I've wanted to fly R/C planes for a long time. I tried on my own in the early days of electric - 2000 ish when you'd take a regular balsa trainer and add a motor and r/c car nicads...hand launch was the only viable option and a crash was, well, it made a mess. I wanted to fly, and fly electric and no 'real' flyer did batteries...so on my own I managed to live the cliche- 30 seconds and it's over.
Flash forward a decade and heli's finally have come of age - I started with a coax, then got a few settling on an mcx and learned to fly well. Moved up a 450 full cp heli and am still learning on that (minor crash enabled me to upgrade radio and servos...still setting it up).
I've been seeing these small planes in hobby stores for a while now, just like the helis, but it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks - trainers need to be .40 sized (4 to 5' wingspan) and forget scale...that requires big spaces and big money (relatively speaking) and well, my last experience wasn't great.
Flight sims are a cool new tool, but I found flying the sim to be very hard, especially with a plane. I have newfound respect for them (they are indeed very realistic) but who wants to fly the computer?
I went to an e-fly in last winter and wow, what's out there today is unreal (to me anyway - my r/c dates to the 60s and heathkit radios my dad built). Wow, small, light, foam? Really? Interesting...
Chatting here about foamies and lurking about convinced me to go get a Champ at the local hobby store - wow, I can FLY! Tried my back yard (1/2 acre) and didn't do badly but more space (less to worry about hitting) would help so I went over the new housing plan that is going nowhere and just got back from 1/2 hour of flying -with no mishaps! OK, so I can't land on the X...yet. I got disoriented twice, lost it in the (low evening) sun a couple of times, but managed hand launches, takeoffs, and many landings all with out incident (as in crash, repairs, swearing, etc). And I got to experience some wind up about 50 to 100' too - good learning experience.
I think the past year flying heli's has helped a lot - I don't need to 'think' too much and can react - usually correctly. My biggest errors were in trying to land or turn close to the ground doing a spiral that ended in a landing...a real landing too, not a nose dive to momma earth.
My hand launching isn't perfect (the plane needs up elevator at launch and i gotta get better at tossing or quicker at getting my hand back..or learn to toss left handed) - fortunately it's a very light and robust little plane.
Well, tomorrow and for the next week I should be able to fly daily - nice warm days (as opposed to the past 12 of rain and more rain...) and begin to create the muscle memory and brain connections one needs to fly stress free.
Wow...just got back from another 2 batts..well, I stopped before they died. The first one is a 160mah/25c thunder power batt I got as a second batt when I got my mCX last year and it ran 16 minutes before I stopped. The second is the batt that came with it, a 12c/150mah and i stopped after 13 mins as the wind was picking up.
About 30 seconds into the flight on teh second batt I heard the motor cut out and in a couple of times and it seemed OK after that...not sure if some form of interference or the included batt is questionable...others have had similar issues and a new fuse (esc I suppose) fixed it. We'll see how it goes.
The Champ is an evil little plane! It turns perfectly nice people into RC addicts. Look at my signature line and you'll see what happened to me in the 11 months since I had my first flight in the Champ. Be warned!!!
I have gotten back into RC in the last year...a couple of traxxis trucks (one for me, one for my son) an axial RTC (heavily improved) but I can't drive it worth a darn, an mCX, an mCX tandem, a lama V4 and a BOL (big outdoor lama) and an HK450 heli (align 450 clone). The mcx I fly a good bit, the BOL is very nice but it has to be DEAD CALM or it's like a balloon and floats away. Converted it to spektrum but haven't flown it...maybe tomorrow if it remains calm (the wind is rarely calm here). The V4 I got used...all worked over and something's not right on it and i can't figure it out so it never flies.
The HK450 is a beast! I got to just about hovering and moved from the driveway to the yard and tried to fly in a slow circle and crashed. Not much damage but upon rebuild I upgraded from the cheap chinese radio (hey, 6 channels for $40? Really? But it does work!) to a DX6i which is a lot better but I hate the LCD on it- terribly hard to read - and I've not get it all set back up (upgraded the servos too...lots to set up on a heli). It forced me to spend some time in the sim and i can hover there.
I was terrible at flying a plane in the sim...landing was impossible. A few trips out with the champ and i can fly in the sim now. So while the weather is unusually warm and non-windy I'm trying to get as much real stick time as possible (we had 17 days of rain and now 5 of sun (with 4 more predicted) and tomorrow will be 80F - last saturday was rain and 42F!).
I have a HK galaxy and a swamp dawg airboat enroute...not sure if I'm gonna fly the galaxy now or not...it's a 3D foamie. If I can fly it like a regular plane then it will be a trainer of sorts for me...i'll let the sim decide some of that for me.
A bipe is high on the list - eFlight has several - I'd like a mild one but a 4 channel one..not an easy find apparently.
at an electric fly in in Ohio last December I was blown away by all the things there - the 3D foamies blew my mind, the full-contact combat was interesting -it's apparently hard to fly into on object on purpose). I"m not sure I want speed, but multi engine? Yeah! They had an 8' wingspan B17 made of blue foam insualtion (4 engine) that was awesome to see fly. The indoor arena there is a full size soccer field and then a bit more - huge. They had 3 different things going on at the same time. I can now fly so perhaps I can participate instead of just salivate.
