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Hobbyzone Challenger

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Old 12-21-2003, 06:22 PM
  #1  
kevjud
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Default Hobbyzone Challenger

I am new to this hobby so I thought I would research these forums for some advice. I have read good things about the hobbyzone planes. I do have a question though, I can't decide between the commander, or the challenger. I would like to buy the challenger since it has more capabilities, but I have read that a beginner should not buy that as their first plane. Any advice? I would hate to spend the extra dollars, and then find out I should have learned on a simpler plane. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Kevin
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Old 12-22-2003, 08:56 AM
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Matt Kirsch
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

It's really a tough call. The Aerobird Challenger has one more control than the Firebird Commander, and it's the control that can get you into the most trouble as a newbie... Then again, if you go with the Commander, you end up buying another plane to take the next step.

Ultimately, it's your call. If you're confident in your hand-eye coordination, and/or you have some experienced help or an R/C simulator, the Challenger will work okay. The Commander will be better for someone working on their own, who might not have the utmost confidence in their handl-eye coordination.
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Old 12-22-2003, 03:57 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Thanks. If you just keep the elevator neutral and not use it at first, would the plane then fly like a commander? Just increase prop speed to climb, and decrease prop speed to lose altitude? I hope this isn't too dumb of a question! Thanks
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Old 12-22-2003, 07:11 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Go for the Aerobird. If you leave the elevator alone it will fly just like the commander. However, you will find that the elevator is very easy to manage.

The main thing to remember is that the elevator does NOT make the plane go up. It mearly points the nose up. If the plane does not have enough speed, instead of climbing it will stall and the nose will drop.

I started on an Aerobird in March. I had never flown before. I now have over 100 flights on my aerobird and recommend it to all the new pilots in our club.

Three channels will give you full control of the plane.

If you search on AEAJR, my name, you will find TONS of stuff on the Aerobird.

Ask us all the questions you like. We are here to help.
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Old 12-22-2003, 09:34 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Thanks much for the advice. I appreciate your help. I am going to go with the challenger. I'm sure I'll have many more questions after I buy it. Thanks again.
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Old 03-13-2004, 01:12 AM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

kevjud


How is your Aerobird Challenger doing? Having fun?
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Old 03-13-2004, 06:07 AM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

I have had a lot of fun with it. It is amazing how tough it is. This website has been very useful as I have had to make just about every repair to the bird that has been mentioned here. I am planning on buying a slow stick next. There is so much info here, it will take a awhile to figure out just exactly what I need to buy. Oh well, that's the fun of it. Until then, I'll keep flying the Aerobird.
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Old 04-12-2004, 12:49 AM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Just purchased the Challenger after having a couple cheap two ch models to practice on. Almost went with the extreme but thought it was a little to big for me right now. Thanks for the advice gents. I'll let you know how I like it.
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Old 04-23-2004, 08:19 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Hi everyone, I just bought the Firebird Commander this evening. I'm charging the batteries and waiting for the sun to come up for my first flight. I too had a real hard time deciding on which plane to buy, between the Commander and the Challenger. But what i was looking for was something very simple to operate with very elementary controls. I used to fly Hang Gliders, and I love the challenge of flying with nothing but the wind and thermals to keep you in the air. I tried to find a RC Hang Glider but it seems they aren't made. So I opted for a easy to operated plane with good gliding ability and just enough power to get it up in the air where I can hunt for the elusive thermals. Living here in the flat lands of Florida this is going to be a good challenge. I used to live and fly in the mountains of Western Maryland and the mountain flying with the updraft winds and thermals were pretty predictable, don't believe it will quite the same here in florida. I am looking to challenge myself until I can find some others on here to see how long I can keep an electric in the air just riding thermals and using power when needed.
If you know of anyone else who would be interested in having some fun like seeing how long they can keep an electric in the air ...please let me know.

Thanks, Bill
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Old 04-23-2004, 08:52 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Florida has good thermals I hear but you better be careful. That two channel bird can be easy to lose in thermals.

A critical piece of advice to you and to all two channel pilots. Respect the
wind! REALLY RESPECT THE WIND!!!!!

These planes have throttle and rudder only.

