View Full Version : Basic flight controls

01-12-2006, 11:21 PM
Ok, Happy new year everybody..late albeit, but hey I got R/C for Christmas..been busy ya know... I've pretty much mastered the 2 channel so-called "trainers". Now I'm ready for some 3 or 4 channel fun. I've narrowed the purchase down to two planes: the Aerobird Challenger, or the Begin-Air. One is 3ch and the other 4ch. I'd like some clarification, on wehther or not I have this correct: In both the 3 and 4 ch configs, I would use the throttle to gain airspeed, and thus, altitude, right? Then the elevator will change the pitch of the aircraft to get it pointed where I want (up or down). In a 3 ch config, I use the rudder to turn the plane, then add elevator to keep the altitude up since I lose some in the turns, right? How does the throttle play into the turns?? In a 4ch config, airspeed/ altitude will work pretty much the same as a 3ch right?? In turns however, the ailerons bank the ship, then the elevator turns it in the general direction, and the rudder is used sparingly to "smooth out the turn" Right?? Or do I use the rudder to turn, the ailerons to smooth, and the elevator in the same fashion? Any help here would probably save me a bit of re-building time. Assume that I live on a dessert island here...no instruction sans what I read here...

01-12-2006, 11:41 PM
Actually, in 3 and 4 channel planes the throttle is just that, throttle. Of course, when you want to gain altitude, you can use throttle to get higher faster. You can also, cut back on the throttle to slowly loose altitude when making a landing approach. The elevator is used for pitch. You use it to gain, and loose altitude. You also use it to keep your altitude when turning, as you mentioned, and to flare when landing.

As for your next plane, I'd recommend an Estarter. It has ailerons, but you don't have to use them. Just activate the rudder and elevator, and do some 3 channel training. When you're ready, cut in the ailerons and voila!
If thats not your cup of tea. The Begin-Air looks pretty cool.


01-13-2006, 12:58 AM
helo it sounds like you have it.. I'd say go with something having ailerons to gain experience faster. You can learn the coordinated turn thing with rudder and ailerons but just ailerons is fine with elevator and constant throttle through the turn makes you slow slightly unless you really bank hard... You have the theory now just practice.

01-13-2006, 01:31 AM
I forgot to add that rudder is used for coordinated turns. Start the turn with rudder and add aileron. Depends on your style and the plane you fly. You can also use the rudder for minor adjustments when landing. Especially when landing in a crosswind, or just tightening and tidying up your approach.


01-14-2006, 05:37 PM
Dopp, Trog, thanks to both of you for the confirmation. Who makes the e-starter? I was bit concerned about the Begin-Air. I read a few nasty user reviews, and there's no "pro" review like the ones Covey does. I've heard good things sbout the Aerobird, but that whole v-tail mixing concept, kinda makes me think I'm inputing less, and just "guiding" more. I really want to learn, and progress through the hobby. Thanks again to both of you. This is by far the best forum. I've received a great amount of help from everyone here.

01-14-2006, 05:42 PM
glad to help.. GWS makes the estarter and generally low-cost, good quality, easily repairable planes.

01-15-2006, 09:32 AM
OK now I'm a bit confused...checking out the other hobby zone/ park zone birds, I saw the P-51 Mustang...this one doesn't have a rudder..so just ailerons to bank and then add elevator to complete the turn??? This I've never seen...how does it work? Thanks for the info on e-starter. I've heard good things about the slow stick as well, looks likeGWS makes good stuff. Now...about that 'stang...???

01-15-2006, 10:02 AM
If you have ailerons then a rudder is not a necessity, so yes, bank and yank. Many people fly planes with rudders and never touch the left stick other than for throttle changes and maybe some steering on landing and takeoff! You need it for almost all aerobatics but a small P51 might just be complicated by it. You could always add that feature if you wanted by cutting out and hinging a section of the vertical stabilizer/rudder to be moveable and fitting a servo.

01-15-2006, 12:19 PM
He's correct. I have a combat corsair that I will soon fly. It has no rudder. It isn't good for aerobatics. But it's a blast to fly. I mean, I can fly inverted, and do loops and cuban eights. But, there are a lot of "moves" I can't do. I have other planes for that.

The reason why I suggested the E-starter, is because it can grow with you as you progress. After you've mastered flying it. You can modify it to fly very sporty. This includes cutting off the Horner Tips. (The overhang on the wing tips), Cutting the wing in half and sanding out the dihedral, then epoxy the wings back together. Now you have a 29.00 graceful sport/aerobatic flyer!

Please don't try the mustang as your aileron trainer. It's a low wing plane and is much harder to learn on than a high winger. (E-starter) They fly very, very differently.


