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Help! Plane Not Taking Off

#1
Hello everyone,
After finally finishing my FT Explorer, I went out to try to fly it yesterday. I wanted to just practice taking off and landing so that I could get the basics down and not quickly destroy my plane. However, the opposite happened. Before I flew it, I made sure to make all necessary pre-flight checks (CG, Range Check, etc.). However, when we first tried to launch the plane, it flew straight into the ground. I had 50% throttle and barely any elevator if I recall, so I thought that maybe I just needed more throttle and elevator. I tried again with those adjustments, but it still wouldn't fly.
On the second or third try, a section of the boom nearly split. Basically, what happened was that the top part stayed fine while the bottom and the sides basically got cut so that the boom could move. It wasn't too surprising because there had been a big fold/ crease there because of something that had happened during construction. I tested the CG again and changed it a little though it may have been only seemed off because of the wind pushing at it. Determined to get it to at least get off the ground, I kept trying.
I believe at one point the rudder veered to the right after another fall. I didn't notice this and tried to fly it again. After that try, the part that got cut got completely cut off so that ended that day's adventure. (The rudder may become like that after this fall).
Sad and dejected, we left. I tried to do some research, and I concluded that this may have been the fault of the motor or the raised elevator. However, I do not believe it was the elevator's fault because I don't recall it being raised the first time.
Here are some of the specs for my plane:
For my servos and motor, I used the Flite Test C Pack.
I also put a carbon fiber rod in the wing to reinforce it.
I honestly am really confused on why it didn't fly, and I would really appreciate if someone knew how I could fix this. Thanks, everyone.
 

FastCrash45

Well-known member
#2
Hello everyone,
After finally finishing my FT Explorer, I went out to try to fly it yesterday. I wanted to just practice taking off and landing so that I could get the basics down and not quickly destroy my plane. However, the opposite happened. Before I flew it, I made sure to make all necessary pre-flight checks (CG, Range Check, etc.). However, when we first tried to launch the plane, it flew straight into the ground. I had 50% throttle and barely any elevator if I recall, so I thought that maybe I just needed more throttle and elevator. I tried again with those adjustments, but it still wouldn't fly.
On the second or third try, a section of the boom nearly split. Basically, what happened was that the top part stayed fine while the bottom and the sides basically got cut so that the boom could move. It wasn't too surprising because there had been a big fold/ crease there because of something that had happened during construction. I tested the CG again and changed it a little though it may have been only seemed off because of the wind pushing at it. Determined to get it to at least get off the ground, I kept trying.
I believe at one point the rudder veered to the right after another fall. I didn't notice this and tried to fly it again. After that try, the part that got cut got completely cut off so that ended that day's adventure. (The rudder may become like that after this fall).
Sad and dejected, we left. I tried to do some research, and I concluded that this may have been the fault of the motor or the raised elevator. However, I do not believe it was the elevator's fault because I don't recall it being raised the first time.
Here are some of the specs for my plane:
For my servos and motor, I used the Flite Test C Pack.
I also put a carbon fiber rod in the wing to reinforce it.
I honestly am really confused on why it didn't fly, and I would really appreciate if someone knew how I could fix this. Thanks, everyone.
What prop are you using? Did you make sure the esc knew the throttle limits of the transmitter? It also sounds heavy. Are the pushrods flexing a lot when operating the controls? Some of the things I can think of to check.
 

Grifflyer

WWII fanatic
#4
Which way is the air being propelled? Are the numbers on the prop facing towards the front of the plane? Does it glide without power? How heavy is the plane with the battery? How hard were you tossing the plane?
 
#5
What prop are you using? Did you make sure the esc knew the throttle limits of the transmitter? It also sounds heavy. Are the pushrods flexing a lot when operating the controls? Some of the things I can think of to check.
I'm pretty sure this is my prop. I made sure the ESC knew the throttle limits before flying and while I was trying to fly it, I also checked to make sure that was not the problem by doing it again. I don't believe the pushrods are flexing because they seemed to have full travel (at least until I adjusted the throws).
 
