RCU Forums

RCU Forums (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/)
-   Beginners (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/beginners-85/)
-   -   A newbie inviting criticism of his plans (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/beginners-85/11360143-newbie-inviting-criticism-his-plans.html)

Flyswamper 01-07-2013 10:57 AM

A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Hi folks,

I'm a 47 yr old guy that just bought his middle child (15 yr old boy) "our" first RC plane for my kids birthday.

On the advice of the shop owner, we got him a Super Cub RTF DSM. We have it assembled but haven't gone out for a flight yet. I also bought "us" the PhoenixRc (version 4 I think) simulator software. My son and Ihave both spent the last day or two playing/flying in the simulator. It was far far too windy and gusty to fly yesterday (which would have been our first flight attempt). Perhaps we'll get to fly in the next day or two.

I'm guessing that the standard advice for newbie's such as us is basically "find a club and someone to train you." While I am sure that is good advice, right now my thinking is that I/we don't want to do that. I *think* we are comfortable with self-teaching ourselves and living with the consequences of that. I reserve the right to change my mind after the first day or two of actual flying (which hasn't happened yet) but that is our mindset right now. It's more about time and energy involved to find the club and coordinate time with another person to train/learn from than anything else.

I'm thinking that we might go try the local park with a baseball diamond for our first flight. http://goo.gl/maps/Ah5s0

So..... what I am doing here... well... just soliciting any advice, criticism, tips, etc.... that you feel like throwing our direction.

Thoughts going through my head right now include:
wondering just how "over confident" we might be if we rely on getting good with the simulator and then expect/hope to transfer that to a real flight
Wondering what tips/tricks we will wish we had known that we don't (e.g. I just read something online about hand gliding to check trim settings before first flight....wondering about that and similar stuff)

wondering just how much wind we should tolerate for our first flight (I have read a post in this forum on this very subject already).

Anyway.... thanks for your tips and wish us luck!

Rodney 01-07-2013 11:17 AM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
If at all possible, locate a local flying club and visit them. Chances are very high that they will gladly check out your plane and make sure that it is truly ready for that first flight. You will be smart to let one of their experienced pilots make the first flight on it and get it trimmed out. If you try to do it yourself you are almost guaranteed to have some problems, very apt to result in extensive repairs being necessary. There are quite a few things that can be overlooked or miss-adjusted if this is your first experience at radio control.

swify 01-07-2013 11:32 AM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
I believe there is a group of people that fly electric planes near the Grey Eagle Casino. My advice would be to go there and have someone experienced check out the plane and take it up for the first flight. I don't know how well simulator skills transfer into the real world, it maybe sharpens up your skills over the winter if you already know how to fly.I don't think a simulator will teach all you need to know to go out and fly first time with no problems.

ATVAlliance 01-07-2013 11:36 AM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
The deck is stacked against you, but not impossible of course.

Learning to fly and get the correct muscle memory in your thumbs and/or fingers is one thing. Learning about your model and how to adjust the CG and do preflight checks can be a longer learning curve if you just try and figure it out on your own.

Having a club and an instructor will not only help you learn to fly with the greatest possibility of bringing your model home in one piece, but also will help explain all of the things that you need to know other than how to fly the model.

I was in your shoes about 15 years ago and tried to do it all by myself. I even read a lot online (far less info online in our hobby 15 years ago compared to today) and thought I had it all down. I ended up with a demolished airplane and quickly got out of the hobby. Wasted about 500 bucks in the process!

About three years ago I decided to give it another try. This time I first joined a club and went and watched people fly for probably the first 3 visits. I then brought my plane and was buddy boxed only 2 times before I solo'd and I havent looked back since.

I now own about 16 or 17 airplanes and 10 helis...also a couple of boats and land vehicles. All of which I can confidently fly/operate.

I may not be the best pilot in our club...but I am a decent one and without joining the club...I probably would have thrown away another 5-600 bucks and been out of the hobby as soon as I tried to start back.

