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Help! Trouble on 1st 150 Commuter flight

#1
Most likely pilot error but want to be sure. I finished the built of my 150 commuter, although I'm not pleased with final build quality. I've a lot to learn working with foam board. I built it as close to the video as possible with the exception of making it possible to remove the wing by removing 2 skewer sticks - which added some weight. My flite went as follows:
Flying from a paved surface I rotated in about 15' @ 3/4 throttle - slowly traveled straight to an altitude of 8 -10' - where it (on its own) banked right, lost lift and nosed into the grass. Post flight inspection shows all functions working properly -- however I am concerned with the following: (See photos showing maximum throw)
1. The amount of throw I have with my control surfaces. They appear to be very limited at their maximum throw angles. Elevator, rudder & aelions = 5 degrees in both directions from center.
2. Balance point is 1.75" from leading edge with 2 cell battery mounted forward under the motor.
 

Attachments

CrazyFastFlying

Well-known member
#2
Hmmmm, sounds like you stalled. 15' probably wasn't enough distance to get the right amount of speed to be able to fly properly. You should be going fast enough so that just a touch of up elevator will lift it off the ground. Slowly climb to altitude, climbing to fast will make it stall as well.

Hope this helps!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#4
Most likely pilot error but want to be sure. I finished the built of my 150 commuter, although I'm not pleased with final build quality. I've a lot to learn working with foam board. I built it as close to the video as possible with the exception of making it possible to remove the wing by removing 2 skewer sticks - which added some weight. My flite went as follows:
Flying from a paved surface I rotated in about 15' @ 3/4 throttle - slowly traveled straight to an altitude of 8 -10' - where it (on its own) banked right, lost lift and nosed into the grass. Post flight inspection shows all functions working properly -- however I am concerned with the following: (See photos showing maximum throw)
1. The amount of throw I have with my control surfaces. They appear to be very limited at their maximum throw angles. Elevator, rudder & aelions = 5 degrees in both directions from center.
2. Balance point is 1.75" from leading edge with 2 cell battery mounted forward under the motor.
I do many maiden flights including new and repaired aircraft, (mostly not my planes), the first thing to know is that you should obtain a very fast take off speed for your first flight. This is so that you actually have the best control surface responses and avoid the slightest chance of flying too slow and stalling.

The initial climb from take off should be gradual and straight maintaining speed and of course control. Make your first turn gradually or wide and do so again at full throttle. Only when a safe height is obtained is the throttle reduced and the exploring of the flight envelope commences.

The first landing should also be done at speed to avoid stall. You can alter the take off and landings after you learn the plane's performance. Most planes are damaged during their maiden through timidity on the part of the pilot trying to take it easy.

Control surfaces are most powerful at speed and become ineffective when flying too slow. It takes some getting used to using full throttle and a high speed ground run for your maiden but together they mean a better chance of a safe take off. flight and landing.

Have fun!
 
#5
Hmmmm, sounds like you stalled. 15' probably wasn't enough distance to get the right amount of speed to be able to fly properly. You should be going fast enough so that just a touch of up elevator will lift it off the ground. Slowly climb to altitude, climbing to fast will make it stall as well.

Hope this helps!
Hmmmm, sounds like you stalled. 15' probably wasn't enough distance to get the right amount of speed to be able to fly properly. You should be going fast enough so that just a touch of up elevator will lift it off the ground. Slowly climb to altitude, climbing to fast will make it stall as well.

Hope this helps!
Hmmmm, sounds like you stalled. 15' probably wasn't enough distance to get the right amount of speed to be able to fly properly. You should be going fast enough so that just a touch of up elevator will lift it off the ground. Slowly climb to altitude, climbing to fast will make it stall as well.

Hope this helps!
Thanks man, appreciate it. I was nose light with the balance point so far back so I thought @ 3/4 throttle I'd be good and it wasn't aggressively climbing to the sky. I'll try more throttle and see how she is. Thanks C
 
#8
I do many maiden flights including new and repaired aircraft, (mostly not my planes), the first thing to know is that you should obtain a very fast take off speed for your first flight. This is so that you actually have the best control surface responses and avoid the slightest chance of flying too slow and stalling.

The initial climb from take off should be gradual and straight maintaining speed and of course control. Make your first turn gradually or wide and do so again at full throttle. Only when a safe height is obtained is the throttle reduced and the exploring of the flight envelope commences.

