RC Newbie Graduated from Vapor to Micro P-51 - RC Groups
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Jan 10, 2013, 01:26 PM
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Discussion

RC Newbie Graduated from Vapor to Micro P-51


I've always been an aircraft enthusiast, spent years playing PC flight simulators, and have even had a couple opportunities to take the wheel in the real thing and do some flying and banked turns (Cessna 172). So finally a year ago I got into RC flying, beginning with the Night Vapor. It's a great starter plane and a lot of fun, but I got frustrated with it after a while. Indoors, I can fly all day, but constantly turning to avoid obstacles and walls gets tiring after a while. Outdoors, only the calmest days are suitable for flying, and the Vapor is very limited for climbing and any tricks. Unless the battery is brand new and fully charged, I often struggle to gain altitude at a reasonable rate. So I was ready to step up the power and control. I was also ready to graduate to a real transmitter with Expo, instead of the basic one bundled in RTF models.

I was briefly tempted to go with the Micro Stryker, but my local dealer talked me out of it. It's one helluva nice plane, but things happen very fast with that one and he figured I'd wreck it before I learned to fly it. So I took his advice and bought a Micro P-51. He told me even that would be a challenge. But I felt ready. After a little learning curve, I'm becoming quite pleased with it.

The maiden was a bit rough. I fully understand the "bank and yank" technique involved in aileron flying, but I wrecked a good number of times because I didn't have a great feel for things and would roll too much, roll the wrong way, or not compensate with elevator soon enough during the turn. Also there was a light wind with a bit of gust--not ideal for a maiden. The front gear popped off in the second crash, and by the end of the day my tail broke off. But I wasn't sweating it - I know how to repair these and replacement parts aren't too expensive. On the way home, I realized the biggest mistake I made that day. I was flying far too low. When you are learning, altitude is your friend. It gives you time to pull out of bad situations. But I was not thinking of that at the time. Flying lower makes it easier to see the plane and avoid stronger winds that could carry it into the trees. But there is no time to correct the trajectory. One excessive roll and I'm cartwheeling into the ground. That happened several times. Not good.

That night I hot glued the tail and gear back on, and was ready to have another go. The next morning things got much better. After launch I made sure to get some altitude right away. The first few turns were a bit rough but I didn't crash because I had time to react and correct. Once I got myself dialed in, I could fly with more confidence. I allowed myself to get closer to the ground but only while straight and level, not turning. I gained altitude before turns. I also managed a vertical roll maneuver with no problems. The plane has good power and great control--leagues beyond what the Vapor can do.

Landing is still a bit tough because I struggle to time my decent, manage my speed, and touch down where I want to without having to make another low altitude 180 to prevent running out of space. I'm also still getting a feel for what the lowest controllable speed is, and how to control the somewhat pitchiness of this airplane. But over soft grass, a bumpy landing doesn't hurt the plane as long as wings are level and speed is low.

I still have the Vapor for indoor flying (and it flies MUCH better using the DX6i I just bought), but I'm going to be putting a lot of time on the P-51. Eventually I will pick up the Stryker, and that will be interesting.
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Jan 10, 2013, 01:41 PM
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A friendly reminder: hot glue is HEAVY. Like in too much weight for what it does. There is also the risk of melting the foam.

Get any of the foam-friendly glues/adhesives. Foam-Tac (by Beacon) is very popular. If you aren't in a hurry, any of the Aleen's white glues are very light, but take about an hour to cure.
Jan 10, 2013, 03:24 PM
Registered User
I stuck with the lower temp hot glue gun and used it very sparingly. I will look at Foam-Tac. Might be the better way to go in the future. Though crashing the plane less is the best thing to do :-)
Jan 10, 2013, 05:01 PM
Registered User
"Though crashing the plane less is the best thing to do"
I liked that bit. Something I always used to tell customers - the idea is actually NOT to crash them. Made me everso popular with some of them. Not as popular as saying that it could have been worse, it could have been my model. Perhaps it's just as well I retired.
I once asked a mate, who had just crashed, if he could do it again because I missed it that time. Can't think why he threatened to make me walk home.


Pete
Jan 12, 2013, 07:47 PM
Registered User
With more practice I am definitely getting better. Still hitting the ground the wrong way from time to time. The wings are collecting more tape and glue with each outing, but I'm learning to control this thing. My wife caught this shot right before a nasty impact. Note the position of the ailerons - not ideal for recovery! But hey, I'm having fun anyway.
Jan 14, 2013, 11:29 PM
Pilot, Co-pilot, Navagator
nemoskull's Avatar
i love the p51. my favorite thing to do is trim for straight and level at full throttle, then do low passes 9 inches off the ground.
this only works for a few minutes while the battery is fresh, and works best with the gear off (tends to slow down and can cause to nose down a bit)

try switching the prop to a GWS5030. you will need an adaptor, but will get close to 50 grams thrust.

