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Posted by apwachholz | Sep 20, 2013 @ 12:26 PM | 2,199 Views

When I ventured into the world of model aviation years ago, fixed wing airplanes were the staple for most RC aircraft pilots. Rarely did you see a hobbyist arrive at the flying field with a helicopter in tow. And when someone did arrive with a helicopter, it became quite the spectacle as we watched the pilot maneuver the helicopter through the sky. I was mesmerized at the skill I thought it took to fly such a contraption.

For the most part I was amused at my own awe. I would sit and watch the pilot perform some maneuvers and perhaps go inverted but it didn’t take long before my attention span was at its maximum and I turned my focus back to the fixed wing airplanes before me. I’ll admit that on the inside I really wanted to try my skills at flying helicopters but, from what I knew they were expensive and if they crashed I couldn’t just put a dab of CA glue somewhere and make things good as new.

A first time for everything

Years went by before I transitioned into helicopters. I remember my first experience at the flying field, looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching, as I attempted my first few hops into the air. The thrill and sense of accomplishment was amazing when I was able to hover in place for my 6-minute’s worth of battery life. Unfortunately, that’s where all the joy ended.

The transition to forward controlled flight proved far more daunting then I’d ever anticipated and after months of crashes, busted blades, and bent tail booms, I was...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Feb 07, 2013 @ 02:17 PM | 2,409 Views

Field Finder v.1 Official Release

Well, it took almost 2 years and a complete overhaul but, I made it. The Field Finder has an official version to it: v.1.0. So what does that mean? Most importantly, that I'm a total nerd but what that means for everyone else:
  1. Search functionality with proximity (e.g., search within 25 miles of 'x')
  2. Edit all field information including its location (drag 'n drop)
  3. Add a flying field anywhere on the globe

I worked with a good friend of mine for a few months on our own free time and we were able to come up with what we both felt was a pretty cool tool. So with that, I hope you like what you see. Here's to building our rc communities across the globe. Lemme know what you think!! (- andrew)

Field Finder Overview

Field Finder Location Map
Posted by apwachholz | Mar 05, 2011 @ 02:40 PM | 2,336 Views
What does the future hold with the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)

  • FAA; Model Aircraft Operating Standards Advisory Circular 91-57 (download)
  • Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System (NAS) (web site)
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Group (web site)
  • Academy of Model Aeronautics (web site)

There is a lot of speculation swirling throughout the radio control modeling community about pending Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, and you may be thinking, "Am I in danger of loosing my hobby?" While firmly believing the answer to that question is ‘no’, we must prepare ourselves for possible change ahead. And sometimes change is good.

We are hobbyists, builders, and aviation enthusiasts that come from all walks of life and fly for all types of reasons. We also share a unified passion for the freedom of flight. The future can sometimes be scary, but having both hands on the controls and a trusty co-pilot named "knowledge" at your side, navigating these unknown skies becomes far less ominous.

Since we won't know the details included in the FAA's Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) until its release in early 2011, I've map out what I do know, how it applies to our hobby, and how we can become an active participant in the process. My goal: To help us better understand the issues at hand and to prepare for what may lie ahead.

What...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Feb 19, 2010 @ 10:51 AM | 6,138 Views
Find Rc Flying Clubs & Field Locations With Google

I'd like to announce a pre-release of what we're dubbing the Field Finder for rc airplane clubs and flying fields and invite you all to take a test drive.


Everything you see was created by and for the rc community, which means we're looking for your input and help in furthering this tool to better serve and expand the hobbies reach into our local communities. Things we would like to hear back about from you are (for example):
  • Do you like what's there?
  • What more would you like to see?
  • Do you think this is valuable to the community?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • What else would you like done?

Feel free to post your comments below as we'd love to hear from the community that drove the development of this tool.

Please Note: This is a pre-release, not a fully working & complete model. We're continually improving on the technology and design and are currently in the process of assembling another portion of the Field Finder to help flying clubs reach out across the America's.

Thank for your time everyone & cheers!

Director of Development, controlchat.com

Posted by apwachholz | Jan 20, 2010 @ 01:37 PM | 3,364 Views
Selecting your first rc airplane

See a full list of available rc trainer airplanes.

Searching for and purchasing your first radio control airplane is exciting, however, at times it can be a bit overwhelming, frustrating, and leave you with questions like: Where do I begin? What should I be looking for? Is this the right rc airplane?