01-16-2006, 08:45 AM
OK, I think I've got it now...thanks a million. Thanks fpr the heads-up on the low wing. The mustang will be my "reward" for when I get this stuff down. I think the begin-air is gonna be the aileron trainer, but before that, possibly a 3 channel. I've been advised against it, but after countless badgering to/ from the LHS guys, I think I'll try the Park Zone Cub. They insist it's docile, and that it's designed to take a 2ch greenie to a 3 ch ship. That or possibly jump to the begin-air...we'll see. I really like the all-in-one package and the "step" programming that the PZ people have. I also like the fact that the electronics will couple the ails & rudder until I get profficient.

01-16-2006, 12:29 PM
Good to see you going about it the right way. Lots don't. They get frustrated and leave the hobby. The most important thing to have when learning to fly is confidence. Look at the Easystar from Multiplex. You can even fly it in wind. It's also very tough. It's a great 3 channel trainer.
Good luck, and calm air.


01-16-2006, 09:08 PM
That's the second recommendation for the Easystar. I find that I'm almost always hearing the same names from different people. I also see them in other posts...all those pilots can't be wrong. Wgat do you think about the Cub?

01-17-2006, 02:17 AM
Which Cub? I recommended the Easystar because of it's toughness and the fact that it can be flown in up to 20mph wind. Tell me exactly which Cub, and I'll add my .02 cents.:)


01-17-2006, 03:57 AM
Steve, the J-3 Cub from Park Zone (Hobby Zone). It's listed as a "zone 2" plane by the Hobby Zone folks, meaning it's the next step up from a 2 ch. This is from their web site: "The ParkZone J-3 combines the classic lines and gentle flying manners of its legendary namesake for a superb park flying experience. Mode Change Flight Control software couples elevator and rudder for pilots moving up from a HobbyZone 2-channel airplane so they can smoothly adjust to using pitch. More experienced flyers can enjoy fully independent elevator and rudder control with a quick mode change."Sounds good and the LHS folks give it an endorsement. They could have made a lot more money off me by selling me a trainer and radio system, but said this will be a better shot at success. What do ya think? -Paul

01-17-2006, 05:12 AM
I took a look at the Cub, and I have a couple questions. Do you have anyone instructing you? Will you be flying off of grass, or hard surface? If you're flying off grass with no intructor to help you land, you may have probs. I honestly have never seen anyone fly that particular plane. So I can't give any meaningful advice on it.

At one point, 5, or six guys were flying Easystars in our group. They may not have the wow factor of the cub, but there will be time later for cool looking planes. Our very accomplished pilots still fly their Easystars. If you plan on staying in the hobby, I suggest you buy a trainer that isn't ready to fly. I say this because most RTF planes have electronics that can only be used for that aircraft. Eventually you'll need a "real" radio, servos, and speed controllers. Why not buy a radio that comes with the size servo's you'll need, and then get an esc. That way, after you graduate from your trainer, you can toss the electronics into another plane. And you won't have to buy another radio. But, if cost is a factor, then RTF is definately feasible.

Sorry to ramble on. I just wanted to give you more options. If your LHS says the Cub is a good one, who's to say they aren't correct? Just remember.... the Cub will not handle the wind very well. You'll do more fighting than flying. Thats not much fun. Good luck on whatever you choose. Let us know how it goes.:)


Matt Kirsch
01-17-2006, 04:28 PM
If the choice for a first plane is down to the EasyStar vs. the HobbyZone J3 Cub, the EasyStar wins my vote hands down.

With the Cub being an unknown quantity, I'm a little afraid of it, especially considering that the combination of hard plastic fuselage, thin foam wings, and newbie pilot is not a good one. I know the EasyStar is a good flyer, plenty of power, and is made of tough "Elapor" foam which has some flex to withstand hard landings.

01-17-2006, 06:13 PM
EasyStar ,hands down I teach flying at our club all the easystars are still flying and and no one sold one yet.I have been flying for 40 years and I have one for my self .
Good Luck And Have Fun.:D

01-23-2006, 09:27 AM
Hello all. I finally got an Aerobird Challenger from Hobby Zone. Still waiting for the right conditions to fly. look for updates soon.

01-23-2006, 11:38 PM
Good luck. We shall wait with bated breath.:)


01-30-2006, 09:51 AM
Hello all. I finally got an Aerobird Challenger from Hobby Zone. Still waiting for the right conditions to fly. look for updates soon.

The Challenger will be a good next step plane for you. I started on an Aerobird myself. I have been flying my original Aerobird since March 2003. I switched to the Aerobird Challenger 18 months ago. Between them I have over 400 flights. I love
them both!

