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Discouraged noob gives up

#1
Where do I even start? I'm new to all this and I don't know anyone in the hobby to help. It's all well and good there is an online community willing and eager to help newcomers but how can you help if they don't know what questions to ask? I find myself guilty of not knowing what to ask. Let me explain.

I Just built a sparrow from I kit I ordered last winter. I must have watched the build video about half a dozen times. Not because I'm a slow learner, I just like watching those vids. I've probably watched them all by now lol. Needless to say I didn't have any problem building the sparrow. I was very familiar with all the building techniques long before I broke the plastic on my kit. What I had a problem with most was setting up my radio to use ruddervators.

The build video shows how to set up a $200 radio to fly the $50 sparrow. But what noob is gonna pay that much to fly cheap foam board planes? I bought a Flysky fs-i6x. The i6 does have a v tail setting but it assumes you have ailerons as well which wasn't useful for my use case. So I used my Googlefu. I found a few threads on this very forum of people with the same problem. Unfortunately nobody could help these people but one did post that he figured it out and listed a few settings but admitted it was probably incomplete instructions (It was). I spent hours just trying different settings and went through two sets of batteries on my radio. Finally I figure it out. I can now pitch up and down and turn left and right with my right stick.

Victorious, I set out to my fathers house to maiden in the empty field behind his house. I check my C.R.A.P, set the throttle to about 2/3 and give it a toss. Before I can get my other hand on the stick it rolls left hard and crashes nose and wing first. I check my C.R.A.P again. Everything looks fine. I carefully inspect the wings and tail section and control surfaces looking for clues as to why the plane is rolling but nothing is found. I throw it again for the same result. I give it some trim to correct the roll and throw it again. This time it stays in the air long enough to get my other hand on it. I quickly push the right stick to the right and it starts to roll even faster to the left and it crashes again. I realize I have the controls reversed and now the prop is broke. I go back to the picnic table on the rear patio to change out the prop. After that I went into the radio's menu to reverse the rudder channel and the plane flies backwards off the table and through the screen and sliding glass door landing in the kitchen leaving a trail of shattered glass halfway across the living room.

It seems I reversed the throttle instead. It never occurred to me to ask what would happen if you accidentally reversed your throttle channel. If it had, the answer might have prompted me to always remove my prop when entering the reverse channel menu. Anyways, I'm giving up on the sparrow. I still got enough parts to build a simple cub. Wish me luck.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#2
Sadly not everyone knows exactly what they do not know. Something my father often told me! I am sure your experience has been shared by others and they would gladly help you with the settings they used.

As for the launch and getting the hand back to the control I now use a ground dragging bungee system for launching my New aircraft, (wings especially), and the plane is always launched straight and with both of my hands on the controls, (no throttle required at all for an initial glide and control test).

Should you not fully understand anything, or have a problem, with your next build Just ask and a plethora of persons will respond many of whom will have had the same or a similar issue and overcome it.

Perhaps you can return to the Sparrow at a later date! If so just ask and as much help, (information), as we can supply is yours for the asking

have fun!
 
#3
Gen; I would suggest that you contact a local flying club for assistance. Nothing beats having an experienced person look over your setup and maybe maiden the plane and set trims. This is the Club Locator for AMA. A great bunch of people and always willing to look over a setup. Many moons ago FT did a beginner series of instructions on different aspects of flying. Always remove the prop if you are going to make changes to the transmitter controls. Verify that the controls are correct while the plane is still on the ground.
Hope this helps.
 

Namactual

Well-known member
#4
It's all part of the hobby. You will have your bad days for sure. We all have had our fair share. Just take it in stride. It will all be worth it the first time you actually fly a full pattern.(y)

At least you did not attempt to chop your fingers off like I did. It is a lesson learned and nobody was hurt. I bet you never reverse channels with the prop on again. ;)

If you can find a club that is willing to help you, great. If not and you have access to a computer I would suggest looking at a simulator. These not only pay for themselves as you get started, but they are a great tool for practicing advanced piloting as well. I have spent hundreds of hours on mine practicing 3D, or just scratching that flying itch when the weather is bad.

