• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Needing Perspective

#1
Hey guy (or gals),

I feel the need to post and ask for advice and perspective from long-term fliers on my feelings and experiences surrounding a number of things as a new comer to the RC flight world. I am sorry this post is long, but thank anyone who takes the time to read it.

So, I am an all or nothing type of person who has always known that when I got into RC flight I would be hooked. It has always interested me, makes up some of my youngest formational memories, and has always been one of those things I knew I would do. Prior to getting into it, I have been mainly on Sims, and over the years across multiple platforms have amassed about 3,000Hrs flight time in them, As such, though not a pilot, and though not into RC, I have a decent background on flight.

A bit over two months ago (5/28) I made an impulse buy at a local hobby store (with the girlfriends support no less) and got my first RC plane. A simple but wonderful Sport Cub S.

Let me tell ya about a work-horse...

2 months old and approaching 120hrs active flight time (yes, in the air).

I love my Cub. It is my first and I will never part with it. Its not the fastest, nor the most responsive, but I have her tuned and can regularly fly in 10+MPH winds with gusts into the teens. At this point I know that plane like the back of my hand, and have more than once impressed my local flying fiends who will fear the wind with 1m+ wingspans while I soar with 24 inches...

But here we start finding some of the issues, and some of my need for perspective...

___________________________________________________________________________________

First the perspective part. My cub was cheap (within reason), but it was still 130 bucks... To me I cant imagine spending over 100 bucks on something and not using it on a near daily basis. It just inst worth spending that much on things I wont use a minimum of a few times a week, and that more or less applies to anything I own. As such, I kinda thought the normal thing to do was to actually fly your planes, regularly. Not once a week for a flight or two.... But what I have found is that most people are only flying once or twice a week...

Which brings me to the next part of needing perspective, those few flights a week? They seem for most to only be a few batteries worth. Maybe two or three. That works out to 20-45 minutes depending on flying styles for most people. And that's their daily? And only once or twice a week?

By comparison I feel like this has been a very slow week for me, I have only spent 2 days at the field when I normally do 4-5 days a week (I will often drop by after work). Between the two trips this week I have 6 hours flight time on a single 1S plane... I plan within a couple months to have 5 planes ranging from 1S to 4S and have already worked out the order I have to fly them in so that I can head out and be up for 12 hours non-stop with the only breaks being battery/plane changes and when I want to stop flying.

^^THAT^^ is what I think of when I think of serious fliers, and its what I remember seeing at flight fields back in the day from the old guys who would spend their days tinkering and flying... I know not all people are like this, but I figured that with the high price of the hobby and the niche interest it presents that at least a quarter of half of the people in the hobby would be similar in their dedication and flight time.

But it seems that out of the 20 or so fliers I have met in person, its no where near the normal. So much so that I am starting to feel like the odd one out, simply because I am always there flying.

Which brings me to the last portion of perspective... Flight time of the planes.

It seems most people consider a plane “well used” once it has 15-20 flights and/or hours on it (depending on person it seems)... To me that would be way too little. From the Sim side I would think that at 20 hours flight time one is just starting to get to know their plane. They are just getting to the point where they know it well enough to push it and enjoy the next 80 or so, having allot of fun without fear and with confidence only able to be built through those 20 hours of experience on that flight model. Once you cross 100 hrs you know a plane well enough that you can fly it how ever you want and always enjoy it, and perhaps you might feel the need to get more...

So, for perspectives sake, what is normal when it comes to a “dedicated” flier? Am I just going full bore into something most tip toe into? Is it normal for people to have hundreds of dollars (or even thousands) in planes that only see skies a few times a month at best?... If so why? Why is it that I seem to be one of the only ones in my local group looking to be up so often? Is it indeed the norm for most people to only put 20 hours on a plane and then move on, and if so how do any of them master any one unit?

___________________________________________________________________________________

And now we move from the personal perspective issues and into the technical ones...