If you fly on a windy day you have a very high probability of losing the
plane. Why? Because you have no way to fight the wind. If the plane gets
down wind from you, and it will, here is what happens. You hit the power to
fight the wind, but these planes climb when you hit the power, so instead of
coming back to you, they climb and as they climb, the wind pushes the plane
further away.

A very very experience two channel pilot can work around this through a series
of maneuvers called the death spiral. However, this is a difficult thing to
control for a new pilot. There is a fellow in our club who has lost two
Firebird Commanders to the wind. I even lost an Aerobird because I did not
know to push the nose down to dive into the wind at the time. It was my first
flight.

Now, when the wind is mild to moderate, 2-5 mph, he is very very good with
this plane. However he is still pretty new, maybe 15 flights, and has not
learned how to handle this plane in the wind.

A three channel plane with elevator control can push the nose down and dive
into the wind to come back. So, don't fly your rudder/elevator or diff thrust
plane in wind over 5 MPH until you are very good with the plane. Don't get
over 7 MPH until you can easily fight your way back from a down wind position.
The Outlaw is not recommeded for winds of over 8 mph by the manufacturer.

TIP

For the Firebird, II, XL, Fighterbird and Commander, if you put a popsicle stick under the back of the wing, it lowers the angle of attack of the wing and the plane will not climb as much on power application. If you learn to manage the plane well, this can give you better penetration into the wind, but it still will not let you put the nose down into the wind.

The wind is not your friend with this plane and it can be impossible to come down out of a strong thermal. I have watched them just float away into the sky.
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Old 04-23-2004, 09:50 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Hey AEAJR, thanks for the info. You seem to be quite knowledgeable as to flying in windy conditions. Believe me I know about how the wind is and how a piece of equipment hanging in the air is at the mercy of the wind. I flew hang gliders for about 5 years. I know what the wind can do and how to handle it....in a hang glider. And you are exactly right be it a hang glider or an RC plane you never want to fly in winds that are stronger than your capabilities to handle them. I had some big Cumulous clouds explode over me one day while flying my hang glider...believe me it wasn't pretty..I was flying about 2,000 ft high and got caught off guard in a rising thermal, and strong outflow winds. Before I knew it, a matter of seconds I was sucked up to 7,000 ft. and still climbing to the bottom of the cloud. I had to do exactly the same manuver with my hang glider as you said with the plane. I pulled the nose down hard, got to the far side of the bar and put it in a steep and I do mean steep spiral dive. That was the only manuver that saved me that day from being sucked into the cloud and spit out the top at probably 25 or 30,000 ft. covered in ice and dead.
Anyway I head your advice and will fly my RC in calm condition until I learn to handle the plane very well and learn its manuvering capabilities.

Thanks alot sir,

Bill
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:01 PM
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aeajr
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Either that, or don't fly it at all. Return it and get the Aerobird Challenger, or another three channel plane with an elevator. You will have a LOT more control of the plane, especially in the wind.

I have had my Aerobird up in 15 MPH winds many times.
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:18 PM
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Hang IV
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Maybe good advice aeajr, how long have you been flying electric RC's . What's the longest you have had one stay up. Or do you just fly till the battery goes dead. I'm trying to find some people interested in seeing just how long they can keep an electric up, riding wind currents and thermals and just using power when its needed. I put a post in the General Section to see if anyone knows or keeps track maybe of either official or unofficial flight durations for electrics. Haven't heard back about it yet.

Bill
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:52 PM
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aeajr
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

I have been flying a little over a year. Have about 350 flights.

Started on an Aerobird. Now I have 10 planes.

5 Electrics and 5 Sailplanes in the 2 meter and 3 meter range.

Longest I kept the Aerobird up? Maybe 40 minutes.

My normal flight times are about 12-15 minutes.

My wife says I have an obsessive/compulsive disorder. I don't think it would
stand up to clinical evaluation, but when I get interested in something I can get pretty intense.

I started flying in March 2003.

State of Current Planes -

I have three radio systems:

Hitec Prism 7X Computer Radio - Set up to fly most of my planes

A Hobbico/Hitec 3 channel single stick AM - Designated to my slope glider
(below)

The dedicated radio that came with the Aerobird (below)


Flying at this time:

e-flite ELECTRAJET - electric delta wing elevon plane - 30 flights -
http://www.backyardflyer.com/BY/arti...electrajet.asp
a learning platform for elevon flight - sorta sitting on the shelf right now

Airtronics SAGITTA 600 - RES 2 meter Glider - 25 flights
http://www.dchobby.com/short%20kit/sagitta600.html
Bought this used from one of the club members. I put it in the air in November. Much faster than my Spirit 2
Meter RES - could become contest plane in RES class for ESL events.

