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Tips for the Maiden Flight of RC Jets

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Old 07-15-2014, 06:20 PM
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NavyRCdude
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Default Tips for the Maiden Flight of RC Jets

Hi guys, hopefully I will be doing the maiden flight of my P60 powered YA Starfire this weekend. Just in general, are there any tips for maiden flights for jets, particularly the preflight? I still need to do some taxi tests and a range check, what else will i need to do before the first flight?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:38 PM
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raron455
 
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Personally, I put mine in the hands of the most experienced pilot around, but this was my first turbine plane.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:13 PM
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essyou35
 
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This might sound dumb, but I turn on the RX and pick the jet up and give it a good shake. If anything twitches, turns off, etc then darn.
Check CG and check that the gears hold air both in the down and up position for 10 mins each.

Since it is a small jet would not hurt to run it up, then pick it up and rotate it around and maybe a small shake to see if the turbine quits.

I know its weird but thats what is going to happen to it in the sky. Air bubbles, moving wires and air lines, all that can be ok sitting flat on the ground but then there is an issue once it gets into an different orientation.

The scariest is when I do find something, like a servo twitches due to a lose connection.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:58 PM
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Sounds too basic to consider but make sure the control surfaces operate in the correct direction.

And, considering the amount of fuel turbines carry, check the CG correctly with regard to whether
a certain amount of fuel has to be onboard before checking the CG.

John.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:42 AM
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I have always went by a few simple rules with new models and if done right it usually takes all the guess work out of it. First and for most make sure you have the proper CG(not just the wing CG but laterally CG as well)!!! ask around normally someone has had success with the same model and has done all the experimenting for you. Second, Proper throws and mechanical linkage setup, If you use a nice throw meter to and have everything set the same it should be only a few clicks of trim for a nice level flying bird. Third, I always keep the first few flights short and slowly work up the Gs. This gives any problem that develops a chance to be caught and fixed.
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:01 AM
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Hi Jason,
I'd have some of the experienced pilots give your new Starfire a "once-over" inspection before the maiden. A 2nd or 3rd set of eyes is always helpful.
Also, you can research the JPO Knowledge Bank at www.jetpilots.org for articles on Turbine Jet Maintenance and the like. The BVM site, www.bvmjets.com, has a Pre-Flight Checklist under their "Tips and How-Tos" segment of their website. Finally, there was a RC Turbine Aircraft Checklist that was posted here on RCU but I'm unable to locate it. I downloaded and printed a copy earlier and will have it available at the event. See you this weekend and the weather looks great.
Rgds,
Art
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:16 AM
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Lance Campbell
 
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Just last week, I was doing a test flight for a friend on his new bird. For me, the first flight is not a time to see how it does aerobatics. That will come later. It's to get the plane safely into the air, trimmed and back down in one piece.

To that end, my routine for a test flight is:
1. Instead of my normal, set the brakes, run it up, and release, I'll take much more runway, and slowly work the throttle up doing a very long roll on the take off roll, to creep up on funky ground tracking issues that might show themselves if the toe-in is not correct on the landing gear.
2. Once in the air, the first lap, is simply, 'fly the plane', even if it's way out of trim. Best to not get behind the curve if you have problems, and focus on just flying for that first lap or so.
3. Get the gear, and flaps pulled up and start trimming the plane. Take as many laps as needed.
4. Once trimmed, redrop the flaps, and confirm if there are any unwanted trim issues in that flight mode.
5. Gain a lot of altitude, drop throttle to idle, then back up 3-4 clicks (will make recovery much faster on the engine). Slow the plane and creep up on it's stall. On last weeks test flight, I noticed, it buffeted a bit, 5-7 seconds before it then broke hard and stalled. Stuff like this is invaluable to learn at altitude, instead of when flaring for landing at 10 feet.
6. If any time left, get just a few cruise laps in to get comfortable with the plane, then when time's up, do a good gear pass to confirm the gear are down. Start this process with a couple minutes to spare, as there is a decent chance the first one or two landing attempts might be high / hot, or slow / low, and require a go around, as the glide rate / sink rate of the plane is not known yet.
7. Setup for landing, and as on the stall practice, when you've solid for making the runway, drop to idle, then back up 2-3 clicks of throttle. Having a small amount of throttle in it, will make very little thrust difference, but will almost cut in half the throttle up time, if you have to punch it and do a go around.
8. If you're flaring for landing, and the plane is going back up in altitude, it's still going too fast, continue to hold it off, until it settles, mains first, even if it's further down the runway than you'd prefer.