Often times beginners overlook important aspects of the hobby when they're entrenched in the process of purchasing their first rc airplane. We tend to loose focus on key subjects like ease of transportation, storage, and if there is a future investment value in our airplane. Unfortunately many of these things can get shoved to the back of your mind when the focus is on finding and flying the airplane.

The following information should be considered guidelines in helping you make the best decisions possible during the process of your first airplane purchase.

Which rc trainer is best?
This is the most frequently asked question of someone getting into rc airplanes. The shortest answer is this: Any high-wing trainer works well. Regardless of the claims, from either pilot or manufacturer, all high-wing trainers have relatively the same flying characteristics and will behave the same in flight. What makes a great airplane fly is the pilot and their skill.

And although there are many claims of 'teach-yourself-to-fly' kits, the bottom line is that no rc airplane kit flies itself or can prevent a crash. Only dedicated training with a
...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Oct 23, 2009 @ 10:28 AM | 4,142 Views
Safely Start Your RC Airplane Engine

Note: The following article is an excerpt. To see the full article go to http://controlchat.com/starting-an-rc-engine/

Safety should be paramount when it involves radio control airplanes, especially when they are on the ground and running. However, too often individuals develop unsafe practices for handling rc aircraft and then teach these techniques to new pilots.

While you can start your engine using a start stick, we have found that a little investment in an electric starting kit is invaluable for both your safety and your sanity.

The Night Before
A common Murphy’s Law occurrence is that you get to the field, set-up your gear, and find that one of your vital electronics is completely without power. It seems simple advice but, be sure to charge all of your equipment the night before you plan on flying. Even if you believe the power levels are good, plug in your electronics and ‘top off ‘ that charge.

And for the new pilot make sure you have a few extra glow plugs on hand for your engine as well as the engines manual should something not go according to plan.

The Set-Up
Tie down your airplane and get all your gear set-up paying close attention to where your airplane and equipment are placed. It’s important to keep all items clear to the left, right, and forward positions of the airplanes propeller. This prevents any possible injury to other people and damage to your gear from the likes of a propeller spinning off or...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Mar 09, 2009 @ 11:17 AM | 3,619 Views
“I don’t know what happened. It just stalled in the air and I lost control.” - Physics of Flight: Lift

One of the more deadly physics of flying for the radio control aircraft pilot is the stall. While some pilots don't even realize such a thing exists, others do not fully understand how or when a stall occurs. Contrary to what you may think, a stall does not necessarily mean that the engine(s) of your aircraft have stopped working or that the aircraft has stopped moving. Just because you have awesome power and the ability to fly through the sky at lightning speeds doesn't mean that you can't or won't stall. Did you know you can be flying at full throttle and still stall your aircraft? Surprising, isn't it.

Like we've said before, understanding the physics of flight is just as important as understanding and learning how to drive a car. Only in the case of stalling your car, odds are in your favor that it won't end in a crash.

What is a stall?
In aerodynamic speak, a stall is the sudden reduction or loss of lift generated by your aircraft's wing (see my article 'Physics of Flight: Lift' for more info). Basically when you stall you suddenly loose altitude. This doesn't mean you stop moving forward, however. It just means that your aircraft is no longer going to gain or keep its current altitude.

How do you stall?
By exceeding your critical angle of attack.

"Critical angle of, what...?"
Now that I've gotten the simplest explanation out of the way as
...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Jan 21, 2009 @ 01:21 PM | 12,650 Views
How a propeller works and what propeller for what engine

Speaking in very broad terms, a propeller is really an airplane wing traveling in a circle. Think of it this way:
If you were to slice a propeller's blade in half, you would find that it looks like the cross-section of an airplane wing. Now take that wing and gently twist it as the wing extends farther from a center point. This twist gives the wing a positive angle of attack or the ability for it to 'bite' into the air and pull itself forward. At its basics, this is a propeller.
All rc propellers are usually given a two number value with which they are identified by: Diameter and Pitch. Diameter is the measurement, usually in inches, of the propeller from tip to tip. Pitch is the amount of 'twist' the propeller has, and is roughly defined as the distance the propeller advances per a single revolution of the blade. For example, a propeller labeled as a 9x6 describes a diameter of 9 inches and a pitch of 6 inches, or forward movement of 6 inches per revolution. We understand that there is a lot of information to absorb about rc propellers. I'll continue to give you more information as it becomes available, but in the mean time keep this in mind:

A large diameter and low-pitch propeller (11x7) will give you greater pull at lower air speeds, while a smaller diameter and higher-pitch propeller (10x7) will give you less pull, but instead gives you a higher maximum-airspeed.

