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Self Taught Pilots

Old 04-11-2005, 10:31 AM
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FighterBird873
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Default Self Taught Pilots

Has anyone learned to fly on their own? I've got my first Spadet-40 all set for its maiden flight. I've got the engine run-in, the radio programmed, and a large safe place to fly. Has anyone else gone down this route and found success? For this thread I would classify failure as a substantial financial loss, such as a bent crank shaft, stripped servos, or a car door with a propnut sized hole in it. Since we are in the SPAD forum, major structural damage doesn't count.

I've got countless hours on the FMS program, more hours on a hobbyzone fighterbird, and a few hours on a Great Planes BLT.
Old 04-11-2005, 10:58 AM
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KyFBCGuy
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

Don't try it... You will crash. Not to say that you will not crash if you have an instructor, but the odds are that you
will crash and do substantial damage to your plane without one. Find a field and get an instructor to hook
you up to a buddy box.I too have countless hours on FMS and was pretty confident that i could fly.
The problem is that sims dont really prepare you for the "What ifs" of RC airplanes.
I was doing fine up until i made that turn a bit faster than i should have, and did something wrong.
It went from "going good" to "Oh SH*T" in about 2 seconds. The instructor said it happened so fast that
he couldnt react in time, and in it went. My fault totally. I was glad it was a spad. If it was a balsa plane
it would have been sawdust.

Get an instructor...you will be glad you did.

Jeff
Old 04-11-2005, 12:56 PM
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FighterBird873
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I don't want someone else to fly my plane, I built it, its mine. And if I crash it, so be it. I've accepted that. Someone else must share that POV. Or is it just me?
Old 04-11-2005, 02:46 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

Fighterbird,

How do you define success? How many unplanned arrivals are acceptable? Believe me I agree that it is your bird and your money, and you may certainly try if you prefer it that way. I recognize the tone as one I have used in my history, and I wouldn't try to argue with you. Just like bicycles, there are many who have done it without help. They are easily identifyable by the old scars. Want to see mine?

Old 04-11-2005, 03:35 PM
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FighterBird873
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I think its easier to define failure in a case like this. If I flew half a lap around the field, never keeping the wings level, landed on only the nose wheel, broke the prop, and the yard stick I use for a spar, thats a success. Simply because the repair bill is less then $5. I know an instructor and a buddy box can almost gurantee success. I'm just wondering if I'm the only idiot who ignored that advice.
Old 04-11-2005, 03:56 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I was self taught, I flew several hours of microsoft flight sim, with a joy stick setup same as right stick on a radio. Only reason I did it was money, back then I didnt have much and the local club wanted $152 to join, plus an AMA license. So I did learn to fly after 2 duraplane trainers(not a good 1st airplane), and a lot of time.

If I would have had the money I would have got some help. So my advice is if you can afford it get help from a club. I joined a club and really enjoy it, sure flying is fun but flying with others is even better and more helpful. In this hobby your gonna crash, but the way you and I approached it, is nearly guaranteed.
I realize the plane doesnt cost much but an instructor teach you so much.
Goodluck either way.
Old 04-11-2005, 05:07 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

fighterbird,

This forum is littered with stories of those who have tried to be self-taught. There are varying levels of success. You already have a little experience, and apparently you have a large and relatively safe space to experiment in, so while I don't recommend it for a novice, I don't think you really qualify as a novice. What you will find is that the Spadet is a whole lot quicker than anything you have told us about having any stick time on. That is, quicker in terms of control response,ie. jumpy when not handled gently. If you are not putting anyone else at risk, and the only hazard is your "ice cream money", give it a try. Broken props and landing gear are a common experience here, even when we have experience.

One request. Be sure to have your camera handy in case there is a memorable smoking hole to show off. Spads make pretty good lawn darts in the right hands. All us "experts" love to sympathize with (gloat over) an errant pilot.
Old 04-11-2005, 05:54 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

It is true that it is your plane, and if you crash you are out a prop and maybe a spar. That is all fine and well, unless of course the plane happens to hit you in the head or chest on its way into the ground. A prop spinning at thousands of rpm on the front of a plane travelling many miles per hour can make a real mess of the contents of the shirt you are wearing at the time! I realize that it is your shirt , but I would still get an instructor
Old 04-11-2005, 06:22 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots


ORIGINAL: FighterBird873

I don't want someone else to fly my plane, I built it, its mine. And if I crash it, so be it. I've accepted that. Someone else must share that POV. Or is it just me?
There are many who share your POV, and I'm sure they will be posting soon. I'm not one, but I can respect your decision.

