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United States, WA, Bothell
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Thank you for all the replies so far! I've also gotten a few PM's with good advice too!

It sounds to me like going straight to my group #2 models may be a bit too aggressive to start with, so I guess I need to do a bit more research into the group #1 birds. Are there any other group #1-worthy models that you all would suggest?

With regard to radios, I'm flying a DX7 right now, as I quite frankly don't need anything more complicated for flybarless helis. I've read about the DX7 not being all that sailplane-friendly. Is this the case or would I be able to manage with an entry-level warm/hotliner and then upgrade the TX later on down the road? I've been looking at the JR 11X, Futaba 8FG Super, Airtronics SD-10G, Hitec Aurora 9, and Graupner MX-20 HoTT lately, but I'm just not quite ready to make the decision yet... Thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Jacko, I hear you man...don't get me wrong, I love my helis, but this stuff looks like it could be just as/if not more addicting! ...and I can't wait! LOL

Keep those comments coming! Thanks, guys!

Cheers,
-->Justin
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 12:20 PM
Yes..ok..maybe..lol.....
Tucson Avra Valley, Arizona, United States
Joined Jul 2004
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Is there anyone in the Redmond /Seattle area that would let you fly one of their hotliners/warmliners on a buddy Box?? You would find out real fast where you are at with these birds..Should be easier then flying a heli............
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 12:27 PM
Sure it'll work
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United States, CA, Torrance
Joined Nov 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpwnd View Post
I love my helis, but this stuff looks like it could be just as/if not more addicting! ...and I can't wait! LOL
I came from helis (8 in 2 years), to Hotlining and Pylons. I may get another 700 down the road, but not in the near future

The fact that you are putting in sim time makes me more inclined to suggest a less expensive moulded plane. I betting you will quickly realize that the money you spent on foam may have been better spent on something better....then again....everyone is different.

Keep your eyes in the "for sale" section. If you can find a good deal, that might take some of the sting out.

EDIT: I think johnnyrocco123 had an Absolute with servos and motor mount installed in about the price range you mentioned...might be worth looking into

Bill
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyextreme View Post
I came from helis (8 in 2 years), to Hotlining and Pylons. I may get another 700 down the road, but not in the near future

The fact that you are putting in sim time makes me more inclined to suggest a less expensive moulded plane. I betting you will quickly realize that the money you spent on foam may have been better spent on something better....then again....everyone is different.

Keep your eyes in the "for sale" section. If you can find a good deal, that might take some of the sting out.

EDIT: I think johnnyrocco123 had an Absolute with servos and motor mount installed in about the price range you mentioned...might be worth looking into

Bill
Ahh! A fellow helicopter guy!

Honestly, I'm concerned with the same thing you've described above, Bill. I've been looking at the F/S section multiple times daily, but no luck so far.

Can you suggest a less expensive moulded plane?

What was your experience going from helis to hotliners? Easy? Challenging?

Thanks!
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Old Apr 15, 2012, 02:22 AM
Sure it'll work
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United States, CA, Torrance
Joined Nov 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpwnd View Post
Ahh! A fellow helicopter guy!

Honestly, I'm concerned with the same thing you've described above, Bill. I've been looking at the F/S section multiple times daily, but no luck so far.

Can you suggest a less expensive moulded plane?

What was your experience going from helis to hotliners? Easy? Challenging?

Thanks!
Well, actually, I started with planes of all types and styles of flying. I had to put the planes away while I learned helis so I could de-program and re-program my brain. I crashed a heli once when I had to react instictivly, but reacted in plane mode. I also tried flying a plane in the middle of learning helis and crashed the plane reacting in heli mode.

What I noticed about helis is once you start flying forward it's just like a plane as far as the ailerons and rudder go. You will likely find yourself flying the tail (rudder) that no longer exists, and that's ok, it just won't do anything.

So, I might suggest....put the helis on the shelf while you spend even more time on the sim and after plane mode is etched into your brain, then maybe get out the helis again. If your sim does it, speed it up some. I have yet to find a glider on a sim that doesn't behave like a floater...at least by comparison to HP.

You know you better than anyone. Where to start, or what to start with is up to you. I generally take risks that others won't.

If you look closely in the top of my avatar, you will see my Trex600 ESP.

Hope this helps, Bill
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Old Apr 15, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyextreme View Post
Well, actually, I started with planes of all types and styles of flying. I had to put the planes away while I learned helis so I could de-program and re-program my brain. I crashed a heli once when I had to react instictivly, but reacted in plane mode. I also tried flying a plane in the middle of learning helis and crashed the plane reacting in heli mode.

