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Old 05-11-2011, 03:42 AM   #1
zman21
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Default My maiden RC flight (E-Flite Apprentice)

So today was my first real RC flight. I flew with my new Apprentice. I thought things went great (I was pretty excited after the first landing haha)! I had a little hiccup on the final landing attempt. Tried to fly over my head and the plane slipped out of my line of vision for a split second and the wind took it.

Video:

YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


It looks bad from the video, but the landing gear was the only thing that broke and I epoxy'd it back together to stronger than stock. The fuse and wings didn't even have dirt on them. The screeching noise was the prop hitting the grass, but it wasn't even spinning all that fast. No visible damage to anything but the nose gear. I checked the motor mount and tested all the control surfaces to be sure.

Couple things:

I did check the CG before flight as shown using the recommended location from the leading edge. You can see in the video it appears a little nose heavy. I can definitely tell re-watching the video that I was fighting it from diving. I planned on trimming it out when it got up, but I got lost in the moment. So, for next time I plan to move the battery back a bit. But, the velcro straps in the hatch don't do much good because you don't have enough room to actually tighten them down. I was thinking just getting another strip of velcro and just sticking it right on the battery.

Next, the battery. Mine came charged out of the box, contrary to what the manual said. I checked it right out the box and it was reading 11.7+ on a 11.1V 3S 3200mah rated battery. My Thunder AC6 charger's LiPo 3S Balance Charge setting wants the cutoff voltage to be 12.6V. I'm not sure if that is right or not. It was charging the cells above 3.7V. Should I just watch it and stop it when it gets to 3.7V per cell? Another thing, I popped the battery out after flying and checked the voltage to find that it hadn't really drained at all. I was still hovering around 11.4-5V. So, is that the norm or was it because I was easy on the throttle? If so, you can really milk the flight time, wow. You don't want to drain it below 9V for a 11.1V battery correct?

Finally, is there anything that needs immediate correction in my flying? I know I need to balance the plane out a little better and actually remember to trim it in flight. I also made the noob mistake of flying directly over my field of vision.


Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:01 AM   #2
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Good vid. I have done the same thing, kinda of forgot about trimming my app15e, what I learned on too. Great plane she is.

as per first, that velcro is kinda a pain in the a$$. I epoxied a big piece of additional velcro to battery and bottom of battery compartment in addition to the velcro straps, just a little insurance.

Fully charged battery volts per cell should be around 4.1-.2 "range" and I also check my batts right after flying for volts per cell. The "under load" voltage will be lower than your "resting" voltage will be in most cases. Thats why I use a timer make sure I dont fly all the way to LVC(low voltage cutoff). There is a lot of people here at wattflyer that know a whole bunch more than me, but that is the jest of it.

Here is a good thread too.....

http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31368

have a good one
cr
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:34 AM   #3
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Heya Zman,

If I understnad you correctly, and those were your very first 2 actual flights, I would say you did extremely well.

You got some decent altitude right off - which a lot of newbies don't do - very good.

The only thing i noticed - that I think contributed to your crash - was that you seemed to be "turning" the plane down when coming in to land. Don't do that. Just back off the throttle and let the plane slow down then it will "Sink" into the ground and you can keep the nose up just a little to make life easier on your front landing gear.

Practice using the throttle control - not elevator - to have your plane climb and descend. Use just a little elevator to keep the nose up just a touch when you land. Practice that up high until you know the "stall point".

But again - all in all - I think you did very well.

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Old 05-11-2011, 05:18 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips CrimzonRider and wolfewinde! Those were my first two actual flights. I had a 60 dollar knockoff cub that didn't make it off the ground at all, so I wouldn't consider that a real flight experience. Here in Oklahoma the wind is a creature in itself so I needed to get something that could hold its own. If you want to fly in somewhat calm conditions you have to be up at the crack of dawn.

So, the LVC is around 9V, or 3.0V per cell for a 3 cell. Resting around 3.2-3.3. So I did have some more juice left.

I plan on hopefully going out again tomorrow and I will be more throttle conscious instead of relying on the elevator. Thanks so much for your help! I'm hooked!!!
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:41 AM   #5
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Hey Zman... nice flying. I just love those wide open OK skies at dawn!

I have flown my Apprentice 100's of times and i still love to fly her even if she is considered a trainer. Here's my 2 cents:

1) Keep using the Velcro to hold the batter but cut out a nice square piece of cushion foam and wedge it in there to hold the battery in place, very easy to do even when changing the battery on the fly.

2) As Wolf mentioned let her come in for a landing by itself. I usually accomplish this by giving no more than 1/4 throttle and occasionally some elevator to keep those nose up.

3) Being an owner of one myself and knowing its flight characteristics, it's seems to me you are flying it at full throttle (WOT) most of the time. Try flying it at 1/2 stick especially when you face the wind... she will almost hover nicely. this also will give you a good opportunity to trim her out.

