Vulcaneer's blog View Details
Posted by Vulcaneer | Oct 07, 2016 @ 01:29 PM | 3,877 Views
It's always best to have an experienced coach to help one learn to fly. But not always possible for some. I was one of those. Living in rural NH, there just wasn't a nearby club, or any rc instructors that I knew of. So what is one to do?

This method may not work for all. But it did for me. If you can't use all the steps, maybe some individual steps can offer some help to some people.

Well...In my case...my discovery into RC flight was a bit different. You see, I came from the RC sailboat world. Got into that a few years ago. Racing is so much fun. And a great learning experience for RC sailing. But what do you do when no wind? You look for something else to do. I thought about RC planes but wasn't crazy about the fuel, noise, lengthy build process, etc. Cars and speed boats had little appeal.

Then one day I found a free flight simulator on-line for my I-pad. Ok...what the heck. Had a joystick on the right and one on the left. Just like my sailboat radio. Throttle and rudder on left stick. Pretty similar to sailboating. Elevator, ailerons on right stick. Totally different.

Several 3 and 4 channel models to choose from. And a couple different fields with various wind conditions.

I quickly found that I could not fly an airplane. Not at all. After several attempts, I was able to get the thing off the ground...but then what do you do? I crashed. And crashed. And crashed some more. But the funny thing was, that each time, I flew a...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Sep 21, 2016 @ 01:19 PM | 4,604 Views
We travel in an RV. A 45 foot 5th wheel. On our way from our summer home in New Hampshire to (eventually) our winter home in Florida. This trip takes us about a month...because we make many side trips to visit tourist areas, friends along the way, grand daughters at their colleges, and anywhere else we think we want to go.

Well for the past week we have been staying at the campground at the equestrian complex at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC. We have many friends here to visit. And it is just an all around great place for RV'ing.

Last weekend was the NC State University/Old Dominion football game. The stadium is directly across the street from where we are camped. A great game that NCSU won. What does this have to do with sailplaning? Stay tuned.

We didn't attend the game. But did enjoy watching all the tailgating festivities. And there was plenty of that going on. The game finished late Saturday night. And by Sunday morning most all the fans had left the area. The parking lots were all empty. But OOOHHHH...WHAT A MESS THE TAILGATERS LEFT BEHIND. The trash barrels were over flowing. Discarded fast food boxes, garbage bags, trash bags, chicken buckets, all kinds of bread, meat, and condiment garbage. All over all the parking lots. The cleanup crews were hard at work trying to clean up the mess. A BIG job on a very nice warm 85* day, with clear skies and high cumulus clouds.

But mother nature has a way to help with such...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Sep 04, 2016 @ 04:09 PM | 5,614 Views
...To learn what you really like to do. Sounds pretty simple. But when you get into a new hobby, you are just feeling your way through. And you pretty much take what comes down the pike. Here's my story.

If you follow my chrono in the blog, you know I started off with a 3 Channel SuperCub. The goal was to see if I actually really could fly a model airplane. Quickly figured out I could. Even though, I had no club or instructors around to teach me. Guess I fell for the "teach yourself to fly" marketing hype. And with SAFE, I actually flew a model airplane. While I could fly, that didn't mean I was a pilot yet. And of course, there is that whole aileron thing...that I knew nothing about.

So the SportCub S came next. And I could fly that too. And the ailerons really were pretty easy to learn. And I forced myself to progress thru intermediate and into experienced mode. Still didn't consider myself a Pilot.

But these were basically trainers. They flew great, but pretty limited. I actually was able to do a loop, or two. And then some pretty ugly rolls, too. But that was about my limit to 3D tricks. Although, not without plenty of high speed crashes.

The funny thing is...for some reason, I wasn't all that into doing these few little tricks. I much more enjoyed watching the planes just fly around in scale patterns. And slow flight was what I found I liked better. And at low altitude. Just more relaxing and I thought if you fly lower to the...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:59 AM | 4,495 Views
Getting into this hobby is a great learning experience.

