Confessions of a virgin RC pilot
Some months ago I saw a video shot by a young boy from a RC plane and I was blown away!
My journey started with a request to Mrs FBMarcus for a pair of video glasses for Xmas, little did I know that this was just a gateway gadget to an addictive and expensive new habit.
Next on the list was a plane, so off to Google I went to research and there I stumbled apon this site. Wow I was in heaven, I spend many nights reading through the site and the experiences of others that have gone the FPV route. As it turns out the choice of ride was pretty easy, well Easy Star.
With all of the recommendations and kudos that this plane gets I couldnt go past it for my first ever RC plane.
Time to hunt down one of these beautiful machines.
Sounds simple right? Yeah...not for me.
I started looking our the net for this plane and the first problem was a couple of new acronyms, RTF and ARF. RTF was pretty easy to grasp, a plane with the lot. But I wanted to FPV so I knew from all the excellent advice on here that I was going to need more power, better Tx and Rx so I didn't want to waste cash on things that I would need to replace.
This meant that this ARF thing was most likely the way to, specially since I had never done this before. So it seems that all ARFs are not created equal, ARF could mean anything and I didn't know my servo from my ESC so I was lost trying to pick the best kit.
Off to my local model store for some advise, being in Australia I did not have high hopes of finding an EZ.
Walking into the store I was a little nervous, these places are a bit intimidating when you are a complete noob! As it turns out, the guys at Monaro Models were great, not pushy but really helpfully and understanding as I asked a hundred stupid questions such as, What is a LiPo?, What is the difference between 2 & 3 cells?, I said I was a noob
I left the store much poorer than I ever expected but happy knowing that I was off and running and my desire was a little closer to being satisfied. There is no way I could have told anyone then what I had purchased but being a little wiser now, it makes more sense.
1 x Easy Star ARF
1 x 2200 3c lipo
1 x 3600kva Brushless inrunner
1 x 35A ESC
1 x ARC Prop 6x4
1 x bottle CA glue
A pack of gold plated bullet plugs
A pack of Deans plugs
A lipo charger
A Spectrum DX7s
2 x HS65hb servos
Wow it's getting real
Most of my parts I had, but the servos and radio were on back order so I had sometime to put my plan together,read more beginner advice and buy more bits on eBay!
Time to start putting all these bits together.. this is we're I start to figure out what the plugs were for and realise that I don't own a soldering iron...back to eBay.
Soldering iron arrives and I solder on all the plugs, this is at least something I know about, being an ex avionics tech back in my Navy days.
Ok I have the plugs on and it's time to run the wiring, I start cutting grooves in the foam and lay out he engine wires to run through the fuse, picking up the lingo now it is looking good until I pick up the other half of the fuse....it already has the grooves cut...doh! Lesson one, look before you cut.
No damage done, moving on.
So now I notice that a lot of people are running the ESC externally, I don't like this, I like things to be tidy and squared away. I do notice that this is not done by everyone so I reckon that my ESC is more robust than required and if I cut cooling holes I should be ok. Cooling inlet and exhaust holes cut and ESC placed inside, order for two model plane air scoops placed on eBay. These should direct the air in and out moving it across the ESC but time will tell.
Anyhow the engine was in, glued to the foam, doing this just seemed wrong some how so I contemplated it for a few days befor I did the deed. Later that day I read an article that suggested putting clear tape or heat shrink around the engine before glueing....good idea
Time for the first power test, connecting up ESC and Battery. As expected the motor sucked instead of blowing but never fear I was warned about this! Swap one wire and woo hoo it runs and in the right direction
Now a scary part, gluing the fuse together. Read a story a day or so later about a guy that just taped his together for ease of repair....why do I read these things after I have committed to a course of action
My next challenge was to fit the servos, I had never seen a servo and only had a basic understanding of how they functioned. So following the various instruction sheets I had accumulated by now, I whacked some CA glue on the back,fed the wires through to the cockpit and stuck em on. Connected them to the Rx, switched it on and what's that noise.....? Why are the servos trying to dig themselves into the foam? Oh.. Another lesson for me, centre servos before gluing
Righto, servos ripped out, re-centred, re-fitted and all control surfaces moving. I finally have a functioning plan and I'm almost ready take it out for its maiden flight, getting very nervous now.
read about a guy and his maiden flight where he had the controls reversed, ending in a bad way. I read something before useful before it bit me for once.