Were you asking for tips on learning to fly without assistance? Or were you just proclaiming your intent? In the former case, we all have advice. In the latter case, you don't need us.

Ask for what you need, makes it simple for everyone.

Best wishes,
Dave Olson
Old 04-11-2005, 06:58 PM
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I.C.O.N.
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I'M ONE!

Hey it's really not all that tough.(as I am putting on the flame suit) Yes, you will probably crash. but everbody crashes. the amount of time in the air is different, but everybody crashes. My first attemt after about 6hrs on a sim lasted 7 secs and about 10hrs of gluing the balsa back together. the second lasted about 1min and a half. and only 6 hours to glue the balsa back together. then after about a total of 20hrs on the sim the third flight was a charm. I was able to do everything I did on the sim and then found SPAD's and immediatly dissmantled the trainer for a Demon.

Crashed that too. had no idea how to build a plane since the first trainer was just about RTF. Second demon lasted a flight and I killed the motor. That one I account to cold weather and bad luck.
and my THIRD Demon got 7 flights on it!!!!! It was a lot of fun. I then promptly hit a tree.

My last one has a couple good flights on it(and may have more to come), until the servos started locking up and are moslty in pieces. But, hey they sure took a lickin. I am currently awaiting some new gear that I ordered TODAY!!

I had all the room I needed to play with when flying. Although I ended up using more then I thought I would.

So all in all it has been a lot of fun. Maybe you could do better then I did. Who know's

I think saftey is a concern. There are a lot of things you just get nervous about when it is the REAL thing.

All in All I would say it would have been a much better expierence to have been taught. I would probably be better for it today.

So I would not recommend it, but it is doable. I am not saying I am great yet. And I may Join a club in the future to learn some better techniques that I probably will have a hard time learning on my own.

+1 on the camera of the maiden flight. It will be fun to go back an look at no matter what the outcome.

One piece of advice. STAY SLOW. the biggest problem I had was getting into trouble at speeds that were out of my league. HHHMMMM some things may never change.

Good luck!
Old 04-11-2005, 08:47 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

The mere question is can you get help ?

If yes , then do it..

Also AMA or some type of insurance coverage will help if somthing goes wrong.

If no, let me give you some tips. First of all I don't know what a fiterbird is , but if you can't ROG with it then forget trying to ROG with a glow powered plane.

If you can and have ROGed then I feel with the help of the SIM (if you have landed flawlessly many times) you can pull it off. The one thing I'm not thrilled with is the first glow plane you will be flying is a SPAD. Not because it is a SPAD but because of the CG ,weight ,and other factors you probably will not be familiar with. If the SPAD is ARF then just one more tip, Get the sucker as HIGH IN THE AIR as you can so if you lose control you can recover (sometimes).

Keep in mind I am not a year old as far as flying glow trainers , but I have been flying EP planes for close to 5 years now , I think , been having to much fun to even remember.

Good Luck

P.S. I have nosed my .40LA engine into the ground , tree, a couple of times and to date all I have changed was the crankcase and back plate which was not damaged by the crash.
Old 04-12-2005, 12:11 AM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

OK I didn't read all the post.

Here's my history.

Start RC plane in summer 1990 never had my wings.

Back to RC in 1996 after my technician course is finish.
One day's i made a kind of duraplane fuse to go with my plane and to fly alone because I was tired to wait for instructor.

Result= I lost my plane in a big corn field... I searched for almost 2 weeks every days without success[]

No engine = no RC

Back to RC in 2002 with 1 year of FMS and the SPAD, again alone. (jesus i'm hard brain[:@])
In the same summer I crashed 4 planes.

Like others said if you can get help go for it.
It's not only for the flight itself. You will learn on engine and many other's