Today my fleet consists of 2 Aerobirds, 3 other electrics, 7 thermal
duration sailplanes, two discus launched gliders and three slope gliders.

I recently added lights to the original Aerobird for night flight. That was
weird. It was like flying a ghost. You can't see the plane, only the lights.
They now have a night module for the challenger. I have that too.

I pounded the original Aerobird into the ground, destroyed three wings,
and two tails. I had to build a new motor mount because I destroyed that too.
All this, and the plane still flies, but it has taken a real beating. That is
what makes it such a great three channel beginner plane. Along the way I have
had to solve many problems because I was so reckless with it while I was
learning to fly it. So, I pass on what I have learned.

Fortunately the newer Challenger has had a somewhat easier life, but it still
gets banged around a bit because I will take risks with it that I would not
expose my other planes to, because I know it can take it, and if I destroy the
fuse, for $45 I get a new body, and all the electronics. So I can afford to
take chances with my challenger.

First - RTFM - If you lost your manual, you can download it here:
http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Products/Detail.aspx?ProductID=HBZ3500#manuals (http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Products/Detail.aspx?ProductID=HBZ3500#manuals)

Respect Wind

This plane can definitely fly in 12-15 mph winds. However wait till you have
mastered it. Most of my crashes came from flying in too much wind before I was
ready. Make your early flights in under 5 mph winds.

Always launch into the wind and land into the wind. And, fly with the wind
blowing toward you so the wind will not carry your plane away, it will tend to
bring it to you.

Motor Mount

This is the first thing you should do. Before you take a hard nose hit,
reinforce the motor mount. I will not elaborate here, visit this thread to
find the information. It contains advice from other pilots and what I finally
did to reinforce the mount. You should do this before you need it.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=110532&perpage=15&pagenumber=1 (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=110532&perpage=15&pagenumber=1)
This thread was posted by someone did an excellent job using photos to show
how to do the motor mount modification. I encourage you to make this
http://www.rc-forums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1173 (http://www.rc-forums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1173)

Here are also some shots of the control board out of the plane which can be
http://www.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=67b0de21b325c2c38435 (http://www.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=67b0de21b325c2c38435)

Plane Does Not Fly Straight - what could cause this?

Assuming you have not displaced the motor, and you are having
problems with the plane not flying straight, check the following:

a)) Check the trim adjustments. They may have been moved from center. Set
them to center and make all adjustments assuming you will fly with the trim
set in the center.

b)Make sure the moveable surfaces are even with the fixed surfaces on the
tail when the stick is centered and the trim levers are centered. You MUST
check this with the transmitter on and the battery attached. If they are not
even, adjust them with the screws on the control horns. The procedure is in
the manual. RTFM

Note, there is a tiny Phillips head screw on the back of the control horn on
the tail. Tighten it or the spool could unwind while the plane is in the
air, causing a crash. (Guess how I know this!)

c) Check to see that the boom is solidly attached at the body. If this comes
loose, it can move around while the plane is flying causing all kinds of
problems. It can also twist so that the tail is no longer aligned.

If you look at where the boom is attached inside there is a pinched area. I
drilled a small hole through the top of that area and through the boom. Then
I put a 4" nylon tie through to help secure the boom. I also put packing tape
around the boom and the back of the body where the boom exits. Between the
two, the boom is well secured.

d) is the wing crooked or too damaged - try a new wing.

e) Check the tail. The foam is attached to the center plastic brace by small
pieces that punch through the foam. These can loosen up and the tail fin can
move slightly away from the plastic brace in the air which can cause the plane
to turn.

Tape or glue the tail fins to the center plastic brace. Also, look for creases
in the foam. If there is a weak spot, the tail will flex causing the plane to
turn. mine was creased at the
meeting point where the plastic support meets the tail. Looked fine on the
ground, but it was flexing in the air causing a hard right turn leading to
crashes. Replace the tail.

The Porpoise

When you apply power the plane starts to climb then noses up, then the nose
drops and it does it all over again. This is called a stall. The problem is
that the tail needs to be trimmed, the front is too low or the back is too
high. This causes an up elevator effect. Adjust the orange screws on the
tail. The procedure is in your instruction book. RTFM You might have to slip
a piece of thin cardboard under the front if the front is too low, to shim it
up slightly.

The Tail is a Pull-Pull System.

The tail is based on tension of a rubber band below the tail pulling against
the servos in the plane. You must make sure that these are in proper
adjustment or your trim will go out or your responsiveness will go down.

The tension on the lines to the tail is held by a friction hold on the
adjustment spools. Well they can slip a bit from time to time. Just remember
to check your tail adjustments before every flight. Also, there are little
screws on the back of the adjusters. I make sure they are tight before the
start of each day's flying.

