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Taking to the Skies

JoeyG

Senior Member
#1
Hi all,

Well, this is where it all begins for me. I hope to use this thread as a build/flight journal as I piece together my purchases and edge ever closer to getting air born.

Hello everyone,

My name is Joe and RC is totally new to me. As a kid my Father had a couple RC Heli's which I vaguely remember him flying in the field next to my parents house, sadly he gave them up when I was still young. I'd always wanted to get into the hobby but for years never acted on it. We have a great club 10mins drive from here at Langer Airfield (check out it's history), back when I was 17 a section of Langer Airfield was often used by parents to teach their kids how to drive, my Father took me down there one summer afternoon and the club flyers were out in large numbers. I found it fascinating! That was 10 years ago and so now at 27 I've finally acted on it. I've a lot to learn and I'm thirsty to do so.

I'm gonna create a thread and share my experiences as a total NOOB getting into this fantastic hobby.

J.
I'd mentioned here just how new this all is to me. At the date of writing I've been actively pursuing the hobby for seven days. Tomorrow, I'll be taking delivery of my first plane.

So why now? Well, I'm a programmer by trade, I write database solution software (FileMaker) and recently joined the Apple iOS dev team. For years I've been spending a small fortune on PC hardware. It's been a passion of mine my whole life. Each month I'd drop hundreds of the Queens Pounds on high performance graphics cards, CPU's, motherboards, water blocks, pumps and peripherals. Over-clocking each component to squeeze out every last watt of performance. It's great fun, but for the return, it's simply too expensive. The way I see it, I love gadgets (anything shiny with buttons N batteries and my eyes light up) I like electronics (I've been water cooling them for years) and who in there right mind doesn't like flying (well, me, but that's just full scale)

I wanted a hobby that would get me out the house, meet new people, develop a new set of skills and ultimately provide a new direction to focus my geeky wizardry. :D

STEP ONE: Try and learn as much as I could. Like with enthusiast PC hardware, the RC world is full of acronyms, terms and lingo. I wanted to find a resource that would teach me everything I needed to know to get me up in the air. That resource turned out to be FliteTest. After googling for 'Beginner guides to RC' I'd end up in one of two places, an RC site offering me a series of eBooks ($$) and good old YouTube.

YouTube is full of RC content, but very little of it is great. There are hundreds of shaky camera clips struggling to track the plane whilst wind noise dominates the experience, even more videos from manufacturers and distributors that all share the same model, screen shot specs followed by 3 minutes of dated cheesy elevator music whilst the product spins and loops. Just not enough videos that really talked you through it... enter FliteTest.

I'd seen the HawkSky in a number of videos and found myself considering it as my trainer plane. But the BNF only option left a bitter taste as I knew I wanted to buy a good reputable Radio I could grow into, why pay for the radio included with the BNF products when nicer PNP model aircraft were cheaper.

STEP TWO: Pick out a Transmitter.

Deciding to buy a good transmitter ushered me away from the BNF Bixlers/SkySurfers/HawkSkys. Knowing I wanted something more then a trainer meant I needed a SIM if my plane were to survive passed its Maiden flight.

I'd been eyeing up the FUTABA 6EX having read a few glowing recommendations, but there was just something about it's aged aesthetics that kept me away from pulling out the wallet. By now I'd discovered the FliteTest channel and I'd made the decision to go back to the start and watch them all, I was still in the dark on many aspects of RC and the couple episode I'd cherry picked seemed to teach so much, it just made sense to watch them all and soak it up.

iOS5 had just come out and I was playing with AirPlay (streaming content from my iPad to the AppleTV) this worked so well with YouTube, and as such, the FliteTest channel. I laid out on the sofa and watched episode after episode trying to remember all I could. From Friday to Sunday I watched whenever I could, on Sunday afternoon I felt for certain RC flight was for me and that FliteTest would be my way in. 'Subscribed', 'Liked' and joined the forums.

So what radio did I go for? The Spektrum DX8 I liked everything about it, I'd found myself (prior to seeing your review of the DX8) trying to work out which radios the FliteTest boys were using, my logic was simple, Josh Bixler knows his stuff, if he's using one, it must me good.

I ordered it from KINGS LYNN MODEL SHOP If you reading this is in the UK I really cant recommend them enough. I ordered it on Monday and signed for it on Tuesday. I also picked up a copy of Phoenix Model Flight Simulation V3, I knew it to be compatible with the DX8 and it was available at a good price. So Tuesday and Wednesday night had me putting in a few hours SIM time.

STEP THREE: Buy a plane.

My hope had always been to take aerial footage, I'd not heard of FPV and at that point had visions of taping my iPhone to the belly of the beast and seeing what happens. Electric gliders held alot of appeal, I wanted to go up and stay up flying for longer the 5-10mins at a time, I also liked the idea that whilst big they were still able to perform rolls, loops etc, I knew if I could keep it safe, the platform offered alot of room to grow. Certainly not a trainer or even a sensible choice for a beginner I'd started to narrow the search. I had it down to three.

