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Old Oct 23, 2006, 04:49 PM
Registered User
Georgetown, TX
Joined Sep 2006
54 Posts
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Trials and Tribulations of a Newbie..

See this thread for reference of my start: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...hlight=Sendero

For a quick reference, I started out about a month ago. Luckily, I asked a few questions here before my first plane order went through. I had originally ordered a plane that would have been a bit difficult to learn on, but the guys here talked me into getting something else. I settled on a GWS Slow Stick with a EPS300 motor. I also ultimately got a JR 421 5-channel radio (for future planes) instead of the 3 channel I originally considered. In addition, I eventually bought a second li-poly battery (a very good idea).

Although there is a nice club and aerodrome located nearby, I decided to try it myself. Perhaps I'll make it out there sooner or later, but I didn't feel comfortable going out there with little knowledge of RC and asking someone to help out.

As far as the building goes, the plane went together relatively well. The instructions suck, though. They are poorly translated and are not very clear in certain parts of the construction. For someone like me, who had never put a plane together before, it was quite annoying. I got through it, however. The most difficult parts turned out to be getting the COG right and adjusting the servos. After some trial and error, I got it figured out. The plane seemed pretty flimsy, though. I was definately thinking that this thing wouldln't take a crash very well.

After getting it put together and getting the battery and radio all charged up, all I needed was a calm day. The problem was that it didn't get calm until almost dark. I should have just waited until the weekend when I could go to the park in the morning while it was still calm, but you know how that itching feeling is. There is some area across the street from my house with no other houses, but it's sort of confined and there are big trees around. It's not a bad place for an experienced RCer, but not a good idea for a newbie. I'm sometimes a bit hard headed, so you can probably guess that I went ahead and tried it.

Getting it off the ground was no problem, but then I was a nervous wreck. Even though I had plenty of room away from the other houses and cars. I was still a bit nervous about losing control or getting disoriented. I kept flying in circles because I was afraid to do anything else. I finally decided to land it and sort of got it lined up with the street. I had a hard time controling the throttle on the landing mainly because I was trying to land it in a short area. I pulled up a bit to much when I cut the throttle and it nosed over a few feet off the ground. It hit prop first and broke the prop. After a little super glue, it was good as new. The next day, the wind didn't die down until late again. I got it up and had it circling around again. I tried landing and relatively got it down ok, at least I didn't break anything. I took it up again and flew some more, just basic circle patterns. I even got my son to put his fingers on the sticks while I flew it around. Towards the end, however, I got a bit to close to a light pole while I was trying to line it up with the street. It nicked the wing and it dove to the ground. I lost a wheel (still haven't found that part), broke the propeller and slightly bent the prop shaft. The amazing thing is I still hadn't broke a wing or tail part. I glued the prop back and threw on some of my son's leggo wheels (since I couldn't find the other wheel) and took off for one last flight that evening. That's when I learned another important lesson of RCing. Always check your controls before you take off. During the last crash, the rudder horn (is that the right term for it?) that the servo wire was connected to had broke off. So it took off ok with elevators, but I had no rudder. It banked right into a tree and crashed to the ground again, breaking the propeller again... Again, to my amazement, still no damage to the wings or tail section (other than the servo wire horn thingie). I fixed it all back up, but it was too late to fly.

Since then, I went to the hobby shop and bought a 6 pack of props, a couple of prop shafts, and another set of wheels. I finally got smart and waited until I could make it to the park on the weekend. Boy, flying was much more enjoyable with so much room to fly. I really had a great time. I was able to fly all over the place. I started doing loops and stuff. It was fun. But then after one of the loops, the motor popped off... I guess they tell you to glue that thing on for a reason. It twisted all the wires up when it came off and it finally shorted out I guess. Amazingly, I was able to glide the plane down with no problem. That's when I discovered that it's a lot easier to land the slow stick with the power cut off.