TIP: If you hold your remote up in front of you between your view of the plane... you can safely trim her out. This way your plane is still in your view (or peripheral vision) as you glance at your remote trim buttons. But do this when the plane is going slow and high enough to recover from a gust just in case.

Good Job and Good Luck

John

Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory!

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Old 05-11-2011, 03:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input everyone, took her out again this morning and the flying went great again! I didn't have my cameraman with me this time, but I had 5+ takeoffs and landings. I belly landed in the grass. I took the gear off and just hand launch and belly land because the grass is pretty thick here and just makes mince meat of the landing gear even with a decent landing. I think it looks better and flies better without it anyway.

Another question, I seem to be getting a lot of left and right roll, especially into the wind. Is it because of the wind or are the ailerons not trimmed correctly?. They look pretty dang straight to me before I take off. I still haven't been able to find a calm day, and I probably won't ever lol. So open and windy here, always.


Anyway, the bug has bitten me, I'm already salivating for my next plane.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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I feel like a know-it-all, but I just have to point this out:

BIIIIG no-no when you run the check list. You have the plane powered up, tx on the ground and you're holding it up with the prop facing your face. If you accidentally kick the throttle stick on the TX, the prop might very well hit your face, since the plane would fly out of your hand the way you're holding it. That would ruin your day for sure...

Never *EVER* let the prop face any body part you care about when the plane is under power. There are dozens of reasons the prop might start to spin accidentally, including you or someone else moving the stick, interference, tx malfunction, rx malfunction, ESC malfunction and the list goes on...

Sorry, but I just had to point that out...

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Old 05-11-2011, 03:55 PM   #8
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...other than that, I think that was a pretty awesome maiden flight. We all have hard landings from time to time, but you seem to be flying nicely and smoothly without over compensating. Nice job!

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Old 05-11-2011, 05:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zman21 View Post
Thanks for the tips CrimzonRider and wolfewinde! Those were my first two actual flights. I had a 60 dollar knockoff cub that didn't make it off the ground at all, so I wouldn't consider that a real flight experience. Here in Oklahoma the wind is a creature in itself so I needed to get something that could hold its own. If you want to fly in somewhat calm conditions you have to be up at the crack of dawn.

So, the LVC is around 9V, or 3.0V per cell for a 3 cell. Resting around 3.2-3.3. So I did have some more juice left.

I plan on hopefully going out again tomorrow and I will be more throttle conscious instead of relying on the elevator. Thanks so much for your help! I'm hooked!!!
No Lie...Windy all the time! Also make sure to range check every flight. I totally agree with NJswede, I kinda missed an very important point. These are not toys as you know, and prop bite is not something you want to happen.

...about the LVC, I try to make sure my batts dont go under 3.4volts(resting) IME. I think the ar500 is still in the app15e, not sure what ESC you have. But my LVC was 3.1-2 under load. As you fly more, or maybe you can tell it now, whenever the plane starts to lose power quicker is when I land or before.
Also after your little hard landings, if your nose gear took a beating, make sure you dont have any little hairline cracks in firewall or motor mount. If you have a crack, the plane will look fine on the grnd, but in the air under the torque of the motor that firewall will flex making the thrust angle wrong which will make the plane fly horrible.

have a good one
cr
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CrimzonRider View Post
No Lie...Windy all the time! Also make sure to range check every flight. I totally agree with NJswede, I kinda missed an very important point. These are not toys as you know, and prop bite is not something you want to happen.

...about the LVC, I try to make sure my batts dont go under 3.4volts(resting) IME. I think the ar500 is still in the app15e, not sure what ESC you have. But my LVC was 3.1-2 under load. As you fly more, or maybe you can tell it now, whenever the plane starts to lose power quicker is when I land or before.
Also after your little hard landings, if your nose gear took a beating, make sure you dont have any little hairline cracks in firewall or motor mount. If you have a crack, the plane will look fine on the grnd, but in the air under the torque of the motor that firewall will flex making the thrust angle wrong which will make the plane fly horrible.

have a good one
cr
Another two things i want to add...

1) the motor mount on this plane is weak for the size motor it's holding in place. I can't tell you how many times my flight was horrible because i had a crack in the mount. The stock motor is also not as durable as the replacement motor. If at anytime the motor makes a noise you are unfamiliar with, it means your shaft is bent or worse a magnet is cracked in the motor. I would not recommend belly lands on this plane for that reason alone. If the prop has to stop because it hits dirt, the motor may crack that cheap mount!

2) to gain the clearance necessary for grass takeoffs/landings... i simply changed the front wheel to a 3.5" and kept the back tires stock.

Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory!

