View Full Version : My New Experiance with RC

Joe Highflyer
10-12-2005, 10:04 PM
Let me tell you about my experience of starting to learn to be a model airplane pilot. First off I am an ex-commercial pilot with over 4,500 hours of flying time. I lost my pilot license because of loosing my medical, triple by-pass, 15 years ago. I felt I had enough experience to fly a model aircraft and would have no problem

I bought my first model airplane, a Park Flyer Cessna 182. After receiving the beautiful airplane I was smart enough to realize I needed a trainer before flying the Cessna 182. I bought a commander 2 and on the first flight I sent it up high into the sky. It went into the sun and at that high altitude the wind was blowing quite strong. I lost sight of the Commander and when you lose sight you have no control. The last time I saw it was going west bound with the wind. Lesson number one, put your name and phone number on the aircraft.

I bought anothe Commander. I did learn some things on the first experience. Keep the aircrat close and always in sight. Well on the second launch the Commander came down and landed hard. Broke a wing so bought anothe wing. Continued to make some rough landings. The prop made some deep cuts in the wing.

Bought a Skyseeker from readytoflyfun.com. This one comes with an extra wing, tail section, two props and it's three channel. I am continuing to make rough landings, but I can see some improvement.

By now I have the following planes on my pool table, Cessna 182, Super Decathlon and a Corsair F4U all waiting for me to get proficient enough to fly them. I will continue to practice flight with the Skyseeker until that time comes to safely fly the others.

Your Humble Commercial Pilot
Joe High Flyer

10-13-2005, 12:02 AM
:D Joe, let me give you my experience. I was flying glow with my eldest son 15 years ago, had to give it up due to work pressures and never being able to get to the club field with my "instructor". After trashing two 40 size high wing trainers, I finally got proficient with a 9 foot wingspan motor glider! Last June, all kids grown long ago, decided it was time to get back into the hobby, only this time I wanted to explore electric flight in the local parks. I built a Great Planes lil'poke, three channel, thinking that my past experience would work. I built it like a glow model, way too heavy, too much glue and trusted that the recommended power system would work. First flight was with my two flying buddies, "stall" and "crash". Found the model heavy and underpowered. Could not get high enough to trim it out. Put the model on a shelf and decided to get a electric high-wing trainer. I bought the Great Planes Basic Light Trainer (BLT). Airframe weight of about 4 oz. It actually flew on the power system from the lil' poke! Tried a hand launch, stall and crash, breaking the fuse. Placed parts on the shelf. Tried an ARF, the Graupner Tipsy. Design looked good, rear facing pusher prop, protected on hard crashes. First flight, hand launch, stall and crash, completely crushing the nose and spilling electronics all over the ground!! Nowhere did any of the reviews tell me that with the supplied power system, that the underpowered motor needed a hardball type pitch to get flying! At this point, I realized I needed to go to school on power systems. Yes, I understood the basics, how an aircraft has to balance, don't fly on too windy a day, range check your radio, but needed to get more power to the prop. I bought a wattmeter and built a stick with a battery, receiver esc and motor. Hung the stick from a fishing scale. Now I could learn what (no pun intended) was going on. Yes, I know, static thrust is not exactly the same as in the air, but the current from the battery, battery capacity, prop size, rpm all have effects. I purchased a e-flite Park 370 brushless and 5:33:1 gearbox from LHS along with an assortment of props. Needed more battery capacity so bought NIMH 1150ma 7 cell packs from cheapbatterypacks.com. Using the wattmeter, optimized the full throttle current draw at max for the motor (7 amps) using a 10x4.7 prop. 14oz static thrust! 7 oz was all I got with the stock motor system. Repaired the BLT and installed the new motor. Now it ROGs in less than 3 feet and leaps out of my hand on a hand launch. 20 to 30 minute flights. Flew that plane for more than three weeks, sometimes twice a day (I'm semi-retired). I got lots of stick time and learned some skills. Now, lets revisit the lil' poke. I bought an e-flite Park 400 outrunner (needs no gearbox) using the same battery pack as the BLT. All up weight was right at 17oz (5 oz battery pack). Yep, took off in about 10 feet and flew like it was on rails! Got a little too confident one day in too much wind and turned the wrong way, crushing the little plane. Not to worry, ordered a new kit and rebuilt using all the mods and tricks that experience has taught me. Still flying that plane. Crushed the BLT when I pulled three loops in a row causing the wing to shift on the pylon and it became a lawn dart. Bought a GWS Slow Stick based on many, many nice comments on RC Universe boards. With the stock system, has enough power to actually fly with my battery packs! Put the brushless 370 on there and now, she really flies. The plane in "glider" form is available for about 20 bucks, put on your own power system. I have built an aileron wing for mine which may get a maiden flight tomorrow, work schedule permitting. Uploaded pics of my planes. Yep - I finally got ahead of the learning curve. More power was what I needed.