I took the plane home and rewired everything. However, when I plugged the battery in, the prop spun out of control. The radio throttle could not control it. Finally, the ECS popped and started smoking. Apparently, the wires got stripped a little when the motor came off and they crossed and shorted the ECS. Back to the RC store...

After getting a new ECS installed, I was back out there the next weekend. I got more and more comfortable with the Slowstick. One time, while trying to get the slowstick to stand on end, the plane fell on its back. I gave it a little down elevator and was amazed that the slowstick flew upside down with no problem. After a while, I was able to do half loops and put it upside down and fly it with ease. However, the next day I went out, my idiot side decided to show again. I never got around to glueing that motor on... and it popped off again... At least this time the wires didn't cross, but I did have to do some sodering and rewireing. I liked being able to take the motor off and on to work on it, lord knows I had to work on it enough. So I drilled a whole threw it and the graphite shaft to hold the motor on with a nut and bolt.

I've made it out about 2 more times since then and it's a blast. Once you get the hang of that slowstick, it's darn near impossible to loose control of. I can just about stand it on end with no wind. It doesn't matter how it falls, it always catches as long as you have plenty of room between the plane and the ground. Sometimes I think I'm going to rip the wings off in a dive, but I haven't yet. My son can fly it pretty well once I have it up in the air with plenty of room to roam. I keep my arms wrapped around him with my hands next to the controller in case he starts heading to the ground, but he does pretty good. Eventually, I let him take off and he did ok, but he got it turned around too close to the ground and got disoriented and put it in the ground. I couldn't take back control fast enough. Oh well, it didn't hurt it that bad. That SlowStick is one tough cookie, much tougher than I expected.

Now I'm trying to figure out what I want next. The slow stick fun, and you can't hardly loose control of it once you get the hang of it. But it's limited to just loops, spiraling down, flying upside down and trying to stand it on end for acrobatic moves. I need something with ailerons now. Something that isn't too fast but not too slow. I was thinking of the GWS Zero. From reading reviews, it seems decently acrobatic with decent slow flight ability. Anyone else have a suggestion?

Dave
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 05:08 PM
Is that me?
Bobnormal's Avatar
United States, CA, Ontario
Joined Mar 2006
898 Posts
Get some foam and build a USAF UFO you will be amazed.Also never forget to check ALL parts and pieces EVERY time before you lift off.Last fly three mistakes high,that way if your brain shuts off you have time to recover,Good Luck,
Bob
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 05:24 PM
Registered User
Georgetown, TX
Joined Sep 2006
54 Posts
Is a UFO one of those pancake looking things?

Dave
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 05:51 PM
Glenn
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United States, WI, Oconto Falls
Joined Jan 2004
2,751 Posts
Dave, Buy and build the Zero but leave it on the shelf for a while. The E-Starter has ailerons so this could be your next plane before the Zero. Here is some stuff about it.
Glenn.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=214126
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Old Oct 24, 2006, 04:28 AM
CSI
I promise, just ONE more order
CSI's Avatar
Del Rio Intl, Texas, United States
Joined Feb 2004
3,995 Posts
Dave.
Congratulations on your maiden and learning to fly the SS.
I see you have learned some things the hard way and that' s ok. PLEASE learn about some safe practices to follow in this hobby.
NEVER, NEVER repair a prop for use again. NEVER. You are asking for serious trouble doing that. That is an understandable thing a new flyer might want to do, but from then on it is irresponsible do ever do it again. The spinning blade is a missle just waiting to go right through a body part, and eye, heck, check with some guys around here who have been cut all the way to the bone. Don't ever think that just because it's electric that it is weak, a toy, or what ever. These prop blades need to be balanced and in perfect condidtion. Cracks, chips , etc should be discarded.
I think you have also found out how important it is to do a proper pre-flight check. An out of control plane due to not hooking up a control, or having a broken control like you had, is just asking to cause property damage or personal injury. Too many modelers don't take this hobby serious enough and lot's of injuries happen. These are REAL flying airplanes and even a slow stick can cause damage. Just some thoughts and things to help you grow into this great hobby.
I would feel guilty if I sat back and not say anything. While it's outstanding that you have successfully taught yourself to fly...that's quite commendable...now is the time to take a less casual approach to operating these planes. You are going to advance on into higher performance planes, so good operating procedures now will help you be a great, safe pilot in the future.
Please take my comments in the spirit they are intended. This is a new hobby for you...and a lot of other's just joining, so these ideas can be shared by all.
Happy flying,
Ken
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Old Oct 24, 2006, 11:57 AM
Oldie but goodie
Popsflyer's Avatar
United States, CA, Orange
Joined Jun 2003
3,890 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSI
Dave.