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Old 05-11-2011, 06:56 PM   #11
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Z - great job. Everybody said what needed to be said, I just wanted to offer a little more encouragement and tell you how much I love my Apprentice. If you don't have a local shop that stocks parts, buy some extras when you send in your order. I crashed lightly a couple of times with no real damage and then went through a whole bunch of motor mounts in a row. I was down a week each time waiting for shipping. I bought a half dozen last time and haven't broken one since...

You have a great place to fly and learn. With that much space, practice your approaches with just throttle management, only use the elevator to keep your nose at a constant attitude and then for the final flare. That is, once you are over your initial joy of just bombing around and you want to start building your piloting skill.

My batteries charge to about 12.4 and I've run 25 minutes without draining them fully. I only use WOT for take offs, emergencies, climb outs from practice approaches, and loops/inverted flight. It flys very nicely on 1/2 and has some serious endurance.

Guess I did have a little to say You'll be very happy with this underappreciated airplane. As JAP says, you won't outgrow it.
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Old 05-12-2011, 01:38 AM   #12
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I will go ahead and order some spare parts then. I guess I'll get another nose gear since mine completely broke and probably a spare prop and spinner too.

I'm learning to fly in wind I shouldn't even be messing with, but it is never calm here. I guess it'll make me a better pilot in the long run. Taking her out again tomorrow. Three days in a row now wohoo!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:25 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by zman21 View Post
I will go ahead and order some spare parts then. I guess I'll get another nose gear since mine completely broke and probably a spare prop and spinner too.

I'm learning to fly in wind I shouldn't even be messing with, but it is never calm here. I guess it'll make me a better pilot in the long run. Taking her out again tomorrow. Three days in a row now wohoo!!
I got real tired of ordering parts, and I think to get the nose gear/firewall assy. you have to order the entire fuselage. Cant remember how much it was 40-60 dollar range, below is a pic of what remains of my $5 pylwood firewall and like you I would belly land anyways.

If you want a nose gear too look at some of the dubro nose gears. I have bought a few and they are very strong and are very well engineered. As you can tell, I havent worked on my app15,(I just bought more planes) or what remains of it, after a 400ft fall after I had a wing shear off, hit the ground doing at least 70mph. I have a good wing, but I have been thinkin about scratching together a fuse and tail to fly it again.

But you can probably get the idea, made my own motor mount out of a strip of thin aluminum and bent it into a shape of "U" with flanges to mount to firewall. One leg(right side is 1/16" inch shorter to give right thrust and I added a couple washers to the top 2 screws to give down angle. (the mount is bent way out of shape, due to crash...duh!!) Not the best way to do it, but it worked. You may have to add a little weight behind the wing to get correct CG. (mine had enuff tail weight due to tape and epoxy).
Kinda my first try at a total new firewall, but it worked pretty good. I learned to fly again on the app15e in nov '10 I have bought 5 planes since and flown 3 of them to date.

Sorta embarrassing to show pic of the deceased, but it is how I learned!!

All this talk about the app, makes me want to go get another!! Maybe this one will last a good time longer, I think I had almost 50 or 60 flights on her, till I moved on to another.

P.S. word to the wise, I didn't have many problems with the AR500 rx, but there are several threads here about it and "brownout". Being a big plane and a novice, I could easily fly mine out to 2500-3500ft away and 300ft up and still see it and have no problems with it losing signal. It is a full range rx, but it is limited IMHO. Twice I flew it down wind(oops) and lost it as it went to failsafe.

have a good one
cr


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Old 05-12-2011, 03:33 PM   #14
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My fourth overall RC flight and it was time to pull out the stops. I did some basic aerobatics this morning: inverted flight, loops, rolls, hammerheads, stalls etc. Everything went swell, brought her in for an effortless landing and threw it back up. Near the end of the video the bottom foam insert did come unglued under some of the higher-g maneuvers, that's what my cameraman saw. Good eye, I couldn't tell. Went and glued it back.


I'm itching for more, I think I might get the ParkZone F4F Wildcat BNF. That way I'll have two receivers so I can get a third plane when I'm ready, PNP (Mini Pulse wooo!!). Plus I'll have three planes where I can still use my DX5e before I go out and get a computer radio.


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ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by CrimzonRider View Post
Sorta embarrassing to show pic of the deceased, but it is how I learned!!
Dude, that's like the Osama pics: Too gruesome for the public!

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Old 05-12-2011, 04:32 PM   #16
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Put it back together, these planes are awesome!
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:45 PM   #17
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Zman, you're a natural! Your friend needs to learn how to use the zoom, though. It was a little hard to see. But you're really flying that thing well! Isn't it fun to just bang the sticks?

The only comment I would have is that it LOOKS (to my untrained eye) like you're flying at the limit of stalling during your approach. That's probably cool with the Apprentice, as it is built to be forgiving, but a plane with higher wing loading might just fall out of the sky. But then again, it's hard to tell from the video.

