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2nd attempt into the hobby

#1
Hello! I am looking to try to get into the hobby again after seeing all this as3x and safe tech being incorporated into planes. First I will tell you my sad one-flight story from my first attempt.

Several years ago, after thorough research and recommendations from the local hobby shop, I bought an Eflite Apprentice RTF kit. It was supposed to be the absolute BEST beginner kit on the market. I spent a week tinkering and verifying everything, test taxiing, practicing control stick movement, etc. while I was waiting for a calm day. I have a lot of simulator (not RC) experience and was fairly confident, so I decided to do my first flight on a windy but not gusty day... Grass field takeoff was successful and uneventful with a little right rudder and slight aileron after V1. I climbed up to altitude and initiated a left roll with slight rudder to coordinate a turn into the crosswind leg, while adding throttle to about 2/3rds to maintain altitude through the turn. As the plane came across the wind it immediately shot towards the ground like it was being sucked down by a super-magnet. As a beginner not having built any reflexes on this control platform, I had zero time to react. As the plane struck the ground nose-first the motor mount broke, ripping the motor through the bottom of the cowl and the forces splitting the mid-fuselage in half.

I repaired the motor mount with pieces of bamboo skewer and CA glue and hot glued the fuselage back together. At the time I couldn't figure out what happened, as far as I knew that would have been a textbook turn on the simulator. Also at this time, I was reading about potentially having to register with the FAA to continue to fly this plane. Since I still had a working aircraft, and not wanting to finish completely destroying my $350 or go through a registration hassle to do so, I cut my losses and sold it on craigslist for $250.

Looking back I think the left wing stalled when turning, as the wind from the right side was being interrupted by the fuselage. That coupled with my current control set-up; left aileron, left rudder, and advanced throttle, created a ground seeking rocket. Had I removed throttle immediately I may have had time to realize and correct flight control surfaces.

I'm just reading about this new stabilization tech, and with the <250 gram registration exemption, and I think safe mode on a micro could give me the training wheels I need, not having the availability of an actual instructor. Right now I am looking to buy a little Champ without ailerons to get myself into trouble and not heavy enough to disintegrate itself (also cheap to destroy, not $350). If that goes well I will move up to a 4 channel UMX with Safe, having the Champ as a backup for potential crashes/failures and second plane for my daughter who is old enough now to try this herself... once I figure it out enough to teach her.

I'm excited to try this again. Any suggestions or advice is welcome, most of all thanks for reading my long first post!
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#2
Welcome to the forums, and welcome back to the hobby. It sound like you got yourself into a wind induced tip stall. Even though you had the throttle to coordinate the turn, mother nature decided to throw you a curve ball. It happens to all of us in the real world flight of RC. Simulator time will help you get the maneuvers down but also lacks in real world scenarios for some of the programs. Basically the sims have the planes set up with perfect center of gravity, trims, and throws, based on the plane chosen to fly. Some times it will enhance a false sense of confidence. It's just to bad it happened to a $350 Apprentice.

The cool part is you are getting back on the horse. I started with a Horizon Hobby Sport Cub S which has the AS3X and SAFE tech as a 4 channel. It was a great introduction into the hobby. What I found though was that after a few flights it got to seem like the SAFE system would become a crutch and not really teach me how to fly. Plus the AS3X doesn't mean you will never crash, there are trees and houses and other obstacles that the AS3X doesn't account for. I have had to make a whack load of repairs to do to Cub even though it had all the systems in place.

Have you looked into the trainer planes that FT has to offer? And as far as a 3 channel plane I would suggest going with a plane that utilizes ailerons as one of the 3 channels instead of rudder. This gives you a lot more real time real feel control to work with as opposed to just the elevator and rudder only. You don't need rudder to turn, just ailerons and elevator, called bank and yank. And if you build an FT plane they are super cheap, a few bucks an airframe means it doesn't hurt to crash, and crashing is a part of learning, trust me I do it all the time. And the cool thing about building your own, means you know how to fix it when you do crash, and only for a couple bucks. If you have all the electronics they also can be traded into a new airframe so easy.

What do you think?
 
