Newbie Mini Max first flight (and crash) - RC Groups
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Jun 24, 2002, 09:59 AM
Registered User

Newbie Mini Max first flight (and crash)

I've been lurking on E-Zone for months, posting a couple of times, but mainly trying to learn. Well, yesterday I had my first 'real' flight and wanted to share with people who would really understand (group therapy).

Background: When I was 12 I bought a RC glider and a Kraft radio, and never got it off the ground. This last year I suddenly got the urge to get into RC flying again (mid-life crisis?).

I first bought a FirebirdXL and lost it after two flights in a very tall tree. I bought the Spinmaster Intruder toy, and never got that to fly well at all. I bought the Wattage Lightning (another all-in-one toy) and have been flying it successfully for weeks (Lesson learned: You can waste a lot of money on 'toy' planes. I knew this from E-Zone, but some things you can only learn for yourself. The Lightning is a fun little plane though).

Finally, I decided I was going do it for real. I bought a Hitec Eclipse 7 radio with Spectra module, the Wattage Mini Max for my plane, the Hitec Feather flight pack, and Wattage IC-5A ESC.

I assembled the plane as I got a few spare minutes here and there. The hardest part was gluing the fiberglass spars to the front of the wings, but they ended up ok. I did spill rubbing alcohol all over my decals (Lesson learned: keep caps on when not in use, and cleanup between each build step). Also, while working on the wing, my daughter began playing with the fuselage (Lesson learned (over and over): Keep all delicate items out of reach of 2 year olds).

Finally, my not so pretty but functional plane was ready. I tested the CG, programmed the end points in my radio, and ran through a battery to see about how long of a flight I could count on. I was ready!

It was a mild day on Saturday, but there were some wind gusts. I knew I ought to wait till the next morning when the wind was still, but I had to get out and fly it (Lesson learned (hopefully): patience, wait for the right time).

With my daughters and a house guest in tow, I went to the large school field a block from my house. I diligently re-checked everything, then turned up the throttle, and launched my plane...

It climbed nicely and suddenly I was flying. I lapped around the field once, then again, and then another. I was in heaven, I was really flying... and incredibly nervous! I was thinking of landing and calming down, and was coming around again to setup for the landing, when a gust of wind turned my plane, and it was heading towards the baseball backstop fence...

I pulled back hard on the elevator and the plane jumped over the fence... and then stalled and dived straight towards the ground (Lesson learned: I overcontrolled and made my situation worse).

I quickly forgot everything and the plane dived at near full throttle straight into the gravel (Lesson learned: Full throttle is not your friend when diving straight to the ground).

Post Mortem Report: The motor no longer works, the gearbox for the motor no longer turns smoothly, the motor mount is broken, and the front of the fuselage is bent up nicely. On the good side, the wing, radio, esc, and servos are fine, and the plane is so cheap I'll just buy another one for parts.

Was it worth it? Yes, the two minutes of flying before I crashed were incredible. I can't wait to get the plane up and flying again, and I now know I really will enjoy this hobby.

My wife also learned a lesson. She commented, "This hobby could end up being pretty expensive"
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Jun 24, 2002, 10:36 AM


Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear about the sudden end to your flight, but it sounds as if you gained more than you lost. You have a flair for dry humor..keep it up!
All the best,
Jun 24, 2002, 10:57 AM
Plane hugging cat
Vonbaron's Avatar
Congrats on the flight. Glad your having fun.

Two things though. First, even though you might be keen to fly another skill to learn is patience to wait for calm, usually at dusk or dawn. Crashing happens far less often in calm weather.

Second, "ran through a battery to see about how long of a flight I could count on." Running through a battery on the bench is not a good idea. The motor "unloads" a lot in the air but on the bench it can overheat and burnout.
Jun 24, 2002, 12:14 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the feedback.
Vonbaron: Running the motor was a little confusing. I had read that it wasn't a good idea to run it on the bench, but oddly the newest Mini Max manual stated that you should run out the battery two or three times before flying to get the best battery charge (maybe I read that wrong, will have to check it when I get home)?

PS: Forgot one other thing wrong with the plane. I had never put the pilot in place. I was going to do a Homer Simpson pilot but hadn't finished. No wonder it crashed!
Jun 24, 2002, 01:16 PM

My 1st flight also

i to just had my first flgiht in a minimax yesterday and was very successful. I had 830 qualcomms in so i stayed up for about 20 mins and then attempted to land(crash). On my second flight i got enough courage to try a loop,
The plane executed the loop well but when i when to pull out of the loop, the wings folded but sprung back into shape due to the fiberglass spar.
One question, how can i increase wing strength without adding tons of weight.
Jun 24, 2002, 01:25 PM
A Clinger
rclark's Avatar

FYI, I think it is okay to run it 'on the bench' but NOT at full throttle for the entire battery (hard on the motor). 1/3 power should be okay.

FWIW, I just use the battery right off the bat; by flying the plane with it. Yes, you don't get 'full power' until a couple of charges but this is a much more 'fun' way to break in your battery. Why waste the charge . My 2 cents!
Last edited by rclark; Jun 24, 2002 at 01:27 PM.
Jun 24, 2002, 04:44 PM
Registered User

Newbie Mini Max first flight...