Hope that's help

Dan
Old 04-12-2005, 05:47 AM
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kbear
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I'm sort of self taught, for my first flight with a deb, I had a guy from work take it off for me. the engine quit on me and my first landing was dead stick(this is now my favorite way to land, go figure). Minor damage to the landing gear. after that It was all me. I still think that some help would be good if you can get it, but if you are going to do it yourself, here is my advice and some things that helped me. Find as big a field as you can so that you can land anywhere. Buy a ton of wooden props. Yes they brake easy, but they do less damage to your engine when you crash or land hard. Fly a spad that you personally built. This way you will know how to repair it. Spads are cheap so go ahead and build a second one as a spare. you will probably need it. Make your trim as visable as possible, high contrast, even if it means it's kind of ugly. Ugly flies better any way LOL. Take off with the plane going directly out away from you, and don't turn until you have some altitude. Fly your sim every time you are going out to fly. This gets your brain wired right. I do this even now. While the FMS sim is nice, I would suggest a retail sim. You may be able to get a deal on a G2 with the new G3 out now. Practice the hard parts on the sim as much as possible. Don't just bang the sticks around. use it as a training tool, not a video game. Remember that a larger glow plane is going to go faster and needs more room to recover from mistakes. This is most important, Don't fly around allot of people, you don't want to hurt anyone. also don't fly completely alone, you want help if you get hurt. Don't let someone talk you into trying s maneuver that your not ready to do. And now to sound parental, Remember that this is serious stuff. These planes are not toys and can easily KILL someone. Ok got that out of my system, have fun and don't get discouraged. I know guys that have flown over a year with an instructor before they soloed. One of those guy's son soloed in three flights. These are just my opinions and they come from my experiences. I'm sure there are many who will not agree with some or all of them. I still think you should seek assistance. Good Luck and let us know how it goes.
Old 04-12-2005, 08:24 AM
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Villa
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

Probably the saddest part of learning to fly by yourself is you may become discouraged from the crashes and the difficulty in determening what has gone wrong, and quit this wonderful lifetime hobby.
Old 04-12-2005, 10:59 AM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots


ORIGINAL: Villa

Probably the saddest part of learning to fly by yourself is you may become discouraged from the crashes and the difficulty in determening what has gone wrong, and quit this wonderful lifetime hobby.
And the best part of this hobby is the company and friendships. Nothing sadder than a perfect flight and no one around to brag to.
Old 04-12-2005, 12:49 PM
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FighterBird873
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I've been working at this hobby solo for a while. When I was 14 maybe, I had a 2 channel 0.049 powered trainer. Built it all by myself. It flew from home plate right to the pitchers mound. It didn't take much to destroy that plane. During my college years, I built an estes astroblaster. While hand launching it off the bleachers, every gentle landing would break something. At this point I can't see how anything made of balsa flys more then once. A couple years ago, I buy a BLT from Great Planes. I manage to fly some laps around the parking lot, but again, every gentle landing breaks something. Within the last year, I've built a couple of SPAD Fliks. After doing cartwheels with these things, and just cleaning the mud off, I became a SPAD addict. I finally found a building material suited to RC planes. It flexes, its easy to cut, shape and glue.

I've never been keen on flying clubs. The few near my house growing up, wouldn't talk to you until you showed up with a plane, and cash. They all seemed to think their club was big enough. They seemed to think I was going to bother them, crash into their plane or something far worse. Obviously its not fair to assume all clubs are like this, but what can you do?

I'm also going the "Self-Taught" route because I'm cheap. I never said rational, I said cheap. And I know it may be cheaper in the long run, but my budget is tight now.

Old 04-12-2005, 01:48 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I'm also going the "Self-Taught" route because I'm cheap. I never said rational, I said cheap. And I know it may be cheaper in the long run, but my budget is tight now.
This is just about the dumbest statement I've heard... Every crash costs some money regardless of aircraft type. The cheap way to learn is to avoid crashing that is best accomplished with an instructor.

Cheap=No Crashes Is that simple enough for you[X(][X(]
Old 04-12-2005, 02:39 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

The gear collapsed on the second landing of my trainer 22 years ago when my instructor made a hard landing. "I'm not crashing something that took me so long to build!" I said. Sold the radio and engine and got into RC Cars. I was 14 years old.

I got the old bird (House of Balsa Stick Trainer) out again about 2 years ago. Added ailerons (mistake), recovered the wing, installed new radio and engine and off I went. 20 seconds later, lawn dart. Removed the ailerons, recovered the wing, fixed the fuse and again, off I went. Once I got some altitude and settled down, had a nice 10 minute flight. Being a tail dragger, the first landing was not real pretty, but no damage. Flew her again 3 times before retiring her to the garage. Then I bought a Tower Trainer 40 ARF. Flew about 1 gallon of fuel thru this one before misjudging the distance from a tree. Still have the wings and tail. Fuse totaled.

Then came SPAD!! NO FEAR!! I have built 4 different spad's. Still flying my 3rd(using the landing gear from the Tower Trainer). Got tired of the others. All these planes(except the Stick Trainer) have used the same engine and radio.

No more training than that one flight 22 years ago. No sims either. Like others, my budget is tight. If I would have had the time for the drive(40 miles to the club) and the money for membership, you bet I would have had someone teach me.