Lastly, have fun and good luck !

Lance
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:27 AM
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I always give 3 clicks of up trims on the elevator, just in case the jet turn out nose heavy during the maiden
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:26 PM
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Don't forget to breath. Starfire is one of the best flying airframes in history. If it is balanced correctly, it wil fly well.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:33 PM
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ravill
 
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After you get all this valuable information, make a preflight checklist and keep it with you from now on.

You can give it a once over before every flight from now on and experience less failures than those around you.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:01 PM
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Make sure your spotter is fully briefed on what you want them to do. They should also be aware of which switches operate u/c and flaps just in case you get too busy to go looking for them.

I like my spotter to call out the minutes on my flight timer.
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:33 PM
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I would suggest setting up the flaps so they come down slowly but go up fast in case you have a problem with them. Also deploy the flaps with plenty of altitude in case there is a problem. Also when you decide to lower the flaps don't remove your finger from the toggle switch because it will be hard to find again fast if something does go wrong. Be prepared for the jet to drastically climb when you hit full flaps. I actually pre-programn down elevator in my flap system before the maiden flight. It is not a lot of fun to hit the full flap switch and have your jet go straight up while you are clicking in down trim and even worse to run out of down trim and the jet still wants to climb. If that happens you most likely will have to land with half flaps which might be a problem if you have a short runway.Also double check yout throws to make sure everything is moving the same amount.don't just eyeball it, use a good and accurate throw meter. Good luck with the maiden flight!!
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:46 AM
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And remember:

1. Fly it.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melvin View Post
I would suggest setting up the flaps so they come down slowly but go up fast in case you have a problem with them. Also deploy the flaps with plenty of altitude in case there is a problem. Also when you decide to lower the flaps don't remove your finger from the toggle switch because it will be hard to find again fast if something does go wrong. Be prepared for the jet to drastically climb when you hit full flaps. I actually pre-programn down elevator in my flap system before the maiden flight. It is not a lot of fun to hit the full flap switch and have your jet go straight up while you are clicking in down trim and even worse to run out of down trim and the jet still wants to climb. If that happens you most likely will have to land with half flaps which might be a problem if you have a short runway.Also double check yout throws to make sure everything is moving the same amount.don't just eyeball it, use a good and accurate throw meter. Good luck with the maiden flight!!
To add to this... Since it is hit and miss pre-programming the down elevator.... I leave that Flap System open and then have my spotter roll the tumbler till the plane flys balanced at both flap settings. Be sure the guy rolling the tumbler(jr12) understands what he's doing.

The Second post is the best advice if your new to turbines.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vettster View Post
.....The Second post is the best advice if your new to turbines.....
If you are a profecient flyer and can fly all your other airplanes OK, I'm not sure if giving over your first jet to a "well known jet jock" is the answer.

I did that and my "jet jock" left me a $7k crater. All because he changed something on the advice of another "jeck jock" in attendance.

Remember, you can buy your own jet, build your own jet, fly your own jet and certainly you can crash your own jet as well as any jet jock can. I maiden ALL my own jets.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:27 AM
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Is that 7K loss the boomerang on youtube?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfcpntN47tk

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravill View Post
If you are a profecient flyer and can fly all your other airplanes OK, I'm not sure if giving over your first jet to a "well known jet jock" is the answer.

I did that and my "jet jock" left me a $7k crater. All because he changed something on the advice of another "jeck jock" in attendance.