Keep at it man, you will get there.
 

jaredstrees

Well-known member
#5
Absolutely keep it up. The first plane I made didn't make it off the ground either. You're cub might not either, but you won't know until you try! It certainly should be easier to set up. Even after I got to where I could fly well I did not always have success. I destroyed three mini arrows before I got one to fly. But what a feeling of accomplishment when you do get it in the air! Keep trying!
 

Grifflyer

WWII fanatic
#6
Never Never give up. When I first started I had about 10-20 attempts, over the course of like a month, before I even got maybe three solid circuits in and even longer until I could fly consistently, but let me tell you even though it was hard and I wanted to quit multiple times, I didn't give up and when I finally got good, the sense of accomplishment was HUGE!! So never give up, and ALWAYS ask questions. Even if you just post what went wrong and then ask for some guidance.
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#7
Where do I even start? I'm new to all this and I don't know anyone in the hobby to help. It's all well and good there is an online community willing and eager to help newcomers but how can you help if they don't know what questions to ask?
You pose a common question, one, I suspect, that keeps many noobs from trying.

To you and all the lurkers I would like to suggest you not try to ask the right questions at first.

Instead, create a build log.

As you build your craft, post notes and photos of your build along the way. When things don't work out, we can all refer to your log to help resolve the problem. You don't have to ask questions so much as present good data. Let the experts ask the questions.

When you crash and want to rebuild, all your settings are in your build log so you can refer to the log to assist.

Other noobs seeing your build log get inspired to try.

You contribute to the hobby's collective knowledge. People will use their 'Googlefu' and end up on your log and benefit from your experience. Video, photos and questions like yours drive the forum.

For me most of the technology was new. Posting to the log helped me produce better photos and video of everything else.

Were you able to document how you got your radio to work? Post the fix to the problem if you can. Add to the collective knowledge.

But what noob is gonna pay that much to fly cheap foam board planes?
I moved up from the cheap radio to the $200 radio (Taranis) a few years back. The foamies and copters are all cheap and expendable but two bits of kit impact every single model you fly, your battery charger and your radio. If you don't like how your wing flies, it's cheap, fix that model. If you don't like how your radio or charger works, every model is impacted.

It would have been cheaper for me to buy the $200 radio up front and saved the cost of the cheap radio. I also found it easier to get my Taranis questions answered. This saved me a ton of time and frustration even with the STEEP Taranis learning curve. To me it was totally worth it. YMMV.

Please post a build log of a new Simple Cub, here on our forums. If it's troublesome, folks will be able to help. If it flies we will all cheer with you. When you overcome an obstacle, another noob will take heart, start a build and ask you questions and the whole hobby moves forward, thanks to you.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#9
Quitting never helps you grow. Take the set backs as a challenge and not let inanimate objects kick your behind. I have tried to fly fixed wing MANY MANY times over the course of my now 54 years. you would think in that time I would have at least had one success. Here is my latest and best effort flying fixed wing. I have no plans on quitting and have made a resolution I WILL fly a fixed wing craft by or at FFO if I have to make a wing like the xvert face it straight up and punch the throttle til the battery dies. I WILL fly a whole pack on a fixed wing craft somehow this year. PERIOD.

For now use this for inspiration to not quit and have fun laughing at my expense so you feel less bad about your endeavors.

 

jamboree1

Active member
#10
Never give up, you can do it. However the sparrow is not a good plane for a beginner, nor is any FT mini plane in my opinion. Most of the FT mini's have poor weight to size ratio making you have to fly them faster than most beginners can handle. look at this behemoth, 60" wingspan with an all up weight of just 22 ounces, very light wing loading and can fly at walking speed or less if going into the wind.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#11
Most of the previous posts contain a gem of truth but the simple point often missed is that a beginner WILL crash! This is a fact and remains regardless of how much sim time or time you might have on other RC craft.

Having said that a trainer MUST be resilient, somewhat expendable, easily repaired or replaced, have good flying characteristics, have excellent stability and be incredibly cheap. A really difficult group of requirements. This is why there will always be a myriad of suggestions as to what is or is not a good trainer!