What I noticed about helis is once you start flying forward it's just like a plane as far as the ailerons and rudder go. You will likely find yourself flying the tail (rudder) that no longer exists, and that's ok, it just won't do anything.

So, I might suggest....put the helis on the shelf while you spend even more time on the sim and after plane mode is etched into your brain, then maybe get out the helis again. If your sim does it, speed it up some. I have yet to find a glider on a sim that doesn't behave like a floater...at least by comparison to HP.

You know you better than anyone. Where to start, or what to start with is up to you. I generally take risks that others won't.

If you look closely in the top of my avatar, you will see my Trex600 ESP.

Hope this helps, Bill
Bill,

I was once fearful of the same thing, but helis are so burned into my brain that I'm not too concerned at this point. I guess we'll see...

This thread gave me pause with regard to what I'd be able to handle as a "first electric sailplane," so I went ahead and bought a Radian Pro. I know, it's probably nothing like a warm/hotliner, but I figured that it would be sufficient for me to become familiar with the hand-launching, landing, and general feel of a sailplane. It's also exposed the fact that I probably should be looking for a better radio than my DX7!

I've been flying (and modifying, this is one of the fun bits of the hobby for me) it and it's quite enjoyable though obviously nowhere near as fast as I'd like to get to. That having been said, there's enough of a learning curve to the radio programming and landing portions that I feel justified in my purchase, even if the flying part isn't that exciting.

I've been thinking that I may buy a fully-moulded hotliner airframe and piece it together in parallel with practicing on the Radian Pro.

What do you think? Waste of time and money or appropriately conservative?

Cheers,
-->Justin
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Old Apr 15, 2012, 01:20 PM
Sure it'll work
Flyextreme's Avatar
United States, CA, Torrance
Joined Nov 2005
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Well, you could keep the RP for warm up each flying day, or sell it to get some of the money back. The RP will likely work out to be a good segue.

Do take your time and research the mouldies. I didn't exactly the get right first one because I was in a hurry. It wasn't a bad one, just not 100% suited to what I wanted to do.

I think the idea of getting a mouldie that you can evolve the power systems is a pretty good idea....personally. Or....simply start with a top notch, fully capable system and increase the cell count and/or props as you go.

There are many options and sometimes you have to just have to learn as you go.

Bill
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Old Apr 15, 2012, 02:28 PM
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Aye...I have been doing a lot of research and thought that I had come up with a good list of starters above. Can you tell me what you started with so I can avoid it if you're saying it wasn't ideal?

The BulleT looks ideal...that and the Micro Flash II V-tail. Actually I think they're both the same design, but with different tails. I think I might slightly lean towards the v-tail for the ability to have rudder-like controls, but I've heard that v-tails are less robust to poor landings and hard flying.

Thoughts?
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Old Apr 15, 2012, 04:42 PM
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Spend a little more and get an Enigma, you won't be sorry.

Terry
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Old Apr 15, 2012, 05:43 PM
Sure it'll work
Flyextreme's Avatar
United States, CA, Torrance
Joined Nov 2005
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+1^

The Enigma seems to be the staple for entry level Hotliners.

a. Pretty avordable.
b. Very strong and durable.
c. Easy enough build.
d. Lots of info on these because there are so many out there. This wealth of information can prove to be priceless.
e. Lots of room in the fuse making for more options on inards.
f. Replacement parts readily available should you ever need a fuse, wing, or tail plane.
g. And big enough to see when it gets far out/high.

That's all I can think of off hand. Even if I got something like a Avionik, RW or such, I think I would still keep my Enigma around. There's a reason/s there are so many out there.

Bill
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 12:19 AM
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The Enigma is quite a nice-looking bird, but pricey and big at 71" wingspan. That's probably not a huge issue, but I was originally envisioning a 1.5M ship. I can be flexible though.

Can the Enigma be set up from mild to wild or is it all wild all the time?

Also, can anyone comment on t-tail versus v-tail for beginners or in general? Is it really just an aesthetics thing or are there pros/cons?

Finally, are flaps necessary? My flying field isn't the largest in the world, but if I were to choose a model without flaps, can I get the same thing from flaperons/spoilerons or is there no substitute for flaps?

Thanks again for all the help, guys!

Cheers,
-->Justin

PS if there are specific threads that answer the above questions, please let me know. I've been researching like crazy, but sometimes it's hard to go through hundreds of pages of posts.
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