If you go it alone...just be sure to get really proficient at flying the SIM first. A SIM wasnt something that I was able to afford way back when I first tried. I MIGHT have been able to do it this time without the club and my SIM...but both made it a very short affair on the buddy box and being able to solo fly for the first time was a great feeling of accomplishment. Also, read your manual for the airplane and take in as much as you can about CG(Center of Gravity) and control throws and try and understand them at their basic level. Set up your airplane as closely as you can to the manual and hope for the best. You see, not all manuals are created equal, and you can THINK you have everything right and take to the air only to find the airplane is nearly unflyable. This is whyi said that the learning curve about preflight and setup is a long one if you have to go it by trial and error.

goodluck to you and your son. Its a great hobby!

hugger-4641 01-07-2013 11:56 AM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Ditto what has been said above. I did teach myself how to fly, and spent way more time and money than I should have because I didn't know better at the time. Now I do know better, which is one of the reasons I post on this forum, to help people like you. You have been advised, so now it's up to you.  If it's just a personal challenge thing, then by all means, challenge yourself. But if you truly want to learn how to do things right, follow the advice given to you by those who have experience.<div>
</div><div>That being said, I'll throw my 2C on something else. The open field area in your park might be a better choice for a flight area.  A baseball diamond might look like a good open place to fly, and in fact, the surface is great for take offs and landings if you can navigate the fences and electric poles.  But this is a very big "if".  I have a couple of the same plane you have, and it is a very good plane for learning, but it does not like thick grass, and  you are asking for failure if you try to make your first flight from inside the diamond. That 4 foot high fence basically takes away about fifty feet of your usable runway, which basically puts you in a "do or die" situation in which if you decide you need to make another approach, you may not be able to the clear the fence again, or most likely, you will force the plane into a stall after you do clear the fence. Just my 2C.</div>

kwblake 01-07-2013 12:40 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Hey Flyswamper. I know there will be a bunch more reply's, but here is my $0.02 for what it is worth. Don't want to sound negative, but the cards are stacked against you. If you have never done this before, there are so many things involved, in this sport/ hobby that are better learned from someone with experience, than on your own. As other people have already said, teaching yourself is not impossible, but from what I have read from others, is difficult. There are many more threads here, that I have read on this subject. I also started off with a sim. and then a trainer with an instructor and buddy box. Without the buddy box and instructor, I would have lost my trainer first go, guaranteed. Another thing is that there is more to this sport/hobby than just the flying. You will meet lots of, how can I say this, interesting, people at a club. I am lucky to have a runway cut in my field at home, but I do most of my flying at the club field. Lots of really good times.

Welcome to the sport/hobby.

P.S. If you do this on your own, we WILL want photos of the remains. http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/js/f...sn/biggrin.gif http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/js/f...sn/biggrin.gif http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/js/f...sn/biggrin.gif

Villa 01-07-2013 12:59 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Hi Flyswamper
Without some help there is a good chance that you will have so many dissapointing crashes that you will quit this wonderful hobby. That would be sad. I have been doing it since 1972. Good luck.

mscic-RCU 01-07-2013 01:11 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
The flight simulator will definitely shrink the learning curve, but I still would have an experienced flyer help you and your son. It is a lot harder than it looks and it will be much more enjoyable if you didn't spend all your free time repairing instead of flying.

JeffinTD 01-07-2013 01:40 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
So every reply isn't negative:

You picked a great plane to start with. It is forgiving to fly, and tough. It is also from a quality brand, meaning parts are available, and things are likely to work right.

Second, great move getting a simulator, and a quality one at that. Though no substitute for flying, it gets your fingers moving in the ring direction with decent reaction time.

You may fly it fine, but chances would be better if you had help.

You may find hooking up with a club or informal flying field wasn't a bother; that the social aspect of the hobby can be a big part of the fun.

P.S. I'd wait for pretty calm days for your first few flights...

Flyswamper 01-07-2013 01:43 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Folks..... I appreciate the replies thus far.  I know you may think posting something similar to what has already been said is redundant, but I'm a firm believer that often you (or I) can still glean little tidbits from each and every response.  So please keep em coming if you are willing/able to give me some feedback!

guver 01-07-2013 02:23 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
I self taught and one mistake I did make was underestimating the wind. What I thought was perhaps a mild 3 mph breeze was probably actually a 5-6 mph so I would say to wait for a nice clear CALM day.

If you go this alone then I would also recommend untrimming your sim plane and then take off with it and re-trim it in flight because you're going to have to do that with your plane. You and your son can each untrim the sim for each other so the one flying is unaware of what correction to make until in the sim air.

