Aerobird Challenger Newbie

Hi Everybody,
At 40 years of age I decided it was time to finally try out RC planes. So as a cheap starting point I'm now waiting for delivery of a
HobbyZone Aerobird Challenger.
Now I'd appreciate thoughts on self-training... or I'm just going to go out and wreck the plane.
As background, I have about 900 hours in full-size planes; but I realize that's quite a bit different. I'm also using FMS to get used to the reverse control. Is the best way to handle that to visualize yourself IN the plane?
Guess I'm just looking for advice on transitioning from big planes to small ones.
Hopefully this all works out and by next summer I'll be upgrading to 4-channel gas; but one step at a time.
Thanks!
...Brad
brad @ vision-technology.com
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Best of luck to you, I to learned on that plane it was great!
-- Keith4322 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Keith43221's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?action=getinfo&userid )97 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid (258
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The Aerobirds just about fly themselves and are so stable you've really got to wrestle the controls to get 'em to turn. IMHO, it's best to learn with an instructor -- more fun, fewer crashes. If you do crash, parts are fairly cheap and readily available, however. One trick I've learned is to point the transmitter's antenna in the direction the plane is going. That way you can imagine you're in the plane and it'll turn the right way. It may involve looking over your shouder sometimes, but it worked for me. You should be aware that you're going to have to buy a new radio if you progress to the typical .40 gas trainer. The Aerobird's radio gear isn't transferrable to other planes.
Morris
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Brad wrote:

Juts go out and wreck it a few times, after while the flights get longer and the wrecks get less expensive.
You will write it off eventually from sheer boredom trying touch and goes on the roof of a passing locomotive etc.
Then it will be time to get involved more deeply :-)
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snipped-for-privacy@gcentral.com (Brad) wrote in message

You may do that anyway (wreck the plane); learning to fly R/C isn't something you can do by reading a book or website.
Resign yourself to the fact that you WILL crash learning on your own. It sounds mightily discouraging, but to say that you won't crash would be lying. Even with an instructor, there's no guarantee, just a much smaller risk of crashing.
The encouraging part is that you've really got to try hard to crash an Aerobird hard enough to fatally wound it. Most crash damage is repairable without the use of replacement parts. Just have some 5-minute epoxy and fiberglass strapping tape on hand, along with some bamboo skewers. You should only need replacement parts when you start repairing repairs... :)
Having an experienced pilot help you get the plane adjusted and trimmed out before you try flying will go a loooong way in your success. It's impossible to fly an out-of-trim plane when you have not yet developed the proper reactions.
Without an experienced pilot, get a BIG open area to fly in. For your first flights, don't try to turn; just fly straight ahead and land, taking note of what the plane wants to do. Adjust the tail surfaces after each short flight until the plane flies straight ahead, and flies level at about half power.
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Thanks for all the advice.
From what I've learned on the responses...
1) I'll crash... accept it. OK, I pretty much expect that. Onc found myself upside down in a cornfield with a full-scale biplane. With the Aerobird it'll be much less expensive or traumatic. (Didn' sleep at all that night)
2) AeroBird radio's can't be used elsewhere. That's OK... once upgrade it'll still be handy to keep in my truck for a quick flying fi after work.
3) Get an instructor. Yeah, I guess I know that; but I also know I'l be too excited when the UPS box arrives to wait for lessons (eve though I'll probably wish I had). I do have a hangar neighbor with Cherokee 140 who also is experienced in RC; so he'll be hearing from m and if I don't have to wait too long I'll get together with him for th 1st flights.
4) Make the 1st flights straight ahead. I should've thought of that good advice. I've done a couple 1st test flights on homebuilt biplane and did the same thing... got up just enough to verify CG, controls power, etc and set it back down, all in about 2,500' of runway. Make sense to do the same with RC. Maybe then progress to some smal S-turns before heading out in the pattern.
5) Point the antenna in the direction of flight. I never would'v thought of that, but makes great sense and I'm sure that'll save m some confusion. Now I'm just picturing myself standing in my offic with a joystick, flying FMS and turning everywhich direction whil looking at the screen. Think I'll close the door so nobody see' that.
Anyway, thanks for the help. I started flying full-scale years ag because I didn't want to be someday sitting in the nursing hom thinking of all the things I wished I'd done in my life. So now I' wondering why it took me so long to get into RC; but better late tha never. Plus when I eventually lose my medical I can always fly RC. (Well there might be the new Sport Pilot option, but that's not thread for this group).
Proud to be finally joining you R/C folks. (which, by the way, I thin is going to take a lot more skill and attention than driving around i my full-scale Grumman). Can't wait!
..Bra
-- biplanepilo ----------------------------------------------------------------------- biplanepilot's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?action=getinfo&useridB95 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid (258
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Snip

Many years ago I tried to teach a FS Sailplane pilot to fly R/C gliders.
He quickly returned the Tx with the comment "Too hard, no seat pant feedback!"
Welcome to the "Club"
Malcolm
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If you have Microsoft's Flight Simulator, you can kinda do it R/C-Style by viewing from the Tower...