Have some parts that may be useful to repair the motor. If you test the motor out of the damaged gearbox and it runs, and all you need is the frame that holds the motor (not the gear box), I will be happy to send it to you at no charge. If the prop shaft is only bent and the attached gear not broken, it is easy to fix. Let me know and should you have the above working OK you can fix it your self or I will attempt to rebuild at no charge. I have done mine in several times and it just keeps going and going.
Jun 24, 2002, 06:33 PM
Registered User
Wild Bill's Avatar
---You and every one else have your priorties confused. After your wife made her statement you should have known but don't feel like the lone stranger, I was a little slow on the learning curve myself.
---As soon as you got back to the house, you should have ordered some flowers and/or offered to BBQ or take her out to dinner. She's right this is going to be a very expensive, times two. After twenty seven years of flying RC, when my wife knows that I'm looking at a plane, motor, engine, etc., she says why don't I get it/them. Hey, it only costs me flowers and/or a dinner.
---When we travel to the big cities (I live in a small town two hours away from the closest civilization)she sometimes even suggests the I stop by a hobby shop. "How sweet it is" to quote Jackie Gleason or as someone once said "You can get a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar". You might have a life long and very rewarding hobby but you have to know the rules.
------------Bill, still confused in Brawley, its the heat. stay
Jun 25, 2002, 12:06 PM
Plane hugging cat
Vonbaron's Avatar
Bill's got a point there, hehheh.
Jun 27, 2002, 02:46 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the email on this.

Dick: Thanks, I already ordered replacement parts and am in the process of fixing now. Figure this is good experience.

WildBill: I make sure my wife always has what she wants, and more importantly, I don't waste money on other things for myself, and I already do all of the cooking, so she doesn't begrudge any money I'll spend on this hobby. Though your point is certainly well taken.
Jun 29, 2002, 01:47 AM
Registered User
Cederm.....aside from making sure all the controls work the right directions,( i tap on all the hinged surfaces just to be sure all is connected), and all batteries charged up..make sure your flying field is at least twice as large as you think you need(no fences near by)...NEVER fly in windy or gusty conditions (if the wind/gust can move your runway sitting model around, it's too windy), unless you really want all that money and time crashed and
Jun 30, 2002, 11:42 PM
Registered User
markwild's Avatar

Re: Newbie Mini Max first flight...

Hello Dick.
Your offer to help was very kind. I've got a similar problem, and perhaps you can offer some advice.
I have a MiniMax, and I've recently got in a fight with some concrete (the concrete won). As a result, my gearbox shattered. I went to Hobby People, where they had a replacement gearbox from Wattage. The one that came with the model is 2.5x1, but this one turns out to be 2.0 to 1.
I figured it wouldn't be a problem, thinking that only the gear in the box was different. Turns out the gear that I have on my motor won't mesh properly. The gearbox came with its own gear to fit on the motor.
So, my question is this: how do I remove the gear from the motor shaft and attach the new one? Are these gears glued on? I'm afraid to damage my motor. (Not that I'm concerned about the $6 to replace it, but it's a 30 minute drive, and it's almost 9pm here).
Any help/advice/insight from anyone here would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. This is my first post! Say Hi to a newbie!
Jul 01, 2002, 09:58 AM
Registered User
Just as a follow up, this morning I had the first flight on my repaired Mini Max before work.

This time when I launched, the plane immediately dived towards the ground. Quick up elevator and it climbed. I made sure to get some altitude this time, and started making turns.

Even though I have been practicing, I still got myself backwards when the plane was coming towards me, and then overcorrected. What followed was an interesting series of unintentional acrobat manuevers whose names I wouldn't begin to imagine.

With heart pounding I got the plane under control, brought it around, turned off the motor, and glided in for a decent landing.

I was about to launch again, when I noticed that the nut and washer that should be holding the propellor in place was not there.

Counting my blessings, I put the plane in my trunk, looking forward to tomorrow and another interesting flight.
Last edited by cdemiris15; Jul 01, 2002 at 10:51 AM.
Jul 08, 2002, 10:11 AM
Registered User

Continued adventures of a Mini Max newbie

After some really successful flights and a lot more lessons learned, I thought I'd share my ongoing experiences.

Friday July 5th, 12:05PM
Morning wind had died down so I got excited and stopped by the park. No people around, so I set up and quickly launched. Did a couple of turns, but something seemed wrong. Suddenly the motor shut off and the plane spiraled to the ground. It hit me (just as the plane hit the ground) that I had forgotten to raise my TX antenna (Lesson learned: Not only to raise my antenna , but to have a pre-flight checklist).

Result: Stabilizer broken on each side of fuselage and a break in the elevator also, but all easily repaired with epoxy.

Sunday July 7th 6:00AM
Woke up early, and quietly left the house while the family was asleep. Launched and flew, and flew, and flew! Just practiced turning different directions and then a few ROG takeoffs and practiced landing. Perfect morning, went home had a cup of cofee and read the paper before anyone else woke up.

Monday July 8th 6:00AM
Decided to enjoy another flight before going to work. Once again had a great morning of flying. This time after practicing turns for a while, I practiced shutting off the motor and preparing for landings. Flew for 20 minutes. Then the stupidity. I was putting everything away, but in my euphoria, I shoved the plane in the trunk and managed to split the tail fin in half (Lesson learned: Remain careful from the moment you start to take your plane out to the last moment it is put away). The doctor says MM will be fine with a little epoxy and some rest.

For anyone wondering, I am really enjoying electric flight. I've sent in my application for AMA membership, and will be joining a local club for silent and electric flyers. I've started building my second plane (a slope glider).
Last edited by cdemiris15; Jul 08, 2002 at 10:13 AM.
Jul 08, 2002, 10:19 AM
Registered User
chrikopp's Avatar
I love happy endings

Nice going