The first landing should also be done at speed to avoid stall. You can alter the take off and landings after you learn the plane's performance. Most planes are damaged during their maiden through timidity on the part of the pilot trying to take it easy.

Control surfaces are most powerful at speed and become ineffective when flying too slow. It takes some getting used to using full throttle and a high speed ground run for your maiden but together they mean a better chance of a safe take off. flight and landing.

Have fun!
Thanks Hai-Lee, Wow, where were you last night when I needed you. :) Sounds like I did everything wrong for my first RC flite. Fortunately, the plane survived. Now that I hear it what you said does make sense. My paved surface isn't very wide so I was more concerned with getting it into the air before going off the edge (of the runway). I'm going to recheck my controls & trim and do what you suggest. Thanks a million.

I like your profile tag line but I think I have you beat with the "old RC guy part. I'm pushing 81.:eek:
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#9
Thanks Hai-Lee, Wow, where were you last night when I needed you. :) Sounds like I did everything wrong for my first RC flite. Fortunately, the plane survived. Now that I hear it what you said does make sense. My paved surface isn't very wide so I was more concerned with getting it into the air before going off the edge (of the runway). I'm going to recheck my controls & trim and do what you suggest. Thanks a million.

I like your profile tag line but I think I have you beat with the "old RC guy part. I'm pushing 81.:eek:
OK you have a few more miles on the clock but then some of my students are also high mileage.

If you are beginning you could try fitting an entry level stabilizer to the bird so that it tends to self control with greater reaction speed than you or I could manage. I fit quite a few in newbie planes of late and they can save a lot of confusion and heartache.

As for the tag on the profile, on this site the majority are quite young and quick studies but they lack a lot of experience. There is an old saying that relates to my tag line and it goes like this; "There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots". My tag line makes a claim of uniqueness!:rolleyes: But sadly no one understands the link!

You will soon be annoying the neighbours!

Have fun!
 

FDS

Well-known member
#10
Also try a thrown launch, it gets you moving up more easily. Keep climbing to at least 40ft with enough throttle to keep the nose up before making any turns, just correct any roll or yaw. Then trim it when you are good and high.
Height gives you plenty of time to get a feel for what’s going on, make small corrections with the sticks but keep the throttle up.
 
#11
Also try a thrown launch, it gets you moving up more easily. Keep climbing to at least 40ft with enough throttle to keep the nose up before making any turns, just correct any roll or yaw. Then trim it when you are good and high.
Height gives you plenty of time to get a feel for what’s going on, make small corrections with the sticks but keep the throttle up.
Thank you. That sounds like a great idea. Appreciate your input. "C"
 
#12
OK you have a few more miles on the clock but then some of my students are also high mileage.

If you are beginning you could try fitting an entry level stabilizer to the bird so that it tends to self control with greater reaction speed than you or I could manage. I fit quite a few in newbie planes of late and they can save a lot of confusion and heartache.

As for the tag on the profile, on this site the majority are quite young and quick studies but they lack a lot of experience. There is an old saying that relates to my tag line and it goes like this; "There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots". My tag line makes a claim of uniqueness!:rolleyes: But sadly no one understands the link!

You will soon be annoying the neighbours!

Have fun!
Thanks my friend, that's another good idea. Is there a stabilizer system that you would choose given what you know about my experience. While I enjoy building and flying what I build I'm also thinking about buying a plane with a SAFE system already built into it. Again like a lot of things the decision comes down to $$$. I love your tag, It does speak volumes about you and your love of the sport. It's a special person that enjoys helping others and I'm sure you have many such experiences and stories to tell. (y)
 
#13
I self taught myself to fly in the 80's. No local hobby shop, No internet. Just a basic understanding of RC and a lot of time around real airplanes. No fancy gyros, or gps systems.

Some tips that may help.
1. Stand behind the plane for orientation. As you begin your first flights rotate your body in the direction the plane is flying. This helps with orientation (visualize yourself sitting in the cockpit).

