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Brand new and need a little guidance

#1
Hi Folks,

I'm getting pretty old so thought it was time I join the fun. I've watched a lot of Flite Test videos (they are a hoot) and read a lot of forum posts. Here's what I think I'm going to do generally, but I'm a little fuzzy on some details.

I'm going to get the following:
RealFlight 8 Horizon Hobby Edition
Spektrum DX9 (something to grow into)
FT Simple Cub or FT Legacy Speed Build Kits (probably both)
FT Corsair and FT Spitfire (sometime in the future... my favourite planes)

To make things a bit easier I thought I'd also get the Spektrum RC AR636 which includes AS3X.

And here's where I get a bit fuzzy.

Should I get the RF8 with the Interlink-X controller? Or should I use the DX9 with the WS1000? I don't care if I have both... I'd just like the best learning experience.
I understand that SAFE always includes AS3X... but does AS3X always include SAFE?
Can I put an RC AR636 into the FT Simple Cub and fly it in SAFE mode?

Thanks,
David
 

Merv

Well-known member
#2
I would find a local club. I'd recommend the Tx that is compatible with what someone at the club is using. The best way to learn is on a buddy box. Simulators and SAFE are great technology's and will help you a lot, but they are no substitute for an instructor and the buddy box.
 

jross

Well-known member
#3
Simulators and SAFE are great technology's and will help you a lot, but they are no substitute for an instructor and the buddy box.

Second that. I was getting pretty frustrated until a buddy and I buddy-boxed. I was able to take control at a safe elevation and when the shit hit the fan, my buddy saved it. After a bit, I started making lower and slower passes lining up my landings. Then one day, I just set it down. Felt awesome! I found when I first started without buddy boxing, my shoulders, upper back and arms got so knotted up, it affected my control. I was too nervous. With a buddy to save me, I started to relax physically and mentally. It made fine stick movements much easier and I didn't freeze or panic. I bought RF8 also and it helped but it's no substitute for a good teacher. It simply gets you to that first level where you become competent with stick movements and start to develop muscle memory. I found stick movements became more automatic and I didn't have to think about every little stick movement. It also really helped with flying toward myself.

A suggestion for buddy boxing. Go with a wireless connection between transmitters. We had a few close calls when the connecting cable jiggled a tiny bit and I lost control unknowingly. Looked like the cable was still connected fine. We then figured out we could set an alarm in OpenTX to warn when the connection was lost. But we damn near scrapped a few planes before that.

Happy flying. And building. And flying. And building...
 
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#4
I would find a local club. I'd recommend the Tx that is compatible with what someone at the club is using. The best way to learn is on a buddy box. Simulators and SAFE are great technology's and will help you a lot, but they are no substitute for an instructor and the buddy box.
Thanks... I'll look into a club in my area.
 

d8veh

Well-known member
#6
You don't really need a buddy box. You can play "pass the transmitter". There are advantages and disadvantages with both methods. I've taught loads of guys to fly by passing the transmitter. It's not as tricky as you'd think.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#8
You don't really need a buddy box. You can play "pass the transmitter". There are advantages and disadvantages with both methods. I've taught loads of guys to fly by passing the transmitter. It's not as tricky as you'd think.
"Pass The Transmitter" is dangerous. I know; I've done that with my dad, and you have to KNOW when you can save it, with enough time, and pray that they will hand it over when you're yelling, "My plane!" to try and save it. Buddy boxing is MUCH better in that respect, as it takes that 10-15 sec of passing the controller out of play.

I'd say you've got a good start with RealFlight 8 and the DX9; they're solid together.

With regards to AS3X/SAFE mode, I'm not one who really likes it that much. It DOES make the plane easier to fly, but it tends to do it by limiting how much reaction the plane can have, and will self-level if you take your hands off the sticks. That's a good thought, something like cruise control - but, if you're flying towards a tree, and you take your hands off, the plane levels - and flies into the tree.

Let me give another example of how SAFE mode can be dangerous:

My father was learning to fly and the instructor put his plane into SAFE mode. While helping my dad fly, a gust of wind came up and blew some planes off of the tables in the pits, and everyone turned around to look at them and recover the planes that had fallen. My father was making a turn at that time, but the plane's limits would not let it turn sharp enough to avoid the 80' eucalyptus tree at the side of the pilot's box area, and it "ate" the plane.

Does this mean you shouldn't use SAFE mode? No. Not at all. But, just be aware that your movements on SAFE mode will be watered down, and the plane may not react as quickly as you'd like it to react. I feel like it's a crutch that can actually hamper your skills for real flying. I'd set it up to a switch, so you can turn it off and on, and see what the differences are like.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#9
A wireless buddy box will not do you any good unless you instructors Tx is also wireless.
If the instructor is using a Dx6, DX8, DX9, iX12, DX18, etc., odds are it has wireless trainer. :) Most of the newer Spektrum radios have that functionality.
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#10
I think you are on the right track you are starting almost exactly like I did at 64 years of age when I started back in to RC. As the last time I flew RC was push the button once for right rudder twice for left, and do not forget to wind the rubber band for the actuator.