i really got to get me another one...
Jan 15, 2013, 01:00 PM
Registered User
I will have to give that a try when I get a little better at it. Today is the first no-wind day in my area since I bought the plane, so I'm going to run it a bit during my lunch break. Should be a lot more fun than fighting 8-10 mph winds in cold weather, which is what I was doing last weekend (though I'm proud of myself for handling those winds fairly well - I even managed to "hover in place" while flying upwind).
Jan 15, 2013, 02:15 PM
Pilot, Co-pilot, Navagator
nemoskull's Avatar
no wind = big difference! much easer. i never maiden in ANY wind, no matter how good i 'think' i am.
hats off to you for trying (and suceeding!).
Jan 15, 2013, 02:58 PM
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bhoov128's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemoskull
i love the p51. my favorite thing to do is trim for straight and level at full throttle, then do low passes 9 inches off the ground.
this only works for a few minutes while the battery is fresh, and works best with the gear off (tends to slow down and can cause to nose down a bit)

try switching the prop to a GWS5030. you will need an adaptor, but will get close to 50 grams thrust.

i really got to get me another one...
Oh boy me too! I live in a neighborhood where there's a retention field 6 houses down from me. I stand on the berm of one of the "ponds" (there's never any water, ever) but I shoot my p-51 and my as3x-spitfire along the deck at full throttle a foot off the ground and then drop down into the bowl. Then I bring it screaming out up the retention pond incline and blast back up into the sky. Another favorite of mine is a very wide banked turn that takes the plane just past my head at eye level. SWEET!
Feb 25, 2013, 02:32 PM
Registered User
Well, after a month and a half of semi regular outings, I'm MUCH better at this than before, to the point where I feel like I can fully control the plane and react quickly in most any situation. Light winds are not a problem either, though they take a little fun out of flying (I prefer stability and predictability).

Here's what really helped: SIM TIME! Now, I didn't want to spring for a full PC simulator, but then I found "Absolute RC Plane Sim" for the iPhone and iPad. It's made by the Clearview people. It's quite good. Granted, thumbs on a touchscreen are not the same as a real transmitter control, but after you get used to that difference, the app is actually quite valuable in training your brain for the mechanics of RC flying. Seriously. And it's just a few bucks.

What I learned playing with this sim was that you could build up many more hours much more quickly learning to fly RC on a sim vs. real life. In real life you get a few minutes, crash, a few minutes more, damage something, then it's back to the house. With a sim, you can keep trying as long as you want. Plus, on a mobile device, you can practice while waiting in line, or even do a few warm up runs in the field before firing up the real thing.

I did a run in the park with my micro yesterday, and felt so good about my flying that I'm considering stepping up from the micro to the larger T-28. The stability with the bigger model will be nice.
Feb 25, 2013, 02:36 PM
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bhoov128's Avatar
Are you still yank and bank only? Or have you learned coordinated turns using rudder and aileron too? Turns with rudder & ails is one thing that has helped me really control the plane a lot better and make it look MUCH more scale when it's flying.
Feb 25, 2013, 03:03 PM
Registered User
I'm doing coordinated turns now and not having any problems with it. Though I find that these little micro RCs are so light that it can be hard to fly scale, especially in the wind (even light winds). They like to nose up and start turning on their own a lot. That's why I'm thinking of stepping up to the bigger planes. The only downside is needing a larger flying area, but my town has a lot of schools and parks where a couple of sports fields next to each other seem big enough.
Feb 25, 2013, 03:20 PM
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bhoov128's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by redman042
I'm doing coordinated turns now and not having any problems with it. Though I find that these little micro RCs are so light that it can be hard to fly scale, especially in the wind (even light winds). They like to nose up and start turning on their own a lot. That's why I'm thinking of stepping up to the bigger planes. The only downside is needing a larger flying area, but my town has a lot of schools and parks where a couple of sports fields next to each other seem big enough.
The AS3X spitfire that I have flies really well in a little bit of wind, you can see it bucking and correcting, but nothing like that P-51, which flips and flops and turns into a sneaky demon
Feb 25, 2013, 04:09 PM
Registered User
What is AS3X exactly? From what I can tell from the product page, it's some kind of computerized automatic stability system on board the plane? How much of a difference does it make?
Feb 25, 2013, 09:50 PM
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bhoov128's Avatar
it's a gyroscope based stability system. it detects rotation in 3 axes = Artificial Stability 3 aXis. Anytime it detects a rotation about one of the axes, without input from the radio sticks, it will apply some servo deflection to that particular axis opposite the rotation.

So: If your plane gets caught in a bit of a wind gust, and the wind catches the right wing and tries to cause that wing to flip up and over, effectively rolling you right, the AS3X system automatically corrects with right aileron for you to keep your wings level.

It works like a charm for my AS3X Spitfire. 5 -6 mph wind, no problem, whereas with my P-51 I'd be puckering up the whole time, if you know what I mean.


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