Finally, the rubber band below the tail does get weak after a while,
especially if you leave the plane in a hot car. That rubber band is the
second pull, with the servos being the first. If it gets weak, you have to
replace it. If you don't, you won't get much down elevator and in pro mode
part of the rudder effect will not be as strong.

Longer flights

Back off on the power. Both the 6 and 7 cell battery will last six to
seven minutes at full power. However, if you back off to half power, your
flights can last 12-15 minutes depending on how you fly. You can even
catch thermals with the Aerobird and riding them for long long flights with
the motor off. I also slope soar mine. On the slope you can stay up for over
an hour with the motor off.

If you charged your batteries a few days ago, top them up just before
flying. They lose charge just sitting around.

Neck Strap for the Transmitter

If you look at the high priced Futaba, Hitec and other radios, they have a
place where you can clip a cord so that the radio can hang from a neck strap,
leaving your hands free to make adjustments on the plane. This is very

Take a large paper clip and bend up the center piece in the middle to make a
place where you can clip a neck strap to it. Now take some sand paper and
sand a spot in the center of the radio. Epoxy the paperclip to the radio. Use
plenty so you can really embed the clip in the epoxy.

Reinforce the Wing

Got to Office Depot, or one of the other stores and get some glass reinforced
tape. The type that has a cross
pattern is best.
http://www.officedepot.com/ddMain.do?level=FM&id=171926&location_info=SG_1_DV_11_CT_1105_SC_1105001_FM_171 926 (http://www.officedepot.com/ddMain.do?level=FM&id=171926&location_info=SG_1_DV_11_CT_1105_SC_1105001_FM_171 926)
Put a piece on either side of trailing edge where the prop wants to bite the
wing if a landing is a little rough. Also centered in the front 6" on either
side of the body to help resist damage from the rubber bands. The newer wings
may come reinforced but you may wish to do this anyway.

Make sure you have a spare prop, they're cheap. Since the prop is less likely
to cut the reinforced wing, if it hits the wing, it might pop the prop off, or
break it. However normally this does not happen.

If you get a crease or a fold in the wing from a rough landing, this will be a
weak area. The foam is compressed and the wing will tend to fold up under
stress. I have a procedure for fixing wings. Post if you need it and I will
post it for you.

Learn to Glide in for a Landing

If you run the battery too long, the speed control will cut the power to the
motor while preserving power for the control surfaces. This is good! If you
learn to land with the power off, if you get caught in the air with no motor,
you will have no problem landing. Gliding in, even from 500 feet, in 15 mph
winds is my standard way of landing. In calmer air, the plane pretty much
lands itself from 10 feet in the air.


These planes have a great distribution system. Parts are very readily found
in most hobby stores. However if you can't get what you need, look here:
http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Support/ (http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Support/)

HobbyZoneSports Frequently Asked Questions - Couldn't hurt to look!
http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Support/FAQ.aspx (http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Support/FAQ.aspx)

Plane Locator

When I was learning, or today if I fly strong winds, I use one of these on the
plane and one stays in my pocket.
If I put the plane down in very tall grass, or in the woods ( don't ask ) it
can be hard to find. If I am looking for the plane, I click the one in my
hand and the one on the plane answers. If you fly near woods, swamps, tall
grass, etc., get one of these. I mount it under the rubber bands that holds
on the wing. Doesn't seem to hurt the lift much at all.
www.keyringer.com (http://www.keyringer.com)


Here are a few tips to help you live happily with your Aerobird and
help it survive your poor piloting skills. With a little luck, the plane will
make it through the tough part of your training as you pound it into the
ground trying to learn to fly. Don't give up! Avoid the wind, take your time
and you will get it!

New Electric Flyer FAQs
http://www.ezonemag.com/pages/faq/a105.shtml (http://www.ezonemag.com/pages/faq/a105.shtml)

Here are some other tips you might find helpful: Six Keys to Success
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355208#post3551513 (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355208#post3551513)

Oh, and RTFM ..... read the friendly manual!!!! :-)

Best regards
www.lisf.org (http://www.lisf.org)
www.rcezine.com (http://www.rcezine.com)

01-30-2006, 10:07 AM
Ed, that was a remarkable response. You really "passed on the torch" with that one. I printed it all so I can keep it in my "idiot's guide" It's full of manual exerpts, magazine articles, and posts (like yours). Every Pilot should have one. I learned that from RC cars. There was almost always some problem at the track that was addressed in a post or magazine article. This is a worthy entry to the annals of the flying fools. I'll probably print the stuff you linked me to as well. Thanks a million! -Paul

01-30-2006, 10:11 AM
Glad you found it helpful. Be sure to read this one too:

Six Keys to Success

01-30-2006, 10:20 AM
wo, what are you doing up man it's like 4 in the morning!!