Clancy YARD BEE - electric slow flyer - 3 flights
http://clancyaviation.globalhobby.com/yardbee.asp
picked this one up already built but in need of minor repairs. Patched it up,
put in the electronics and up she went. A poor example of piloting resulted in
a broken prop, but she flies. Just picked up ligher batteries and new prop, so
this will go back up as soon as we have a calm day.

Airtronics LEGEND - 3 Meter Full House Sailplane
http://www.dchobby.com/short%20kit/legendfk.html
Purchased recently from club member - Did first flights this past weekend
In prep for an Eastern Soaring League Sailplane thermal duration contest in June.

Zagi 3C Combat Wing - Epp Slope glider
http://www.zagi.com/
The link is to the newer 5C. This is my first slope plane. I will be
flying this one with a Hitec 3 Channel AM. Just waiting for the right wind ot maiden this plane.


Under Repair

GREAT PLANES SPIRIT SELECT - RES 2 meter Glider - My first glider -
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...I=LXVK55**&P=7
This was my first sailplane. A birthday present in July, this was an RTF
package that came with all the electronics installed and a radio. I had 75
flights before I cracked the wing on a winch launch. Will be back in the air soon.

Hobby Zone AEROBIRD - three channel electric parkflyer 150+ flights. - Really want an Aerobird Challenger for air to air combat and Pro mode performance. Smashed this one up slope soaring it in way too much wind. I hope I can fix it and get it flying again. http://www1.wildhobbies.com/news/def...&articleid=853


Planned Projects waiting for the above projects to be finished.

FOAMBOARD - Green foam building insulation board
The goal is to make this a slow flying 3D electric plane that I can fly in
front of my house - I have all the electronics. This will go to the front of
the line when I finish the rebuild on the Spirit

Piper Cub Electric Parkflyer - This one was crashed by a friend who gave up on
it. The nose is smashed but he rest of the plane is fine. He was going to
throw it out. I will rebuild the nose when I get around to it.
http://www.greatplanes.com/airplanes/gpma0156.html

DART - 2 meter plastic/fiberglass flat wing high speed glider -
I don't really know the name of this plane. Given to me by club member. It is
awaiting electronics installation and some minor repairs. This will be last
to fly, but I have all the electronics ready to go. Might put a motor in this
one some day.
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Old 04-23-2004, 11:14 PM
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Hang IV
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Man Jr, you have a full line of work cut out for yourself...so what do you do with your free time. lol. By the way after reading that post.. couple of questions.... What is 3D flying ..i've seen that talked about but have no idea what it means. The sailplanes you talk about. Do you mean the big no power gliders. With the big wing span just for soaring. A guy i used to hang glide with bought one of those.. he would take it to the mountain sites with us hang gliding. If the wind wasn't strong enough to hang glide then he would fly the glide. That thing he had ...had a wing span of about 6 ft...just a rough guess ..it was big..but lots of fun. If the wind was just right he could just throw it off the mountain and ride the wind..or it not quite enough wind he had a launcher, if I remember right, it was like a stake in the ground with a big long rubber band like... and you hooked it to the plane and it would launch the plane enough to get some altitude and then you flew it.
Have you ever tried or I wonder can you take a sailplane and have a glow powered RC tow up a glide and then release it. Now there's a thought.

Bill
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Old 04-24-2004, 06:07 AM
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aeajr
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Hang IV I include your comments in ""

"Man Jr, you have a full line of work cut out for yourself...so what do you do with your free time. lol. By the way after reading that post.. couple of questions.... What is 3D flying .."

3D flying is where the motor's thrust exceeds the weight of hte plane and the plane can fly straight up! When you have htat much power, you can actually hover on the prop like a helo.

Go to this link for the eagle and watch the video.
http://www.hobby-lobby.com/media/POT006-Hovering.wmv


"The sailplanes you talk about. Do you mean the big no power gliders. With the big wing span just for soaring. "

Yep. The 2 Meter planes are about 6.5 feet wing spans. 3 Meter is about 10 foot wing span.