I love this hobby. If you can get an instructor, do it!! It will save a lot of frustration. If not, don't let it stop you. IMHO, if you have the space(alot of space) to fly and alot of patience, start with a spad trainer and get going.

Later,

S
Old 04-12-2005, 04:43 PM
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kbear
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

Fighterbird873, is Generic City, TX, a real place, or do you mean just a generic Texas city. the reason I ask is, I'm in central Texas. Waco is 1 hour north and Austin is 1 hour south. maybe someone here is close enough for a day trip and would like to fly with you. If your anywhere near me I'd be willing. i live just down the road from Fort Hood, between Killeen and Belton.
Old 04-12-2005, 08:52 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

Fighterbird873, is Generic City, TX, a real place, or do you mean just a generic Texas city. the reason I ask is, I'm in central Texas. Waco is 1 hour north and Austin is 1 hour south. maybe someone here is close enough for a day trip and would like to fly with you. If your anywhere near me I'd be willing. i live just down the road from Fort Hood, between Killeen and Belton.
This is truly what RC is about. Help others, teach others, embrace others.......


This is just about the dumbest statement I've heard... Every crash costs some money regardless of aircraft type. The cheap way to learn is to avoid crashing that is best accomplished with an instructor.

Cheap=No Crashes Is that simple enough for you
It can't be dumb , because all people do is talk about how they won't by OS because of price , or how they build SPAD planes because repair is cheap, or how something can be payed forward, or how someone just bought a used engine off of ebay, I think you get my point ...which catagory did you fall into.

FighterBird873, I mean absolutely no disrespect, but if you where flying since you where 14 and haven't got the hang of it by now , you really should seek help, or fly a hell of allot more to practice. See I'm self taught , for close to 5 years now but I fly at the least one day a week every week, somtimes ,at a close most of the time , two days a week.

good luck , and take dude up on his offer.
Old 04-12-2005, 10:02 PM
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FighterBird873
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FighterBird873, I mean absolutely no disrespect, but if you where flying since you where 14 and haven't got the hang of it by now , you really should seek help, or fly a hell of allot more to practice. See I'm self taught , for close to 5 years now but I fly at the least one day a week every week, somtimes ,at a close most of the time , two days a week.

good luck , and take dude up on his offer.
This isn't something I have tried day after day for 15 years. Maybe I've done in 15 years, what some do in a summer. I can't dump a lot of money in all at once. I can't put life on hold for two months. By saying I've been doing this since I was 14, means this isn't a passing fad for me. Its not something I'll give up on.
Old 04-12-2005, 10:12 PM
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I.C.O.N.
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

Its not something I'll give up on.

Ah yes, the battle cry of the self taught pilot.
Old 04-12-2005, 10:21 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

Well if you have enough money to replace broken parts, enough time to fix em up again and again, enough patience to keep on trying and trying then go ahead.

Do you consider an engine cheap?
What if the fuel tank ruptures and toasts your Rx and servos?

Why not get some help???
My first flights when I started I had an instructor with me, but he didn't fly it because I didn't seem to need help.

Atleast have an instructor with you to save it if your about to go down!
Old 04-12-2005, 11:52 PM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

I am one of the lucky ones that did take off and land first time first try. Flew a whole ten flights that day by myself. Thought I had it made, came back in a week, second flight out, stalled on approach and in she went. It only took about 3 hours to fix (because of mud from the previous nights rain), but after that I had my trainer down pretty well. I don't recommend this path, as now I look back at how stupid I was for trying this. My throws were off, I didn't range check, etc. Things just happened to go my way. It was all luck. If I had to do it again, I would have definately found an instructor.

BTW, my reasons for trying alone weren't money, or location. In fact I was a member of the club I was flying at that had instructors! The only reason was my 15 year old self didn't want to wait to see if an instructor would show up.

You can try, but as far as I know, if you rely on luck, luck won't show...

Adam
Old 04-13-2005, 12:10 AM
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Default RE: Self Taught Pilots

now I look back at how stupid I was for trying this. My throws were off, I didn't range check, etc. Things just happened to go my way. It was all luck.
You can take almost any plane into a hobby shop and 9 times out of 10 someone will help you set it up before your first flight . I have gotten so many offers , just didn't have time to respond.

As far as being stupid you speak for yourself , I knew there were better and easier ways to learn but life challenges is what pumps blood through my veins, and made me continue with minimum input from experienced pilots.

P.S. don't you just love doing spell check and none of the words are misspelled ?

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