01-30-2006, 02:49 PM
I have been sick and could not sleep. So I jump on for a little while till I can go back to sleep. Besides, I would be dreaming about planes anyway.


02-04-2006, 03:24 PM
Funny, I find that I go to sleep flying patterns in my head. Counting sheep was just too boring. Hello all. I've been waiting with my Aerobird Challenger, and FINALLY got it in the air. It's been pretty gusty around here, so I was grounded by weather delays. Seeing that thing relegated to being the "big orange paper weight" was killing me. This morning I finally got it up in the air! I'm glad I picked up a slow & lazy 3 ch bird. I found a little difficulty at first remembering that "up is down and down is up". Thankfully I was three mistakes high, as the saying goes. After a few wide circles around the pattern I got the hang of it and was able to control the plane nicely. I'm sure I'll be here of a while, as I don't want to advance to a more capable plane until I've truly mastered this one. I'll keep you posted of my adventures (or lack thereof..lol).

02-04-2006, 09:41 PM

Congratulations on your first flights. The Aerobird can take you quite a way, so keep working on it. It will do some basic aerobatics as you advance the settings for faster and stronger response.

You can also thermal soar the Challenger and it does great at slope soaring. It may not be the prettiest plane at the field, but it certainly is versitle.

Find a friend, get him flying! Then both of you get combat modules. Just remember you do have to sleep and go to work ..... so you can buy more RC toys! :D

02-06-2006, 07:32 AM
Hi Ed. I flew my second and third batteries through it today (SUN). I couldn't have asked for better conditions. It was crystal clear for miles, and not a hint of wind. Good ol' South Florida, if you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes...it'll change! I started to fiddle with the elevator control today, getting in a few dives, and maintaining level flight through the turns. I had a blast. The Challenger does thermal quite nicely. I was able to squeeze a good 15 to 20 minutes out of each battery thanks to that. Most of the flight was at half throttle. The bird is really smooth. Why others don't consider this as a trainer is beyond me. I plan to run another 2-4 batteries through before attaching the landing gear and try my hand at that. Doesn't the gear change the characteristics a bit?

02-06-2006, 09:56 AM
Landing gear will actually shift the balance forward slightly which will make the plane a bit more stable. It also adds some drag but not enough to be a big issue.

For your ROG attempts remember that you don't have a steerable tail wheel and the rudder can't really keep it alligned until you get up a little speed. Make sure the ground is a smooth and clean as possible. Those small wheels can't really take much in the way of grass or rocks.

02-07-2006, 08:32 AM
I thought so. I was actually a bit more worried about the balance than the drag. The "runway" is a parking lot. I suppose it could be smoother, sure, but not much. Hopefully it will be calm when I get off work this morning (6AM) and I'll be able to hit the field around sunrise. Look for the next post. Do you think I should start a new thread...maybe just catalog all the flights one by one? I don't wanna clog up the site, but I thought it might be helpful to other newbies.

02-07-2006, 02:18 PM
The little tail wheel needs to be straight. I suggest you do some practice taxis before trying to lift off. See if you can just keep it straight on the ground.

Try, adjust the wheel, then try again.

Just as important for the landing as the take-off.

I always hand launch and I belly land it so I never use the wheels.

02-07-2006, 02:30 PM
Hey Ed, I jumped in the deep end this morning and swallowed a little water..heh heh heh. I decided to fly two more batteries through before attempting to land or take-off from the pavement. It was dead calm this morning, and the plane was tracking like it was on a tether. Before I knew it I was able to dive and pull out exactly where I wanted to. So, I did what came naturally...I tried a loop. Do I have to tell you what a mistake that was...LOL. I'm not sure what happened to tell you the truth. It came out of the loop at the bottom with a slight right turn...right wing dipped. I applied just a little bit of left stick, but no way...down she spiraled...CRASH! The plane fared well. The canopy broke off, and the prop took a little bite of the wing. Not too bad, just through the clear protector of the trailing edge, and scraped off some orange covering and about half a centimeter of foam. The rear piece of styrofoam in the batt/ radio compartment is a bit loose, but no major damage. There is no wobble to the motor, the boom is straight, and the tail is ok as well. All the controls move without binding. Got any ideas for that canopy? At first I thought some velcro, or possibly a small hinge CA'd on. -paul

02-08-2006, 04:41 AM
Ed, never mind...I was able to slide a small dubro hinge between the black canopy and the orange cut-out of the fuse, and CA'd it to the fuse. Holds pretty solid so far...it lives to fly another day...tomorrow morning perhaps...heh heh heh.

