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65 year ago, I flew a plane on a string...

#1
I was 14 years old and I spent more time trying start the gas engine, than flying. I quickly lost interest. I am 71 years old now, retired and finally have some free time in my life. I have time try things new things or give things I tired before and passed on, a second chance, I accidently found Flite test on youtube while pursuing my other hobby shooting bowling ball mortars. Not sure how i made a connection, but I did.

I have watched all 10 of the beginners videos. Josh and Josh have got me interested. A couple of Emails with flite test customer have me convinced to give the https://store.flitetest.com/hobbyzone-champ-rtf-electric-airplane-517mm-hbz4900/p172249 a try for a first attempt at R/C flying. I have no buddy to connect to, so I am think about picking up flight simulator software to learn on. I am looking for a suggestion as which software might be compatible with the transmitter that comes with Champ.

Suggestions?
 

moret

Active member
#2
I also flew a plane on a string during my early years. I am just a few years behind you. I do not know if the champ transmitter will connect to your PC but I hope someone here will know. The problem is that that transmitter is set up just for the champ. Here is a cheap PC controller that I use. $30 It has a USB plug to connect to your PC.
https://www.motionrc.com/collection.../products/detrum-flight-simulator-dy-dtm-u001

Being cheap here is a link to ClearView Flight Simulator that I use.
http://rcflightsim.com/index.html

If you have a Android device, a free app is Leos RC simulator that uses a on screen sticks.

The simulator will help a lot, you can practice and crash and all you break is computer "bits"
It takes a little practice to control the plane coming back to you.
Compare the video card you have and the specs needed for the flight simulator carefully.
Good luck, carry CA glue and packing tape for quick repairs, maybe a spare prop or two.

Once you get going, you will want spare batteries. Read up on LiPo batteries, Be safe.
You can teach yourself to fly, I did Good luck and have fun
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#3
I was 14 years old and I spent more time trying start the gas engine, than flying. I quickly lost interest. I am 71 years old now, retired and finally have some free time in my life. I have time try things new things or give things I tired before and passed on, a second chance, I accidently found Flite test on youtube while pursuing my other hobby shooting bowling ball mortars. Not sure how i made a connection, but I did.

I have watched all 10 of the beginners videos. Josh and Josh have got me interested. A couple of Emails with flite test customer have me convinced to give the https://store.flitetest.com/hobbyzone-champ-rtf-electric-airplane-517mm-hbz4900/p172249 a try for a first attempt at R/C flying. I have no buddy to connect to, so I am think about picking up flight simulator software to learn on. I am looking for a suggestion as which software might be compatible with the transmitter that comes with Champ.

Suggestions?
Urk...Actually, with the particular transmitter that comes in the RTF kit for the Champ, there isn't a way to hook it up to a computer. They're bound specifically to the plane itself. If you wanted a radio that would be supported, something like the Spektrum DXe or better would work to connect to a computer. RealFlight 8, which is the latest flight simulator from Horizon Hobby, is compatible with PCs and the Spektrum radios; it also comes with a USB "transmitter" that feels somewhat like the real thing, but the whole shebang also runs $180.

The only other flight simulator for planes that I know of that you can still (legally) get your hands on is Aerofly RC7 or RC8 (8 being the latest version), and is compatible with a USB connected transmitter. I've used a Spektrum DX6, DX8, and an iX12 connected via a wireless USB dongle to the computer to run through both of these simulators. :)

This was the dongle I used:

https://hobbyking.com/en_us/orange-rx-dsmx-dsm2-compatible-protocol-usb-dongle-flight-simulator.html

Works well, but you need to connect it into the USB port, bind it, and THEN launch your simulator for it to show up as a valid controller.

I'll warn you that the simulators are NOT like real life flight; they don't give you the feeling of flying into the wind or having gusts blow you around on approach, nor do they simulate attacking hawks and other birds (I've had a red tailed hawk come out after my UMX Timber, a raven come after my 5" drone, and a hummingbird threaten my little Inductrix LOL). But, it WILL help with things like "left is right, right is left when coming towards you" and keeping a straight throttle if you're flying a 4 channel plane with rudder, and it's a HECKUVA lot cheaper to crash in the simulator than in real life. :)
 