A beginner should first select a radio that has antenna diversity, Expo settings, the ability to reverse channels, and perhaps the ability to mix a few channels for Elevons or the like. It should have an absolute minimum channel ability of 4 channels though 6 channel would be a more realistic minimum,

As for the actual plane it should not be TOO small or Too big. Nominally I recommend a wing span of 800mm to 1000mm. This is to allow for a strong model, with a tolerance for windy conditions, with reasonable visibility, and to have a model which has a bit of weight for stability but not so much weight that it needs to fly fast just to stay airborne.

The plane should have a minimal parts count and be extremely easy to setup and trim for stable flying. As crashing it is guaranteed a pusher design is strongly recommended as replacement props and motors quickly add up to a significant disincentive. Forget landing gear as it adds weight and seriously, until you learn to fly, landing is not required! Finally a design that CANNOT stall has got to be admired.

So of all the myriad of recommendations you may read the best plane to learn on is strangely something that is often not even considered. Well actually there are 2 types but one is less damage resistance than the other. My first recommendation is a KFM flying wing design, built large and light with a low to medium power motor and a small battery, (2S or 3S). The second choice is a plane of the Bixler type design, (referring to the plane and not the person here).

The Bixler is a superior type as a trainer but it can have a hefty repair bill if you crash it, (normally quite often in the beginning). The KFM designs are incredibly strong and robust. Often I see one hit the ground at speed, cartwheel to a halt, and then be picked up and checked before being launched without any repair required. Of the 20 or so I have built ALL are still flying even though some have been crashed so often and badly that any other model would have been written off long ago. Most trainer wings quickly migrate from the low power motor to High KV monster power units which are used for full contact dogfighting among the competent pilots.

If you are interested and cannot find a design that suits just inform me and I will draw up and post the current plans for the wings we use here.

Just my ramblings, (feel free to ignore if it does not suit your own opinions).

Have fun!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#12
I see a lot of frustration attached to this.

Dude, i’m Going to tell you it’s ok. Maybe it is Murphy’s Law failing you at every step. Or, maybe it’s the model that’s cursed. (I’m still convinced that the Duster and the MiG-3 are cursed; i’ve had successful flights on both, but they’ve died horrible deaths with things like battery canopies coming off in flight and catching in the propeller or the landing gear ripping off the bottom of the plane on landing).

Keep building, keep flying. You’ll figure out things by trial and error, and sometimes, that’s what it takes before you know what questions to ask. And even the loaded questions, like, “Why should I spend $200 on a transmitter vs $50-$60 on a more expensive transmitter?” are ok to ask, because they open up opinions and insight into things you didn’t know about before, like the easier elevon mixing or multiple planes that can be stored in memory, or countdown timers, which may open up a discussion on not flying your batteries until they’re dead (short answer- it shortens overall battery life).

Just talking about the experiences you’re having can help you to learn about things that some of us take for granted, and we assume everyone just knows - like, “Lipo batteries can explode if not cared for properly.”
 

Forster

Slow, low and dirty.
#13
I started with a Champ S+ and still managed to crash it to the point of no return. Build a Cub, my first two flights were about 8 seconds each. I took away a lot of the Aileron travel and got a few more flights out of it (at one prop per two flights) until it was destroyed. I'm on Cub #3 and just built a Scout Biplane and I think I've got it down pretty good now. Advice wise? Don't fly in gusting wind, wind above 5 mph (at first), hand launch on maiden flights, always reduce your travels to the minimum recommended (or slightly less) and make sure you can climb and fly in one direction for a while on the first flight.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#14
The real trick is to always have a decent speed for your plane. Most problems in taking off, piloting, and landing are because the planes speed gets too low and as the controls need speed to work they also stop being as effective if the plane is travelling too slow.

You are correct about control surface deflections but I will add that set up around 30% expo for better control feel and response.

If you learn to take off at high speed and land at higher speed the wind is less bothersome and the controls really work well.

Definitely fly straight and climb to a safe height after each take off!