Brushed Motors... Now I want to be clear, I fully understand how they work and that they always die. I know about proper care of them, breaking them in, avoiding heat, letting them cool, etc. All motors have gotten a break in run of 5 min low throttle, followed by two flights with my weakest batteries on low throttle (25c,150mAH) and I give 10-15 minutes between most flights, with a bare minimum cool down of 5. I have done RC cars and other electronics work with DC motors and know most of what I would think is needed (but am always interested in learning more). I still cant seem to figure out what I can reasonably expect from the crappy DC motors HH uses for this cub...

First motor got me ~60hrs flight time...
Second one was rubbing on the magnets and gave me ~2hrs sluggish time before (free) replacement.
Third one gave me 30hrs
Fourth one gave me 15hrs
Fifth one has given 6hrs (over two flight days) so far and is already showing imminent failure.
Sixth is waiting install...

Now don't get me wrong, if all of them had performed like the first one I would be happy... Heck, even if every single one had made it to 30 hours and then died before 40 I would be happy, as I would think that they are quality made and reliable...

But what I have seen is that they are decidedly not quality or reliable. I told myself “Thats OK” as there are always third party replacement options for things like this... So I went to horizon and asked them for the detailed specs I would need to match, specifically I wanted to know the kv rating of the motor and the Amp (or likely mA) rating of the ESC circuitry. This is the info I was told I would need to seek quality third party options.

Only issue is, after being sent up the chain at HH tech support, I have (in writing) that they claim they have no technical knowledge (even at the supervisory level) of the components making up the ESC system (that they designed). They further explained that they don't even know the info for the motor because they just get shipped a bunch of random ones and try them out with a new plane then purchase a bunch of what works (and that they don't bother asking for details)... I kid you not, that is the level of R&D they put in (or so they told me via email)...

This is coming form the technical department of a brand that is often touted as high quality and reputable... But they claim they cannot do anything about the shoddy reliability of their motors, nor can they provide me even the most basic info on the plane they designed...

So, on the technical side:

Whats up with HH?
What are the third party options for the SC-S Brushed?
What is the average lifespan of a quality brushed motor this size? As I have seen anywhere from 2-60hrs...
Is it normal to have this level of inconsistency on UMX gear (I ask as I am specifically interested in UMX planes that stick to 1S batteries, but it seems long term reviewers are posting similar issues with inconsistent replacement parts quality for planes such as the T28 and PT-17 as well).


Again, sorry it is so long, but I thank anyone who has read this and can offer advice!

(Happy Side Note – Plane 2 has already been added to the hangar, a beautiful Timber X, which will hopefully see a 4S maiden this up-coming weekend!)
 

FDS

Well-known member
#2
I started on the Sport Cub, the motors are made as cheaply as possible and break all the time, it’s partly a function of small brushed motors running at sustained rpm with a direct load. In whoop quads the motors suffer the same problems, even “improved” ones, it’s why brushless motors are the norm in everything except beginner, very small or slow planes and quads.
The only way to fix that would be to mod, probably add a brushless motor, which for your Cub means a new main board/esc/SAFE unit. At that point building something like an FT Mini Scout is cheaper and better IMO. The Sport Cub is designed and built to a price, it’s meant to fly in small spaces or inside, slow, to get you going and it’s good at that. It’s obviously time for your second plane! Lots of choices out there for that. HH make a range of planes, if they didn’t sell you more planes they would go out of business, almost nobody flies one plane for ever. They wear out, crash and break. My Cub is semi retired now, it’s about 50% tape! Try something like the Timber if you want to stay in HH’s ecosystem, they can fly mild to wild and make a great workhorse.
You are unlikely to stay on 1s pocket cells with your second plane. They can’t power larger brushless motors and the stock PH 1.0 connector is very limited in its current capacity. There’s tons of better and not expensive battery options. For example many FT minis run off 850mah 3s packs, those give about a 10 min flight for $8-10 each.
As for flying time I try to fly every day, my field is 2 mins from my house, weather or time means I don’t always manage it. For people with full time work/family or larger more complex planes I can see why once or twice per week is the norm. I probably fly 3 or 4 times per week average, despite UK weather, but not always for very long each session, as weather changes (or crashes) can cut short my flying. Bigger, more complex planes take time to set up and concentration to fly, many people are happy with 20 mins controlled panic in their flying. You have full gyro stability and auto level as a safety net. Try flying something a bit faster without that and you will see why many people fly less time! Especially true if it was something you spent hours building.
Very interesting thread though, and great questions!
 