Headbang

Well-known member
#5
I suggest real flight 8 as well. It will give you 100-200 crashes free of the cost of fixing. It will give you the basic muscle memory needed for flying. If you set the turbulence and gusts, then up the wind, it will give you a good handle of real life wind conditions. I still use it for practice of new maneuvers before going and doing it for real on a $2500 plane.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#6
Sprzout - do you have any idea how the OrangeRx DSMX/DSM2 Compatible USB Dongle for Flight Simulator different to the Spektrum wireless dongle?
I haven't tried the Spektrum wireless dongle, but I would imagine it's much the same. Here's what I know about the Spektrum device, and what I know about the OrangeRX wireless dongle:

The Spektrum Wireless interface is $40 through Spektrum; might be cheaper elsewhere. Their website also states that it does not currently work with the Phoenix RC Simulator, and probably never will at this point, since PhoenixSim went out of business. :( But, I'd be willing to bet that the Horizon Hobby edition of RealFlight 8 will support the Wireless Spektrum interface, being that Spektrum is part of the Horizon Hobby family. :) It should be compatible with Mac or PC, just needs a USB port to connect it to.

In comparison, with the OrangeRX dongle, it's running about $20 (before shipping) from HobbyKing, which is pretty good. The OrangeRX comes in two different formats - DSMX/DSM2, which supports Spektrum radios, and FrSky, for all the FrSky radios. I mention this in case you want to purchase one, MAKE SURE you get the one compatible for your radio! They look identical. The OrangeRX has a button on the side that has to be held in when you first insert it into the USB slot to initiate binding; it'll cause the dongle to flash rapidly until it binds. I have successfully tested it with the following simulators:

- AeroFly RC7 (Mac AND PC)
- Liftoff (Mac)
- Velocidrone (Mac)
- FPV Freerider (Mac)
- DRL Racing League Simulator (Mac)

I personally have not tested it with RealFlight yet, as I do not have a working PC, so I haven't been able to verify compatibility with any other programs. But, it does work pretty darned well, although setup for each program did require calibration (and in some cases, calibrating it twice so that I got the proper readings for throttle and some of the switches).

Only downsides I have found with the OrangeRX are 1) When you bind, you MUST step back several feet from the dongle in order for it to initially bind; sitting at the desk with the transmitter in your lap, it only successfully binds maybe 1 out of every 10 attempts - and 2) It's ONLY available through HobbyKing, which puts you at their mercy of availability, shipping, etc. (sorry, I know others have had good luck with HobbyKing, but I've had issues and will avoid them even if it means paying more for something).
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#7
I suggest real flight 8 as well. It will give you 100-200 crashes free of the cost of fixing. It will give you the basic muscle memory needed for flying. If you set the turbulence and gusts, then up the wind, it will give you a good handle of real life wind conditions. I still use it for practice of new maneuvers before going and doing it for real on a $2500 plane.
I've been using AeroFly RC7 to hone my skills with 3D flight; I'm still working on Knife Edge flight, along with hovering; I can fly inverted and do some really good, slow stall flights, but hovering the plane vertically over the runway or doing pirouettes is just slightly beyond my skill level right now. :) Maybe I'll hit up one of the 3D pilots at the field and ask for some "secrets" to pulling it off, but so far, the sims have been INVALUABLE at practicing it, as it's a LOT cheaper if I screw up in there than it is in real life. :)
 

mayan

Well-known member
#8
What is your flying skill? If you don't have any I would highly recommend the Tiny Trainer to practice with, turn it into your beater plane and then move to a different plane :).
 
#9
Thank you everyone for your responses. It is nice to see the different ideas. It is also nice to see some details on what I was looking at and why or why not it might meet my needs.

My experience? I flew a Cox control line Piper Cub 65 years ago. Flew-I mean when I could get the engine to start. I have also watched a bunch of Flite Test and R/C Airplane Videos on youtube, does that count for anything?

I had considered the tiny trainer but Customer service steered me towards the Champ. They could not answer my question about using the transmitter that came with that plane with a flight simulator. They pointed me here to this forum for answer and i got it. Thumbs up to Customer service for that. Thumbs up to the folks here for the answer.

So my thought is back to the tiny trainer. Flite test offers a bundle for the Tiny Trainer. https://store.flitetest.com/flite-test-tiny-trainer-get-started-package-flt-5006-bdl/p791873 They offer a 6 channel Spektrum Transmitter as an option. Offering a specific transmitter with the package is important as it would indicate that it will be compatible. If i like this hobby, in time with experienced i would better understand what else i need and what else might work.

I have wanted to try this foam board assembly. It looks to be a very interesting concept. So the Tiny Trainer would fit that need.

