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"Newbie" Tales. We were all beginners at one time, and we have stories to share.


Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
"Newbie" Tales. We were all beginners at one time, and we have stories to share.

We've all been there, some of us are still there. Everyone that flies, started out at some point, and made some funny, if embarrassing mistakes.

I thought it would be fun to collect those tales in a single thread.

For example...

I remember when I was starting out, and I was crashing plane after plane. I had a very expensive learning curve. Well, finally I was flying well enough I wasn't a constant danger to other people, and I decided to join a club.

So, there I am, surrounded by guys who had been flying for years, and I put my plane in the air. It wobbled, and it swerved, I made a pretzel of a pattern around the field. I must have made ten laps in the attempt to make two. After three sweaty and shaky minutes I felt I had done as much as my heart could take, and I brought it in to land. Of course the plane crashed, but, it wasn't so damaged that it couldn't be flown again. I proudly walked over to it, and picked it up. When I returned to the pit, I was very exited to brag to the guys there "not bad huh? I've only been flying for 3 months."

I wonder if the doctor had to stitch his tongue, because that man was very gracious in not replying with something like "you called that flying?" or "and it shows!"


Rotor Riot!
HAHAHA I remember my first build, a scale Piper J3 Cub built with sheet balsa... The design was intended to carry a motor, however I did not have one, so I just left that space empty. You've never seen a more tailheavy plane... Well, anyway I tried hand lauching it.
Launch > Pitch Up > Backwards Dive > CRASH!

RIP my first build...
IMG_8842.jpg IMG_8843.jpg IMG_8848.jpg IMG_8851.jpg
Don't blame me if my first build is ugly!...

FLITE TIP: Always balance your plane!



Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
I remember my learning curve was no better. The kicker is after you've got some good take-offs AND landings and then build a scratch-built but forget to do the very important flight control check, not just do they move but do they move in the right direction. So yeah, reversed elevator=shortest flight.



Site Moderator
Very interesting, I guess most of us learned this way. My son and I came across a man flying an RC plane at our local park so we walked over to talk to him. Turns out he has been teaching himself to fly and his aircraft must have been repaired a million times over and looked shocking. The main thing was he was having fun with it and enjoyed the process.

The flip side is my son still has his first plane the Kinetics 800 which will be worn out from flying too much and virtually no accidents only because I've been there to teach him and save his plane over and over again. My son actually commented that he was lucky to have someone teach him out to fly.

My first RC flight was Cessna model with a MaxOS 15 engine. I remember taking off perfectly, then applying left ailerons and it banked and crashed . . that was the end of the model after which I joined a club and learned to fly lol


Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
Flying at Night - Not the way to do it!

So we had a black out one night and like any good survival instructor I was well prepared. I had candles, flashlights, and glowsticks springing to action. We were covered. But after only about 45 minutes or so the lights came back on. So I blew out the candes, turned off the flashlights, and thought, "what a shame to get so little use out of these glow sticks." So I got a great idea, "Hey Morgan, let's put this on your micro Sukhoi and fly it outside." So we cut open the glow sticks, poured the "predator blood" all over his little white Su-26, and went outside for some really cool night flying... well it was cool for a while anyway. Morgan, my son, noticed that his planes maneuverability was weird. Upon closer inspection we noticed that my "great idea" was melting the foam on his plane.

There is a reason some products are called "foam safe" and glow sticks are not such a product. By the way, I did replace his Su-26 with another micro plane, a P-51.


Rotor Riot!
Whoa! That was some strong stuff you were playing with! That's a pro for the balsa planes...

Anyway, I once had a 2 ch rc fiamos, I used it a lot, even on windy das it flew OK. However it was a biplane and the things that keep the wings together broke, and the glue wasn't foamsafe... Well I took out the electronics, sold then to a friend, and they never worked again.



Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
"That was some strong stuff you were playing with!"

When it comes to foam, there are a surprising number of things that are just too strong. Aerosol spray paint is a big one. The brush on paint has been much better. My first purchase of an FFF bundle included us giving little spritzes on the foam to see if it was foam safe or not.The stuff in the "not" category turn the foam into goo.
My first plane was a wing dragon 4 and for the first three attempts i didnt fly it longer than 5 seconds!! I brought it out 3 months when the weather started becoming nicer and gave it a try, and to my surprise i flew it for like 4 mins.......before i crashed!! But it didnt matter that i crashed because i was hooked during thse 4 mins!!