10-17-2005, 10:14 AM
When I first started, I was flying (crashing) my Wingo, which is supposed to be an easy plane to fly, fun too. I went out my first day and crashed within 2 minutes of flying. I went right home, put the plane back togther and downloaded the "Backyard Flyer" simulator; using my computer joystick, I practiced with their version of my plane for hours. The next day (after all the glue had dried) I went out and flew much, much better. Evene made an uneventful landing. Since I had such a good experience with that, I went out and purchased the Realflight G2 (now it's G3) and learned a lot more before I flew my .40-sized trainer. Manager to take off, make a few circuits and then land my first time. I recommend you get a computer RC flying simultator (there's a few realy good ones, like G3) and practice. Pick a flying site like your own and have fun. It will really help! Try different planes to get a 'feel' of their characteristics. My .02 cents!

Mark Fitzgerald

Joe Highflyer
10-19-2005, 02:01 PM
Thank you for your good information. I will get a computer simulator and do some practicing.
Joe Highflyer

10-19-2005, 02:40 PM
Don't lose heart, Joe.

A few months ago, I met a WWII fighter/bomber pilot. He flew Corsairs and Hellcats. He showed me all his memorabilia. Apparently quite a pilot.

He has all but given up learning how to fly RC after some expensive and disatrous crashes. He said that the reverse (flying towards you) orientation and the lack of 'seat-of-the-pants' feel were his biggest hurdles. Oh & that things happen very fast with RC planes.

There's no question that a simulator is an invaluable tool. There's also a free one called FMS, if you haven't heard of it. It usually only requires a cord to attach your TX to your computer.

Good luck,

Joe Highflyer
10-19-2005, 03:51 PM
I have not heard of the FMS simulator. Could you tell me where I would find more information I this?
Joe Highflyer

10-19-2005, 06:41 PM
FMS can be found here http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fms/index_e.html It comes with a good assortment of planes & is arguably the best free sim that there is.

In all likelihood you will be able to fly it using your keyboard. However do a search either here or on RCGroups for interface cables that are designed to use with your TX. There are several places where they are available, but here are some that I have stumbled across;

There's also tons of additional downloadable planes at various places, such as;

I virtually taught myself how to flying using sims. It IS the way to go.


Joe Highflyer
10-19-2005, 10:37 PM
Your information is a big help to me
Joe Highflyer

12-23-2005, 03:04 AM
One of the main problems in this hobby is the power systems that come included with these arfs and kits. Very few actually fly half decent right out of the box. The only ones I ever got to fly decent was flying wings with the included 400 motor. I generally use 8 cells for these.
As far as brushless motors go, I have 6 of them in models. Each one I use a 3S lipoly pack. If you think a 7 cell nimh pack works nice, a lipoly pack will really give it a kick in the pants!!! Its the voltage that provides the kick. And, lipoly's weigh less than nimh's.