Chucking the plane off the mountain is called slope soaring. I don't do that with the big planes. for that I use the Zagi 3C wing. The sailplanes are for thremal duration flying.

Take a look at this photo esssay I wrote: Sailplanes are wonderful
http://www.rcezine.com/cms/article.php?cat=&id=18

"Have you ever tried or I wonder can you take a sailplane and have a glow powered RC tow up a glide and then release it. Now there's a thought."

That is an Aerotow. We have done that at our field but my planes are not set-up for it.
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Old 04-24-2004, 11:45 PM
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cadd
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

On my second ABC and really think the plane is tough as heck! I cant believe the punishment it takes! I'm in Florida to and try to fly in the morning when its cooler or late late afternoon. Have had to chase the plane due to the wind a few times. I just let off the throttle soon as I realize I its to far down wind and start walking . I have one new ABC and one that looks like Frankenstein. It has a yellow commander wing, silver tail and orange body but the dang thing still fly's! Thanks for the advice gents. I used to be fly as a student pilot about 15 20 yrs ago but I tell ya its a different ball game when your looking at the plane from different angles it really messes me up at times.
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Old 04-25-2004, 05:58 AM
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aeajr
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

The Aerobird can fight a pretty strong wind, say up to 12 MPH with no problem. I have flown in more.

Get some altitude, then push the nose down and go into a mild dive into the wind. You can do it with power on. Works fine!
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Old 04-25-2004, 10:30 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Hey aeajr, need some advise. I seem to loose the plane when its going downwind. Seems like she just does not want to turnaround. Should I dive and try to turn with more airspeed? Or just fly on less windy days? Really should stick to morning but wind flying really is challenging. Also seems like while flying at least a few times each flight I loose power glide down for awhile and then power comes back and I recover? Does not seem to happen as much on my new ABC as much as my old ABC. Maybe its just a signal interruption and its normal with the ABC due to the 27fm or something? Maybe a better radio transmitter?
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Old 04-26-2004, 06:08 AM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Heya Cadd,

I think it is always hardest to turn the plane back into the wind. At least in part, that seems to be because there is less differential between the speed of the wind and the speed of the plane when the plane is flying with the wind. So the air flowing over the elevators is flowing at a slower speed, therlefore making it take onger to turn. Plus the wind gets on top of the wing when you "heel over" for the turn, which pushes the plane downwind even more and makes it harder to turn.

Try using the advanced mode, if you aren't already and give the plane some increased throttle through the turn.
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:10 AM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

ORIGINAL: cadd

Hey aeajr, need some advise. I seem to loose the plane when its going downwind. Seems like she just does not want to turnaround. Should I dive and try to turn with more airspeed? Or just fly on less windy days? Really should stick to morning but wind flying really is challenging. Also seems like while flying at least a few times each flight I loose power glide down for awhile and then power comes back and I recover? Does not seem to happen as much on my new ABC as much as my old ABC. Maybe its just a signal interruption and its normal with the ABC due to the 27fm or something? Maybe a better radio transmitter?
Turning issues have nothing to do with 27 mhz, so don't let that concern you. It isn't the radio an it isn't the plane, it is the pilot. That is not a knock on you, you are just early on the learning curve.

First, keep those early flights to under 5 MPH winds.

You need to understand how the plane turns. The advice in the previous post is correct but does not cover it all.

[link=http://www.rcezine.com/cms/article.php?cat=&id=17]Beginners Bootcamp[/link]

Try this column, Beginners Bootcamp, that I write on the subject. If the link does not work, PM me and I will send it to you directly. RC Universe frequently blocks access to other sites that they consider competitors.

The article is about how planes fly. Read it and the articles that follow in the series, that then ask your question again.
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:21 AM
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Matt Kirsch
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

You definitely need to watch it when flying downwind. The normal reaction is to ease off the throttle so the plane is going the same speed in relation to the ground. This would be okay if the plane was on the ground, but it's flying. It needs airspeed, not ground speed. Into the wind, the plane's airspeed is its ground speed plus the wind speed. With the wind, it's the plane's grounds speed MINUS the wind speed. When the plane's ground speed minus the wind speed is less than the plane's stall speed, the plane falls out of the sky like a rock.

