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Hi! I'm Brent.

#1
Hey there, I'm Brent, 41 from San Francisco, CA. I'm very new to RC as a hobby in my adult life. When I was a kid my dad and I built rockets and played with RC cars but never aircraft, even though we both really wanted to. My dad died last April and it has been on my mind this month that a fun way to honor his memory would be to take the plunge into this hobby. I've been watching FliteTest videos on YouTube for two years now, all the while thinking, "man, that looks fun/hard/insane/like a violation of the laws of physics". I have played with a few toy-grade quads and own a Propel Zipp Nano and am returning a Hubsan H502S to Amazon for some wonky motors. I've bought maybe 6 quads in the past, and didn't really enjoy flying them. I *really* want to enjoy flying a quad, but so far I don't know if it's been bad luck with the quads I have picked up, or me being a terrible pilot :p. Building a plane (or a foam quad, is that a thing?) sounds like something I would love to try my hand at, and if I can do it in honor of my dad, even better.

I have a question about FAA rules. I got registered and have a FA number (I was a little excited and wanted to be in compliance). I live in San Francisco, and the B4UFly app tells me I am in restricted air space because I am on the very edge of the 5 mile exclusion zone for SF International Airport. My house isn't in the flight paths to/from SFO. Is it OK to fly in my back yard, as long as I don't go too high?

Winds in SF are awful. I'd like to get a good but not terribly spendy quad that can handle wind. Are there any suggestions for a quad like this? I don't care about GPS, I really just want to fly and have fun.

My partner and I just recently started going up to his aunt's property in Sonoma. There is a lot of open space and a pond! I'd love to build a sea plane, but I am worried that it'll be too hard to build. The FT Sea Duck tickles the nostalgia center of my brain, and I want very badly to build and fly that one. It looks that it is really easy to launch, from grass or water, watching the videos. What do y'all think about that as a first-timer airplane?

I'm also really interested in getting together with others in the hobby. I found a club up here in Sonoma (Wine Country Flyers Model Aircraft Club). Anyone on here a member there? Is it a good idea to join a club? ($150 membership, plus they require AMA membership, another $75) $175 on top of all the other investments into just seeing if I enjoy the hobby makes me queasy :)

Thank you all and I am gonna go dive into older posts and try to soak up some skills through the forum!

Brent
 

kdobson83

Well-known member
#2
Welcome to the hobby.
1st, I probably wouldn't fly in your back yard. Flying in a restricted FAA area is risky and bad for the hobby if your caught, even if it is a toy quad. 😔
2nd, I would not start with the Sea Duck. Not only is this not a trainer/begginer type plane, it's a more difficult build. I'd start with something easier like the Tiny Trainer or the Simple Storch. Get used to flying, maybe move up to a Scout or a Spitfire, and hone your building skills, then move to the SeaDuck.
3rd, if you have the time, and the money, I would join the club. The members there can help you with your maidens, give advice, and motivate you when you crash, cus your gonna crash. Lol Try going to the club and just watching and talk with the members first before you join.

Anyway, welcome to the addiction, and remember, this forum is always here to help.
 
#3
Thanks for replying, kdobson83!

Ugh, another strike against living in SF! Okay, I will stick to flying the nano inside and anything else up in Sonoma.

I had not thought of going to a meetup of the club and asking around before joining. I am hoping to pique my partner's interest in the hobby too. I figure, I am learning to garden to enjoy his hobby with his aunt (even though plants seem to hate me), he should give this a shot for me.

Thanks for the suggestion of the Tiny Trainer, I am going to get the Get Started kit and the suggested Spektrum 6-channel radio. Am I correct in thinking this radio can be used for quads? I would love to get into FPV and maybe even course runs someday and an investment in a radio that I can grow into as a pilot seems smart.
 

kdobson83

Well-known member
#4
Thanks for replying, kdobson83!

Ugh, another strike against living in SF! Okay, I will stick to flying the nano inside and anything else up in Sonoma.

I had not thought of going to a meetup of the club and asking around before joining. I am hoping to pique my partner's interest in the hobby too. I figure, I am learning to garden to enjoy his hobby with his aunt (even though plants seem to hate me), he should give this a shot for me.