02-13-2006, 05:09 AM
Four more flights and still going strong. The wind has really been kicking around here, so I was only to get two batteries through on Friday and two more on Saturday. I was finally able to get that loop in. It wasn't very pretty, and I ended up doing a few more stall turns than I wanted to, but it looped. I've been practicing getting the plane down to land just where I want it before trying anything on the concrete. The "repair" to the canopy went well. It was just too easy, and it holds strong.

02-13-2006, 01:31 PM

I know you don't need this yet, but maybe soon, so I will share it now.


Repairing a CREASED wing with packing tape alone doesn't really work very
well. It works better on the tail because it encounters different forces, but
what I am about to explain works MUCH better on both the wing and tail and is
easy to do. It should also apply to the Xtreme, and all the Firebirds, and
similar planes that use a foam core wing.

A creased taped wing might fly, but at the first real stress, its gonna fold
and you are going to crash. Tape alone has no body or stiffness of its own to
resist a fold since the wing's internal foam is compressed. Net Net, there is
nothing to resist the next fold. You need to stiffen and support the wing.

Here are things I have used for wings and the V tail with pretty good results.

Take a hobby knife or razor blade and open the vinyl covering at the crease or
stressed area

Get the wing set in the proper position, even bend it slightly the other way
to open up the gap.

Basic repair

Fill the folded area with Elmer's white glue or titebond yellow glue. I have
not tried Gorilla Glue, but that might work well. The white and yellow glue
will seep into the foam and bond with it and stiffen it.

Let it partially dry, at least 2-3 hours. It should have seeped into the foam
at this point but will not be fully dry. Now, fill it again. The second
coat will fill the gap. Let it dry at least 12 hours, then check it. If it
is fully dried, apply a little clear packing tape to help it resist pulling

Stronger repair

If your repair is in the center area of the wing, say within 6 inches of where
the rubber bands cross, or if you tend to fly hard, do lots of loops, fly in
wind and the like, then you probably want to take this next step.

For a wing, I add thin but somewhat stiff strip of 1/32 ply, to the top of the
wing to bridge and support the area. Typically this is 12-24 inches long
and 1-2 inches wide. Regardless of where the repair is, you always center this
wood strip on the wing so that the wing is balanced and the impact on the air
foil is uniform. This will resist flexing in both directions but is not so
stiff that it encourages the wing to fold at the end of the ply. . Also 1/32
ply is light and flexible so it will shape to the curve of the wing so as to
minimize the extra drag the repair will cause. You can use some contact
cement or double sided carpet tape works well. Try to get the ply in
complete contact with the wing. It is stiff enough to resist the next fold,
but will still flex with the wing.

If you are fixing a tail, use the same process, but use 1/64 ply to keep it
light. Be sure to do the left and right the same to keep the tail balanced.
However any added weight on the tail will make the plane tail heavy which will
impact how it flies. You might have to add a penny, a dime or a quarter to
the battery area to rebalance it. Fly it and see what you need.

Now cover it with clear packing tape stretched so that it forms a smooth
finish with no sharp edges so the air can flow nicely over the wing. The
repair does effect the shape of the wing so it does impact how the plane
flies, but not enough to matter if you fly under power most of the time. If
you like to glide and thermal, I find these wings are not as good as a new

I have never had one of these fold.

Embedded supports

If you want to get more aggressive, you can cut the covering on a new wing or
a damaged wing, remove or compress some foam and embed the plywood or a dowel
support piece into the wing and glue it into the foam with Elmer's white glue
or Titebond yellow glue. Then tape over the top to cover it. I have not used
this approach but I may try it if I badly bend a wing.

While Epoxy is strong, it doesn't move with the foam the way Elmer's or
Titebond do so I have seen a tendency for epoxy to pull away from the foam
which weakens the area.

If you look at the Firebird XL wing, or the Aerobird Xtreme, they have a
support rod embedded into it when you buy it. Other similar planes, like the
T-hawk, have these supports in their wings when they are new. If you do this,
I suggest doing this so that is spans the body of the plane as many folds
happen where the rubber bands attach. Too often you make a hard off angle
landing on one side of the wing but see no damage to the wing. You think you
have a clean wing, but in fact the foam inside has been weakened. You fly and
the wing folds and you say "what happened?" What happened is 5 hard landings
ago you stressed this spot, compressed the foam enough to weaken it and boom
you have a fold.