I'd also practice take-offs and landings quite a bit with a few different planes and try to find one on the sim that resembles your plane. I've never tried it , but I wonder if it might be ok to have the other person trim the plane while one is flying it. I know for me to maiden a plane and then reach for certain trim buttons during flight is sometimes a handful (especially if it's a new and fast plane for me)

Make sure you have a HUGE area with NO obstacles.

MTK 01-07-2013 02:24 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans


ORIGINAL: Flyswamper

Folks..... I appreciate the replies thus far. I know you may think posting something similar to what has already been said is redundant, but I'm a firm believer that often you (or I) can still glean little tidbits from each and every response. So please keep em coming if you are willing/able to give me some feedback!

There's nothing wrong with your approach. The Phoenix 4 simulator is a reasonable representation of the real thing, but let me suggest a few things to get closer to success on your own.

Trimming is the key; on your simulator, change the trim settings arbitrarily (or better yet, have your son change trims on the TX, blind to you) and then fly the Cub. Trim it as necessary to fly S&amp;L. Do this several times to get a feel of how poor trim affects flight....

Do every check defined in the manual to make sure you have the surfaces moving the appropriate amount and in the right direction as you deflect TX sticks. Make sure the CG is as defined in the manual.

Practice the landings, a lot!! I have the P4 Sim and if you can land the Sim, the real thing is a little easier

Learning by yourself with no one experienced to at least check if the model is flight worthy, can be done. That's how I learned 45 years ago, before ARFies and before simulators. Just a simple 4 channel TX with zero bells and whistles. BUT, I had built2-3 airplanes beforemy trainer that flew successfully for someone else (I built those for a guy to earn spending money in high school) so I at least knew something about set-up. With the confidence of a teen I built my trainer out of cardboard and stuck a 15 up front. The fool thing flew great and I learned quickly. So it can be done and I think you will do it

hugger-4641 01-07-2013 02:38 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
If you do try to go at it without help, you should browse through the Parkflyer forum. There is a very lengthy thread dedicated to the Hobbyzone Super Cub, as well as many, many other threads where this plane is discussed. When the Hobbyzone Super Cub thread was started, they were still using a brushed motor and Nicad batteries. I still have a couple of those first generation birds that are still completely stock and still fly perfect. The plane was great even then, but the addition of Lipo batteries, brushless motors, and better electronics has really made the newer version a top quality plane.

A couple things I'll mention just incase you don't pick up on it in other reading:

The first things you will break on the plane are: Propeller, cowl, struts, tail section. I would go ahead and have a spare prop and struts handy. The struts will break at the ends where they fasten to the wings. In a pinch, strip the coating from a bread tie, heat a needle with a lighter and poke a hole in the end of the strut to allow using the bread tie to re-connect them. The cowl, wings, fusalage, and tail sections can usually be glued or taped back together sufficiently enough to fly until replacement parts are bought, I have one plane that has had the wing and fusalage broken completely in half several times and is glued back together and still flying.

Another thing to pay attention to is the control throws. The manual describes the proper set up, but in their haste, many people overlook checking the elevator and rudder linkage. Everyone of these planes that I've put together had to have the elevator yoke turned in several turns to keep the plane from climbing steeply at neutral trim. Same with the rudder linkage. Make sure that the control surfaces are in the "null" position (flush and straight with the stabilizers) when the trim adjustments on the radio are centered. If you set these correctly, the plane will lift off on its own after about fifty feet of runway and climb gently with out any elevator stick input from you.

Set a timer. Your fully charged Lipo should give you 8 to 12 minutes of flying, depending on how much you stay at full throttle. Set a timer for 6 or 7 minutes so you don't run of power at a time or place that won't allow you to land the plane.

Keep the plane upwind during your entire flight if possible, this way, if your battery does go dead or something else goes wrong, the wind will blow the plane back towards you instead of away from you.

Once you get airborne for the first time, get the plane at least twice as high as the trees. Most newbies mistakenly think it is safer to keep the plane closer to the ground where they can see it better.WRONG!!! Altitude is your friend!!! Don't get so high that you can't see the plane well, but staying about "two trees" high gives you time to make mistakes and correct them before meeting the ground again!

Keep the plane within a couple hundred feet. Most newbies get excited and have a tendency to let the plane get too far away before turning back. Keep the plane close enough that you can easily see the orientation of the plane, bank angle of the wings, direction of travel, and speed. Many, many, many, crashes occur simply from letting the plane get so far away that you can't tell which way it needs to go.

