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Newbie + Aerobird = 1st & 2nd sucessful flight

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Old 06-08-2006, 11:30 PM
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Default Newbie + Aerobird = 1st & 2nd sucessful flight

Well, I'm now an RC pilot. I bought an Aerobird Challenger about a week ago, and it finally calmed down enough to try it out for the first time. I've NEVER flown an RC airplane before in my life. I do fly real airplanes however. I'm a CFI. I also drive alot of RC cars. And to top it all of, I spent the last week playing around with the free FMS simulator.

Anyrate, I went to the local elementary school this evening. They have a large mowed field and a large concrete slab with basketball goals. The wind was hovering between 5-7mph with no gusts. That's about as calm as it gets in Kansas. I had my wife hand launch it for me the first time. That was the worst part. Even though all the control surfaces were perfectly flush, it dove hard and turned left. I managed to quickly get it level and climb out to a reasonable altitude to start trimming it up. Once it was up and flying, it was a real joy to fly. RC airplanes are just like real airplanes... they want to fly themselves. I can see how a new student can over-control one right into the ground. If you just let it fly and steer it in the right direction, all is well. I did lots of gentle turns to varying bank angles, lots of 25%, 50%, 75% glides and level flights to get a feel for the plane. It stalls straight ahead with no yawing tendencies whatsoever. I flew the pattern lots of times to get a feel for it in landing configuration. After about 7 minutes, I was getting worried about the battery, so I brought it in over the grass field. With a little headwind, this sucker wants to float, especially in ground effect. I bled off lots of airspeed and basically stalled it into the soft grass with a nice gentle cartwheel.

I had another battery charged up, so I let it sit for a while, then took off again. This time, I did a ROG takeoff. Fairly easy, but really wanted to turn left even with full right "elevon" deflection. This is where a 4-channel would come in handy. Lifted off in about 25-30 feet and climed smoothly into the air. This time around, I did some more of the same manuvers to really get a feel for the airplane. I had several gusts hit the plane, probaly not more than 10mph. And just like in a real airplane, if you just let it ride it out, it has such positive stability that it just rights itself with minmal input. I did several full-stop landings on the pavement and then the battery pooped out on me.

All in all, I had expected the worst since I was going at this alone with NIL experience. But needless to say, I still have a like new Challenger and a big smile on my face. I highly recommend the FMS simualtor to anyone who hasn't used it yet. The flight dynamics aren't very realistic, but it gives you a GREAT feel for what an airplane looks like from the ground and gives you a chance to figure out that left=right when the plane is coming at you . All in all, I am really happy with my purcase and first flight. Tomorrow, I'm going out and trying the "pro-mode" to see how much more responsive she is.

HAPPY FLYING!!!
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:37 AM
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Default RE: Newbie + Aerobird = 1st & 2nd sucessful flight

Congratulations! Not many flyers have such success right off the bat. You will find that the Aerobird is much more responsive in the ProMode, so use minimal control inputs. However, the plane flies much better in this mode. You will never go back to the Sport Mode. You bought a fine beginner's plane, which you will be able to enjoy long after your skills advance you to the intermediate level. Again, congratulations!
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:17 AM
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Default RE: Newbie + Aerobird = 1st & 2nd sucessful flight

Congrats!

I always read first flight with an Aerobird posts - it reminds me of where I was just a couple of years ago.

Your first couple of flights are great successes - my first led me to the local hobby shop for the first time after buying the plane online. I'm now a regular at that shop.

You did things the right way. You prepared with a sim - and as you say that helped with keeping orientation, although the RC cars probably helped a lot there, too. You also went to a field big enough for a comfortable first flight.

You're going to love Pro Mode. It's a different airplane. It gets much more responsive without being "touchy." I find it much easier to avoid trouble in ProMode. After my first flight with it I found myself wondering why SportMode is even there. It doesn't provide enough control authority to recover from some attitudes that as a beginner I found myself in.

Enjoy!

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Old 06-09-2006, 01:03 PM
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Default RE: Newbie + Aerobird = 1st & 2nd sucessful flight

Sport mode required too much anticipation. Granted the plane was so stable that it righted itself most of the way, but control response felt so muted. Anyrate, I woke up this morning at 7:00 and the winds were already 12mph + [:@] I guess that's what I get for living in the middle of the great plains. Oh well...
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:58 PM
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Default RE: Newbie + Aerobird = 1st & 2nd sucessful flight

Congratulations on your successful flights! If you liked the airplane in Sport Mode, you are going to love it in Pro mode. You are in for a treat. Flying that thing in Sport Mode is like trying to walk in swim fins.

As for the takeoff roll, you will never have enough rudder authority in Sport mode for a controlled roll. Even in Sport mode, it is dicy. Your best bet is to first get the wheels straightened out for a straight roll. Test this out by rolling it slowly about 10 feet. Once the wheels are reasonably straight, the best way to have a somewhat-controlled roll is to just give it full throttle and wait a second or two for the airspeed to build. Then you will have some rudder authority to correct anything that happened up to that point. In another second or two you will be airbourne. The idea is to just get off the ground before it does anything nasty. Once you are in the air you can go ahead and crash the proper way.
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:46 PM
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Default RE: Newbie + Aerobird = 1st & 2nd sucessful flight


ORIGINAL: Barry2

Congratulations on your successful flights! If you liked the airplane in Sport Mode, you are going to love it in Pro mode. You are in for a treat. Flying that thing in Sport Mode is like trying to walk in swim fins.

Oh what a great description!!

Wish I would have thunk of it!

That's exactly what it's like.

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