Converting from a 2-blade to a 3-blade
...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Jan 15, 2009 @ 04:36 PM | 5,891 Views

NOTE: One of many reviews, but it never hurts to add one more to the to mix. And this review is solely my own opinion

Manufacturer: ParkZone
Power: E-flight Electric Brushless 450 motor
Wingspan: 44 in.

With the park flier market appearing to bust at the seams as of late, I wanted to get my hands on the latest addition to the Horizon Hobby family. In the past, I haven't been impressed with any releases of a park flier F4U, so I was skeptical when another version came to the market. Well, consider me impressed with the Parkzone F4U Corsair. One, with the packaging of the kit. You could throw the entire box into the air, watch it come back down, and it wouldn't damage much inside. And two, the quality of the aircraft is supreme for a foam flier. Parkzone did a great job; at first glance. Setting my excitement aside I began inspecting the F4U Corsair. I purposely scrutinized the kit and looked for glaring flaws or errors. Fortunately, I only found two very minor items:
1) Use caution when pulling all the tape from the packaging. I accidentally had some tape stick to a wing edge and it ripped off some paint.

2) Don't get hasty when pulling the body out of the foam packing. I noticed how tight the nose and spinner Ire set in the foam packing. It's tight and you'll have to work the body out slowly to avoid damaging anything.

I opted for the Plug-And-Play kit since I already had a radio. I found assembly will take any person of any skill level
...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Dec 26, 2008 @ 05:14 PM | 4,014 Views
With the winter weather in Minnesota seeming relentless there is little an rc pilot can do other then succumb to the elements and take it in stride. In my case, rather then pack it up till spring or even lament about how it's "...too cold 'n windy..." I've decided to throw a fist towards Mother Nature, take my most trusted bird to the field, and saddle up for some winter fun! Yet, I must confess that not all of my desire to fly this winter stems from 'cabin fever'. In reality, most of my desire to fly this winter comes from my recent re-build of a Piper Cub. An unfortunate late summer radio glitch caused its early demise and in a way, left me hanging.

After my crash I came to realized that the Piper Cub was thee steady rock of all aircraft in my hangar. Its unrelenting ability to take any weathering in stride, be it from the likes of Mother Nature or from the hands of a still learning pilot (yes, that would be myself), seemed unreal if not amazing. Heck, even after a cartwheel when I was learning cross-wind take-off and landings, my Cub rolled upright, and shook it off. So after a few months of a painfully long hiatus, I was ecstatic to finally have revived the Cub to full working form and grinned from ear to ear when looking at a newly installed Saito .62 4-stroke beauty under the hood Ahh, life is good.

But how will it perform in winter weather? 15-20mph cross-winds? Constant snow fall? Was I ready for this? I was confident the Cub could handle anything. Even a nervous pilot. I know how to fly, I know how it behaves, this will be nothing new...except it's a new maiden and honestly, I'm a bit gun-shy from the first disaster.

"How did it all work out?", you ask. Well, pictures speak a thousand words.

Posted by apwachholz | Dec 22, 2008 @ 12:13 PM | 3,999 Views
With winter in abundance, especially here in MN, it's time to take off the landing gear and slap some floats on our birds to prevent them from disappearing into the snow. And while ski's are nice they don't work well when the snow is 6" and fluffy

Unfortunately, few aircraft kits have floats specifically made for them, especially when it comes to electric foam aircraft. I've found that GWS Foam Floats work all too well for most every foam flier that's under 3 pounds (you can get them at Tower Hobbies online). Plus, they're cheap and very effective. However, if not installed correctly, you'll end up with a mess and floats that move back and forth like your Grandmothers knitting rocker. So, I wanted to share some of my own insights and hopefully pass on some good knowledge to others on, what I've found, is a great installation process.

A few points to note:
1. I'm not a pro, nor claim to be one. This is just my way of doing it
2. Take ur time measuring when you install. You want a nice 'square' mounting job. If your mounting is off, you run the risk of angled floats that will cause all kinds of problems with take-offs and landings.
3. Seal the floats. I used DuBro Flight Tape on the floats after I glued them together. Works Great!
4. Make sure the slots that are cut into the wood blocks have a TIGHT fit for the wire gear to go into.

Other then that, I hope this finds everyone well over the 2008 Holiday Season. Happy Winter flying everyone!

