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Been a noobie for 3 years :~( help... please.


Junior Member
Hi, It all started in late 2009 when my bro bought me an Arduino Uno for my B Day. I started searching projects to build with this board and I bumped into Ardupilot from DIY Drones which lead me to UAV's, FPV's and LRS, I WAS HOOKED!!

So after more research I bought the Skywalker as a platform, Long range system, FPV system, batteries, Turnigy 9X Radio, well and much, much more. Now the thing is I never flew anything RC before but with the help of the Ardupilot Stabilization I managed to get a couple of good flights before crashing one final time and made me give up...for a couple of months.

Then I went on spending money on Quads, Quad Kits, more batteries, motors, much more props and much more but yet no luck in getting a decent flight without crashing the thing to pieces. More months went by where I discovered these great guys from FliteTest, I made it a point to watch all 314 (at the time) videos on youtube, which I did in about 3 weeks.

So I went on to purchase an other Radio (Spektrum DX8), the Bixler 2, GoPro and Fatshark, and some more stuff. I built the Bixler but it never seen the light of day because I'm too scared to crash it now so I downloaded the plans for the Nutball built it with the stuff I had laying around and with all the correct specs but all I managed to do is break two props only a few seconds in flight.

Up till now I spent well over 3000 Euros and I have nothing good to show,
Am I too old (35 years)to learn to fly RC?
What can I do?
I'm on my knees asking no no pleading for help!!
My three year old twins first full sentence was "Daddy you broke your arplane?"

Desperate Steve :(


Hostage Taker of Quads
Hey Steve!

Props break. So does foam. Know EXACTLY what you mean!

The ideal solution is to find a flying buddy/club, but not always an option.

Otherwise, my advice while you're waiting to get more props:

Take the Bixler (take off the FPV gear or anything expensive), balance it, plug it in, trim it. Then with the control in one hand and the throttle off, throw it like a chuck glider with ALL your might and control the glide to the ground.

pick it up, do it again. and again. keep doing it until:

1. you get up the courage to put the propeller on and throttle up
2. you get bored enough to try it with the throttle on
3. you break it. then you fix it. (it'll happen eventually, but probably not until you're flying it under power)

When you get it in the air and you can't help but spend the time giggling, you know you've hit the sweet spot. Don't worry too much about breaking it, enjoy it!

Most memorable quote through the whole series was Mac Hodges talking about his second (of 3) monster sized B-29's:

"it's just an airplane."

Build confidence, fly until they break, and fix until you can't. So far, the best secret this hobby has taught me!


Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
You're far from alone. I spent years crashing. I would try to buy what I could "afford" and would often get old used aircraft that had already left it's best years behind.

Back in the late 90's electrics were just starting to get popular with little GWS kits. I tried it again. I had some luck with the Pico Cub. With this new boost to my confidence, I built a glow powered plane, which managed to fly away from me in a very ugly and uncomfortable flight attempt.

I hung up my controls for a few years, and got back into it full swing after visiting SEFF in 2007.

Lots of broken planes littered the path of my past to get me to the crash master that I am today. I still crash. You never get away from that. But it's much less frequent, and often due to pushing my luck.

All that being said, find someone near you to help you fly. Often noobie crashes are due as much to improperly set up aircraft as to pilot error.


Junior Member
Hey Guys thanks for the prompt reply. I know my biggest mistake is trying to run before I learn to walk but that is me with everything in my life so now, after a few thousand Euros I'm starting to realize. But again shouldn't a nutball be the easiest to fly?
With regards to the club, there is only one on this piece of rock I live on and from what I heard I should keep away because of all the stuck up members and rules over regulations, mind you I have never read them yet nor met the members, so I might be the stupid one i not trying.
Dan, I also learnt my lesson with fpv gear from the Skywalker crash so I aint gonna install it before I do get to fly properly, if I ever will. I will try the chucking method you mentioned from the roof and see what happens.



Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
Too old at 35? I certainly hope not since I am nearing 55 and have been this only 2 years this time around. A lot of RC folks are 60 to 80 years and up. ;)



Junior Member
Too old at 35? I certainly hope not since I am nearing 55 and have been this only 2 years this time around. A lot of RC folks are 60 to 80 years and up. ;)

Great to hear that Thurmond, the thing that's pissing me off is usually I'm a fast learner and great with understanding machinery and the phisics of stuff so I thought this would be an easy/Fun hobby for me but its killing my brains and my wallet.



Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
We are similar in that respect as I usually learn quickly but some things just take more time. It sounds like you have enough parts (so do I). I have built way more than I have flown. There is no point in flying a craft you are afraid to crash because no matter who or what, crashes happen. Keep this in mind.....Build, fly, crash, repair, repeat. Use cheap stuff first to learn then progress to better planes, copters, multi's as skill improves.