1) Parkzone Radian Pro PNP


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2) RIPMAX ST Model Blaze EP ARF


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3) Diamond 1800 PNP


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All similar, yet different. My first choice was the Radian Pro but finding stock was proving to be difficult, next the Diamond 1800 which was the most expensive, yet I opted for the ST Model Blaze in the end. Not going for a trainer meant I wanted a fold-able prop (we all know I'm crashing it) I didn't want to spend too much on it (we all know I'm crashing it) strength was important (you get where I'm going with this?..) as was size. The ST model Blaze appeared to offer all I'm looking for at a price I was happy with.


and that's where I'm at.. it's now Thursday night, I'm taking delivery tomorrow morning.. I'll post again, see how I get on. Maiden flight scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Back to the SIM.

J.
 

PaulT

New member
Mentor
#2
Good luck. Spend lots of time on the Phoenix sim before maidening the Blaze. Nice looking plane and keep your speed
up in the turns! Looking forward to seeing your first video.
 

JoeyG

Senior Member
#4
Good luck. Spend lots of time on the Phoenix sim before maidening the Blaze. Nice looking plane and keep your speed
up in the turns! Looking forward to seeing your first video.
Cheers, I'm gonna see how the build goes today and really spend some time making sure my radio is programmed correctly, If I don't feel ready I'll postpone its maiden, thanks for the tip.

Suggestion: There's a blog on your profile, you can use that for your flying log. If you want.
Cool beans, I might start using the blog once my experience level increases. No doubt this thread will soon be peppered with questions once I realize I dont know what I'm doing. :p

J.
 

pgerts

Old age member
Mentor
#5
Interesting reading Joey.
The DX8 is a good choice. I hope that you got the deal with two receivers.
UK distributors are normally super. I have not tried the Kings Lynn myself but I am delighted with the service from Steve Webb. Is there anything you won’t find on the web then just send a mail and they will help you get spare parts or special items. I bet Kings Lynn is equally good.

I have the Radian Pro myself but I would probably not consider it as a trainer, photo or FPV plane.
The wing is flat and the plane needs constant piloting compared to planes with upswept wings like the Bixler or the Diamond you have pictured. The motor of the Radian P is not something to be too happy for L. At least 50% more power would have been fine.

I have no experience of the Blaze but it seems a lot like the Radian P in shape and size.

I will wait to read about your experience with your new Blaze.
 
#7
You would probably want to start with a plane with the motor in the back. You will crash, and most likely nose first into the ground at least once, so having a plane with the motor in the back(not in the "back back", but at least not on the nose.) will save you time, money and frustration...
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#10
Oh, and I forgot, I'm working on a small guide to electric RC. When it's done I'll post the first edition on the forum and it'll be open for suggestions and improvements. Expect it in a week or two.
 

JoeyG

Senior Member
#11
The Build.



...

I live in a shared house with a few buddies, my room is small but often has to double as my workshop. The Fedex guy made me happy when he dropped this off for me earlier this afternoon.


...

Whats in my package:

  • 1x ST Model Blaze EP ARTF
  • 3x Overlander 11.1v 2200mah Sport LiPo 25c (Deans connector)
  • 1x Voltz Vault LiPo Battery Charge Safety Sack/Bag
  • 1x Air Telemetry Flight Pack Voltage Sensor with Deans connector
  • 1x Sigma EQ11 Charger
  • 1x 5m Quik-Cure Epoxy


When I placed the order the day before, I'd chosen a Ripmax Pro peak Elite Competition charger and a Deluxe Materials Foam ARTF Glue kit. I'd written on the order that if any of my choices jumped out as being incorrect could KLMS call me. Twenty minutes later my phone rings, The chap was very helpful, I explained how I was new to the hobby and didnt really know what I was doing, he swapped out the products and offered me a wealth of tips. Most impressed.:)



...

First I worked out how to use the charger (which believe me, was a little scary to begin with) and so set about getting my three 2200mah LiPos ready for tomorrow (dumb question, I didn't know if new batteries were sold charged or not).


...

I set out the contents of the Blaze and read through the manual, really wasnt looking forward to putting on the decals.

Once I got started I forgot about the camera and proceeded to take my time and put it all together. As I'd bought the DX8 I wanted to make use of its telemetry module. One thing was for sure, it was gonna be a tight squeeze.

I really wasn't too sure what to do when it came to the wiring, the Blaze manual had a diagram for the BNF version which was very helpful and the Spektrum manual had the rest. I Velcro stuck the ESC right behind the motor mount heatsink up as I thought the airflow from the inlets being right next to it would keep things cool. I put the AR8000 at the very back, again stuck in place with a velcro strip. At this point I paired it with the DX8 and turn my attention to the TM1000, it's larger then the receiver and things were already looking busy in there.