#3
Thanks for the reply! I did notice the new FT kits and was very excited to see them. I really like the idea of flying a self-built airplane that is easy to repair exactly as new, because you built it. I was thinking one of these would make a good second plane, most of the minis are low-wing though and I'd like to start in a high-wing... and their Cub is slightly over the 250g limit.
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#4
Thanks for the reply! I did notice the new FT kits and was very excited to see them. I really like the idea of flying a self-built airplane that is easy to repair exactly as new, because you built it. I was thinking one of these would make a good second plane, most of the minis are low-wing though and I'd like to start in a high-wing... and their Cub is slightly over the 250g limit.
There is a easy high wing plane to build under the 250g limit if you are careful with the building and that's the Commuter by FT. Or you could go with something that is easier to build and is a more solid airframe called the Shrubsmacker. It was designed by one of our own here on the forums, @Grifflyer. I have built this plane and I will say it is such an easy plane to fly. Here is the link, check it out.
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#5
The champ is a great starting point and I’ve trained people on it and they get the hang of it really fast! If you want to go with a ft plane, you could probably keep the commuter under 250 grams. I personally wouldn’t go with the ft cub, partly cause that was my first rc plane and I couldn’t fly it for more than 30 seconds. Believe me I tried and tried and went through a lot of propellers. ;)
 
#6
Thanks a lot guys, I feel like my options are opening up quite a bit with your help. I was looking at the numbers and the Simple Cub could probably be built under 250 as 3ch without 2x 9g aileron servos and no landing gear, maybe a slightly smaller battery. I may go with that instead of the champ and see how it goes, if it works well add aileron later, if not I'll have all the parts throw into a shrubsmacker, that plane looks like it could smack a few shrubs and I'm sure I will haha. I saw the commuter but don't want to put too much time into a nice build like that and crash it first flight again, but it definitely has great scale for being foam board.

So aside from the foam board, a tx and rx, motor, esc, 2 servos, battery, prop,2 control rods & horns, and a piece of wood for the motor mount (also glue, hobby knife, toothpicks, skewers, etc) is there any other hidden little bits I would need?
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#7
Thanks a lot guys, I feel like my options are opening up quite a bit with your help. I was looking at the numbers and the Simple Cub could probably be built under 250 as 3ch without 2x 9g aileron servos and no landing gear, maybe a slightly smaller battery. I may go with that instead of the champ and see how it goes, if it works well add aileron later, if not I'll have all the parts throw into a shrubsmacker, that plane looks like it could smack a few shrubs and I'm sure I will haha. I saw the commuter but don't want to put too much time into a nice build like that and crash it first flight again, but it definitely has great scale for being foam board.

So aside from the foam board, a tx and rx, motor, esc, 2 servos, battery, prop,2 control rods & horns, and a piece of wood for the motor mount (also glue, hobby knife, toothpicks, skewers, etc) is there any other hidden little bits I would need?
There would be the need for more then one prop for the crashes for sure, in a 9x45 size would be good for the Cub.

You know that you can get flight controllers with gyro systems if you still feel wary of flying for the first... or second time, they can be the not much bigger then a receiver and they will help stabilize the plane. Just an option
 

basslord1124

Well-known member
#8
I kinda wonder if something was not set right on the Apprentice OR that maybe you were in intermediate or advanced mode. In beginner mode turning is a sloooooow process from what I generally hear (I don't have experience with the Apprentice but with it's small cousin the mini Sport Cub S). The Champ is a good plane and it's what helped me get back into flying from a long hiatus.

From an FT beginner standpoint, I'd suggest the FT Tiny Trainer. Can be built as a 3 channel at first and then you can add on the 4 channel wing. Pretty easy build too.
 
#9
You are right the turning itself was happening slowly, everything seemed fine, but as the aircraft nose came about across the wind it went from a smooth slow turn to rocketing towards the ground in an instant. I'm certain everything was functioning properly, as I'd been tinkering and checking and re-checking for a week. Ive been working on full scale aircraft for 15 years and I've only sent a plane flying one time with a mistake, loose thermocouple leads leading to an indicated TIT flux, and that was about 12 years ago because I received bad training on torquing alumel and chromel studs (they said dont torque them to spec or they will break). That's what engineering investigations are for. Anyway everything on the plane was functioning good except the stick actuator (me) lol.

I found your champ and sport cub s video on a forum search earlier, do you recommend a FT plane over those two? If not, between the 2 which is easier to fly, I know the cub has stabilization but the champ has simplicity... Which may be what a stick actuator of my level needs.

