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A mentor raises a question!

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#1
The title of mentor whilst a recognition means little. Most who are now mentors freely spend their own time providing help and answers to those in trouble or searching for answers! Often this can mean actually doing the search or research that others are unable to, unwilling to, or are seriously off target.

Whilst this is something which is part of the role or responsibility as is a form of loyalty to the FT designs and the store products it can at times be extremely difficult to provide the information for users when FT releases a new product or design.

I live in a place where buying from the FT store can inflict a freight penalty in excess of the original purchase price. I used to try and build each and every FT offering so that I could find any build or performance problems and the reasons/fixes. This was mainly because the FT audience does not always have access to the same FB or even electrics that the store offers for sale.

Anyway enough preamble!

The Question!

Could the FT admin staff etc consider the early release of plans to Mentors through PM for those who wish to participate in the new design. This of course would require the implementation and enforcement of a NDA or similar. The same could also be for the Beta designs and speed up the entire design to product procedure or process.

If the Mentors were experienced in building and flying new designs then the mentors would be in a far better position to assist those who buy the latest product offering from the release date going forward.

As for my own situation yes I do design and build FB planes for others BUT strictly avoid any and all FT designs unless helping someone who has downloaded their own plans and are trying to build their own version or versions.

Thank you for your time on this!

have fun!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#2
Ooh, good suggestion. I know I'd be willing to try and build some of the new FT plans to see how they're coming. Foam board's cheap, I've got a Dollar Tree a block away, and I don't mind trying some new designs or even thinking of things that may help somewhat for design and builds, like a different technique that was used for one build vs. another.

I mean, I built the MiG-3 multiple times, and on the 2nd build I opened up the air scoop so that I could get more airflow across the ESC. Made a world of difference upon landing; I could actually touch it without worry of burning my fingers. :)

If it's not possible for the mentors to get some of these plans in advance, I get it...I know some of the new ones are going to be time consuming (like the FT Edge - I've got the foam board for it, have been laying it out, but it's going to take some time getting that sucker cut out and built, and then I'll probably have one of our 3D pilots at the field test it, put it through the wringer) so it may not be something that some of us get completed until the actual release of the plane, but I'd be willing to give it a shot!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#3
Ooh, good suggestion. I know I'd be willing to try and build some of the new FT plans to see how they're coming. Foam board's cheap, I've got a Dollar Tree a block away, and I don't mind trying some new designs or even thinking of things that may help somewhat for design and builds, like a different technique that was used for one build vs. another.

I mean, I built the MiG-3 multiple times, and on the 2nd build I opened up the air scoop so that I could get more airflow across the ESC. Made a world of difference upon landing; I could actually touch it without worry of burning my fingers. :)

If it's not possible for the mentors to get some of these plans in advance, I get it...I know some of the new ones are going to be time consuming (like the FT Edge - I've got the foam board for it, have been laying it out, but it's going to take some time getting that sucker cut out and built, and then I'll probably have one of our 3D pilots at the field test it, put it through the wringer) so it may not be something that some of us get completed until the actual release of the plane, but I'd be willing to give it a shot!
We have a slight difference of thought as I was thinking of validating existing designs rather than trying to develop them.

The last "New Release" plane I went and built from FT supplied plans was the FT Simple Cub. It was not because I wanted yet another cub, goodness knows I have bought, built, and repaired so many cubs it scares me, but there were an increasing number of unresolved build and flying issues brought up by those trying to get their creations flying, (this included those who bought FT kits from the FT store).

I tried to avoid yet another cub but in the end I had to build one to find out the issues. My cub is still sitting here though I now rarely have a need or desire to fly it. Like most of my other exploratory builds it will eventually be gifted away to some club newbie, when all new questions are answered or the interest in the design fades away!

As for the MIG -3 I also built one and decked it out in the proper colour scheme with colour trim but after testing the design over about 30 flights I was not overly impressed with its low speed handling and its obvious "P" factor/torque roll when taking off with full power at too slow a speed. Anyway it survived long enough to be given away and its fate after that is unknown to me.