<br type="_moz" />

Chucksolo69 01-07-2013 03:17 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
I learned to fly an HZ Super Cub by myself and still fly her almost a year later even though I now alsofly 4-6 channel warbirds. Just remember to use small, delicatemovements on the sticks and you should be fine. Try flying her on the calm, no winddays first. Here's a tip: When the plane is coming toward you after a bank, and you want to straighten her out, move the stick in the direction of the wing that is lowest. She will right herself immediately. Use 100% throttle at takeoff and settle back to 50% after she is in the air she will fly level at 50% throttle. The Super Cub will want toclimb at 75%to 100% throttle.

This is important also, buy a couple of bags of the rubber bands, they go for 6 bands for 99 cents. The stock rubberbands will deteriorate quickly. I change mine everythird trip to the flying field. When you land her, land her into the wind, bring her down by reducing the throttle and you can gradually decreasethe throttle once you begin your final approach to the landing strip. She will float in. Give her a bit of "up"elevator just before touchdown and she will settle down nicely.

BTW - In the almost 12 months I have flown my Super Cub, I have yet to crash her. She is still on her original propeller. That is how good this plane is as a trainer.

JeffinTD 01-07-2013 03:24 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Actually I'd highly recommend a Li-Po alarm. It plugs into the balance lead, and sounds a buzzer when any cell reaches the voltage you've set.

Practicing trimming with the sim is a great idea.

Also it is not an uncommon practice to have someone help you trim. Particularly if the plane tends to dive, it can be tough to get off the stick and on to the trim switch repeatedly while keeping the plane in the air. If someone can give you up trim until it is close, things are much easier.

Something else to practice with the sim would be recovering the plane from a stall, or unusual attitude.

With the real model, keep it close but keep enough altitude that you can have time to recover from a mistake or two.

lopflyers 01-07-2013 04:14 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
I have three words of advise:<div>
</div><div>DON'T DO IT.         [X(]</div>

Flyswamper 01-07-2013 04:17 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Very useful thoughts and tips here.

As it turns out, I guess I've kinda done the trimming exercises you are talking about in the simulator a lot already.  In the simulator anyway, I've flown the plane for extended periods with it out of trim and have adjusted trim to correct it.  I'm sure the real-world flight will be different, but I think we've already gotten in a fair bit of practice with adjusting the trim via the sim (but we'll do more...)

The sim we have (Phoenix) has our exact plane as one of the aircraft models that you can choose.  We've flow some of the performance ones in the sims and (if the simulator is any hint of reality) there is a HUGE difference in how much more difficult most of those other (performance category) planes are to fly than the Super Cub.  The simulator gives me the impression that the Super Cub we have is really really easy to fly.  My biggest fear is that the simulator isn't doing a great job of simulating real world performance. 

One things I've done quite a bit of in the simulator is to practice flying around some of the more obstacle/restricted airspace locations that you can choose from.  I've also done quite a bit of flying with the wind turned up and some fairly gusty conditions (wind gusts up to 15-20 mph).  That has certainly given me an appreciation for finding a relatively calm day,   but... we've actually managed to handle the simulator pretty good even in the moderately windy conditions (where the plane has enough power/thrust to actually travel upwind anyway)...

At any rate.... keep those thoughts coming!  It's already too dark today for us to go out and have our first crash....errr.. flight.  But hopefully we'll get one in soon!

Gray Beard 01-07-2013 04:31 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
Is that the three channel CUB you have?? I get a bit lost with them all. If it is then it is the same plane my grand son learned with and is still flying it. Thing is the kid was flying indoor choppers sense he was 2 and been on the Sim as soon as he could move the sticks. Been into RC cars before the choppers. I took him up with my trainer when he was 4 and the first flight I had to take control quite a bit, his second flight all I did was take of and land for him.
My point is, it can be done by some and the SIM is a big help. Not how I would go about it but give it a try. All you have to loose is the plane. There are more of them just waiting for you at your LHS. I flew every day with him over Thanksgiving and he just turned 6, he was still only 5 on that week. He is also not the norm. He is nuts for anything RC related. His little brother is into RC cars but not planes yet.
Good luck.

countilaw 01-07-2013 04:31 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
My suggestion is, go back to the hobby shop and buy another cub. Take it to the field with you. You will be needing it after the first 15 seconds with the first one.