#6
Which way is the air being propelled? Are the numbers on the prop facing towards the front of the plane? Does it glide without power? How heavy is the plane with the battery? How hard were you tossing the plane?
The other questions I will check when I get back home, but I am pretty sure that the numbers of the prop were facing forward. Again, I'll check when I get back home. When we were there, my sister and I tried to play "catch" with the plane and it seemed to be fine.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#9
The Explorer is a reasonable performer normally BUT there are a few things someone who is flying or trying to fly one for the first time should be aware of!
1. The plane does not like too much weight and if heavy it really needs a fair bit of speed to get airborne. A hefty hand launch should be considered as a minimum requirement for each and every launch. It will NOT gently float out of your hand when the motor throttle is opened significantly.

2. The motor thrust angle tends to push the plane DOWN and Forward. If your launch speed is quite low and therefore the lift generated by the wings quite marginal then if the motor thrust is added to the mix the plane wants to SQUAT rapidly onto the ground rather than flying as the one trying to fly it for the first time might expect.

The only real solutions are to throw the plane into the air as fast and hard as you can manage and ensure that you launch it skywards at about a 30 degree angle with the throttle wide open. This approach will get the new build into the air and of course the one who is flying the model can change the procedure on the second launch to better suit the build weight and experienced performance.

Have fun!
 

buzzbomb

I know nothing!
#11
Another basic mistake that many of us have done is having the elevator reversed. I had one flight where my son and both checked it at home, and when I got to the field I neglected that step. Sure enough, it was reversed and flew straight into the ground. If the elevator moves down when the right stick moves down, it is backwards and will dive instead of climb. Just a thought.

Edit: BS projects beat me to it. It's an easy mistake to make.
 
#14
The Explorer is a reasonable performer normally BUT there are a few things someone who is flying or trying to fly one for the first time should be aware of!
1. The plane does not like too much weight and if heavy it really needs a fair bit of speed to get airborne. A hefty hand launch should be considered as a minimum requirement for each and every launch. It will NOT gently float out of your hand when the motor throttle is opened significantly.

2. The motor thrust angle tends to push the plane DOWN and Forward. If your launch speed is quite low and therefore the lift generated by the wings quite marginal then if the motor thrust is added to the mix the plane wants to SQUAT rapidly onto the ground rather than flying as the one trying to fly it for the first time might expect.

The only real solutions are to throw the plane into the air as fast and hard as you can manage and ensure that you launch it skywards at about a 30 degree angle with the throttle wide open. This approach will get the new build into the air and of course the one who is flying the model can change the procedure on the second launch to better suit the build weight and experienced performance.

Have fun!
Thank you so much for the information. This is really helpful. What should I set my throttle at and should I touch the elevator at all? Is this really the only reason, it won't fly?
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#15
Thank you so much for the information. This is really helpful. What should I set my throttle at and should I touch the elevator at all? Is this really the only reason, it won't fly?
Without seeing the plane or the launch it is impossible to give what the problem may be but the info supplied is applicable to most builds where flying or launching is not easy.

As it glides without motor thrust, (the playing catch), I assume it can fly. So you need to give it as much chance of flying as is possible.

By throwing it upwards into the air with a nose high attitude at 30 degrees you allow the plane to gain a little extra height and have the motor thrust actually pushing the plane more forwards than a level launch.

If there are 2 persons, one on the Control and the other to do the throwing I would use maximum throttle or close there to so that the plane gets to accelerate quickly to flying speed so that the ailerons, and elevator are getting enough airflow to work and have a chance of keeping it under control.

As for the Elevator I would not touch it or only tough it once it was truly airborne. You do not want the plane to do a short high speed loop and attack the launcher! Definitely ensure that the CG is where it is supposed to be or a fraction forward thereof.

Have fun!
 
#16
I think you should try launching it at a higher angle and keeping the throttle constant. You may need to trim the elevator, but even then you will need to pull up for the launch. The goal is to stabilize after the throw, which with any plane could bring it into the ground. The explorer especially has this issue because of its thrust offset. You could also try angling the motor down in its pod to get the center of thrust in line with the center of mass. Hope this helps.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#17
Another basic mistake that many of us have done is having the elevator reversed. I had one flight where my son and both checked it at home, and when I got to the field I neglected that step. Sure enough, it was reversed and flew straight into the ground. If the elevator moves down when the right stick moves down, it is backwards and will dive instead of climb. Just a thought.

Edit: BS projects beat me to it. It's an easy mistake to make.
Had that exact same problem with a Nutball build. Thought everything was correct, launched it, and pulled back on the stick to give it up elevator, only to watch it immediately nose down into the ground and break the prop. It happens, even if you think you've got the servos correct.