2. Lots of ground runs, letting the plane get light and begin rotation (on a plane with nose gear).

3. When you are ready to go for it. Keep the power on and use gentle stick movements. Stick to flying a simple circuit in front of you in one
direction only. Taking off into the wind if any, and landing in the same direction. Once you have gained some altitude (we used to call it two mistakes high)

4. Remember that while the elevator surface changes the attitude of the plane, it is the throttle stick that causes the plane to go up or down. This is especially important when your starting out and just learning level flight. Continuing to pull back on the elevator stick, without sufficient power will ALWAYS stall the plane. Some planes stall gently, other's spin until you can gain enough speed(lift) to recover. Remember, before doing anything other than a simple oval circuit in front of you parallel to your runway, get yourself TWO MISTAKES high.

5. We all crash. Don't get frustrated and stick with it. If you have crashed and had to rebuild, always check your CG again and balance your plane. And always make sure your control surfaces move in the proper directions before taking off. This is incredibly important with todays radios. It is very easy to change to a different model memory at home while setting up your gear and forget to put your radio on the proper model when you go to fly. If your standing behind the plane like I described. Visually checking that your elevator, rudder and ailerons move in the proper direction before taking off. Many planes crash because the ailerons are reversed. I have only successfully landed a plane with reversed ailerons once in 40years of flying. I have prevented many new guys losing their first plane by insisting on a visual control check before we walked out to the flight station.

You will get it. Foamboard makes it fun to learn and easy to fix.
Good Luck
 

FDS

Well-known member
#14
The Lemon RX stabiliser system would do the job. It is simple to set up and can be adjusted easily, it works with DSMX/Spektrum radios. There’s a thread or two on here about it.
Personally I don’t think SAFE is worth the money vs setting up some low rates and a bit of expo in the transmitter, I ran about 30% travel on my ailerons for the first few months, and the rest at the specified low rates off the plans.
I had a sport Cub S with SAFE, it got me in the air before I started building but aside from orientation, basic safe flying practices and which stick did what, I had to completely re learn when I stopped flying a plane with it in.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#15
Thanks my friend, that's another good idea. Is there a stabilizer system that you would choose given what you know about my experience. While I enjoy building and flying what I build I'm also thinking about buying a plane with a SAFE system already built into it. Again like a lot of things the decision comes down to $$$. I love your tag, It does speak volumes about you and your love of the sport. It's a special person that enjoys helping others and I'm sure you have many such experiences and stories to tell. (y)
I personally do not use spektrum radios YET. Also just to be different I fly mode 1.
My path into RC was long and convoluted and in the distant past getting someone to teach you how to fly was almost impossible. A lot of elitist modellers existed. Effectively I am self taught and decided that the cost and trauma I experienced was not good for the hobby and so I do my bit to fix my local area and make the hobby friendly.

Having said all of that Spektrum SAFE equipped planes can be great for the beginner BUT the price is way in excess of what most beginners can easily afford. In addition to move a SAFE receiver from one plane to a different model can be a pain where reprogramming is required.

I can purchase a stabilizer for under $20 AUD and have it in the air with very little effort. I like the NX3 as an entry level stabilizer but the list of stabilizers is vast and I am working my way through them slowly. Where you have the ability to dig a little deeper into the wallet I would recommend one called the ZOHD Lite. It not only is a stabilizer but it emulates SAFE mode AND gives you the setup option of Geo-fencing or a return to home function. The Geo-fencing allows you to set an area around the take off point and the plane will stay within that area. The return to home is obvious. The ZOHD comes with a GPS antenna,

One of my students would get flustered and confused at times and required frequent rescues during flight BUT since fitting the ZOHD he has begun playing with the sticks in flight and he takes off by just opening the throttle, (the plane can take off by itself), and once setup on a glide slope the plane will land itself without pilot intervention. As for his confusion spells he just removes his hands from the sticks on his transmitter and the plane just self rights and flies flat and level until he resumes control. An interesting flight happened recently where the buddy box cable was intermittent and I was unable to maintain control so I told the beginner to take over and land the bird. He simply just followed a few verbal requests to get the bird on a long approach and then cut the throttle. The bird effectively landed itself!

The ZOHD is relatively expensive and can be a little harder to setup but it is worth its weight in gold for the way it performs.

Confession time: Until recently, (for many years), I was dead set against the use of stabilizers in any form but then I realised that I was imposing my views upon others and actually reducing their enjoyment of the hobby. It took a mind reset to refocus upon the enjoyment of the hobby by all. Now I am a valued flight instructor and since becoming an instructor no student has lost a plane through a crash or flyway. Our club numbers are growing such that I have problems remembering who is actually a club member and the club is introducing membership cards for identification.