Sad to hear about the losses but experience has a price!

have fun!
 

kdobson83

Well-known member
#15
I've had a handfull of failures as well, I'm not in a club and don't know anyone that flys. I can share with you a few things to help tho. I had and still have a Flysky i6x. It's a decent radio, kinda wonky to set up v-tail tho. The set up is almost exactly the same as the t6, which there is a plethera of YouTube videos and how toos. But I will tell you the gimbals are super sensitive and cheap. May I recommend selling it and buying a frsky or the new spectrum dx8e. A bit more money but coming from someone whose used both the dx8e and the i6x, it's WAY better. The gimbals alone will help.

Trick two, use a strap and strap that transmitter around your neck, hold with your right hand, throttle up with your mouth like we've seen bixler do in the videos. That way when you launch with your left hand your right hand is already on the controls.

And last tip, I wouldn't recommend the sparrow as a first plane. I tried one with my cheap i6x and it was just too touchy. Only 2 flights before it's life ending crash. I recommend something a tad easier like the tiny trainer or simple cub. If you have electronic for the sparrow you have the exact electronics the tiny trainer uses. Build it, fly it, get good at it, and maybe revisit the sparrow later. But, I do highly recommend upgrading that transmitter to something like the frsky q7 or the spectrum series. I'm loving my dx8e.

Anyway, looks like you have plenty of encouragement from the community. I'll even 1up everyone and add my phone number in case you experience issues again. 502-356-2242. Call/text.
Don't give up, it's worth it, trust me.
 

Chuppster

Well-known member
#16
If it makes you feel any better, it wasn't until the fifth or sixth time trying to fly the Sparrow that I didn't crash it. That thing is a handful!

I actually learned how to fly on the Cub. It can sure take a beating! And it flies great. I built a second one (the first one was rather beat up) and I maidened it this weekend. It was a good reminder of how well it flies. I hope you have as much fun with your Tubby Cubby as I have!

Don't give up friend. Just be careful and remember that accidents are inevitable, all you can do is your best to keep them from happening! This weekend one of my favorite airplanes (3dLabPrint P-47) decided it's elevator wasn't going to work anymore. Went straight into a tree at 70 mph and there wasn't much left after that. A few months ago I would have been really frustrated, but as my Dad and I were out picking up the pieces I said "if I expected to never crash I wouldn't fly." I think that attitude has helped me in this hobby.

I totally suggest you do the build log thing. It's a lot of fun for us to follow along with you, and it helps you get into the air with some help!
 
#17
Don't give up!! Put your head down and give it another go! Here's a few tips I've learned over 35 years of flying and watching others try to learn to fly.
First- Buy/build a TRAINER airplane. I know everybody wants a sexy Mustang/Pylon Racer/Badass plane, but you don't have the skills to fly it. Accept that and move on. Start with a simple Trainer plane and move up from there.
Second- Yes, buy a better radio than you need for your first plane. You will need it in the very near future. Things like Expo, Dual Rates, Elevons, etc. That $100 radio you buy for your first Trainer plane will quickly collect dust when you move on to other models. Expo will calm down the twitchiness of planes and allow you to fly smoother/easier.
Third- Every plane that you build has an expiration date. You will not know when that is, but it is going to crash. I've had planes last 10 years and hundreds of flights. ( My .40 sized Big Stick. Finally got destroyed in a Mid-Air collision with a buddy with his.40 sized stick. We laughed, high-fived and picked up the pieces. ) I've splattered planes on Maiden Flights right at the center of the runway in spectacular fashion. ( A beautiful Hellcat that I spent 6 months building. As I was making a low high-speed pass, the receiver glitched and gave full down elevator. )
I once went to the field with my buddies and splattered a Big Stick, a Diamond Dust, followed by an ME-109 all within about 45 minutes. All the airframes were a total loss. It happens. We used to joke that we were going to start building garbage bags in the fuselage's of our airplanes so there would already be a garbage bag at the site of the crash. Never put an airplane up in the air unless you are willing to watch it crash spectacularly.
Fourth- I will always build balsa airplanes, but I am just now coming around to foamies. I just ordered a Tiny Trainer and a Scout. If I splatter a foamie, I'm out MUCH less time and money. I can strip all the electronics out and build another plane for peanuts.
Fifth- When you're learning to fly, try to fly in conditions that give you a better chance of success. If it's windy, stay home. Find an area bigger than you think you will need. Trees LOVE to eat planes and if there is a tree around, it will suck it in like a magnet. Lol. Fly when it's dead calm out. It's way easier to keep your plane in the air when you're not fighting the wind.
Sixth- Remember, this is fun!! We're playing with toys. Don't freak out if you break your toy. Build another one and play some more. I've seen people lose sight of this part and get frustrated. Were playing with toys. Have fun!!
That's all I can think up right now. If you have questions, ask away. If you get an answer that you don't understand, ask again another way.
 