Checked controls and yep they were both reversed.
Checked c of g, put Velcro on batt and marked a border around its position with correct c of g(I'm learning ).
Ok now for a WOT test to check everything is attached and ping the prop flies off! Tighten up prop adaptor, spool her up again and ping off it goes. This time I glued the nut on the front of he adaptor, power up and brrrrr....a different noise this time! The adaptor is spinning on the motor shaft How to get a prop adaptor apart after you have glued it...? No idea I destroyed it and had to go buy another (and a spare), this time I tightened the hell out of it and it passed all tests.
I had a working plane
The next day I was preparing for flight with plenty of fibreglass tape on the bottom and around the weak parts.
I took the plane outside and tried a couple of glide tests, maybe I didn't throw it far enough but it just nosed into the ground filling me with a new sense of fear about my fist flight.
Now or never, I know every recommendation I read was to use a sim first but I decided to just give it a crack and see how I go.
Found a field and turned into the wind which was strong enough to lift he plane off the ground...I had gone this far so no quiting now. Anyhow a good breeze should help prevent a nose into the ground on my first launch right?
Now,I'm pretty sure I have over engined this thing with a 3600kva brushless 3c lipo, well according to what I read here it seemed that way. So I pushed on about 3/4 throttle and it felt like it wanted to go so I threw it.
It went UP at about 45degrees and the wind got under it and it banked right and set off behind me in the direction of a horse riding school,the opposite direction to where I wanted it!!! I'm not sure what controls I touched but 5 seconds later it was no longer in danger of hitting someone on a horse,because it had embedded in an electric fence... I don't know how quick these things go but the fence wire cut about half way through each wing
Not to worry, after carefully getting it out of the electric fence I took it back to the car where I had brought my tape and glue in anticipation of such an event.
Some glue and tape and change of launch position produced better results and longer flight times. The wind was really too strong, sometimes it just refused to turn back in to the wind. After about 20 minutes and no more repairs it was time to go home and reflect on the experience.
Lessons for the day:
Don't fly in high wind when it's your first flight.
The plane will go everywhere you don't want it to go, get a big clear area.
Use a sim.
I now know,why so many people do the rudder mod.
Where to from here?
Rudder modded, I just added the top part to the existing rudder, not wanting to go to far before I learn to fly.
I have ordered a SIM
I have ordered 2 gyros for roll and yaw. Theses, with the aileron mod, should protect he plane a little from my nervous jerky noob piloting.
Now to find a decent place to fly it in Canberra without spectators.
Last edited by FlyBoyMarcus; Feb 09, 2012 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Update
apart from easy star you have just written about my story.
this should give you some comfert in knowing that in only 4 hours of trying to fly and crashing this will happen to you.
1 year into this and i believe i have built the best fpv platform 2.5 MITREs wide and packing the best fpv and osd systems money could buy. all this and i steel have the need to go on Sim every little wile llol
subscribe to my channel and you will soon get to watch my first ever true fpv flight
lol ther will be light but my when i actually got the hang of flying my axn was 90% glue. i knew how to re build the thing before i can fly. saying all this now that i can fly comfortably i relli bring it all down the nerves 1 day i went out me and partner were expecting a crash and i was fine with this but it just didn't happen lol, that day gave me enough flight time to understand how the plane acts so basically climb as soon as its flying then figure it out then lol. if you keep putting a price on your plane that makes it worst you know how much each crash will cost lol i bought the axn as it was cheap then wen it was battered it was worth nothing to me so didn't relli care.
Hi tobermei, nice to meet another Aussie.
Yes the swearing has been strong and constant since I started this hobby but I am getting the hang of it. Plane is back together with the help of the good old fireglass tape, CA glue and some carboard to replace the leading edge that got torn off.
Took my new baby out and for the first time it came back in one piece...no glue needed.
The engine was very hot though so Im dropping back to a 2S Lipo from now.
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