If I knew then what I know now. - RC Groups
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Nov 03, 2017, 09:42 PM
aka : SteveBB..
Stevepilot's Avatar
Discussion

If I knew then what I know now.


We 're all at different stages of learning and have different skills, interests and abilities with gliding. But we all started somewhere. Some of us were fortunate to be on a buddy lead, and the time we went solo wasn't as traumatic, or was it?

What did you do when you started on day one or maybe twenty one, that you did through choice that made you wonder if you'd wasted your money/time and patience that you'd pass on to someone starting out?

Me? I bought and built gliders that were far too advanced for my skills and trashed them all. It was a low point(s).

So what about others? It isn't to shame anyone, just guidance for others.
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Nov 03, 2017, 10:27 PM
Registered User
Libelle201B's Avatar
My very first rc glider flights were not successful at all, both gliders were badly damaged, but I kept at it with new gliders. This was way back in the late 60’s very early 70’s, low tech stuff. Anyways you have to start simple and very basic IMO if you have no mentor. My first success was with a bunch of hand launches, just strait glides making sure the plane was stable, trimmed properly and controllable ie a nice flat glide, no ballooning or diving, getting a feel for the plane, then after that period I went to a hi start and with altitude, keeping things very simple ie directional control and large patterns to landing, over and over again, no tight turns or attempts to “thermal”, that came much later. Learning to control the glider from takeoff to landing with confidence is the very first step, forget about finding lift until you get to this phaseThis all took many flying sessions, you have to be patient, don’t rush things or expect to become a soaring expert in a few weeks or months, it takes time, years in fact
Last edited by Libelle201B; Nov 03, 2017 at 10:37 PM.
Nov 03, 2017, 10:45 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Teaching myself to fly RC taught me the value of having an instructor. It also cost me about half a dozen models due mostly to me but to a weird "glitch" in the radio I had at the time. That cost me two models alone before I realized that it wasn't me but that the model had flown out of range....

Funny thing, I'd done a couple or three turns around my head before it got too far out and went crazy. (galloping ghost radio if anyone cares). I ran towards the model with the Tx high in the air and got it back. That led to doing tight turning figure 8's around my head and keeping the altitude down to around 100 to 120 feet until the Cox engine ran out of fuel. Talk about learning in a hurry! ! ! ! Nope, no pressure there at all! ! ! Then a tight approach and land. Didn't fly again until I'd figure out the issue and fixed it.

But even so. Four or five of those early models were purely on me. An instructor would really have helped. And some of them were darn nice models too.

Good thing I had free flight and control line to fall back on for some sense of success...

A few of those were gliders. In fact back before Gentle Lady's and other obvious choices I elected to design and build a glider based on my free flight background to use with my Sterling Command Master rudder only radio. It had all the actuator power of a thousand butterfly sneezes. So the rudder wasn't all that large and didn't move all that far. Still my first half dozen flights with the polyhedral model were highly promising... even if the control response was at best "lazy". Thinking that less dihedral would perk it up I modified the outer panels. You know the rest. That next flight was the last flight. Strained itself rather convincingly through a barbed wire fence. Literally came home in 6 pieces with some chips for the gaps between the pieces.

Later on I build a Tern from RCM for my Galloping Ghost radio and that actually flew quite a bit. But I ran out of willing friends to tow it up. The invention of the hi start was still about a decade in the future.
Last edited by BMatthews; Nov 03, 2017 at 10:51 PM.
Nov 03, 2017, 11:24 PM
IT'S NOSE HEAVY!!!!
cityevader's Avatar
Similar to OP... i built two Antares (intensive builds, but i enjoy that) with an Airtronics Module 7sp radio.