Resist that urge to reduce throttle when flying downwind. At the very least, maintain the same setting even if the plane goes zooming downwind at incredible speed. Base the need to make turns on where the plane is, not how long it takes to get there.
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:53 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

You are getting a lot of good advice.

The amount of stick you have to use to turn and when you apply it will vary by air speed and whether you are flying upwind, down wind or cross wind. And of course turning into the wind is harder than turning with it.

It all takes time to learn until it becomes natural.

When it is windy and I still want to fly, I focus on wind skills and learning to control the bird in the air. I have flown in 15 MPH winds (clocked with a guage). While it can get pretty exciting, the plane can handle it if the pilot is experienced enough. You can even fly directly into a head wind at 15 MPH, but it is going to want to climb. Just push the stick forward.

Usually in high winds I stay with the 7 cell packs for a little more power AND a little more nose weight.

Read the article I pointed you to and you will get some good tips.

Hope you are having fun!
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:10 PM
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Here is an excerpt from that article I mentioned that is relevent to this discusion:

Air Speed vs. Ground Speed


The plane rises from the ground based on the lift generated by the wings. The amount of lift generated is directly related to the speed of the air moving over the wing and not the plane’s speed over the ground. It is air speed that is important and the two are rarely the same. A simple illustration should help.



You are flying the plane at 20 MPH ground speed. What is the plane’s air speed? That depends on what the air around the plane is doing.



If you stand still and hold your plane facing into the wind, its ground speed will be zero, but its air speed will be equal to the wind’s speed. If the wind is coming at you at 7 mph then the plane’s air speed is 7 mph even though its ground speed is zero.



Even though the plane is not moving, the wing is developing lift equal to the speed of the air traveling over the wing. In fact this is how a kite flies. Being held by a string, the kite’s ground speed is zero, but its air speed is equal to the movement of the speed of the wind, so it develops lift and rises. If the wind stops blowing, its air speed drops to zero and it falls to the ground.



Let’s put some simple numbers to it.



In dead calm air, you learn that your plane’s top speed is 20 mph at full throttle. In dead calm air your air speed and your ground speed are the same. Remember that 20 mph because we are going to use it in the rest of the discussion.


WHY DOES MY PLANE DO THAT?


If you are flying into a 10 MPH head wind, and your plane is at full throttle moving at 20 mph (remember the 20 from above?) your ground speed is 10 MPH. Think of it this way, you are trying to go forward at 20 mph and the wind is pushing you back at 10 mph. So your ground speed is a net of 10 mph. OK? With me?



Now let’s look at the air speed of the plane. The wind is blowing at you at 10 mph and you are flying into it at 20 mph. While your ground speed is 10 MPH, your air speed is still 20 MPH. Your plane’s wing will develop lift based upon its 20 mph air speed, not its 10 mph ground speed.



Now, this same plane makes a 180 degree turn so that it has a 10 mph tail wind. The plane is still moving through the air at 20 mph, however, in this case our ground speed is 30 MPH since the tail wind pushes us forward, adding its speed to our own. However the wing is still developing lift based on the 20 mph speed of the plane through the air. It is developing the same lift even though the plane is moving across the ground more quickly.



The difference between air speed and ground speed becomes very apparent when our plane is flying into a headwind that is equal to our own speed. The net effect is zero ground speed. The plane appears to hover in the air. This is actually a lot of fun. On windy days I get a kick out of balancing my plane’s speed against the wind so that it hovers over a point. Since the wind speed is not consistent, it is a throttle balancing game, or with my gliders, it is a matter of balancing the glide path to the wind, but you can appear to hover a glider this way.

If the head wind is greater than our plane’s speed, the plane will appear to be flying backwards, which can appear very odd, but once you understand air speed vs. ground speed, it begins to make sense.


If you find this interesting, take a look at the rest:

[link=http://www.rcezine.com/cms/article.php?cat=&id=17]Beginners Bootcamp - March[/link]
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Old 04-29-2004, 06:28 PM
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cadd
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Default RE: Hobbyzone Challenger

Thanks a million for all the tips gents, Have been doin great doing my downwind turns and keeping the plane up wind much as I can. Even have been doing a few loops. Next challenge is landing with a cross wind, I fly on a country road and seems wind always blows across it. Maybe time for pro mode to help me? Been just coming in real slow when wind is bad and gently ploping in the grass. THanks again for the tips gang.
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