Last edited:

CarolineTyler

Well-known member
#3
I envy you @xSOSxHawkens , my clubs flying site is a good 35 minutes drive from my home which means flying is always an exercise in preparation and scheduling. I try an get to fly once a week, and when I'm at the club I will actually fly for about an hour in total but be at the site for 3 to 4 hours. It's not just a flying thing but social time too. I enjoy seeing other much more experienced pilots fly and learn from them too.
I also spend multiple hours a week building plane and quads - it's not just about the flying of them for me.
Like @FDS I have to suffer the changeable UK weather and try and fit this all in around a full time job, housework, shopping and other socialising. It's a busy life!!! :)
 
Last edited:

Bricks

Well-known member
#4
At our club we have from the obsessive to the casual to the ones that just like to come out to socialize and only fly once a month. There have been times I have only been able to make one flight many times, time is spent helping someone else get there plane or radio set up properly. I enjoy flying when I go to the field I have no preconceived allotment of time I will be flying may make 1 flight or 15 just depends on what is going on at the field. I do find that some times it is nice to have the whole field to myself this is when I usually do maidens, maidening a plane I feel no pressure when I am by myself I can take my time and when I am ready I can go for it. Since I can fly my foamies at home usually my maidens are bigger Nitro or gassers.
 

Mid7night

Jetman
Mentor
#5
I think you should cut yourself some slack in the "perspective" department; I'm lucky if I get in the air three times a MONTH! That said, I do enjoy the building and experimenting aspect, so I spend a lot of time planning, designing and testing at home. Then when I finally go out to fly, sometimes I'll take several planes and I'll be out for a few hours, but quite often I'll just go out with one that I'm testing and fly maybe twice (if it doesn't crash the first time). I recognize that I get bored easily with the same ole' thing, which is probably why I love trying new ideas. Actually, if I've had one of my jet designs more than a few months I'll start flying it REALLY hard just to break it so I can reuse the parts! XD Another benefit of this though is I get to know the edges of the flight envelope pretty well. :)

Now, all of that is primarily in application to the foamboard-electric-powered side of my hangar, which is far more recyclable than the fiberglass-carbon-fiber Slope-Soaring side of my hangar. I have a handful of slope gliders that I've built over the years, and the ones I've kept around I'm a lot more careful with, but slope flying is a far different beast from electric power flying. When I go to the electric field, I'm there to burn batteries, push the envelope and bore holes in the sky. But when I go to the slope, I'm there to RELAX. Sailing silent on the wind is like nothing else I've ever done, and it's a beautiful thing.

I've been in the hobby for over 20 years and I'm in a very different stage of life now, to be sure, but I think I'm enjoying myself just as much as ever.
 
#6
Thank you all for the responses. I was starting to get a bit paranoid that I am flying too much...

I too have to deal with work and weather. I live in the PNW-USA, which is the most rainy part. Think Seattle or Portland :/ I am already worried about winter and have begun working out what I will need to do to have at least 2 or 3 planes that are all weather and can take rain. I know my Cub will be one of them, the electronics are very water resilient (but def not proof lol). I have flown it in rain without issues, and have even had it flip over on lakes (have pontoons) and still recover (after drying of course).