02-15-2006, 11:59 PM
You cannot use FMS if you have windows xp at least I can't. Correct me if i'm wrong. Jimmi

Build the best, Fly the best, Crash the best.....

02-16-2006, 12:17 AM
Jimmi your wrong. Flew today and I have XP. You should download the latest version. Maybe the version you currently have is an older one.


02-16-2006, 12:24 AM
You can use FMS with XP. I use it exclusively. And my OS is XP.


02-16-2006, 01:24 AM
Thanks steve and dave, will download it now....Jimmi:D

Build the best, Fly the best, Crash the best...

02-17-2006, 08:22 PM
hey Joe, I have a family of pilots, my dad's commercial (for US Airways, currently training for a new plane, the 757 from the Airbus A320), and my brother just got his private pilot's license (at 17).

Most people think that being a real life pilot is similiar to models, but its no where close, the biggest difference being that the perspective is third person, and of course the control system. My neighbor just 2 weeks ago for example, dad was a fighter pilot, went out and crashed his model (firebird freedom) in similiar fashion to yours.

My brother had to learn just the same as everyone else, and my Dad in while watching decided it looked too hard, although he doesnt find any amusement in models "Its more fun to do it for real!" (however I hardly agree in most cases). The biggest thing that helped both of us learn to fly was that we used a buddy box and some help from some people at a local flying field.

Although he might have known the terminology and more technical aspects of how a plane flies, he still had to learn at the same rate in how to fly model airplanes. If you do know someone that can fly, or know of a local field, seeking out help in teaching the basics helps a LOT, I would not have learned what I did in 2 months on my own then what I did in 3 sessions with a buddy box, with constant correction and tutalidge.

Just to add, I have flown a few cessna's with my brother and can honestly say that they should be considered two different breeds of sport altogether. Finding someone who knows model flying, even if they wont help you fly it, but to get the pointers over the shoulder helps tremendously in learning, I would be nowhere without it.

However if you cant, dont lose hope, it seems that already you are quite determined and I am sure you will definitely learn how to fly one way or another :)

02-17-2006, 11:29 PM
I too used the buddy box, not as much as I liked too but its the best training one can get. I don't hear it mentioned much on these threads. When I starting hovering I can remember I had control of only the aileron system and I was all over the place. Sure brings back alot of memeories.
Also on flying a plane I buddy boxed and had the plane trimmed out before I took over the controls and it was that much easier to fly and stress free.
Since I was at my field there was only one person that I ever saw using the buddy system and it was only on weekends. If you ever buddy box with an experiance pilot, a sim would be the last thing on your mind.... Jimmi:cool:

02-18-2006, 05:26 AM
Hi Joe,

I'm also new to electric but used to fly glow years ago. There were several of us at work that flew together and one of our associates who was also a flight instructor decided he wanted to give it a go. He was convinced that since he was a pilot he didn't need help. We tried desperately (with no success) to get him to let us help him at least take his plane off and trim it out. Not a chance! He was determined to show us that his new .40 size Ugly Stick would be fine. It took us longer to rake up the pieces and put them in a garbage bag then his flight lasted. With his second plane, he did let us get it up about 4 mistakes high before he took the controls and he did eventually learn how.

The simulators work great. I have been using one to get used to flying again since it has been about 12 years since I've touched a stick. I flew my Parkzone J3 with no problems for the first time about three weeks ago. I've bought a Parkzone P-51 but it's not going anywhere till I'm good and comfortable with the J3. The backwards controls when it's flying towards you are kind of a booger till you get used to it but it will eventually become second nature. The easiest way for me o keep it straight is to push the stick towards the low wing to level it out. A good instructor with some experience is huge help.

Welcome to the sport and hope you have great success. The only problem I find is that now that I'm back in it, there are so many planes I would like to buy. It's also really tough now because I want to get outside and fly so bad I can taste it but it's been really windy for the last few weeks and tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 16 degrees.

Good Luck Joe!