Thanks for the suggestion of the Tiny Trainer, I am going to get the Get Started kit and the suggested Spektrum 6-channel radio. Am I correct in thinking this radio can be used for quads? I would love to get into FPV and maybe even course runs someday and an investment in a radio that I can grow into as a pilot seems smart.
I tried to get my wife flying and she crashed the FT flyer twice in a row and she gave up... Lol My new plan is to get Realflight 8 by Horizon Hobby and train her on the sim first. Shes never done RC and I think it was just to much to begin with. I think this would be a good route for you and your partner. It's a tid expensive, $100, but it'll work with your dx6 your planning to get and it'll get you used to your sticks on your remote before you go to the field. And yes, the dx6 will work with quads. There are a lot of bnf quads out there that work with Spektrum. I personally switched from Flysky to a Spektrum DX8e and love it.

One word of advice tho, don't get the get started package. The DXe 6 channel remote is limited and I believe requires a smart phone to do programming. Your better option would be to start with a dx8e or the dx6e, both of which have screens and can be programmed on the fly. Much easier and more compatible, and frankly, something you can stick with when you grow in the hobby instead of replace. Worst case scenario and you decide the hobby isn't for you, they are much easier to sell.
Anyway, you seem like your on the right path, just do your research, ask questions, and you'll be flying the Sea Duck before you know it.
 
#5
I tried to get my wife flying and she crashed the FT flyer twice in a row and she gave up... Lol My new plan is to get Realflight 8 by Horizon Hobby and train her on the sim first. Shes never done RC and I think it was just to much to begin with. I think this would be a good route for you and your partner. It's a tid expensive, $100, but it'll work with your dx6 your planning to get and it'll get you used to your sticks on your remote before you go to the field. And yes, the dx6 will work with quads. There are a lot of bnf quads out there that work with Spektrum. I personally switched from Flysky to a Spektrum DX8e and love it.

One word of advice tho, don't get the get started package. The DXe 6 channel remote is limited and I believe requires a smart phone to do programming. Your better option would be to start with a dx8e or the dx6e, both of which have screens and can be programmed on the fly. Much easier and more compatible, and frankly, something you can stick with when you grow in the hobby instead of replace. Worst case scenario and you decide the hobby isn't for you, they are much easier to sell.
Anyway, you seem like your on the right path, just do your research, ask questions, and you'll be flying the Sea Duck before you know it.
I am really interested in getting a transmitter and logging hours in a sim. I have a i5 Acer Switch V with 8 gb RAM but it has Intel HD 620 integrated graphics. Both Liftoff and DRL sims frown on my computer. I would love to hear someone's experience with a similar setup. If the sim runs above 20 fps and isn't too choppy I'd be fine with that to start. I'd get the speed build of the tiny trainer and prolly be happy tossing it around for a bit and learning through experimentation how to adjust it for optimum flight. Plus I would scratch that itch of building *something*. :)
 
#6
Try liftoff for quads I would recommend buying a dx6 because you can use a usb instead of having to buy the dongle to use the sim with the dx6e and 8e. After you have bought the dongle you have spent $40 so that is $210 for the dx6e with dongle and for the dx6 it is $225. For antenna diversity it is well worth the $15 extra. Also check out veloca drone( I know I didn’t spell that right) I know a lot of people like that one as well.
 

buzzbomb

I know nothing!
#7
First, let me say welcome to the Forum Family, @Stratospup! The Tiny Trainer is an excellent choice. Many of us here started with it, moved through variations of it, and still fly it along with whatever our current "model of the moment" is. That's the great thing about foamboard aircraft. You can have a "model of the moment" and then on to what you want to fly next.

The Speed Build kit will get you going by teaching you the basic FliteTest build techniques without having to print, transfer the plans and then cut everything out. You'll move on to scratch building, most likely, just because there are so many great designs out there.

As for the choice of trans do the research. This Forum is an excellent source of information and there are several great threads on the subject. Basically you have two routes: The first is to get in super cheap, but understanding that the trans will be outgrown quickly. That route hurts less if you decide that RC flight is not for you.

The second is to go ahead and get a more capable transmitter that you can grow into. That route is more forward looking and cost effective in the long run, but requires a more significant monetary investment at the outset.

As for a sim, I swear by them. I picked up PhoenixRC for $15 dollars and not only are you able to import the foamboard planes from FliteTest and actually try them out, it is an excellent tool to build the muscle memory necessary to allow you to concentrate on flying, rather than what your thumbs are doing. I credit that sim with the fact I didn't crash immediately on my first flight.

It is very easy to get your partner involved. Every RC pilot needs a spotter and videographer! Even if he doesn't want to build or fly, he can still go out to the field with you and take video, so you can share your flights on the forum. (We're particularly fond of that. :))

Don't get discouraged. Any hurdle you come upon can be crossed simply by asking your questions in this Forum. We have so many people here who are not only willing, but eager to help. We WANT you to experience the joy that we do when we fly.