As for my amount of time, I also have to deal with a long (35min) drive to get to my flying spot. However, due to the horrible commute I deal with (average 60min+ morning, 90-120 min evening) I have started opting to drive the 40 minutes from work to the field and stay there for a couple hours each work day and drive home when the roads are clear. This brings my evening commute down to about 60-70 min total split across two drives and allows me to get in at least an hour of flying any day I wish. On the off days I tend to still drive down o the park as it consistently has 5-8mph lower winds than where I live. Girlfriend likes to sit outside and read so no issues on that front ;)

As for the motor issues and power, yes, I am aware I will have to go brushless, but I dont want to lose SAFE. nor am I willing to jump to 2S... I specifically want at least 3 usable 1S planes. I have read of people using something called BHelli along with programmable brushless ESC's to capture and invert the negative lead from the Cub's brushed ESC, and use it to generate a PWM timing signal to feed the brushless motor, and then pigybacking it all onto the power system using the AUX connector for FPV... This in theory allows me to run 1S with brushless, but I dont have any experience with things like programmable ESC's...
 

FDS

Well-known member
#7
You are adding more weight with an extra inverter on the Cub, the whole thing is less than 200g fully loaded, adding more engine mass and extra electronics is going to take back some of the advantage gained by more power from the engine.
I have no answer to wanting to stay at 1s, it’s like asking a lawn mower motor to power your daily driver. Higher voltage, larger batteries can not only contain more energy they can also offer greater efficiency.
SAFE is teaching you some bad habits, continuing to fly with it as a must have is like keeping training wheels on your bike forever in case you fall off. Sure stabilisation and a “rescue” option is great when you start and fun for relaxed flying but always having it on will impact your skills as a pilot.
For higher winds and weather flying wings are good, they cut through the wind and can be waterproofed fairly well.
Crashing is part of the hobby and an essential learning experience. Every plane you own has a lifespan, it will be destroyed at some point (sometimes repairable, some times not) and each crash is a part of the learning experience. It’s a hard fact of model flying that what goes up sometimes comes down terminally.
Here’s an example, this was my Tiny Trainer after I flew it into a steel pole at 25mph.

59B00BB6-0A1E-44CB-816D-09EA6D1AF59B.jpeg
Here it is 45 mins later, with a bit of packing tape and glue, plus some spare foamboard.
7C41DA6E-74C9-4704-B0DB-757C45475256.jpeg
Crashes happen, planes get destroyed, learning happens. No electronic aid can stop it entirely and breaking free from the tech crutches will change your flying experience for ever.
I salute your dedication to getting stick time in, that’s commitment.
 
#8
Thank for the encouragement.

First I think there is some confusion to wanting to keep SAFE. I dont actually use it , really at all. In fact of the 10 or so people who fly Horizon products at my park, I am the *only* one who consistently flies in full control for doing tricks a good 98% of the time or more. My cub has been tuned to full deflection and does some basic 3D, things like a harrier, and some inverted flights, tight loops, stalls, rudder turn stalls, etc. I have a dental floss spar to pull in the diheadral for a semi-symmetrical wing for faster speed and tighter loops and better inverted performance.

When I *do* like to use safe is the 2% of time I find reason, example, 8-9 mph winds with gusts, combined with aerobatics equaling into a dropped battery hanging and dangling in the wind by its cord. Thats a perfect example of where the total stability of SAFE is wanted in on bring down. Not because I need it, but because I know it will be more stable with less tugging on the wiring than what most humans can do.

Also nice if I am high up and need to look away for a time, put it into a bank and hold the rudder then let it circle stable like a drone while I do what I need to do ;)

As for performance impacts on the 1S conversion, I am aware that the slight weight from the ESC will add bit to the plane, but it will still be less than what my pontoons add. The motor will work out about the same as I will be removing a reduction gear, shaft, etc. Overall I dont seek higher performance by switching to brushless. If I can get close to or the same as it does now with a new brushed I will be very happy. All I seek in the brushless conversion would be to get better longevity from the motor. If it worked out I would likely do it to all my 1s UMX.

I plan to have a 2S plane too, and a 4S I already have.