Give it a try. The key message here is don't depend on tape to keep the
crease from folding again. Tape is good for closing up damage on the front or
rear edges of the wing and for reinforcement of a new wing by the prop area,
but it can't keep a creased wing from folding up again.

02-13-2006, 02:10 PM
Have you done the motor mount reinforcement? If not, do it now BEFORE you now in and foul up the motor angle.

Also, that little strip of packing tape where the boom meets the pod.

These little additions make the plane super durable!

Two weeks ago my Challenger started acting badly. Now realize, I now have 2 computer radios and a pile of other planes, but the Aerobird still gets flown quite a bit. It is just a fun little easy plane to fly that I don't have to worry about. When I won't risk anything else, up goes the Aerobird.

People keep asking me why I am still flying it. I say, why not, it still flies!

I take it slope soaring, I thermal it and I use it for just cruising around the field.

When I have guests who have never flown, out comes the Aerobird. If they crash it, no problem, I know I can fix it!

So, enjoy the Aerobird!

However, as you are dreaming of the next plane, I suggest you leave the relm of RTFs and move into the relm of computer radios and ARFs or kits. the RTFs are fun, but you now know you are hooked and will be staying with the hobby for a long long time. Time to get serious

So, gather up about $250-350 or so and start thinking of getting into some longer term investments. Here are some thoughts. No need to rush out and get these, but they are something to look forward to. Look at the specs of the radios and planes I will list here. Learn the meaning of the terms and that will help prepare you for your next step, as you enjoy your Aerobird.


I am solidly into electrics. I have no interest in glow planes and doubt that I ever will. If you are of like mind, then the DX6 is an excellent choice for a first computer radio. This may be all the radio you will ever need.


DX6 DSM 6CH Park Flyer/Micro-Heli System $199
Includes 6 channel micro receiver and 4- S75 micro servos
For the electric pilot, and even for small gliders, this is the perfect radio.

Digital DSM™ Spread Spectrum Modulation
• 10-model memory
• Dual rates on aileron and elevator
• Exponential rates on aileron and elevator
• Dual and exponential rates can be combined on one switch
• Trainer system compatible with Spektrum™ and JR® radio systems.
• Adjustable stick length
• Throttle trim only affects idle position
• Two-speed scrolling
• Throttle-smart fail-safe system
• Digital trims for precise adjustment

More information - Spektrum
http://www.spektrumrc.com/DSM/Better/DX6.html (http://www.spektrumrc.com/DSM/Better/DX6.html)
http://www.spektrumrc.com/Articles/Article.aspx?ArticleID=1535&Page=3 (http://www.spektrumrc.com/Articles/Article.aspx?ArticleID=1535&Page=3)
Indepth - Part 1
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Explore/Article.aspx?ArticleID=1535 (http://www.horizonhobby.com/Explore/Article.aspx?ArticleID=1535)
Indepth - Part 2
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Explore/Article.aspx?ArticleID=1535&Page=2 (http://www.horizonhobby.com/Explore/Article.aspx?ArticleID=1535&Page=2)
Product Reviews
http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/article_display.cfm?article_id=623 (http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/article_display.cfm?article_id=623)
http://www.rcgroups.com/links/index.php?id=4936 (http://www.rcgroups.com/links/index.php?id=4936)

If glow planes are in your plans, or if you are thinking of sailplanes as a clear path, then something like this would be worth your consideration.

Futaba EXAS -
http://www.futaba-rc.com/radios/futk55.html (http://www.futaba-rc.com/radios/futk55.html)
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXJUV7**&P=ML (http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXJUV7**&P=ML)
http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/article_display.cfm?article_id=556 (http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/article_display.cfm?article_id=556)
6 channels, 6-model memory, Proportional Flaps on ch 6, Flapperon using 1/6, 1
defined mix. The particular package I have listed at tower comes with micro
servos and receiver suitable for parkflyers. Other packages are availble


Once you have your own radio, the world of planes gets huge! Here are some to consider.

Magpie - CL 2
All of the Mountain Model kits are easy to build and are great flyers.
I recommend the $55 package with two wings.
Has slow fly/trainer wing AND an aileron sport wing.
Master the first, then advance to the second.
They offer a complete package with both wings and all the electroncis for $160
Makes it so easy to get it right, but the servos and receive that come with the DX6 will be perfect for this plane.
http://www.mountainmodels.com/magpie.php (http://www.mountainmodels.com/magpie.php)
discussion threads
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3502851#post3502851 (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3502851#post3502851)
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295225 (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295225)
Video - slow fly wing
http://www.mountainmodels.com/Magpie.wmv (http://www.mountainmodels.com/Magpie.wmv)
Sport wing
http://www.mountainmodels.com/MagpieSP.wmv (http://www.mountainmodels.com/MagpieSP.wmv)