In the end I mounted it above the AR8000 by attaching it to the underside of the wing mount. this way I was able to run the aerial for the TM1000 up and out the back. I'd remembered from one of the FT episodes that aerials touching carbon rods and the like was bad news, now the whole Blaze is rodded up in every direction they really put em in there. This same thought had me worried about the secondary receiver module that houses the aerial for the AR8000. I ended up attaching it in front on the TM1000 on the underside of the centre wing mount (about an inch apart) Once the wings were on the AR8000 aerials just poked out from underneath each wing (intentional).


...
You can see the aerial poking out, its the same on the other side. Will this application have any negative effects
?​

Once comfortable the wiring was correct and secure I powered on the DX8 and hooked up a LiPo. For me, this is where the DX8 really shined. I created a new model profile, called it the ST Blaze and started the set up process, the DX8 allowed me to select the Wing and Tail type (it had a V tail preset) which was great. I gave the sticks a little roll around and found all throws to be operating as they should.

Once thing I'd noticed was the ailerons were not sat at a level position, is this what trim is for?? I didnt know if I'd need to remove the horn from the servo and connect it once level or if there was something else I needed to do? a couple clicks to the aileron trim leveled them out, they really were not that far off... (is this normal?).

After that I sat back and looked on.


...


...​

I then remembered all the stickers that came with the Radio and went a little silly.

So now I'm thinking its ready to fly, I've got three packs charged up the radio is programmed (ish) and the plane is built. What else is there to do?

What about Dual Rates and Expos or flaperons? Would these make my maiden a less arse clenching experience?

Thanks for the earlier replies guys I'm taking it all on board.

J.
 
Last edited:

JoeyG

Senior Member
#12
I'd mentioned how using the DX8 I selected the wing type for this plane, Now I selected the wing type as 'Dual Ail' not 'Flaperon' as the control surface did not span the full length of the wing, Am I correct in thinking that's the difference?

I just watched this video on setting up flaperons using the DX8, he's got me worrying now, as my ailerons use two servos yes, but they connect to the Rx using a 'y' harness. Am I fine how I am? or should I remove the 'y' and plug into Aux1?

Cheers guys. I really should go to bed. :p

J.
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#13
If you want to enable flaperons (which are good) you have to get rid of the Y-connector. Set up flaperons with one of the switches, and check if they work.

I don't know about the DX8, but on my JR you can adjust what is called travel: the amount of movement on the servo.

Also not only check that the surfaces are moving, see that they move in the right direction.
 

JoeyG

Senior Member
#14
Well, it survived it's maiden! And I'm bloody impressed with myself. Plenty of land over at my folks place nice big field to fly in. It's a wonderful clear day but rather a lot of wind, my Father hand launched the Blaze I gave it 50% throttle and off it went, problem was, the sun and the wind are coming from the same direction, I thought sod it and off I went, launched directly into the sun (oops) banked round (the wind grabbed it) I took it up made a few passes with zero problems then started to think about landing it. Reducing speed was very difficult in the end I bailed on a couple landing attempts as it was coming in to hot. Finally killed the throttle and let the wind slow it down, dropped it safely about 120ft away. It didn't film it :-( was too excited.. I made a little video of me picking it up and Im gonna take it up again after a cuppa. Ill be sure to film that one. No doubt the day will end in tears but oh the joy of it all.

J.
 

JoeyG

Senior Member
#16
Well good job on your maiden flight!

Are you thinking about setting up flaps now? That would make landings easier.
I am yeah, still not quite sure how to go about it. Once the 'y' harness is gone and I connect the second aileron to the Aux1 connection on the Rx will the Tx know that? Then I really don't know how to assign the flaps to a switch, I'm sure I'll, get there..

J.
 

JoeyG

Senior Member
#17
Well it survived it's maiden but not it's second flight.. Lol.. The wind was worse but not to blame, I lost orientation and put her down in next doors garden... Hard!! Lol broke off the rudder (I'll ready made repairs) that really was the only damage. So I'm taking the time now to set up the flaperons.

It shall fly again, but maybe when there is less wind. My Father filmed it.. Doesn't make for good viewing.. Lol

J.
 

PaulT

New member
Mentor
#19
I was going to post that you should wait for a calm day for your first couple flights but . . . .
But i wouldn't have listened either,:p
I bet the flight sim helped, didm't it?
Good on ya!
 

JoeyG

Senior Member
#20
I was going to post that you should wait for a calm day for your first couple flights but . . . .
But i wouldn't have listened either,:p
I bet the flight sim helped, didm't it?
Good on ya!
Lol, the flight sim was a huge help. It truly was the same experience, granted I hadn't factored in the wind and had only used wind in the sim a couple times, it was great fun! I've repaired the damage (left tail was ripped off) and I've now removed the 'y' harness. I'm gonna work out how to programme flaperons and weather permitting, take it out again tomorrow.

Loved it! Even when I knew its coming down I looked forward to fixing it. Couple windless days and i'll get the hang of it.

J.