Find what works for you and do it. If you want to try a SAFE mode plane then do it. Enjoy the hobby and do not battle with it!

Have fun!
 
#16
I self taught myself to fly in the 80's. No local hobby shop, No internet. Just a basic understanding of RC and a lot of time around real airplanes. No fancy gyros, or gps systems.

Some tips that may help.
1. Stand behind the plane for orientation. As you begin your first flights rotate your body in the direction the plane is flying. This helps with orientation (visualize yourself sitting in the cockpit).

2. Lots of ground runs, letting the plane get light and begin rotation (on a plane with nose gear).

3. When you are ready to go for it. Keep the power on and use gentle stick movements. Stick to flying a simple circuit in front of you in one
direction only. Taking off into the wind if any, and landing in the same direction. Once you have gained some altitude (we used to call it two mistakes high)

4. Remember that while the elevator surface changes the attitude of the plane, it is the throttle stick that causes the plane to go up or down. This is especially important when your starting out and just learning level flight. Continuing to pull back on the elevator stick, without sufficient power will ALWAYS stall the plane. Some planes stall gently, other's spin until you can gain enough speed(lift) to recover. Remember, before doing anything other than a simple oval circuit in front of you parallel to your runway, get yourself TWO MISTAKES high.

5. We all crash. Don't get frustrated and stick with it. If you have crashed and had to rebuild, always check your CG again and balance your plane. And always make sure your control surfaces move in the proper directions before taking off. This is incredibly important with today's radios. It is very easy to change to a different model memory at home while setting up your gear and forget to put your radio on the proper model when you go to fly. If your standing behind the plane like I described. Visually checking that your elevator, rudder and ailerons move in the proper direction before taking off. Many planes crash because the ailerons are reversed. I have only successfully landed a plane with reversed ailerons once in 40 years of flying. I have prevented many new guys losing their first plane by insisting on a visual control check before we walked out to the flight station.

You will get it. Foam Board makes it fun to learn and easy to fix.
Good Luck
Thanks Rusty, I appreciate ALL suggestions and help. I too like the foam board models. I did check all control surfaces before my flight and spent much time on the ground taxiing and getting my front tri gear to track correctly. I'll keep at it and learn from my mistakes. Thanks again for your feedback. You guys are the best.
 
#17
Thanks Rusty, I've been away for a while. Actually sick as a dog but better now. I appreciate you and everyone's input. I'm going to look into your suggestion. I really can't afford SAFE right now. I also determined that I'm trying to learn Rc and a new transmitter etc on a gym field that's way to small and has light poles 360. Too much to concentrate on right now. Im in southern NC and I'm going to try and find a rc club field where there could be others there that could help real time. Thanks again for everything.
The Lemon RX stabiliser system would do the job. It is simple to set up and can be adjusted easily, it works with DSMX/Spektrum radios. There’s a thread or two on here about it.
Personally I don’t think SAFE is worth the money vs setting up some low rates and a bit of expo in the transmitter, I ran about 30% travel on my ailerons for the first few months, and the rest at the specified low rates off the plans.
I had a sport Cub S with SAFE, it got me in the air before I started building but aside from orientation, basic safe flying practices and which stick did what, I had to completely re learn when I stopped flying a plane with it in.
y
 

Jackson T

Well-known member
#18
Thanks man, appreciate it. I was nose light with the balance point so far back so I thought @ 3/4 throttle I'd be good and it wasn't aggressively climbing to the sky. I'll try more throttle and see how she is. Thanks C
One of the most critical points is the CG, it's better to be nose heavy than tail heavy. A rear CG will affect the stall, and might even cause it to spin.
 

evranch

Well-known member
#19
...I also determined that I'm trying to learn Rc and a new transmitter etc on a gym field that's way to small...
What transmitter do you have? A great way to practice RC flying without crashing up a bunch of planes is by flying a simulator on your PC. Many transmitters have a USB connection so that you can use your own transmitter to fly on your PC.

Picasim is free, and has basic enough graphics that it runs on non-gaming computers or even on a phone or tablet. I've logged plenty of hours on it and still fly sims to push the boundaries of my flying skill or to do some flying on lousy weather days.

This is a great way to get used to one of the biggest challenges you will face once your plane is in the air - the controls appearing reversed when you're flying towards yourself. Also you can get a feel for stalls and stall recovery without risking your planes.