Junior Member
Well the other day my Rx locked up and my plane (the bixler) accelerated at 50% throttle at a 45 degree angle towards the ground, and well the ground won.
Lucky for me I had taken my GoproHD off before hand,
I patched it back up
and then did a test flight with the GOpro strapped to my head :)
The test flight was a really windy day and a real testament to the bixler, it even flys backwards !

Luckily my first plane, and second plane(which was also my first scratchbuild) worked--good. But since then, I have built 4 scratchbuilds, which were "not quite flite" at first, but half of them failed. The other half were crash, crash, crash, crash, fly, and almost ever after, fly....

Non Action Man

Nose Landing Specialist
I'll Chime in here... just made a BIG noob mistake today - total face palm!

first plane... just got my TX, so i plug in the Rx and power it up all eager to get my first plane sorted, only to find that i dont have the channel allocation wrong, and the throttle is on the elevator....

....well, the plane decides to leap forwards at half throttle (its upside so i can access the wiring). I quickly reach down to catch the plane before it takes off head first into a bookcase, and end up breaking the horizontal staiblizer!

I called "hanger rash" on that one ;) as I havent even flown yet!!

ahh, being a noob is so refreshing :p

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Propaganda machine
I learnt to fly before I was interested. Got dragged out by my father-in-law, who then gave me a sim transmitter and FMS to learn on. After a couple of hours, he was satisfied that I could fly a plane and stuck me on an old, fifteenth hand brushed motor supercub. He put it up in the air, about 15m high, and handed me the transmitter. FMS had done a good enough job that I didn't get lost, but flew nice, broad circuits. My f-i-l was so impressed that he let me try and land it, which I did a reasonable job of. After about 5-6 similar such flights, I asked how to do 'tricks'. He taught me how to stall turn and inside out loop and left it at that.

Being such a slow, easy plane to fly, I soon thought this flying business was easy! So I started trying all sorts of new things with the cub. However, the poor, tired old cub was not what it used to be. My greatest moment ever in flying was achieved with that plane: I dove a little to get some speed for a loop. Pulling up, I thought I had plenty of room. The plane went upside down and suddenly lost speed. Being a little nose heavy, it pointed down and I gave it all the throttle it had, but it didn't want to pull up. My f-i-l told me to cut the throttle and let it crash, but I kept it on and kept pulling up on the elevator. Just before the ground, it started levelling up! The landing gear touched the ground, flexed a little, and the plane lifted back into the air!


Propaganda machine
I never really crashed that plane (had the odd solid landing on the wheels), but I've made up for it since.

My wife and I moved away from the in-laws. We moved to Canberra, which is landlocked and cold enough to make the fish hibernate in winter. I couldn't bring myself to go out and not catch anything again, so I thought I might buy myself a plane. I wanted to get a RTF because I didn't have any equipment. Before I found Hobbyking, I found what I thought was a good deal on ebay... A Guanli P51 brushless RTF. Well, turns out I payed way too much for the set. The charger wasn't a balance charger, the motor couldn't get enough speed to stop the plane from (what I now know is called) tip stalling and the Tx was an ancient 36mHz system. Damn!

This purchase got me worried, thinking I couldn't fly again so easily after all. But an acquaintance pointed me to HK. I bought myself a Tuff Trainer. My first fly of it reassured me that I could still fly. After being comfortable in the air again, I tried a few different motor/prop combinations on the P51, but all of them ended in crashes until I took the Tuff's motor off and put it on the Mustang. It flew perfectly! So thankfully in the end I made a bad purchase into a good one. The KD A2210S from HK soon replaced the Tuff's motor, and the P51 is a weapon!

My advice to those learning to fly, get a slow, easy to fly plane and make sure you can fly (and land) on a sim first. All your mistakes from then on are pretty much dumb thumbs and the occasional mech failure. Oh, and repair your crashed planes! My P51 is looking pretty tatty now after the initial repairs and the odd 'showing off' incident, but still looks great in the air doing 'snoprolls', split S, stall turns and low fast passes ;)