I only had RE experience with a Drifter II and an Oly II prior, and flew those full-house gliders like they were RE...hahaha.
Nov 04, 2017, 12:52 AM
Registered User
I guess I choose my first RC plane that reminded me of a free flight. It was rudder elevator polyhedral wing. I read up on line about the plane and made the battery change required to correct it's take off problem. I flew it for about 2 years. I flew it like a glider and made many long flights with it. I even lost sight of it once in a low cloud. I got into RC gliders at a swap meet when I purchased a much of wings and one glider. Never did find out what to wing was from but it was well built RES wing and was for TD flying. I built a body and tail section to make an electric glider. It flew great and I was bit slow to respond. To bad I crashed it several times as I learn how to handle an electric glider of that size. I then built a new RES glider using a good airfoil and kept the wing weight down. It flew ok and was good for a little over 9 minute from 200m. It was followed by a Radain and then Phoenix 2000. The Phoenix was chosen as it was cheap way to learn how to program a full house glider i planned to get. The Phoenix was hard to thermal until I realized I needed to use some mixing of rudder and aileron. Then I Iearn to fly the Phoenix and thermal as good as the Radian expect in near calm conditions. I sure crashed a few times with these gliders. I built a E Bubble Dancer (35oz ready to fly) that was built for flight loads but not getting out of a tree loads. I then moved on to a Supra that I converted to electric. It took a while to get it flying but once I did, I had to learn to fly it. I could not use mixing as something was not right with the set up. It would spin once put into a thermal. I had never learned to use a rudder and aileron to do proper turns. So I had to learn to fly with the rudder and aileron the other way. I got to where I could fly it fairly good. Then I got a vario set up and I found the vario and altitude call out really helped read the air. To bad I had not learned what to do when I got caught in a sudden wing increase and how to get back from a thermal when the glider disappeared when coming straight back. Turning it was easy to see. That was the end of that glider as it ended in a deep wooded area.

So I sure could have used someone to help me learn to fly RC gliders. There is much still to be learned. My free flight experience helped but RC flying is much different than free flight. I was good at reading thermal on the ground but I still have a lot to learn about reading the air from watching a glider. I read all the info I could find as how to read the air but I find each glider reads differently. Allot depends on how the cg is set. I had two set up for the Bubble Dancer. One way was for early morning flying and the other was a more stable set up so I could fly smoothly in more turbulent. With the morning flying it was fun going from bubble to bubble early in the morning.

I attend some contests to try and learn more about how to fly. I enjoy watching a glider fly along and then enter into a thermal. My wife asked me what I would consider a good results at the first big contest I went to. I was flying my own design glider as that was all I had. I told her best time in one group and good time and landing points on another group. I did both ... did not do good in the event but learned allot.

I sure could have used some help in learning to hit a spot. I would almost say I never hit a spot when practicing. I mean I have done 70 landing one day trying to hit the spot and very seldom do I hit the spot. I have been told I need to learn to dork to hit the spot. I tried dorking with a Super AVA a few times but the wing tip broke off each time. I repaired the wing tip along with a bunch of other stuff. In fact the only thing I have not repaired on the AVA was the stab. A full house glider is much easier to land and I still have not been able to hit the spot. So I sure could use some help but even learning by myself make life interesting at times. I learned the other day that at times you do not want to be flying slow coming in for landing as control of a slow glider in gusts is almost impossible. I decided the landing set up need to be changed to allow landing a faster speed to be able to control the glider.

I plan to fly in an event in about two and will find out how bad I fly and land. I have two gliders that are better than I am.

Art
Nov 04, 2017, 01:05 AM
Old newb
I started when I was about 14.

I had soloed in the club's 1-26 so I thought I should build a 1-26 model to fly. I built a Sterling 1-26D. It was so much work, especially the nose. that I was afraid to fly it. At the time I could not drive and Torrey Pines was too far. So it was put aside. I still have it. All ready for a radio. I even bought a spare kit last year for about 5 times what it originally cost. I am still afraid to fly it 40+ years later.....

I then built a Mark's Models Windward. I used that thing to death. It was ok in the school yard off a high start. It was fun with an 049 on the top out at the various glider ports our family went to. I went to college and it disappeared or my brother destroyed it or whatever. I now have a partial kit and hope to build one again.....

Fast forward through college, marriage, kids, business, etc and in the last years I have acquired more planes than I can fly in the next 5 years years!

What did I learn? I learned that less control throw (dual / triple rates), exponential, and computer controlled talking radios with telemetry are what keep me from crashing!

I rehabbed a junk Radian over the last weeks from mostly damaged junk parts. Set the plane per manual. Set up rates and exponential in the radio. I flew it with ease today for the first time and I was not even really that nervous because I have learned my lessons. Dave's Beach here I come!
Nov 04, 2017, 01:39 AM
Registered User
Don't substitute CA for epoxy in wing joiner boxes! The model was otherwise nice, but it kept getting damaged there. Also the t-tail. Those are hard to make sturdy enough without being heavy. There's a crack the whip effect when you dork it.

Don't build a Spirit. There are so many better choices. (Permanent grudge here.)