But seriously, you're flying as well (if not better) than I do after some 70 or so flights between all my planes. You're going to fly circles around me in another week. I might end up hating you!

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Old 05-12-2011, 06:54 PM   #18
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Not to take away from z, but the apprentice is very easy to fly and very forgiving like nj said, and it almost wants to fly by itself. The wing on the app is the secret. Wait til you get a symetrical airfoil and wing loading above 25, whole other ball game to play at. Then there are jets........But still fun of course

OBTW, if you thought that pic was bad, should've seen my 70dolla ternergy battery, it was 5in long. Now 3in and doing a pretty good impression of an accordion!!

have a good one
cr
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:57 PM   #19
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It's really cool. I can't get enough. I only have one battery right now so its depressing when I have to land and leave to charge the battery.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:04 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by CrimzonRider View Post
Not to take away from z, but the apprentice is very easy to fly and very forgiving like nj said, and it almost wants to fly by itself. The wing on the app is the secret. Wait til you get a symetrical airfoil and wing loading above 25, whole other ball game to play at. Then there are jets........But still fun of course

OBTW, if you thought that pic was bad, should've seen my 70dolla ternergy battery, it was 5in long. Now 3in and doing a pretty good impression of an accordion!!

have a good one
cr

Yes for sure. I plan on getting the Parkzone Wildcat within the next week. Then it's game on.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:05 AM   #21
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I had an eventful evening. Zivko Aeronautics is about 20 miles away in Guthrie Oklahoma from me in Stillwater, OK. They make the EDGE 540 there. So, I'm flying around and one just rolls right by my field doing no more than 50-60 mph and cruising tree high.
Video:

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ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.




EDIT: Clarification on this. I may have been exaggerating a little bit. From the view on the ground it looked like I was close, but in reality I was probably 50 feet below. The pilot saw the whole thing, he tipped his wings acknowledging us on the ground, I saw him waving. If he felt in any danger he would have punched the 330HP he's got in that Lycoming engine and probably would have prop washed my plane to shreds haha. I had zero intention of trying to hit him. I posted this in the general section of the forum and people seem to think I was trying to hit him. Not that way at all.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:31 AM   #22
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Doesn't matter if you were not trying to hit him, you're supposed to stay clear. I'm not a pilot, but a licensed mechanic working in the business over 25 years. I've read and learned, seen and experienced how 'situations' develop in aviation, and RC mixing with full scale is a perfect unknown to add into the mix. It's easy to think he could just punch the engine, etc, but there are so many variables. A little piece of metal took down the Concorde, a few strips of tape left on an airliner made them crash into the ocean, a burnt out light bulb distracted an L-1011 crew into flying into the ground, birds have taken out more than just a few planes, and so on and so forth.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:34 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
Doesn't matter if you were not trying to hit him, you're supposed to stay clear. I'm not a pilot, but a licensed mechanic working in the business over 25 years. I've read and learned, seen and experienced how 'situations' develop in aviation, and RC mixing with full scale is a perfect unknown to add into the mix. It's easy to think he could just punch the engine, etc, but there are so many variables. A little piece of metal took down the Concorde, a few strips of tape left on an airliner made them crash into the ocean, a burnt out light bulb distracted an L-1011 crew into flying into the ground, birds have taken out more than just a few planes, and so on and so forth.


I'm not trying to argue with you at all, but I will admit it was not the smartest and most safety conscious thing to do, but when you see such an iconic airplane like the 540 in full scale, it's hard not to do something. Especially when the pilot acknowledges you, almost egging you on. Like I said earlier, the thread should be deleted by the mods if it is inappropriate.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:36 AM   #24
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Its really not a big deal with a 99.9% chance of NOT hitting him....I understand. I think the main point being said that this is not the reason we fly rc. You and I understand that, but if a 12 year old kid read your post, he might think otherwise. Just my 2cents. Just a safety nut here. Cant help it!!

I use to work with HE, if there was a 0.1% chance of something going bad, I wouldn't do it. Just one of those Murphy's Law things...

have a good one
cr
GO OU SOONERS
(sorry I had to...)
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:40 AM   #25
zman21
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Originally Posted by CrimzonRider View Post
Its really not a big deal with a 99.9% chance of NOT hitting him....I understand. I think the main point being said that this is not the reason we fly rc. You and I understand that, but if a 12 year old kid read your post, he might think otherwise. Just my 2cents. Just a safety nut here. Cant help it!!

I use to work with HE, if there was a 0.1% chance of something going bad, I wouldn't do it. Just one of those Murphy's Law things...

have a good one
cr
GO OU SOONERS
(sorry I had to...)

OU is quite the institution itself, I cannot argue with that.
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