Sounds harsh, but true. I know this because after 50 years of flying models and watching all the noobs with the same plans crash and burn. They usually drop out of the hobby because they don't enjoy it after all the disappointments.


Flyswamper 01-07-2013 05:51 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans


ORIGINAL: Gray Beard

Is that the three channel CUB you have??
Yes, it is a 3-channel one.

ram3500-RCU 01-07-2013 05:52 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
I taught myself to fly RC back in 1969. I had already been flying control line airplanes for several years, and my father and uncles were full scale pilots. In addition, I took the time to study and understand flight in general. Knowing as much as you can about how airplanes function will serve you well in the hobby.

Having said that, I had an uncle who flew both prop and jet commercial aircraft, and in fact spent some years working for the FAA certifying pilots on, the Lear, for instance, but he couldn't fly RC for love nor money. One of the most knowledgeable aviation guys I ever knew, and could not fly RC. The reason, he could not think backwards, or more accurately, get past the point in the learning process that you don't have to consciously think about these corrections. The turn back towards your position and the flight back is one of the bigest hurdles to master. The aileron and rudder reversal kills a lot of airplanes. Push towards the low wing when the plane is headed at you. In time, this will become second nature, and then the fun begins.

The second thing I stress with new pilots is to practice figure 8s, over and over. Learning to turn in both directions equally well is critical to flying your airplane, and not having your airplane fly you. The left turn is more natural because the torque wants to bank you that way. It takes more coordination to turn right. You'll see pilot after pilot leave the pattern to make a left hand turn on a right hand pattern, because they don't feel comfortable with the right hand turn. In many cases, these guys that have been flying for years. Practicing figure 8s will cure this, and you will be just as comfortable with either pattern, all the while enjoying flying no matter which way the wind is blowing. This may just save your plane as well someday, when you need to make that emergency right hand approach because of some mechanical problem.

The third suggestion is to practice straight and slow flight. Loops look great, but they won't help you land. Controlling your plane to the slowest speed it is capable of is critical to good landings. Practice practice practice those down hill turns from down wind to base to final. Practice them at altitude. Practice them with your power to idle. This teaches you energy management, and the need to keep that nose down on those turns to a landing.

Practice practice till the basics are second nature. Have a plan for every flight BEFORE you take off, and stick to your plan. Become a disciplined pilot, and a fanatic about maintenance. Your plane will last longer, you will gain confidence, and you will be much better able to cope with the unexpected without pushing the panic buttom, but the unexpected will be a rare thing.

Gray Beard 01-07-2013 06:08 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
1 Attachment(s)


ORIGINAL: Flyswamper


ORIGINAL: Gray Beard

Is that the three channel CUB you have??

Yes, it is a 3-channel one.

Good, very easy plane to fly and the kid hit a tall steel stand on one landing, I thought the plane would be toast, my little Extra would have been dead but they just picked it up, straightened the wing and his dad made him take off again and land it right. A very tough little plane.

GRandolph 01-07-2013 07:37 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
I self taught myself. First flight i took off and got her up in the air. But it never occurred to me that once up in the air at a safe altitude that I should reduce throttle. It was a flat bottom wing so at full throttle it got lots of lift and "ballooned" so high I lost it. Luckily I found it later and it survived!

If you have no help go ahead and try to fly by yourself. Just make sure you can't hurt anyone or their property.

HighPlains 01-07-2013 08:09 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
I may have trained well north of a couple hundred fliers over the last 40 years. Out of that number, I only had a two that could fly the airplane well enough the first time that they might have had a chance of repeat flights with the same airplane. The vast majority needed training to some degree, even with simulator training. Today I can sit on the sideline and usually decide with 15 or 20 seconds of watching who will be crashing that day. Yes, you can learn on your own, but your progress will be slower and you may lose interest as the trash can fills up.

P-39 fan 01-07-2013 08:24 PM

RE: A newbie inviting criticism of his plans
RAM3500 has given you some excellent advise. There is a key sentence that he stated: HAVEA PLANBEFOREYOUTAKEOFF. I have seen so many newbies crash after 15 seconds because thier mind was 15 feet behind the plane. The flight then becomes a series of act / react motions followed by a spin and crash. The best advice I can give after 46 years of RC flying is get an experienced pilot to get the plane trimed and balanced out for you.Good Luck and tryto just enjoy this fantastic hobby.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:43 PM.