For me, it started off with radio controlled sailing. When we moved to Florida, our community had a RC sailing club. I went to check it out. Long story short...three weeks later I had a new Seawind RC sailboat. And the next week I was racing it. I didn't do very well, but I learned how to steer RC coming and going. Little did I know, at the time...but that turned out to be a very valuable lesson.

The fellas in that club were just wonderful to me. All kinds of help. And while my race form was very mediocre, I really enjoyed...and still do enjoy this part of the RC hobby.

I used to think the advantage of RC sailing was that when you crashed, you didn't go home with a bunch of pieces. But I soon found out, that does NOT mean you won't be spending time fixing and tuning your boat. And I also found out that one boat isn't enough.

Soon I had a one meter Soling, and a EC12, in my fleet. Now added a Hobby King Hydro-Pro Affinity 65cm.

One thing about RC sailing....it's best if you have wind. And if no wind, it's not all that much fun. And also when not racing, it loses some FUN factor. Then what do you do?

I soon discovered there are free flight simulator apps for the I-Pad. I'll never fly airplanes, but hey... a free app could be interesting. And crashing a plane on a simulator can't cost too much.

And boy did I crash. And crash, And Crash some more. But after a while, the...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:18 AM | 4,609 Views
So now I have a great little park flier, with my UMX WL Toys XK DHC-2 A600 Beaver. Having a blast with it.

But still have a longing for an E-sailplane. Leaning toward the E-Flight Radian. But the $179 price just makes me hesitate. Especially after the bad experience with my first E-Sailplane. And no ailerons on the Radian...Makes me wonder if I can fly it in the parks around here. I do have a nice big farmers field to fly in. But I like variety in my fields. And not to many other large fields or parks around. While the sailplane guys don't have a problem with "Over-Flying" outside the park, I am not used to that idea. That idea is totally foreign to me.

Then I get this e-mail from Horizon Hobby. Price cut on the BNF Conscendo S. No longer $229.00. Now $129.00 and also a discount code for another 10% off. A E-sailplane, with ailerons, 60 Inch wingspan. According to the Conscendo S forum here, this is a decent plane. Although not really all that popular. The Radian was cheaper by some $50. And who could argue with the reputation of the Radian. Radian is the KING of low end E-Sailplanes. Never-the-less, those that wanted a bit smaller wingspan and ailerons in a E-sailplane, gave the Conscendo S very high marks.

Well now, the $117 price (free shipping)...Now that is a GAME CHANGER. OK...They got me. Two weeks later it arrived at my door. That FEDEX Smartpost shipping might be FREE. But it is terrible service. Next one will ship FEDEX DOOR TO DOOR. The $5.99 is...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:16 AM | 4,577 Views
Ok... so over the first year or so, I have gone through a SuperCub, SportCub S, an Icon A5 UMX, a HK Skipper, an HK BFG1600, an Ares Decathlon 350, and some others. Mostly sport flyers or park flyers.

Best of the bunch was my SuperCub S. But although I really liked the way the SportCub S flew, I was fed up with it's problems. Replacing motors got old, as did messing with those stupid servos, and breaking those linkages. I thought..."There really needs to be a comparable sized brushless model out there some where." Problem is I have just about blown my budget and wifey is starting to lose her sense of humor.

Of course, I really didn't help things when one of the Christmas decorations that I added to our Christmas tree was a broken SportCub S...stuck nose first into the tree. A reminder of the several times I needed to climb ladders to remove planes from trees. Usually neighbors trees. Oh...but I digress.

So considering I am on low funds. And a non happy wife, and me in need of another plane. My prayers are answered. Or, so I thought.

Stumble across this Chinese company. Banggood. Hey with a name like that, I just gotta check it out. Hey! They sell cheap airplanes! Now I am very much interested. What's this? A Beaver looking little UMX. WL Toys XK DHC A600. Whew...That's a mouthful. It'sbrushless. Hmmmm. Has a 3D mode and a 6S (beginner mode) and stabilization, too. BNF is like $49. But works with Futaba. Thats no good for me. Ain't buying another radio...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:13 AM | 4,412 Views
Have listed two planes in this category. The Umx Icon A5 and the venerable Hobby Zone SportCub S2.