NEVER, NEVER repair a prop for use again. NEVER. You are asking for serious trouble doing that. That is an understandable thing a new flyer might want to do, but from then on it is irresponsible do ever do it again. The spinning blade is a missle just waiting to go right through a body part, and eye, heck, check with some guys around here who have been cut all the way to the bone.

Ken
A friend of mine recently had a Zagi 5x5 blade explode during a static test. The blade piece embedded into his leg down to the bone, causing several weeks of painful recovery.

For your personal safety, always expect the un-expected.
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Old Oct 24, 2006, 12:46 PM
Stupid ground....
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Joined Jun 2005
209 Posts
I'd second the recommendation on an E-starter before a warbird. E-starter is a good half-way point between the two. There is a BIG speed difference between a SS and the Zero. Also the Zero won't self-correct at all and the E-starter will, but less than the SS. If you can master the E-starter then you can probably get one of the warbirds with some confidence that you will enjoy it and it will last for a while. don't consider the SS and E-starter as only "trainer" planes that you will never fly again. They are good for relaxing flying in between heart-pounding flights with the warbird or pattern planes, or if you don't have the time or space for the faster planes but want to get a flight in.

Oh, and as you've probably noticed, you might as well just give your credit card to the LHS. But flying is soooo worth it :-)

Jarod Matwy
Winnipeg, Canada
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Old Oct 24, 2006, 03:17 PM
Registered User
Georgetown, TX
Joined Sep 2006
54 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSI
Dave.
Congratulations on your maiden and learning to fly the SS.
I see you have learned some things the hard way and that' s ok. PLEASE learn about some safe practices to follow in this hobby.
NEVER, NEVER repair a prop for use again. NEVER. You are asking for serious trouble doing that. That is an understandable thing a new flyer might want to do, but from then on it is irresponsible do ever do it again. The spinning blade is a missle just waiting to go right through a body part, and eye, heck, check with some guys around here who have been cut all the way to the bone. Don't ever think that just because it's electric that it is weak, a toy, or what ever. These prop blades need to be balanced and in perfect condidtion. Cracks, chips , etc should be discarded.
I think you have also found out how important it is to do a proper pre-flight check. An out of control plane due to not hooking up a control, or having a broken control like you had, is just asking to cause property damage or personal injury. Too many modelers don't take this hobby serious enough and lot's of injuries happen. These are REAL flying airplanes and even a slow stick can cause damage. Just some thoughts and things to help you grow into this great hobby.
I would feel guilty if I sat back and not say anything. While it's outstanding that you have successfully taught yourself to fly...that's quite commendable...now is the time to take a less casual approach to operating these planes. You are going to advance on into higher performance planes, so good operating procedures now will help you be a great, safe pilot in the future.
Please take my comments in the spirit they are intended. This is a new hobby for you...and a lot of other's just joining, so these ideas can be shared by all.
Happy flying,
Ken
Thanks Ken. I never considered that a fixed prop might pop off like that. I had read somewhere that it's not a good idea because it screws up the balance of the prop, but not that it could be dangerous. I didn't want to keep fixing a prop, so I went ahead and bought a whole package of them so I wouldn't have to. But it's good to know why I shouldn't resort to fixing them in the future.