Don't fly in a field with a bunch of people around when you're learning, and don't overestimate your landing skills. It's embarrassing when the person your hit with your model is your favorite bookstore owner. No harm done.
Nov 04, 2017, 08:22 AM
Sonoran Laser Art
I started with 1/2A U Control kits in the late sixties. The LHS had them, built most of the Carl Golberg kits and some numerous times like the Lil Jumpin Bean. The only mentor was the old guy in a wheel chair at the hobby shop. He knew everything about building. I had to teach myself to fly as I did not know anyone who could show me except my dad. He knew how but never did it. Build, crash, fix it was a vicious cycle that taught me a lot.

My first RC was a 100" Windrifter or Drifter II kit not a 100%. This happened because I did have a buddy that was building and flying. He help me learn to fly but I was on my own to build it. No computers or build threads. No good way to gather much info. We didn't even have credit cards then, I clearly recall ordering everything COD and paying the mailman when it arrived. It flew great as I recall until I was in a dive pushing full down because I wanted to fly inverted. The wing blew up, spiraled down and scattered into a million pieces. Back to drawing board, around 1976. The instructions were really all we had for direction and they were excellent, packed with every step and all the info you needed. Even first flight and trimming. I think I learned more those instructions than anything.
Nov 04, 2017, 08:41 AM
My landing tape is too short.
p9o1r1sche's Avatar
Don't buy Fly Fly DG808's.
Nov 04, 2017, 09:18 AM
guamflyer - Avid Sloper
guamflyer's Avatar
If you get a spirit move the elevator to fuse under rudder like most sailplanes but double check incidence.. flew beautiful.. pretty plane so theres hope...
don't get a T-tail as first plane... unless its strong.... it will break unless you good.... my introduction was the skeeter.. took the plans and made straight wings with dihedral.. buit alot of those to replace.. get a climax from cr.. polyhedral version... bring glue and stuff...
I got lucky when I learned to fly thermal in Maui.. those guys where really cool and always helped to keep the newbies flying..
do alot of thermal flyin.. I flew thermal stuff for awhile before I attempted slope soaring.. you get to learn skills needed if the wind drops out on the slope.. I started with a futaba 4 channel.. the radio doesn't need to be a $ 1000 dollar radio... it doesn't replace skills.. your skills will be awesome if you thermal..thermal...thermal...
I'm a really avid sloper but consider meself a thermal pilot.. learn about airfoils, building,, and weather..
it took years to figure it all out.. the guys in Maui scratched built alot so I followed that path as well..
build freeflight .. fly as much as possible
Nov 04, 2017, 10:26 AM
aka : SteveBB..
Stevepilot's Avatar
I would add, beg borrow or steal Dave Hughes' book 'Radio Control Soaring'. It is long out of print, but has very many principles explained. It was published long before computer radios and explains how to make a mechanical V tail mix using two servos and a sliding tray! It explains aerofoils, the how and the why.
Nov 04, 2017, 03:33 PM
Old newb
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevepilot
I would add, beg borrow or steal Dave Hughes' book 'Radio Control Soaring'. It is long out of print, but has very many principles explained. It was published long before computer radios and explains how to make a mechanical V tail mix using two servos and a sliding tray! It explains aerofoils, the how and the why.
Ordered.....plus the slope book too!
Nov 04, 2017, 05:45 PM
Gots me a good used Hobie Hawk
Steve Corbin's Avatar
"If I knew then what I know now..."

I would like to answer that in a way that would make me look like a responsible person. I would like to say "I would have searched for an instructor".

But that would be a lie. I had been flying free-flight, primarily small cheap stuff, Sleek Streeks and the like, but also an Orbiteer 1/2A (.049)floater, a 1/2A Mini Pearl (screamer), and of course all of the Goldberg sheet balsa cabin jobs, the Ranger 21 my all-time favorite, whith the sheet balsa tediously sanded down so thin I could almost see through it. One minute in parking lot around midnight. Them was the days...

So when the wife left for the first time just before Christmas, I drowned my sorrows by buying a Hobie Hawk, complete with EK Logictrol brick style radio, and a high-start, all for the outrageous price of $209 plus C.O.D. (cash on delivery, for you younguns).

Got her ready and went to a local golf course, found a place to tee off that sloped gently into the prevailing breeze, and proceeded to learn how to steer a model glider with no strings attached.