The new AS3X receivers can be programed to give you as much control as you desire in any mode. All the above commenters had to do was throw the switch to gain more control surface authority or they did not have it setup correctly. AS3X is a great learning tool as you gain experience just turn the gyro off or in a pinch hit the switch to enable it.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#11
Pass the transmitter is occasionally followed by drop the transmitter. I used pass the transmitter for a while but I wised up and bought a second transmitter specifically for linking to as a buddy box arrangement. I advise that you NEVER risk pass the transmitter, too much can go wrong!

As for AS3X it can be a great help to get started BUT ween yourself off of it ASAP! It can really slow your development once you get flying!

Have fun!
 

Gazoo

Well-known member
#12
I like the SAFE in my Apprentice S15e. It allowed me to get out and enjoy actually getting the plane up, around and down again on my own (with a little damage sometimes). The one thing that it was not good for is actually teaching how to "fly" a plane. It is great for learning the initial muscle memory with the sticks though.

When transitioning to a plane without the SAFE tech, I quickly found out that I had very little control of the plane. I had to relearn how to give inputs without over controlling or stalling. Crashes happened...learning happened...eventually, I figured it out on my own.

I'm not saying to not get an instructor and use a buddy box. Just saying that it is possible to learn to fly RC without.
 

d8veh

Well-known member
#13
Pass the transmitter is occasionally followed by drop the transmitter. I used pass the transmitter for a while but I wised up and bought a second transmitter specifically for linking to as a buddy box arrangement. I advise that you NEVER risk pass the transmitter, too much can go wrong!

As for AS3X it can be a great help to get started BUT ween yourself off of it ASAP! It can really slow your development once you get flying!

Have fun!
It's theoretically possible, but I've never seen it happen. I used to teach all the newbs to fly in the largest club in the UK. This was before buddy boxes were common> I never saw one at that club. I never lost a plane while training somebody.
 

jaredstrees

Well-known member
#14
Nice thing about foam board is its cheap, so you don't need SAFE and buddy boxing and simulators if you don't want them. I learned without that and yes it takes time, but no more than learning to fly on a simulator proficiently. Then you have to take simulator experience to the field and it isn't the same.

Not saying I wouldn't have used SAFE, didn't have the money for that fancy stuff when I started. just know you don't need it with these planes. Save it for a nicer kit you really don't want to crash!

Welcome to the forums! Looks like you're off to a great start!
 
#15
I had a good and bad experience with SAFE all in my first flight with a super cub. On my first flight I kept safe mode on because it was my first plane with a greater than 24" WS. I threw it into the wind and the plane auto leveled and I was able to climb to about 35'. At about that point I got hit by a gust of wind that pushed it hard right and kept pushing. I tried to fight the wind but the controls were so numb and the plane had a mind of its own and it disappeared behind a grain hopper. All I could do was chop throttle and prepare to pick up the pieces of my first flight. When I got around the hopper, to my amazement, there it was. In one piece, on its wheels! I guess the auto level actually accidentally landed it. On my next couple flights I opted not to use the safe mode and it flew great. So with all of that in mind, I'm torn on my opinion of safe mode.
 
#16
I love all the stories and examples... thanks... what a great community. Makes for great reading.

I figure with a simulator and then AS3X, I can ease into gaining experience. I think with SAFE I can practice take-offs and landings all day without causing too much damage. And, as said, foamboard exists to be replaced.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#17
It's theoretically possible, but I've never seen it happen. I used to teach all the newbs to fly in the largest club in the UK. This was before buddy boxes were common> I never saw one at that club. I never lost a plane while training somebody.
I can assure that your record is close to unique. Here it is considered as a safety issue to do the pass the transmitter, (NATIONALLY)! Our insurance requires that the insured take EVERY possible measure to ensure the safe operation of the insured aircraft. In the past where there were no buddy box arrangements it might have been quite OK. Your past lack of an incident is admirable and fortunate but they have and do happen albeit infrequently. I have also seen a physical struggle ensue when the instructor tried to regain the transmitter and the student resisted giving it up!

With the environment where litigious action is prevalent and risk assessments are required before even putting on a public display such medieval attitudes are thankfully being fazed out! I would not like to front a court hearing and tell them why I continued with a practice that has a know possibility of causing a loss of control and an accident, especially if the hearing was into the death of a person! We have insurance for a reason. Things happen but we are legally bound to minimize all risks. Here if you persisted in continuing "Pass the transmitter" you would face a club general meeting to argue your case to continue your membership, such is our drive to keep it safe for everyone! Additionally you could face a national organisation ban and insurance penalty as all incidents INCLUDING SAFETY BREACHES must be reported if the club is to remain insured!