Learning to actually fly the plane was much easier than learning all the other issues concerning RCing, like all the lessons discussed here that I had to learn. As far as learning to fly and RC plane, my biggest mistake was trying to fly in a semi-confined area to start off. I totally understand the property damage part and that's why I was nervous even though I had a decent amount of room. Although I didn't have to fly over anyone or anything, I still was worried that it would get away from me at first and head towards someone's house or car. Flying in the park, with a large, open area, was a huge difference maker.

I spend tons of hours flying on the IL-2 Sturmovik flight simulator series on my PC, so flight controls and such were not an issue. It does take a little while to get used to being in such a far away, 3rd person view to the airplane, though. Intially, it was also awkward to fly a plane with no ailerons. When I push the stick left and right, I expect it to roll, not turn. But it didn't take long to get used to. I do highly recommend the Slow Stick for beginners (although I don't have any other reference) since it's so forgiving, but it can also be slightly confusing to someone used to using ailerons.

Another big reason I want to get another plane is that the Slow Stick needs just about dead calm conditions. Along with ailerons, I would like something that can handle a small amount of wind, like 5 mph or so. I tried flying the SS in around 5 mph winds and it wasn't fun at all. It was a chore to keep it under control. How does the E-Starter do in 5 mph winds? Does it catch to much air also? One reason I was interested in the Zero is that it seemed to be a nice mix between warbird-type flight characteristics and a slow-flight, wind catching, self-correcting type flight characteristics. From what I have been able to find out about it, it has decent acrobatic ability, but also will fly slow and easy for you if you want. Not sure if that is true, but it seems to be what people have said of it.
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Old Oct 24, 2006, 03:19 PM
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Georgetown, TX
Joined Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matwiyj
Oh, and as you've probably noticed, you might as well just give your credit card to the LHS. But flying is soooo worth it :-)

Jarod Matwy
Winnipeg, Canada

That is DEFINATELY something I have noticed.
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 04:36 AM
CSI
I promise, just ONE more order
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Del Rio Intl, Texas, United States
Joined Feb 2004
3,995 Posts
Hey again,
Glad you got that bag of extra props
I think the E-starter would be a really good selection for you. You will have to build it, so you will be familiar with all the parts, especially of a more realistic plane with "normal" airframe parts. It has the ailerons you need. It will fly well, more realistic again! Best of all, it is still on the trainer side of things, but can still do all the aerobatics you want when you push it up.
The Zero...I don't think it would be a good choice for you. There have been a lot of wing/stab incidence problems in the past. A lot of guys have had bad problems, needing to do some mods to get it to fly well. A few guys don't seem to have problems......
I found mine to be finicky. It never seemed all that stable. It is fairly hard to get it to balance. That short nose leaves no room to get the battery packs up there. you have to hogg out the nose and most guys end up having to open the front of the fuselage where their battery packs can stick through up into the cowl. I think it would be too much hassle for a new flyer. Now, the Corsair is awsome!!! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that to you as an aileron trainer. It's not quite as sedate as the E-starter, but it is a favorite of many GWS fans around here. Go to the search button and type in Corsair and read up a bit. It is an absolute beautiful airplane and flyer. I think it is the strongest of GWS warbirds. The foam is nice and thick everywhere. It is definitely a very sturdy model. My son learned on one and it is still flying 3 years later. It comes with the GWS 350 motor or the 400 series. It flies ok on the 350, enough to roll and loop, but it is not overpowered by any means. I'm not as familiar with the 400 motors, but I do know they can take more battery loads. Most guys go for the 3s lipos and make them a hot flying plane.
Good luck, lot's of choices out there.
Ken
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 12:11 PM
Registered User
Georgetown, TX
Joined Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSI
Now, the Corsair is awsome!!! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that to you as an aileron trainer. Ken
Wow, I would not have guessed that a Corsair design would make a very stable platform for an RC plane, much less better than a zero-type design. I can definately see where issues about battery location and such would come into play with the zero, however. I didn't think of that. I'll give the Corsair some consideration, it sounds interesting. I understand the benefits of moving up to an E-Starter first, but I'm battling the natural urges to move on to something I want to fly as opposed to what I should fly. The way you describe the Corsair, though, it might be a good fit for me.