Remember, you can buy your own jet, build your own jet, fly your own jet and certainly you can crash your own jet as well as any jet jock can. I maiden ALL my own jets.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:33 AM
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Nope, here's my story:

OH NO, not another turbine newbie!
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:41 AM
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Don't forget to range check the system and make sure all batteries involved are fully charged and working properly.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:56 AM
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The easiest method on building confidence, Ive always found is to make sure your confident in your plane, or as well prepared as you can be, before you Take Off, do a Range Check using the 4 point Ali method with the turbine running from a good distance and all should be fine, have a plan in mind before you open the throttle on what your going to do if the engine should cut on your Take Off, Climb Out, First Turn etc, what I try to do regarding the Flaps is to trim the airframe out for fast flight and then try the Flaps at a safe height and have your spotter take note of your Elevator Trim position (if not using Conditions / Flight Modes) and then if the airframe requires any Down Elevator or if the Mix isn't quite right, then just trim out the bad vices, you can always then measure the position of the surfaces when you've landed and adjust your Mixes to that point and return the Elevator to its Fast Flight trim setting. Im sure that alot of people always use this method, but I remember getting into a bit of a panic on an Ultra Flash maiden thinking I was going to have to land while fighting the Elevator Mix that was around 5% too much, causing the plane to dive constantly until I thought it through and ended up just re-trimming the airframe its got me out of trouble many times

As for giving it to someone else to maiden, theres nothing wrong with this at all but if your already a confident pilot then Id probably go for it myself, if something did go wrong, would you then kick yourself thinking you could of done something different, Ive crashed a friends airframe on a Maiden a few months back and although I think it would've been difficult to save in any circumstances, the feeling of knowing it was his money that hit the floor was soul destroying.
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:38 PM
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Sometimes I don't raise the gear in the maiden flight. This avoid the issue of trying to get a perfect, slow landing that does not scratch the plane too much when there are gear issues and don't quite yet know the best adjustments for landing.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:56 PM
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Thank you all for all the suggestion that i find here will help a lot of guys out there
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravill View Post
If you are a profecient flyer and can fly all your other airplanes OK, I'm not sure if giving over your first jet to a "well known jet jock" is the answer.

I did that and my "jet jock" left me a $7k crater. All because he changed something on the advice of another "jeck jock" in attendance.

Remember, you can buy your own jet, build your own jet, fly your own jet and certainly you can crash your own jet as well as any jet jock can. I maiden ALL my own jets.
Sorry to hear that Ravill.. I guess picking the best guy in your club does not always mean he's the best.

Where I fly I can go to at least 3 members that I would trust a $30,000 jet to without batting an eye.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyRCdude View Post
Hi guys, hopefully I will be doing the maiden flight of my P60 powered YA Starfire this weekend. Just in general, are there any tips for maiden flights for jets, particularly the preflight? I still need to do some taxi tests and a range check, what else will i need to do before the first flight?
Thanks in advance.
Guess the First question I would ask, Do you have a current turbine waiver by meeting the flight requirements over the last two years? I only ask, due to how simple your question is to us?

Last edited by RCFlyerDan; 07-19-2014 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:46 AM
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I have never flown a jet but it is like any other model airplane. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen during maidens; is flying to close in, flying to far out and flying to high. Another thing to consider is having a helper with you to provide trim adjustments while you pay attention to flying.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:46 AM
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RCFlyerDan,
I've had my waiver for a little over 2 years and have just about 100 flights on my boomerang nano. I bought the nano RTF off RCU. I witnessed the maiden flight of it, but as a spectator rather than a pilot or crew. The starfire was my first jet build and the first maiden of one of my jets. i created this thread to help assemble a preflight checklist for the maiden flights of jets that everyone could use.
I'm happy to report that the maiden flight went perfectly. I had a friend who had a turbine starfire do the maiden and get it all trimmed out. We put 7 flights on it this weekend without an issue.
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