How about a flying wing. Nearly indestructable

Zagi XS - ARF
http://zagi.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=1 (http://zagi.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=1)
Video page
http://www.zagi.com/index.php?main_page=movies&sessid=5fe1f36d4db5782d3e812dbc8b76c42f (http://www.zagi.com/index.php?main_page=movies&sessid=5fe1f36d4db5782d3e812dbc8b76c42f)

GWS E-starter 400 - Simple Foam Kit - $50
all 4 channels. Great Aileron trainer
http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_info.php?products_id=551 (http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_info.php?products_id=551)

GWS Tiger Moth 400 - Simple Foam Kit - $70
http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_info.php?cPath=2_54&products_id=203 (http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_info.php?cPath=2_54&products_id=203)
http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/article_display.cfm?article_id=345 (http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/article_display.cfm?article_id=345)
Video (

These are just things to look into, to learn about and to dream about. The choices are huge. There are more advanced radios as well. I have a Futaba 9C and I love it. But at aobut $400 with servos and receiver, it is a big investment and not necessary for someone flying electric parkflyers. I bought it for my full house sailplanes that need all kinds of fancy mixes.

So much to learn. So much to buy! So little time and money!!!

Welcome to the obsession. :-D

02-17-2006, 04:37 PM
Ed. Thanks so much for all that info. It will make into my field book for dummies. I have LOADS of good advice in there. Someday I'll deny ever getting it from anyone and publish it so I can retire...LOL. These mods for the motor mount and the tail boom etc., where can I find them? I have put another 6-8 batteries through since my last post. I know why you kept this plane. I foresee it lingering in my hangar for years to come as well. It's a blast to fly. I put the wheels on and have been doing touch-n go's (more like 'bounce' and go's) and have been looping and spiraling with some consistency. I'm interested in those mods though....sounds like a good idea. -Paul

02-17-2006, 04:45 PM
BTW, I already have the Spektrum DX6. Awesome radio, I love it. Picked it up on EBay for a song. Also picked up a PZ Super Dec. You can find some great stuff on there if you look hard enough. This super dec was only $105, brand new in box, with a spare battery. Too good to pass up. I have two flights through it so far. MUCH slower than the Challenger, very relaxing. I'm going to add the ABC tail wheel to it, and try the 10x4.7 prop as recommended by Covey on RCU. I'm on the fence about the Lipo's as I don't have a charger for them, and they get pretty steep pretty quick. For all the bad press I read about that plane it's really nice. Flies very scale-like and the gearbox gives it a cool sound, again- very scale. After being advised against it, I had written it off, but just couldn't pass up this deal. I'm glad I tried it.

02-17-2006, 08:41 PM
I'm interested in those mods though....sounds like a good idea. -Paul

Read post #20 in this thread. All there.

01-15-2008, 05:54 AM
get a hobbyzone supercub, best plane ever!

01-17-2008, 12:42 AM
Ed, that was a remarkable response. You really "passed on the torch" with that one. I printed it all so I can keep it in my "idiot's guide" It's full of manual exerpts, magazine articles, and posts (like yours). Every Pilot should have one. I learned that from RC cars. There was almost always some problem at the track that was addressed in a post or magazine article. This is a worthy entry to the annals of the flying fools. I'll probably print the stuff you linked me to as well. Thanks a million! -Paul

Nice to0 know his award hasn't gone to his head! He's still our good ol' AEAJR :D

01-17-2008, 04:03 AM
never buy expensive lipos! i have the LOONG lipo andhexTronik Balancer/Charger from hobbycity.com. you can get the charger and lipo shipped for like 60 bucks. you cant beat that! i run the 2250 in my slowstick and get flight times of about an hour with an alpha 400 outrunner. i highly recomend that battery and charger. just never order anything that is backordered from them as it will delay your shipment for weeks....

BTW, I already have the Spektrum DX6. Awesome radio, I love it. Picked it up on EBay for a song. Also picked up a PZ Super Dec. You can find some great stuff on there if you look hard enough. This super dec was only $105, brand new in box, with a spare battery. Too good to pass up. I have two flights through it so far. MUCH slower than the Challenger, very relaxing. I'm going to add the ABC tail wheel to it, and try the 10x4.7 prop as recommended by Covey on RCU. I'm on the fence about the Lipo's as I don't have a charger for them, and they get pretty steep pretty quick. For all the bad press I read about that plane it's really nice. Flies very scale-like and the gearbox gives it a cool sound, again- very scale. After being advised against it, I had written it off, but just couldn't pass up this deal. I'm glad I tried it.