I like the 1S because they can be USB charged. I can hit the field with a USB power bank and fly all day ;)

And yes, with as many hours as my plane has on it, it has seen some crashes. Once spent an hour upside down in a lake after it flipped on landing on pontoons and was blown to the other side of the lake. Had to go find the guy who owned the dock and ask to get my plane lol. 30yr old having to pull a denis-the-menis lol. Has also had the whole nose broke off once, around the 80 hour mark. Bit of foam safe CA fixed that though :)
 

FDS

Well-known member
#9
I have also had to ask “hey Mr can I get my plane back...”
You can get stabilising gyro receivers, Lemon RX do a DSMX compatible one, they are a little bigger than the tiny ones in the UMX aircraft, but will do the wind stabilisation you want for much less than the cost of the Spektrum one.
If you are staying UMX and your airframe wears out or you want something different to fly with the same electronics in someone linked Micro Aces which look very interesting.
 

Chuppster

Well-known member
#10
Thank for the encouragement.

First I think there is some confusion to wanting to keep SAFE. I dont actually use it , really at all. In fact of the 10 or so people who fly Horizon products at my park, I am the *only* one who consistently flies in full control for doing tricks a good 98% of the time or more. My cub has been tuned to full deflection and does some basic 3D, things like a harrier, and some inverted flights, tight loops, stalls, rudder turn stalls, etc. I have a dental floss spar to pull in the diheadral for a semi-symmetrical wing for faster speed and tighter loops and better inverted performance.

When I *do* like to use safe is the 2% of time I find reason, example, 8-9 mph winds with gusts, combined with aerobatics equaling into a dropped battery hanging and dangling in the wind by its cord. Thats a perfect example of where the total stability of SAFE is wanted in on bring down. Not because I need it, but because I know it will be more stable with less tugging on the wiring than what most humans can do.

Also nice if I am high up and need to look away for a time, put it into a bank and hold the rudder then let it circle stable like a drone while I do what I need to do ;)

As for performance impacts on the 1S conversion, I am aware that the slight weight from the ESC will add bit to the plane, but it will still be less than what my pontoons add. The motor will work out about the same as I will be removing a reduction gear, shaft, etc. Overall I dont seek higher performance by switching to brushless. If I can get close to or the same as it does now with a new brushed I will be very happy. All I seek in the brushless conversion would be to get better longevity from the motor. If it worked out I would likely do it to all my 1s UMX.

I plan to have a 2S plane too, and a 4S I already have.

I like the 1S because they can be USB charged. I can hit the field with a USB power bank and fly all day ;)

And yes, with as many hours as my plane has on it, it has seen some crashes. Once spent an hour upside down in a lake after it flipped on landing on pontoons and was blown to the other side of the lake. Had to go find the guy who owned the dock and ask to get my plane lol. 30yr old having to pull a denis-the-menis lol. Has also had the whole nose broke off once, around the 80 hour mark. Bit of foam safe CA fixed that though :)
Sounds like you have really dove in head first! I thought I flew a lot and I fly about twice a week...

It seems you're getting hung up on 1s pretty hard, and while brushed motors have their place as much as you fly I highly suggest you consider limiting your investment in brushed setups. The Timber should be a lot of fun for you, and you should see the benefits as you fly it. While ultra-light brushed setups are ideal in enclosed spaces like indoor arenas where you want to fly slow, the downsides really take a toll once you open it up to outside (as you've seen as your motor reliability is quite questionable). I mean, who doesn't want more power?

I have a 12v charger that I can plug in to my car and charge off that battery. I have to be careful not to drain it but it works pretty well. I can charge 1-6s with it. If you did something similar you could take 4 or so batteries to the field and spend a lot of time flying. You wouldn't have to worry about letting things cool down (unless you are running a REALLY hot setup) and you should get consistent performance for a long life of the motor.

It seems you are more into the flying part of the hobby than the building, and that's totally okay, but you may want to give it a shot at some point. It can be very rewarding.

Thanks for joining us! Hope to see you around often!