Posted by apwachholz | Dec 02, 2008 @ 11:43 AM | 4,315 Views
Having reveled in my success with an experiment that I perceived to be laced with serious potential to go awry, I began my next quest to make my Childhood Dream even better.

Not more then a week after the successful maiden of Childhood Dream v1.0 I found myself in the hobby stores isle staring at CD's next steps - a new body and a stronger wing to handle more aggressive flying. I also thought to myself, "Nacelles would be sweet looking AND they'd cover up all the electronics...hmmmmm?" With that thought in mind I bolted off to the model rocket section of the store to pick up rocket tubes and plastic nose cones. These, I found, make perfect nacelles and conceal all the nasty looking wires from view. Ahhhh, Perfect! I'll skip the boring building details and the lamenting about the massive amounts of foam I spent vacuuming up off the floor and off of myself and instead cut to the chase. Childhood Dream v2.0 was even better then the first and instilled in me a more powerful driving force - the passion to create.

While at the flying field after my maiden I was approached by a fellow rc'er and a WWII veteran pilot and humbled by his comments.

"I must say, that is an impressive flier. Are those turbo props*grin*? Is this your own design, because if it is have you ever thought of a patent for it?"

Wow, I didn't know what to say at first other then 'thank you'. And so I did thank him and conversation flowed while others stopped by to see how this U2 looking aircraft was made. And how was it made? It was constructed with 15% luck, 30% skill, 5% pleasure, 50% of the unknown, and 100% passion.

Posted by apwachholz | Nov 25, 2008 @ 12:49 PM | 4,516 Views
When a beginner decides to embark into the world of rc airplanes their typical steps are:

1. Find a trainer aircraft
2. Choose electric or glow
3. Get flying

And while these steps are not entirely incorrect in getting started it does create a large gap in your understanding why an airplane even behaves the way it does. Why should you care about the physics of flight? Have you ever heard someone say something like, “I don’t know what happened. It just stalled in the air and I lost control.”

Understanding the physics of flight is just as important as understanding and learning how to drive a car. If you choose to ignore any and all understanding of how a car functions and why (i.e. Acceleration & Breaking / Turn Signals / Rules of the Road) you will most certainly end your driving experience in a crash. Flying an aircraft is no different. Unfortunately it is common practice in the hobby of radio control aircraft to bypass or even ignore all the physics of flight to “just get flying”.

I'm not about to take you down the road of a long classroom session with tests. Instead I want to pass along knowledge that can potentially prevent you from making fatal mistakes when learning to fly and in the event of something unfortunate, give you the tools to help understand why the unfortunate event happened.

Let’s start off with one very important physic of flight: Lift.

Lift is exactly what it sounds like. When you hear the word lift, usually you’ll think
...Continue Reading
Posted by apwachholz | Nov 20, 2008 @ 05:18 PM | 4,407 Views
I have been actively involved with rc aircraft for only 1 year. And in that time I have amassed an air force that sometimes even I have a hard time managing. Some would call it excessive, others call it ambitious. For me, let's call it an affliction.

Recently I began experimenting with a dream of mine I've had since first trying rc airplanes years ago (yes, over 12 yrs ago I was attempting to fly): To control and fly a foam glider. "What? That sounds pretty lame...", you'd say. And to an extent I can agree. However, ever since I was young I dreamed of taking control and soaring around in the sky with the large foam gliders you buy at the store. You know, the $10 ones!? Well, I accomplished that dream late this fall and have been building on it since.

Though it may seem a small step for the most experienced pilot or even nothing worth of note to many, for me it was the next step into a hobby that has become a gigantic part of my life.

So if you're curious to see what it is I have flow and/or built - take a peek below to see a small part of my world from the flight line.

Posted by apwachholz | Nov 17, 2008 @ 12:58 PM | 4,255 Views

My name is Andrew and I'm an rc aircraft enthusiast. I consider my love of rc aircraft more of an affliction then a passion because at times it takes quite a bit to pull me away from what it is I love. Recently I have started a website dedicated to the '...the new and aspiring rc pilot." called Control Chat.


Over the years I have been involved in rc aircraft one thing seemed to permeate throughout - lack of information regarding rc aircraft that a newbie can understand. I had (and have) been struggling to learn rc and realized that the information I have learned could be valuable to someone like me - someone trying to learn the hobby.

And so the site was born. And like the site says, I do not act the part of a profession rather I act the part of who I am, a new and aspiring pilot who makes mistakes.