My initial RC aircraft experience was obtained in the early 70s and I saw instances back then when pass the Transmitter went horribly wrong, and yet I did the same procedure later until I wised up to the danger inherent in such an action! Whilst I may seem too cautious for some and even over the top in my reactions, not only am I instructing pilots to both build and fly i am also capable of certifying/qualifying them In addition I am also a member of the club safety committee!

Whilst I started initially in the 70s when things were somewhat different and so were procedures I must continually remind myself that I live in the CURRENT world with its values and requirements! Nowadays if you can avoid a possible safety issue then you are legally and morally bound to do so!

Just the way the real world is!

have fun!
 

d8veh

Well-known member
#18
Nice thing about foam board is its cheap, so you don't need SAFE and buddy boxing and simulators if you don't want them. I learned without that and yes it takes time, but no more than learning to fly on a simulator proficiently. Then you have to take simulator experience to the field and it isn't the same.

Not saying I wouldn't have used SAFE, didn't have the money for that fancy stuff when I started. just know you don't need it with these planes. Save it for a nicer kit you really don't want to crash!
I agree with that. Planes like the carbon Cub+ with SAFE+ are completely safe and are excellent planes for beginners. Here comes the "but". But, only if you read all the instructions and do what they say. You only have to look at Youtube to see hoards of newbs filming their Cubs spiralling into the ground. The problem is that they lack the understanding of what's important and what isn't and they don't have the experience to know what some of the instructions mean. All these technical solutions bring new complexity, which, if you're on your own, will most likely cause as many problems as they solve.

I myself managed to crash a plane on take-off, which had a stabilizer receiver. We had to do so much testing and checking to make sure that the stabilisation was correct before taking the plane to the strip that my attention had been diverted from the reversed ailerons. It was complicated by helpful onlookers, who kept giving advice and interfering. The last thing I did was to reverse the aileron stabilisation because it was the wrong way. I don't know if that somehow reversed the normal aileron control or whether I'm just stupid. Whatever it was, the plane looped to the side on full throttle immediately after take-off, which broke the nose right off.
 

d8veh

Well-known member
#19
I can assure that your record is close to unique. Here it is considered as a safety issue to do the pass the transmitter, (NATIONALLY)! Our insurance requires that the insured take EVERY possible measure to ensure the safe operation of the insured aircraft. In the past where there were no buddy box arrangements it might have been quite OK. Your past lack of an incident is admirable and fortunate but they have and do happen albeit infrequently. I have also seen a physical struggle ensue when the instructor tried to regain the transmitter and the student resisted giving it up!

With the environment where litigious action is prevalent and risk assessments are required before even putting on a public display such medieval attitudes are thankfully being fazed out! I would not like to front a court hearing and tell them why I continued with a practice that has a know possibility of causing a loss of control and an accident, especially if the hearing was into the death of a person! We have insurance for a reason. Things happen but we are legally bound to minimize all risks. Here if you persisted in continuing "Pass the transmitter" you would face a club general meeting to argue your case to continue your membership, such is our drive to keep it safe for everyone! Additionally you could face a national organisation ban and insurance penalty as all incidents INCLUDING SAFETY BREACHES must be reported if the club is to remain insured!

My initial RC aircraft experience was obtained in the early 70s and I saw instances back then when pass the Transmitter went horribly wrong, and yet I did the same procedure later until I wised up to the danger inherent in such an action! Whilst I may seem too cautious for some and even over the top in my reactions, not only am I instructing pilots to both build and fly i am also capable of certifying/qualifying them In addition I am also a member of the club safety committee!

Whilst I started initially in the 70s when things were somewhat different and so were procedures I must continually remind myself that I live in the CURRENT world with its values and requirements! Nowadays if you can avoid a possible safety issue then you are legally and morally bound to do so!

Just the way the real world is!

have fun!
Yes, but if someone believes that passing the transmitter is safer than a buddy-box, then buddy-boxes would have to be outlawed. it's just a matter of opinion
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#20
The best thing you could do is to find a decent and modern club. A club which is tailored to helping fellow club members. Ideally the club should help setup your plane and transmitter for/with you. They should also be willing to test fly and trim the aircraft for you if you request it.

After the plane being setup and trimmed the club members should be willing to clear the air for a newbie flight lessons and of course supply buddy box tuition. In such an environment it is possible you could learn the basics of controlled flight in a VERY short time and without the normal pile of deceased aircraft that goes along with the old style self taught approach. Some modern clubs even have dedicated club training aircraft for those newbies that try to start on an aircraft that requires experienced hands to get it flying properly.

Just a suggestion of course!

Have fun!