Darn. Another wordwall. I'm good for those. Anyway, be welcome!
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#8
Welcome to the family Brent.

The fixed wing guys are right with starting with a hugh wing trainer for those.

Im more of a quad guy here. One of the issues you are having is starting with toy grade quads. I see maybe 1 outta 12 or so that work properly out if the box.

Dont give up on quads just yet.

As for flying in your back yard or any other area on the fringe or outter limit of the 5 mile zone there are things you can do.

As long as you are not in the approach or take off path you can fly with permission.

You could either call the air port tower and request permission respectfully. They will ask where you are and a few other questions like flight plans. Depending on traffic they may say yes or no.

There is also an app you can use where you file for permission and give flight plans and get auto mated permission and proof you are allowed to fly.

I am not sure of the name of the app but Stingerswarm made a video about it last year. They actually rerouted traffic around his requested area.

Anyway just a few tips to help you do things that represent us in a good way. Thank you for that and good luck what ever you do.
 
#9
Hey thank you all for the helpful suggestions!

Poor Boy 101: Velocidrone says it will work with my computer/graphics chip! Thank you for that! It's not super spendy either, so I think I will get it along with RF8

Buzzbomb: PhoenixRC was discontinued :( But RealFlight 8 from Horizon Hobby should also work with my moderately-capable compy and it appears that since it was based on PhoenixRC that the FT airframes should work in it! YAY! Spendy program, but if it works...

PsyBorg: Wow I am amazed that Air Traffic Control is so accommodating, but I will definitely contact them for the clearance. The other day I saw a guy flying a race quad in the park across the street from me and doing some insane acrobatics around the water tower and I was both jealous and nervous that the men in black from the FAA would be descending (literally, I imagined them flying in on helis to respond to the infraction) upon the park and busting the dude. Nothing happened, other than a neighbor who came out to watch too complaining about the noise, to which I replied that her lawnmower was 4 times as loud as the quad and she said, oh, yeah.... I guess so. ;-P

Edit: Here's the video you were talking about on YouTube:

I downloaded the app (AirMap) and submitted a test flight plan of an hour and BAM. That is damn easy! I guess maybe this is what that dude at the water tower might have done.

PsyBorg: Do you have a proper hobby grade quad in mind for a beginner who has a budget of ~$250 for the quad? I was looking at the Hubsan Storm or the Bolt, or something similar (I'm very drooly over the Walkera Rodeo 150! But watching some of the videos on YouTube a trainer drone such as the Storm seems like a better idea. I'm really interested in FPV too, and I was thinking of getting a small FPV video TX and camera that I could stick on different drones, planes, and even a truck or two (ground vehicles and watercraft are also an interest of mine).

Finally, regarding all the talk about radios and after some research on protocols (oh how I wish for an open-standard world), I am heavily leaning toward the FrSky Taranis QX7 since I can upgrade it with a Spektrum module or (I assume) a FlySky module if I want to in the future. I am not terribly intimidated by the programming aspect, as I would love to get into learning that too. It appears to be a good fit for someone who wants to switch between planes/quads/boats. Plus, $100? Take my money!

Edit: I just found out there is a hobby expo/swap meet going on up here on Sunday! It's only $3 admission so I am gonna go to that and see what I can find/learn/throw money at :D For those interested it is Sunday April 28th at the Main Hall of the Santa Rosa Veteran's Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
 
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#10
Actually I just read the Jumper T8SG write up rfd did and it's a pretty compelling argument for that transmitter, with all the protocol compatibility it packs. The T8SG Plus looks like the right choice with a balance of features and price and all the protocols it can handle plus it uses just a mini-USB cable to connect to a sim!
 
#11
Hehe, so after all that I went to Jake's Performance Hobbies and the fella I was asking about setting up with the simulator and logging hours and hours before my first real flight is great for a quad but for a small plane it would be a bit overkill. So, he convinced me to buy a Horizon Hobby Sport Cub S RTF. He said the shops around here mostly only carry Horizon Hobby/Spektrum craft and gear and that the Jumper radio will connect to this plane when I purchase it. For me right now, this is the lowest cost of entry to trying out the hobby ($119 with everything included). I'm gonna fly before dusk later today, battery is charging now and I am reading the manual and watching some videos on this plane. I'll let you all know how it goes, maybe even take a video of my first ever flight!
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#13
Hi Brent.

I tend to be devils advocate on quadies. 2 things I am dead set against is 1. ANYTHING Banggood. Cant get with that at all. 90% reversed engineered stuff they took off others work. They even did it to one of Flite Tests models.