Also, the weight of the FT simple cub I was looking at was without battery, no way to get that thing under 250g without scaling it down... Does anyone know if the shrubsmacker will run on 3ch only?
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#11
You are right the turning itself was happening slowly, everything seemed fine, but as the aircraft nose came about across the wind it went from a smooth slow turn to rocketing towards the ground in an instant. I'm certain everything was functioning properly, as I'd been tinkering and checking and re-checking for a week. Ive been working on full scale aircraft for 15 years and I've only sent a plane flying one time with a mistake, loose thermocouple leads leading to an indicated TIT flux, and that was about 12 years ago because I received bad training on torquing alumel and chromel studs (they said dont torque them to spec or they will break). That's what engineering investigations are for. Anyway everything on the plane was functioning good except the stick actuator (me) lol.

I found your champ and sport cub s video on a forum search earlier, do you recommend a FT plane over those two? If not, between the 2 which is easier to fly, I know the cub has stabilization but the champ has simplicity... Which may be what a stick actuator of my level needs.

Also, the weight of the FT simple cub I was looking at was without battery, no way to get that thing under 250g without scaling it down... Does anyone know if the shrubsmacker will run on 3ch only?
Yes of course it will, you can set it up AET or RET, would probably do better on AET though. You will have a more real time/real feel authority on it that way, and develop your skills faster too.
 

MiniacRC

Well-known member
#13
@white crown
Glad you're back in the game and hopefully all these suggestions are opening up new roads for you! Another mini plane to consider is the FliteTest tiny trainer. Same wingspan but definitely lighter than the cub. It was my first diy RC plane and it was perfect. I flew it through multiple crashes and in a few months went from not knowing how to fly – to doing rolling circles ten feet off the ground and clean cuban eights. The plane is amazing! With a 37" span it's lightly loaded and needs very little power to fly, and sustains a clean glideslope.
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#14
Me personally would go with the Sport Cub S as a first plane it flies very slow and learning controls with the aid of the AS3X helps make life easier. It will help build confidence nothing worse when first starting to get frustrated from crashing constantly and never getting an aircraft into the air, which makes many quit the hobby.
 
#15
I found I can buy a full set of Turnigy electronics with radio for $60-70 for a FT build, are these ok quality to start with? Also with regards to the RTF transmitter range, I keep reading that the range is "terrible" or "useless", but I keep watching videos of people flying them farther than I would be comfortable trying to see that tiny plane... what's the deal with this? Are some people just complaining unnecessarily, or is this legitimate? Do you feel "boxed in" flying the Sport Cub S or Champ?
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#16
I found I can buy a full set of Turnigy electronics with radio for $60-70 for a FT build, are these ok quality to start with? Also with regards to the RTF transmitter range, I keep reading that the range is "terrible" or "useless", but I keep watching videos of people flying them farther than I would be comfortable trying to see that tiny plane... what's the deal with this? Are some people just complaining unnecessarily, or is this legitimate? Do you feel "boxed in" flying the Sport Cub S or Champ?
I had one epic LOS with my champ. I was at Flitefest Ohio and doing some evening flying. I was decently high for a little plane and was flying away from myself. Suddenly I lost signal and watched as this beautiful little plane glides perfectly in the windless conditions for at leas half a minute before it lands in the huge wheat field. It was an epic walk of shame - a log one too. I was walking in the field at least 5 minutes, and I’m just glad I found it! Other than that, I haven’t had any issues with the stock controller.
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#17
Do you have a hobby shop or flying field around close to you, if so I would go there and check to see what they have and what others are using for transmitters. Having others that have the same type of equipment can go a long way when problems arise. Me personally some of the transmitters just do not feel good in my hands and feel much more like toys then an actual piece of decent equipment.

Many lower cost transmitters do not have or allow many of the must haves that I like, like voice call outs, timers and low battery warnings, telemetry, along with mixes or very limited programing.

As much as I am a Spektrum guy for ease of use and the great service they have Open Transmitter if you can figure it out ( how to program it ) opens a bunch of better quality radios for a very good price. Getting one of these like the Jumper will save you having to buy another transmitter down the road.

You know how hard that was for me to say aaarrrgh. LOL
 
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