So moving onto the next step. How quick is Flite Test Store in processing order? I am going to be out of town all next week. I would hate to order today only to provide the Porch Pirates a new kit next week.
 

jross

Well-known member
#10
I have wanted to try this foam board assembly. It looks to be a very interesting concept. So the Tiny Trainer would fit that need.
I'm relatively new to the hobby also. About 6 months of flying. I can't say enough positive about the Tiny Trainer. My first plane and still in one piece. I often use it to warm up as it's such a relaxing plane to fly.

Big difference between the RTF Champ you are considering and a Flitetest build is that when you smash into the ground (and you will) you pull out another sheet of foam board and rebuild whatever you crunched. No waiting for parts to arrive. Scratch building is also a great way to learn a lot about planes and how they work. Add some tape to your foam board planes and they become pretty rugged. I probably have 40 crashes on my Tiny Trainer and all I've had to rebuild was the nose and motor mount. Not sure if you'll be like me but sitting down at the bench to build planes is peaceful and therapeutic. If you go with the TT, buy some extra props. I probably broke 15 before I finally got the hang of flying, landing and crashing.

I used RF8 as my simulator. Saved me a lot of grief and as @Headbang said, it really helps with muscle memory. Things start to become automatic instead of having to think about every move you make.

I tried RC when I was younger too. The balsa builds took forever and like you, gasoline engines just frustrate me. I think you'll find this experience much more rewarding. Best of luck!
 

Headbang

Well-known member
#11
The result of a rtf crash

20190418_161757.jpg 20190418_161752.jpg
After extensive fixing by the owner of this one, verdict is still out on whether it will ever fly again.

The result of a foam board crash

IMG_4332.jpg IMG_4333.jpg

Same owner. This one may be ready to fly again already, just 2 days later.

The ability to just cut and replace foam board parts makes it a much better choice for beginners.
 

basslord1124

Well-known member
#12
The Champ transmitter is very basic. Very low range/distance and very little as far as programming. The Champ transmitter CAN bind to other Spektrum compatible airplanes (the BIND procedure is on the back of the transmitter). There are wireless dongles (as mentioned) that can allow you to BIND the transmitter to a PC to use on a simulator. I do think the Champ is an excellent trainer (the original yellow 3 channel one)...but here are some things to consider too:

-Champ transmitter has a low range...perhaps a few hundred feet. I recommend a full range computerized transmitter.
-Have to fly in very low winds
-that version of the Champ uses a brushed motor. They will eventually wear out and have to be replaced. If you have a plane with a brushless motor, you won't have to worry about it wearing out.

Not knocking the Champ, it's a great plane that got me started...but just some things to think about.

I have actually went from Horizon Hobby foam RTFs like the Champ to doing foamboard Flitetest planes and actually I like this transition better. I can expand my creativity and building skills (I love to tinker/build), have a bunch of airplanes, and do all this with cheap materials. I actually flew my Tiny Trainer this morning. Had to do some trimming but once I got it, it flew/glided real nice.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#13
There are advantages and disadvantages to both foamboard and RTF.

Foamboard Pros:

- You learn how to build planes
- You get a better feel for how important control surfaces are
- They're often cheaper to put together than an RTF plane

Cons:

- It takes time to put them together
- You don't know if your building skills have built a good design that you know will fly until it's maidened
- Not all planes have settings for expo or throws in their build materials, leaving you to guess

BNF/RTF Pros:

- You can have them flying in the time it takes to charge a battery
- They come with an instruction manual for settings
- They can look just like the full scale versions they're modeled after, down to the rivets and shape of the wing
- RTFs come with a transmitter
- You know that the plane has specific settings for different levels of flight vs. having to set it up yourself with the foamboard (which may not be easy for a beginner to do)

Cons:

- If they crash, they're usually cheaper to just replace the entire thing
- Usually more costly than a foamboard plane
- They come with a transmitter that generally can only be used with that one plane

(There may are most likely more pros and cons for each, but these are the biggest ones I can think of for each that aren't too subjective)

It's really up to you to decide on the first plane; sometimes, just having something that's pre-set might be easier, but building it yourself may be a big accomplishment. With this, there really isn't a right or wrong direction, I think (unless you think your first ever plane to fly is something like the FT Edge 540 or an EDF version of the Viggen or a racing quad LOL)

Good luck on your flights, and remember these things:

1) A good landing is nothing more than a controlled crash.
2) The FliteTest motto - Build, Fly, Crash, Repeat (because you WILL crash at some point, whether it's from lack of skill, a gust of wind comes up and blows your plane crazy as you're landing, a bird attacks your plane in midair, or even weird mechanical failure) - Don't let the crashes get you down!
3) Laugh and enjoy your flights, even if your hands are shaking and you're a nervous wreck flying. I've seen veteran pilots shaking because they just flew an expensive plane for the maiden flight, or they pulled off an incredible save, but they come back and do it because it's FUN.
 

mayan

Well-known member
#14
unless you think your first ever plane to fly is something like the FT Edge 540
What that’s not good as a trainer plane I thought it was :). Lol.