#18
I just remembered a couple other tips.
Always check your C.G. If it's not right, don't try to fly it. A little nose heavy will fly, just not great. Tail heavy is a recipe for total destruction.
Whenever possible, get somebody to go over your plane before you throw it in that air. My buddies have saved a few of my planes by checking them out only to find that a servo was reversed. I've saved a few of my buddies planes by catching that servos were reversed. Mistakes will be made and it's better to catch them on the ground. Once it's in the air, it's too late.
 

Forster

Slow, low and dirty.
#19
Jeeper is all over it. Check everything every flight (CG, controls, battery mounting....). Make yourself a checklist. Fly with good light, at your back, and with wind less than 5mph at first. Lastly, limit your flying time until you build your skills. Trying to fly for an hour when every minute is draining leads to mistakes. You'll get better with flight time quickly.
 

jtuttle11

Junior Member
#20
Where do I even start? I'm new to all this and I don't know anyone in the hobby to help. It's all well and good there is an online community willing and eager to help newcomers but how can you help if they don't know what questions to ask? I find myself guilty of not knowing what to ask. Let me explain.

I Just built a sparrow from I kit I ordered last winter. I must have watched the build video about half a dozen times. Not because I'm a slow learner, I just like watching those vids. I've probably watched them all by now lol. Needless to say I didn't have any problem building the sparrow. I was very familiar with all the building techniques long before I broke the plastic on my kit. What I had a problem with most was setting up my radio to use ruddervators.

The build video shows how to set up a $200 radio to fly the $50 sparrow. But what noob is gonna pay that much to fly cheap foam board planes? I bought a Flysky fs-i6x. The i6 does have a v tail setting but it assumes you have ailerons as well which wasn't useful for my use case. So I used my Googlefu. I found a few threads on this very forum of people with the same problem. Unfortunately nobody could help these people but one did post that he figured it out and listed a few settings but admitted it was probably incomplete instructions (It was). I spent hours just trying different settings and went through two sets of batteries on my radio. Finally I figure it out. I can now pitch up and down and turn left and right with my right stick.

Victorious, I set out to my fathers house to maiden in the empty field behind his house. I check my C.R.A.P, set the throttle to about 2/3 and give it a toss. Before I can get my other hand on the stick it rolls left hard and crashes nose and wing first. I check my C.R.A.P again. Everything looks fine. I carefully inspect the wings and tail section and control surfaces looking for clues as to why the plane is rolling but nothing is found. I throw it again for the same result. I give it some trim to correct the roll and throw it again. This time it stays in the air long enough to get my other hand on it. I quickly push the right stick to the right and it starts to roll even faster to the left and it crashes again. I realize I have the controls reversed and now the prop is broke. I go back to the picnic table on the rear patio to change out the prop. After that I went into the radio's menu to reverse the rudder channel and the plane flies backwards off the table and through the screen and sliding glass door landing in the kitchen leaving a trail of shattered glass halfway across the living room.

It seems I reversed the throttle instead. It never occurred to me to ask what would happen if you accidentally reversed your throttle channel. If it had, the answer might have prompted me to always remove my prop when entering the reverse channel menu. Anyways, I'm giving up on the sparrow. I still got enough parts to build a simple cub. Wish me luck.
It's ALWAYS a good Idea to check for the proper rotation of the motor BEFORE installing the propeller. Simply remove the propeller and wrap a piece of tape around the shaft and spin the motor up. check the direction of the rolled tape to see if the motor is spinning the proper direction. Also check your control surfaces to ensure the controls are moving in the proper directions.
Best Advice 'Plan Ahead and Check everything out BEFORE attempting to fly'