Dave
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 01:51 PM
Is that me?
Bobnormal's Avatar
United States, CA, Ontario
Joined Mar 2006
898 Posts
Sendero,yes the UFO is one of those "pancake things" it handles wind quite well and it will cost you about 1$ usd to build.Go to Lowes and buy some blucor and get some ideas from the foamies forum and go have fun.The great thing about foamies is that if you destroy the plane,just build another,you can get at least 20 planes from a stack of Blu at a cost of about 35$ hot glue and bamboo skewers,cheap fun!
Bob
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 08:46 AM
Bring a shovel
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New Caney, TX
Joined Jan 2006
271 Posts
Bob, your photo cracked me up. Here's my first foamy.Definately not for beginners.
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 08:32 AM
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United States, WA, Yacolt
Joined Dec 2005
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Sendero

I read through your initial post, it seemed sureal and absolutely pre-created text book experience with all bases covered, all within your first month, makes it fishy, but will address your problems just in case.

Preflight checks are mandatory, especially when you have more then one plane, I normally switch modes upon my radio from bird to bird as well as trim prior to flight and always do ground tests prior to letting it hit the air. I also go over all control surfaces, linkages and make sure there is no play in the connections as well as insuring the horns and gear is still seated soundly, this is a major cause of most crashes and even us more experienced pilots overlook that element from time to time, always paying for it regardless.

Do NOT be afraid to ask local flyers for help and advice, this is something that's unique about this hobby, we all love to offer our expertice, this forum is case in point.

If you keep breaking props on landing, you either need larger wheeles, "did well recently with some oversized ones custom built" or you are landing on uneven surfaces not suited to the stock set up which is typical, if you are simply landing too hard, be sure to flutter some up elevetor so it gently lands rather then powers on in, and yes, unpowered landings are mandatory for the SS, it has no weight, powered are for the heavier birds and keep it in the back of your mind, you want it to land so gently, you can snatch it out of the air with your hands "which you will do soon enough".

1 month into this, you are already wanting to move on, the tiger moth has shown plenty of promise, it's really slow though and will not be something you stick with forever "just as you are showing the SS", I'm thinking cessna, cub, etc. and go for full 4 channel control, that will keep you busy for a while, meanwhile, keep the SS in tact while you are shopping around and see just how far you can push it, I trashed my original bird "not the ss" by attempting an outside loop too close to the ground, would have made it if it wasn't for the school yards batters cage, hehe. Rebuilt the front end and it's in the hands of a new flyer regardless.

I'm in the same boat as you equally, running the gambit along a different area. I want an actual challenge, both with building, that original complaint about the SS being too hard to put together is absolutely not my personal problem, I turn away ARF's since I want build time and lately, scratch builds are much less then a week from raw idea to maiden, "I have my own saucer that runs along another tangent that flys like a "real" airplane as well", but that's another tangent.

Last visit to the LHS, I asked, what do they have that I'm not going to get bored with after a week and can handle some wind, the only one they pulled out was indeed nice, all stick and covering construction, but still felt like I'd outgrow it in a month regardless of how cheap it was, I looked at it as a 1-2 hour project and now I'm sitting waiting for the weather to get somewhat normal...........

Get wise about what you are spending your money on, I have hundreds of dollars of useless, obsolete gear, along your planes, it only takes a chunk of foam, a piece of sandpaper and an idea and you are set, their is more to it then that if you want to expand, just saying, you can produce very nice low tech constructed planes and have alot of fun with the failures as well as the successes, overall, this is one very fun hobby to be in and the fact your son is also into it makes it that much better.
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