First the similarities of the two.
Both Umx
Both use linear servos
Both trim with "pinch" linkages
Both 4 channel

The differences
The Icon cost 160 bucks (BNF)
The Sport Cub 99 bucks (RTF)
Icon is a pusher and needs no Landing gear
Icon is brushless power
HZ SportCub has brushed motor
HZ SportCub is SAFE equipped

Why do I rate them as bad?
First the SportCub S...
At first I thought this was a great plane. I loved it. This was my second ever plane. And a great step up to ailerons after my 3 channel Super Cub. Seemed a little fragile...especially the tail feathers. But OK. The smaller size allowed me to fly in smaller parks where the Super Cub would not fit comfortably. And the SAFE system and AS3X worked well in wind. It was actually quite impressive in winds up to 15MPH. Had a BLAST with this little plane. Flew the daylights out of it. Swore that if I ever totalled it, I would replace it with exactly the same plane.

Then....it happened. About 7 hours of flight time. A loud screech in flight. And a voilent spiral into the ground. Crushed the nose. Broke prop. Broke wing. Bruised and bent tail feathers.

What happened to cause the death screech and death spiral? What to do? Of course...Consult the interweb. And answer was just a clicky/point away. A well known weakness with the SportCubS. Motor failure. Needs replacement. A week later a new...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:11 AM | 5,223 Views
Decided this was what I needed. Looked at the You Tube reviews. Yup...That is perfect for me. Loved the size. At 35" wingspan...perfect park flier.

Went together very well. Looked good. Rather heavy...so am sure wing load is on the high side. Battery compartment very confined so the stock battery was all that could be used. And there were no extra batteries available. Hobby Town is the exclusive source for these planes. And they were sold out of batteries. That just sucks.

Other thing I noticed is the landing gear had little visible support. But maybe the are some support struts buried in the foam fuselage somewhere.

I liked the single servo set up for the ailerons...to me that made sense.

The plane has a nice rtf transmitter. With "NFP". Natural Flight Progression. Supposed to be like SAFE.

First take off was a quick up and down. Two feet up and quick aileron roll on its back. Broke the prop. Its ok. I got more props.

Next time up...remember keep your thumb off the aileron stick. Up she goes. Rudder only turn. Everythings good. Just a touch on the aileron stick. WHOA! TOUCHY!!! OK...I can deal with it. Fly around for most of the battery life. Flies fast. Doesn't like slow. Tip stalls easily. Bring it down for landing in the grass. Nice!!! Greased it in perfectly...although it did nose over from the tall grass. When I picked it up, the first thing I noticed was the broken prop. "Oh crap." But then...The landing gear was folded under....Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:09 AM | 4,287 Views
Hobby King. BFG1600..."Big Foam Glider" 1600mm wing span

I call it "Big F'ing Glider".

Loved the looks of this plane. Wanted to try a electric powered sailplane. And soar like the birds I see all around our place. Put this thing together...it was beautiful. Seemed well built. But one thing that concerned me was the way the wing halves joined through the center of the fuselage. But Oh well...

First trip out was to simply give it a glide test. No power...just throw it into the wind and watch it glide. A very weak breeze...at that.

First toss...off it goes, then quickly tip stalls left and cartwheels into the ground. Wings break out from their joint in the fuse. Bends the aluminum spar going through the wings in a 90 degree angle. Back to the shop.

Gorilla glue the wing joint stantions and replace the aluminum spar with a carbon fiber rod I had laying around. Another glide test. Same result. The carbon fiber rod held up. But the wing stantions let go again near the repaired section. Back to the shop.