2nd is mass produced prebuilts. Most are far over priced, use sub par components that are propritary. There are some decent ones out there but its like buying a car thru a dealership. Breakage is subject to warranties and their descression to fix things for you. Farrrrr to much down time in every case.

If you can solder decently and follow instructions building a quad is pretty straight forward.

As far as "beginner" vs "pro" quads the only difference is quality of parts. ANY quad can be made to fly as gentle or as agressive as you need it to.

Most people buy a prebuilt, charge a battery, and put it in the air only to find its not as easy as people make it look.

Everyone thinks"oh mr steeles quad flys great. Ill load his pids n rates and be just as good" NOT.

Anyway I am rambling on. When you decide what route you want to go just start a thread here so we can see what you are doing and guide you in a more direct manor then just watching videos.
 
#14
This is my first flight with the Horizon Hobby Sport Cub S I got from Jake's Performance Hobbies today. After this somewhat successful flight I got greedy and took it up again without charging the battery, and now the plane is somewhere in the woods past the roaring creek. I searched for an hour but could not find it. Still, it was an awesome experience to fly and maybe I can get a used BNF that will connect to this transmitter.
 

Gazoo

Active member
#16
A. What a beautiful field to fly in.

B. You can get a battery alarm that connects to the balance plug that beeps (really loud) to tell you when the battery is low. Also, you can track it down by listening for the beeping. Doesn't help you get it out of a tree though.

C. Awesome!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#17
My $0.02:

Simulators help. Regardless of what the guy at the hobby shop said, they build your muscle memory, you can fly ANYTIME (whether it’s at 9 pm and pitch black, or during a rainstorm or even a white out blizzard), and best of all, of you crash, you don’t have to shell out $$$ for broken parts!

Are sims perfect? No. It’s incredibly hard to get them to simulate things like gusts of wind, or a battery that suddenly decided to slide around and throw off your center of gravity.

But they help with learning that left is right and right is left when the plane is coming at you - and teach you that while flying inverted, down is up and up is expensive. 😂😂😂

Quads:

There are some good pre-built quads out there, and there are some bad ones. One of the cheapest (and in my opinion, fun) ones, is the Inductrix/Tinywhoop/Acrobee line. They’re all roughly the same price, are bind n’ fly models (meaning they can work with the Jumper or Spektrum radios), and they are small enough to whip around the house or outside on a windless day. I know, some people might consider them no better than toys, but we have a racing group in San Diego that specializes in racing them at local microbreweries.

I myself got a Blade Conspiracy as my first real quad. Thing has been almost bulletproof; i’ve Only had to replace the camera on it so far. Unfortunately, it’s also been discontinued, and I believe the flight controller is soon to be no longer supported by Betaflight, so I may have problems in the future with it. I think it was a great first step for me into the racing quad scene, but there are better parts out there now than this model.

I myself am not sure i’d build one as my first quad, unless maybe I started with a NewbeeDrone quad. My soldering skills aren’t the greatest yet. Then again, that’s screwing 4 screws down onto a board and plugging 4 motors in, and putting props on the motor for assembly. The hard part is programming it to get it to fly best for you.

Like I said, all of this is my opinion, and it’s not always a popular one. 😁
 

kdobson83

Well-known member
#18
This is my first flight with the Horizon Hobby Sport Cub S I got from Jake's Performance Hobbies today. After this somewhat successful flight I got greedy and took it up again without charging the battery, and now the plane is somewhere in the woods past the roaring creek. I searched for an hour but could not find it. Still, it was an awesome experience to fly and maybe I can get a used BNF that will connect to this transmitter.
Wait! You left it behind? 😨😱 No plane left behind!!! Get out there and find it!!! 😋
 
#19
Wait! You left it behind? 😨😱 No plane left behind!!! Get out there and find it!!! 😋
My partner joined me on a second search (and curiously did not dangle "I told you this would happen" over my head. He was really great about it. I am sort of waiting for him to realize the opportunity to rank on me about it haha). Anyway, we went 3 houses down (which out in the country is about an eighth of a mile). It was weird. There was absolutely no wind and then when it hit a thermal or something it just went up and up and *points* that-a-way. The properties it could be on have very tall grass and I couldn't tell if it landed in that or in a tree. My aunt's community uses the Nextdoor app so I am going to ask her to post on there and see if a neighbor finds it in their yard. I'll also go out again today and cross the creek (there is a bridge about 2 miles from here so I need the car to go approximately 1000 feet as the Sport Cub S flies *sniff* :cry:)

Edit: not across the creek or in any trees we could get to.
 
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