I like small...and I like large - 1/4 or 1/3 scale maybe...one day. We all need dreams.
I am progressing - I see progress each flight, but i still see many issues to work on. I"m gonna try and stick with the champ till I have 10 hours flight time and then evaluate what's next...the UM corsair is tempting...I love corsairs...then I have to teach my 10 year old (the willo74 here) to fly. He's good on the sim but I don't have to fix those crashes!
The champs great but the ember & vapor are great little planes too! and fly alot slower than the Champ ,,a tad easier to learn on and fly in smaller places as well but the Champ is easy to fly and a good choice as a first plane! Welcome to wattflyer and I 'll be looking forward to hearing how your doing!!!bubsteve
Went out sunday, all went well - absolutely not a breath of air...did have an issue though - the rudder quit working for atime (while flying). I managed to bring it back and found no issues.
Checked over the plan that night, charged batts, changed batts in tx and went out monday...first bat fine, second one I had the rudder quit again.
I saw three choices...let if fly away, crash it to the ground 'way over there someplace' and hope to find it, or try loops killing the power part way up hoping to get it to fall off headed in my direction (which worked teh day before). I got it closer but then a tree grabbed it.
I tried to get 'er down with no luck - it was WAY up there. Went over this morning with my bow and a string tied to an arrow and found the plane was on the ground, unhurt and everything works...
Now to talk to HZ about warranty issues...it should last longer than a week! (just 5 days old!)
HZ was very nice and are sending me a new board - they suspect some 'foreign matter' got into the servo's drive mechanism...sounds logical and very likley however I can't see anything in there - even with a magnifying glass. Blowing it out won't get it out either.
I fired it up on the bench and worked the servos and motor. The rudder servo does stop working - whether it's a jam or a dead spot in the motor or something else I can't say.
I am sure my next model will be bigger with conventional servo/receiver/esc though - as i ran the motor and the servos it was noticeable that at high throttle the servos would hesitate a bit and on full throttle or low batt I could get the motor to stop completely requiring the throttle be set to sero and started over again. Not great for precision controled flying or IMO, learning...'what did I do wrong?' moments may be the plane's fault.
I was thinking of a um warbird but may need to go bigger to get conventional electronics, and that may be more 'bird' than I"m ready for...rethink time.
If you are ready to move to something bigger you might consider something like the Multiplex FunCub. It's reasonably priced for an ARF. Choose and fit your own electrics of your choosing and put it together. It's a fairly inexpensive way to get into a 4 channel trainer.
A couple of udates:
HZ sent a new fuse with the electronics and motor in it. I"ve pulled that board and moved it to the old fuse - seemed easier than moving over the tail feathers and landing gear - and the new fuse has no decals for windows and no velcro for the batt or prop...and my old fuse is good anyway. Took 2 minutes. Have to get some glue...they use a flexible silicone or caulking of some kind....raining for next 4 days so I have time to ponder it.
My next plane is likely to be a scratchbuild blubaby. Googling and reading threads turn up three choice - that, an STC or possibly Mikey's RC trainer. There really is very little difference - the blubaby is monobloc/full fuse as opposed to profile and I like that look better. Wing wise there's not much difference in the first two and mikey uses a flat (no airfoil) wing ... that makes me a bit nervous.
Cost will be under $60 a plane, electronics and all - building 2 actually, one for me and one for my son. I have receivers and foam only comes in a huge pack anyway, so the cost is mostly motor/esc/servos,
I've built balsa planes so I know what needs to be straight and such and worked off plans and I've used foam in model RR scenery so this shouldn't be too far out of my skill set...we'll find out soon enough I suppose.
Plan is to start wtih a 3 channel undercamber dihedral wing - a bigger champ if you will, and then make a second wing, a Kfm profile with ailerons and some dihedral and see if I can progress. If that works then I'll turn the sucker into a bipe and see how that goes...
Winter? I'm too type A and focused (at times anyway) to wait that long! I get the foam tomorrow and the elec bits are in transit..I'm guessing Tuesday for their arrival.
I'd like to fly in a week, 10 days at most.
Of course, I'm self employed and to the only way to find the time is to postpone work...or pull an all nighter like I did when I was young. I have LOTS of coffee so who knows!
My biggest problem will be deciding what to do first, er, next.... The blubaby is a definate, and darned internet...a blu51 is tempting...a 3D/slow flying acrobat...I have the electrics for 2 planes coming...3D really interests me and I can do that on the sim like a pro...I'll let you know how reality compares to the video game version of it. LOL
I have to step in here with the obligatory fanboi recommendation for building a Slow Stick. Sorry, I'm just a slave to mine and it makes me smile every time it leaves the ground. Cheap, easy build, able to handle more wind than a micro, ultimately customizable, red, what's not to like?
This has been an unpaid advertisement by a Slow Stick zombie.