I think the guys covered it pretty well not much to add expect for good luck and let us know should you need help with the build.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#15
What that’s not good as a trainer plane I thought it was :). Lol.

I think the guys covered it pretty well not much to add expect for good luck and let us know should you need help with the build.
@mayan - Curses. A pox on you! I sprayed soda all over my screen! :ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO:

Seriously, though - my dad just got his solo wings recently, had me build him an FT Edge, and wanted to take it out to test it out. We had one of the 3D pilots at the field maiden it for him, and they told him, "It's a great build, well put together, but...Uh...Chuck, it's a little more plane than your current skill set will allow. Maybe...Uh...Stick to the Timber you have first and get comfortable?" LOL

At any rate - @The Double D - Enjoy flying, but get comfortable with the basics first before you move up in to something harder, like the acrobatic planes. :) Better to enjoy the simple flight first, so you don't get frustrated and hate the hobby. :)
 

mayan

Well-known member
#16
@mayan - Curses. A pox on you! I sprayed soda all over my screen! :ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO:
Look at the bright side of things your screen is a tad cleaner because of me :LOL::ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO:

And I do second @sprzout the edge is a plane that requires a ton of practice. I only recently managed to fly full batteries on mine and I am no where close to handling the plane like it should be handled. The forces acting on the wing are equal top and bottom which makes it want to dive each time you let go of the sticks. It’s not a plane that can’t be mastered but you need practice and would very discouraging for someone new to the hobby or one that has come back after a few years. Don’t like seeing ppl step away just because they choose the wrong plane to start with :).
 

Mode 1

Active member
#17
I FULLY agree that if you are simply looking to dip your toe into the water of RC flight the Champ is a great option. My son learned to fly using that same plane and that very same champ is still here, is still flyable, and we never had to order a replacement part. I'd buy a handful of extra batteries and go have some fun.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#18
I FULLY agree that if you are simply looking to dip your toe into the water of RC flight the Champ is a great option. My son learned to fly using that same plane and that very same champ is still here, is still flyable, and we never had to order a replacement part. I'd buy a handful of extra batteries and go have some fun.
Good suggestion, and one I completely forgot! Buy 2-3 batteries when you get the plane and charge them all up the night before you go to the field. Then, when you're flying on your second battery, you can charge the first one and still have another one to fly with - the batteries usually take a bit to have them fully charged.
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#19
The Champ was the first trainer I had real success on, but it was after trying a free sim and flying a mini scout kit for a few short flights until it got too beat up. A simulator will not account for a lot of real physics but it will give you a general feel of how fixed wing RC planes handle and fly, and will allow you to test the handling of different controls and styles of plane, such as flying wings with elevons, RET 3ch trainers, 4ch trainers, bipes, etc. I would recommend a free sim called multiflight. I'll try to find the link. Knowing what I know now, it might be better for you to go straight to a foamboard kit like the Tiny Trainer or the simple or mini Scout. If for some reason you end up going with the Champ though, you won't be disappointed, as it is still a great trainer for the money despite a couple drawbacks others have discussed above.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#20
The Champ was the first trainer I had real success on, but it was after trying a free sim and flying a mini scout kit for a few short flights until it got too beat up. A simulator will not account for a lot of real physics but it will give you a general feel of how fixed wing RC planes handle and fly, and will allow you to test the handling of different controls and styles of plane, such as flying wings with elevons, RET 3ch trainers, 4ch trainers, bipes, etc. I would recommend a free sim called multiflight. I'll try to find the link. Knowing what I know now, it might be better for you to go straight to a foamboard kit like the Tiny Trainer or the simple or mini Scout. If for some reason you end up going with the Champ though, you won't be disappointed, as it is still a great trainer for the money despite a couple drawbacks others have discussed above.
Vimana - Found a link for Multiflight, but it looks like it's some seriously old software. Do you know if it runs on Windows 10? I wasn't able to find any system requirements for it other than something that said it would run on XP all the way up to Windows 8, but that was on a post in RCGroups from 2013. With something that runs on XP, I have to wonder if it will hold up on newer systems.