Why the tip stall to the left? I weighed the wing tips. For some unknown reason the left wing tip weighed nearly an ounce more than the right tip. Weird! Ok...so add some weight to the right tip to get it to balance. Just be sure to NOT change the CG. Finally got it to balance. And to glide straight.

Took it for a couple of flights. Not a particularly good flier...with all that added weight out on the wing tip. Not good at gliding. And thermalling just wasn't gunna happen. And very prone to tip stalling when coming in for landings. And always ripping out the wings at the joints.

My rule is "If I spend more time fixing then flying...not a good plane."

I got to disliking this plane so much, I actually tore it apart with my bare hands. Ripped out the electronics and smashed the rest of it on my driveway. And those wing joints? Smashed them with a hammer.
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 28, 2016 @ 08:57 AM | 3,340 Views
Had a terrible experience with my Hobby King Skipper. Good thing I was able to buy it on sale. And only paid $80 for the pnp version. Being a short winged Delta, figured I better buy a stabilized receiver for this plane. I new it was going to be a fast flier, but figured I was ready for it.

The real attraction for this plane was the fact it was amphibious and land, water, snow capable. Since we live in places where we have each convenient, thought this was a perfect plane. Just pick up a Lemon DSMX stabilized rx, and plug it in, program it up with the dip switches..bind it up to my DX5e and go. All good so far.

First flight off land. Goes up about 2 feet and does an immediate and violent roll right. Crash into the ground. No damage. Try again...same thing, switch off the stabilized function and it goes up straight...and fast. Switch on stab...several quick rolls right and into the ground with a nose crunch.

Take it home and fix it up. And straighten the nose with steam and tape. Review the Lemon instructions...Delta wing...Check. Ailerons...Check. Dip switches...Check. Gains set...Check.

Next step is take it over to the club to have the experts check it out. And maybe get it up to check the trims...because...I obviously cannot fly this thing.

Our lead instructor looked it over. Loved the looks of it, and the sounds of it while on the ground. His first take off rolled violently right into the tall grass. His comment was "What the hell...Continue Reading
Posted by Vulcaneer | Aug 27, 2016 @ 09:15 AM | 4,946 Views
Up to now, I have been flying for almost two years. Have had quite a few planes. Some good. Some not so good. Some that were beyond my experience level. And some that were just disasters.

But one thing I learned is...I found out what style of flying I like best. There is Sport flying, park flying, aerobatic 3-D, Soaring, and so many others.

Here is what I found. Maybe it will help others that are entering the hobby.

My planes...in this order.
HobbyZone Super Cub...3 Channel
HobbyZone Sport Cub...4 Channel UMX
Icon A5 UMX...4 Channel amphibian
Hobby King Skipper Delta wing amphibian
WLToys XK A600 DHC2 Beaver ( Banggood) 4 channel
Hobbyking BFG 1600 E-Sailplane
Ares Advantage 350 Decathlon
HobbyZone Conscendo S. E-Sailplane

The good/bad/and the ugly. Specifics in additional comments below.
Good...recommend as a first choice
SuperCub...ParkFlier... Wish I hadn't converted it to brushless/and ailerons. Should have kept it stock.
WLToys XK A600 DHC2Beaver...a FAVORITE...sport flyer/park flier
HobbyZone Conscendo S...also a FAVORITE ...E-Sailplane

Bad...may recommend with some reservations
Icon A5 UMX...Sport flyer amphibian...Not really bad...but over my head at the time. (Don't always trust your LHS guy.)
HobbyZone SportCubS2...Sport Trainer...A good flyer but motors are bad.

UGLY...will never recommend these.
HobbyKing Skipper. Amphibian Sport Flier...Super fast...Nobody at the club enjoyed flying this thing.
HobbyKing BFG...E-Sailplane....needed to add 21 grams 14" out on the starboard wing to get it to fly level. Even then it was a terrible flier.
Ares Advantage 350 Decathlon...Sport flier...Landing gear is impossible...very poor design with no structural support. Many broken props.

Will post specific details on each in later blog posts.