My aim in posting this open request is not to gain some advantage over or cause any financial damage to Flite Test but rather to support their business model and maintain their supply of designs and support to their followers. I am unable to give financial support but I can provide my knowledge, time, and limited expertise where it can benefit them the most. I do not mentor QUADS or other like platforms and concentrate on the FB models that FT releases as well as those who like to develop those designs and designs of their own!

Enough rambling!

Have fun!
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#5
I think this is a great idea! Maybe not specifically for me though since my fixed wing experience is fairly limited. But then again that might help me encounter the problems other novice builders will find. I'd be very happy to assist in any advanced multirotor testing though :)
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#6
I think this is a great idea! Maybe not specifically for me though since my fixed wing experience is fairly limited. But then again that might help me encounter the problems other novice builders will find. I'd be very happy to assist in any advanced multirotor testing though :)
As stated I only mentor fixed wing, (with a little possible Autogyro thrown in for good luck). Ideally this idea would be applicable across all FT offerings where plans or even kits are supplied, (kits would still be a chargeable entity though).

Mentoring requires knowledge and experience and any mentor that does not keep up with what is happening will soon find that they do not know the answers and can either fade away or just give up mentoring altogether.

It should be known that my request is not some form of inducement to keep mentoring as I do that of my own free will, but rather as a method of getting ahead of the curve when it comes to supporting those who request help!

have fun!
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#7
From what I remember from days of old Flite Test actually already has a team of beta nuildets to do what you are suggesting.

I am not sure however if they still exist. I know @Babybrit ((think thats Joels forum handle) was part of or lead for them.

Maybe shoot Stefan a pm and ask if they still exist if you may jpin the team for testing.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#8
From what I remember from days of old Flite Test actually already has a team of beta nuildets to do what you are suggesting.

I am not sure however if they still exist. I know @Babybrit ((think thats Joels forum handle) was part of or lead for them.

Maybe shoot Stefan a pm and ask if they still exist if you may jpin the team for testing.
I may do just that but as I understand beta testing it is early on in the pre-release stage and all I am requesting is a heads up on the release of the final design so that a test build and fly can be done in order that hopefully when the barrage of build and flying problems eventuate mentors might be in a better position to provide help and advice.

have fun!
 

fliteadmin

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
#9
Hey guys!

Thanks for making note to all of this! We can def appreciate the willingness to continue to mentor all of the FT community and help bring clarity and design help to anyone who has trouble or has questions!

That being said, I would have to chat with the crew on what is realistic and if there is anything that can be done on this front. I am sure sending out the FINALIZED plans at some point before the release to certain mentors is not something that is unrealistic, but we have to figure out if we want to, and then how and with what purpose and vision.

Once I chat with the crew I will have a better idea if this is something that will be considered OR put a pin in for the time being!

Blessings everyone and keep on being awesome!
Stefan
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#11
I think that window between "finalized plans are done" but "Build video isn't complete yet" could be the right opportunity in the process to involve a wider set of forum mentors to prepare to help the community on release day.

I know the beta builders are great at providing critical feedback during the development cycle, but not many of them are as active in the forums answering community questions about the planes as the forum mentors are.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#13
The "Secrecy" of the new design could be covered with a NDA, (non-disclosure Agreement), and of course the removal from pre-release builds list as well as possible legal action could be the "Stick" to keep it under control.

Participation could be by either an "OPT IN" choice, (on the part of the mentor), or by invitation and not a blanket issuing of pre-release copies of the plans.

Anyway, having the FT crew/management consider the proposal is as good as it gets at this time. I thank them for their considerations and those mentors who can see value in such a pre-release program of preparation of the support mechanisms for the builders of the FT designs.

Have fun, and keep up the good work!

have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#14
I think that window between "finalized plans are done" but "Build video isn't complete yet" could be the right opportunity in the process to involve a wider set of forum mentors to prepare to help the community on release day.

I know the beta builders are great at providing critical feedback during the development cycle, but not many of them are as active in the forums answering community questions about the planes as the forum mentors are.
Your comment about the Beta Builders is a given! It is hard to spend the time and resources building, testing, modifying, re-building and re-testing in what can seem like an almost endless cycle and devote significant time to answer the usual 20 questions about each and every design.