I simply flew her like a free-flight model, but a model that allowed me to make trim changes on the fly, as opposed to real free flight, where the trim changes are made after the model lands. It was a steep learning curve, but I came to love that glider, and in fact she's still my best love. I just bought a beater one that I'm slowly getting airworthy.

Had I found an instructor, I would have learned much more efficiently. And yet I'm glad that I learned how on my own. I taught myself how to sail, I taught myself how to hang glide. My ways may be the ways of a fool, or perhaps the ways of an adventurer. "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!"

I used to have regrets. I no longer do, as I've come to realize that taking chances can often result in the regretful feeling, but I don't want to be discouraged so I refuse to feel regret.

It would be responsible to advise someone to get an instructor. But if they do that, they will cheat themselves out of some of the best moments ever in life.

Pretend you're inventing the model airplane, or the sailboat, or the hang glider. Like Otto Lilienthal did, he invented a flying apparatus and taught himself to fly it. Oh yeah, he got killed doing it, but I'll bet he has never had a moment of regret.

A ship in harbour is safe. But sitting in harbour is not what ships are for.

We don't ask how a movie ends before going to see it. Going to see the movie is an adventure. God gave us an adventure called life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Sure, it took a lot of time and money to learn how on my own, but I wouldn't trade one minute of it for the whole world.

Go the easy way and get an instructor. Or, if you're feeling adventurous and perhaps just a bit rebellious as well, grab a Radian, go find a big open space with no innocent bystanders, and invite the adventurer within you to express himself. Take plenty of tape and 5 minute epoxy with you. And never,ever, give up.
Nov 08, 2017, 12:03 PM
Registered User
Libelle201B's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevepilot
I would add, beg borrow or steal Dave Hughes' book 'Radio Control Soaring'. It is long out of print, but has very many principles explained. It was published long before computer radios and explains how to make a mechanical V tail mix using two servos and a sliding tray! It explains aerofoils, the how and the why.
Yes, I have both, I "bought" both before they went out of print. Excellent reads full of valuable information , even more than enough to get you started in designing your own rc gliders.
Nov 08, 2017, 12:38 PM
Registered User
Libelle201B's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by r39o
I started when I was about 14.

I had soloed in the club's 1-26 so I thought I should build a 1-26 model to fly. I built a Sterling 1-26D. It was so much work, especially the nose. that I was afraid to fly it. At the time I could not drive and Torrey Pines was too far. So it was put aside. I still have it. All ready for a radio. I even bought a spare kit last year for about 5 times what it originally cost. I am still afraid to fly it 40+ years later.....

I then built a Mark's Models Windward. I used that thing to death. It was ok in the school yard off a high start. It was fun with an 049 on the top out at the various glider ports our family went to. I went to college and it disappeared or my brother destroyed it or whatever. I now have a partial kit and hope to build one again.....

Fast forward through college, marriage, kids, business, etc and in the last years I have acquired more planes than I can fly in the next 5 years years!

What did I learn? I learned that less control throw (dual / triple rates), exponential, and computer controlled talking radios with telemetry are what keep me from crashing!

I rehabbed a junk Radian over the last weeks from mostly damaged junk parts. Set the plane per manual. Set up rates and exponential in the radio. I flew it with ease today for the first time and I was not even really that nervous because I have learned my lessons. Dave's Beach here I come!
My first ever rc slope soaring flight was at Torrey Pines back in 1978 with the Astro Flight ASW -17. Although I had become proficient with basic gliding flight, notice I didn't say "soaring" flight, I had never experienced soaring flight at all till then. It was very intimidating, a huge strait down cliff and surrounded by much more experienced flyers. Anyways all went well, the ASW-17 went strait up after it left my hand as if it was on an elevator in just a light breeze and after flying around for a bit ahead of the slope I learned about trying to get down with no spoilers, a drag device from my recollection that wasn't even incorporated into rc gliders at the time. Going a bit down wind I was able to escape the lift and descend to where I learned about slope "rotor" on final approach to landing which I was able to manage, very luckily. Also I remember flying that day was a Sterling SGS 1-34, it had AILERONS and not much dihedral at all and it flew as if it were on rails, I was so impressed, way ahead of my curve at the time. And I should add that I owned a full scale SGS 1-26D later in life, it was my first relatively inexpensive FS sailplane.
Last edited by Libelle201B; Nov 08, 2017 at 12:47 PM.


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