Senior Member
I recently got back into the hobby after flying gliders more than 25 years ago (I'm now 38!) I tried my hand at a scratch build F22 and crashed it 4 seconds into my first flight. Then 8 seconds into the second flight, and 3 seconds into the third before it was kaput.

I then switched to an FTFlyer:


This plane is super forgiving and I've brought it home in one piece every time I've taken it out. Confidence. Persistence.


Junior Member
This plane is super forgiving and I've brought it home in one piece every time I've taken it out. Confidence. Persistence.
Hi Skeplin, with the nutball both crashes ended up in an nose dive, broken props and a motor full of soil and the second flight shorter than the first. I think my problem is because it tends to fly nose up so when I try to cut down the throttle and slight down elevator it just rockets down. does the FTFlyer keep its nose up too?



Amateur Extra Class K5TWM

My first plane and still favorite style is pusher prop driven. Foam nose's are easy to fix and the motor and prop are completely out of the way in a more or less protected place (as long as you land right side up). Build one of Ed's planes over at his YouTube Page "ExperimentalAirlines".



Senior Member
... does the FTFlyer keep its nose up too?
In the wind it has a tendancy to push the nose up. I adjusted the center of gravity on mine and put some trim on the transmitter and it seems to fly really straight now. When I give it thrust, it wants to climb. (Useful when I've gotten myself in trouble.)

I'm not sure about the Nutball, but the FTFlyer has a traditional tail with elevator and rudder. No ailerons.
Try the FT Flyer before the nutball, it's much easier to fly and not as wind sensitive as the nutball. Actually, I've had a lot of fun hovering the FT Flyer against hard wind =). If you line the leading edge with some kind of rods (wood, fiber glass, carbon fibre) it's near indestructible. Have fun.


Junior Member
Thanks guys for all the great tips, I'll start building the FT Flyer as soon as I can and let you know what happens (good or bad)
You are most definitely not too old to learn. I've been a die hard RC Car person since I was 15 and I'm 41 now and just started getting into planes this year.

I managed to self teach with an $89 Hobbyzone Champ which is a very forgiving and CHEAP plane to start out on. The only thing it needs is a nice calm day and its good to go.

Maybe you could find another flyer near you and get some stick time in with a trainer cord? It would have saved me several crashes if I would of had someone take mine up the first time, get it trimmed correctly and set the rates before handing me the controls. Its one thing to learn how to fly a properly trimmed and flying plane, its another entirely to try to learn to fly if the plane isn't setup correctly.


Senior Member
with the nutball both crashes ended up in an nose dive... down. does the FTFlyer keep its nose up too?
I had two tries and crashes with the Nutball as well. The FT Flyer was the first plane that I was able to get up and keep up and felt like I was controlling it instead of wind or gravity or whatever.
Because both the Nutball and the FT Flyer don't have an airfoil, they both have to keep their noses up at least slightly to keep the air moving under the wing.
Give the FT Flyer a try. I had much better luck than with the Nutball.
It's worth investing in a simulator. A number of companies have a trial version of the software so you can see if it works on you're system/setup before you buy the full version.

A lot of transmitters have a port on the back that will take a standard cable (available for a few quid/bucks from ebay), so you usually don't need to buy an extra transmitter type controller.

Although some of the software is quite expensive, older versions with are nearly as good and available used on ebay. But there are also other makes that give you the software for free and you just purchase the plane/model that you need.
I've just recently started flying. Like you, I started out with a quad (back in January). I managed to kill that frame, built a tri, crashed it several times. Now I'm learning on planes so I can get a handle on orientation before I go back to the quad.

I also picked up a ParkZone Mini Vapor so I can practice flying in my back yard. It's a tiny little rudder-elevator-throttle plane, small enough I an actually fly it in circles in my living room. It's nearly indestrctable in a crash. I've crashed it more times than I can count, and only just recently broke the prop; replacement props are cheap. The plane is well worth the $40 or so I paid for it.

To learn to fly you need to just keep trying. If you crash, pick it up and fly again. Keep doing that until you get a feel for what's going on. Go gentle on the controls, that's the hard one for me. I grew up with Atari and arcade games. Joysticks were on/off, not proportional, so my instinct is if I want to go left I go all the way left. If you played a lot of video games as a kid, you probably learned the same thing. Maybe it would help to spend a little bit with the plane on the ground, practice moving the sticks just enough to make the control surfaces start to move.
The thing is, the flitetest guys make it all looks so easy. And then when you have a go yourself, you either realise it's not, or assume your doing something wrong. But like most things, practice is the key. Just start off with cheap stuff.