By necessity Beta builders and testers must have a somewhat uniform end result for evaluation but the forum users are under no such pressure and so the myriad of build issues become part of the initial post release issues. Those doing scratch builds will always end up with variations on the original plans and have no real idea what those variations will do to the flying qualities which is where Mentors fit in.

The area where Mentors are most valuable is where the builds go wrong.

Have fun people!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#16
Your comment about the Beta Builders is a given! It is hard to spend the time and resources building, testing, modifying, re-building and re-testing in what can seem like an almost endless cycle and devote significant time to answer the usual 20 questions about each and every design.

By necessity Beta builders and testers must have a somewhat uniform end result for evaluation but the forum users are under no such pressure and so the myriad of build issues become part of the initial post release issues. Those doing scratch builds will always end up with variations on the original plans and have no real idea what those variations will do to the flying qualities which is where Mentors fit in.

The area where Mentors are most valuable is where the builds go wrong.

Have fun people!
Exactly - and maybe while we're building it, we find a particular method of cutting/forming, or using a particular tool a certain way, that works better than what is recommended. That's where it helps out, as a mentor, to have built some of these planes. :)

I know someone wanted to strengthen a scratch build that they were doing, where the wings were a little floppy (they didn't build a good spar into the wing). I suggested a spar and a paint stick, like what was used in the MiG-3 build, and it helped them. We've seen Josh do much the same, talking about the Baby Blender build techniques in building the Sea Duck, so to some extent, it's just being familiar with some of these techniques and being able to throw them out to others. :)
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#17
Exactly - and maybe while we're building it, we find a particular method of cutting/forming, or using a particular tool a certain way, that works better than what is recommended. That's where it helps out, as a mentor, to have built some of these planes. :)

I know someone wanted to strengthen a scratch build that they were doing, where the wings were a little floppy (they didn't build a good spar into the wing). I suggested a spar and a paint stick, like what was used in the MiG-3 build, and it helped them. We've seen Josh do much the same, talking about the Baby Blender build techniques in building the Sea Duck, so to some extent, it's just being familiar with some of these techniques and being able to throw them out to others. :)
Now I understand where you are leaning! I tried to remember the number of posts where someone was on the verge of abandoning the whole FB/FT planes building until a mentor or two stepped in and guided them in getting their build corrected, patched up and into the air. The few I can remember are now regular forum participants and a couple do religiously buy from the FT shop.

But I must say that the FT designs are sacrosanct. The designs published are capable of flying and rather good performance. Anyone buying from the FT store will get a kit which is from the released plans. Where a builder believes there is a weakness it is normally a result of a poor build, rough handling, or an attempt to make the aircraft perform outside of its normal flight/load envelope.

A mentor should support the builders of FT designs in their original configuration AND also know where a design can be altered to suit a builders expectations or performance requirements. When FT releases a design there MUST be a supporting stock of kits. This is post the Beta testing stage and so looking for ways to improve or alter the build does not really support the FT store, or Flite Test at all.

Sure there are different ways of doing things but the design is set by FT and the kits are cut accordingly. No changes to a design will be accepted unless a model has sold out of stock and a redesign or a 2nd, (improved), version is released. Minor changes in build procedures are acceptable but supporting the original design means that FT will still be here for a long time to come!

Just my opinion anyway!
 

Balu

Moderator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
#18
You guys are overestimating the window between "finalized plans are done" but "Build video isn't complete yet" ;-)
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#19
You guys are overestimating the window between "finalized plans are done" but "Build video isn't complete yet" ;-)
Quite possibly! But with some releases just a few days is enough time to get to grips with a new build and ahead of the pack! Mind you the shorter the time period the less important any objections to my inquiry/request would appear.

Still it is in the hands of the FT crew.

Have fun!
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#20
Where a builder believes there is a weakness it is normally a result of a poor build, rough handling, or an attempt to make the aircraft perform outside of its normal flight/load envelope.
I think too a major issue is setup. Things like not knowing how to balance CG for a maiden, check control surface direction, set up expo and dual rates, how and when to use a smoke stopper, how to synch escs through a flight controller. All these questions are very commonly answered by mentors.

Sometimes the build is fine. It's the setup where folks need help. These questions tend to be more generic and less specific to a particular craft or set of plans and I see mentors stepping up on this stuff all the time.