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Brad, From an old self-taught RC-er, a tip or two- Once you've got the model trimmed out and flying straight, and you've done a few straight-ahead landings, regard the model first and foremost as a free-flighter. Then it needs only gentle nudges of rudder to guide it around the field. This approach helps overcome the newbie's tendancy to over-control. Pretty soon the magical 'click' happens, and you're 'in the cockpit' and everything flows naturally, like riding a bike. Bill(oc)
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Hello, I self taught myself about 10 years ago. I used the Duraplane and crashed many times. The plane flew awful but it taught me how to fly without worry and stress. If you cannot find someone to help you out I would highly recommend one of these nearly indestructible planes. They are a little bit tougher to fly than a wood trainer but if you are going it alone it is the only way. Goodluck and welcome to the hobby. Brad

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I too learned how to fly with this great beginner. My best advice,,,
1)wait for a day w/ no wind, and 2)as indestructable as the fuse is the rest of the plane is very sensitive to problems, especially th tail..... a crease in the tail will throw the plane out of wack... s if you crash spend the $10 on a tail, or $15.00 on a wing. whe installing a new tail,,, use 5min epoxy and set v angle by glueing tai to plastic retainer.... this will give you the proper angle on th tail... 3) AFTER!!!! you get better, drill two holes below, inline and at the same dist. below the other holes on control surface horn... drop the control lines down to that point to give you more throw o ele-rudder....this will make it more aerobatic and will fly better on windy day... I still have mine and still enjoy flying it
-- fldmshlschro ----------------------------------------------------------------------- fldmshlschroe's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?action=getinfo&useridB87 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid (258
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That probably sounds complicated to someone who has not built the plane but just for his information it will make sense if he decides to go with the Duraplane. I crashed mine at least 5 times with no damage to tail or wing, however the tail is balsa and the wing is foam with covering. It is amazing how tough this plane is, all my repairs were made within one hour or less. Spent way more time learning to fly instead of learning to build. Funny thing though after 10 years I enjoy building more than flying now. Brad Darnell

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?action=getinfo&useridB876
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid (2589
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I have learned/learning on the Commander model. I lost my first one due to high winds slowly taking it away from me. The plane is ready to fly right out of the box. I didnt have to make any tail adjustments. Add extra tape on the wing where the rubber bands go to protect the skin of the wing. Because it's small and has the unique control style, fly in little or NO wind since it makes it so much easier. Remeber that throttling up make it always climb and flying into winds can make it go even higher which is what happened to me. if you're close to a hobby shop, crashing is no big deal since you can get replacement parts. I suggest buying the tailwheel for the hobbyzone planes and installing it. you can finally take off from the ground without it spinning around. its a basic and cheap plane, but fun to fly and you need no support equipment to take with you either. putting it in sport control mode makes it turn tighter. I finally did manage to loop mine.
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Thanks for all the advice. Now... the end result; which you experience
RC pilots may find amusing... seeing a full-scale pilot get in way ove his head! ;-) (but it's sure fun trying)
"DUMB AND DUMBER"
First mistake: should've waited for an experienced RC friend of min to do some test flying and rig the plane.
Second mistake: I noticed that one of the ruddervators was 'twitching downwards. Apparently it's a weak servo or electronics problem wher that servo just lets go, then picks back up. Didn't matter if changed the rubber band tension, turned off the TX or anything else. Waiting to hear from 'topdollar' on EBay about a possible resolution since I bought it used from them and have no warranty. (Should've jus bought a new one for $40 more).
While knowing that randomly-induced control movements aren't exactly good thing; a friend and I were feeling bold and went to fly it anyway (Famous last words: "Hey, Watch This!").
So, the first flight was a quick left-hand turn broadside into the wal of my hangar. (yeah, I know you shouldn't fly around airports... bu this is a small-town airport where I'm a long-time tenant and nobod really cares given the tiny amount of traffic).
It was surprisingly minor damage (Boy that's a tough bird), so we move away from the hangars and over a freshly plowed field with lots of nic soft, black dirt. Hand-launched to simplify things.
Got better after that; which each flight longer and the crashe becoming less severe. Even had one really nice landing, except tha landing gear and a plowed field don't mix too well. Had to quit due t lack of fiberglass packing tape for repairs. The flights were stil shamefully short; but long enough for some major exercise when walkin upwind to get the plane and carrying it back.
So, as a full-scale pilot learning to fly RC the wrong way, here are few impressions:
1) Overcontrol... I'm used to moving the stick 'inches' rather tha 'fractions of inches'. That's probably the biggest problem I had. Orientation (reverse control), wasn't really an issue.
2) Sensitivity... the AeroBird seemed senstitive in pitch, but rol was rather interesting (kind of like a full-scale homebuilt). Roll wa slow at first, but then it'd wrap up into a spiral pretty quickly. Looks like I need to expect turns to have a slight response delay an also plan on appropriate up-elevator (like any plane, just a matter o getting a feel for how much as you roll into the turn).
3) Stalls... WOW! This thing will certainly go vertical, won't it? The good news is there wasn't much tendancy for a spin and recovery wa easy, if you have the altitude.
4) Speaking of Altitude... as a new RC pilot I didn't feel comfortabl flying too high, which obviously would give me more recovery time. Kind of strange because when flying full-scale I'm always looking fo as much altitude and airspeed as possible. "Two Mistakes High" wil certainly give me more options.
5) Performance... once I master this plane (with instructor help) it'll be tons of fun. I thought a cheap electric wouldn't have muc performance. But, for a new pilot, the climb rate and speed at whic it becomes a speck in the sky is really impressive; perhaps too muc so. I never expected that from anything electric.
6) Humility... more humbling than golf, if that's even possible. Finally put the AeroBird away and went to fly the Grumman Yankee jus to reassure myself I could at least fly something!
Anyway, thanks again for the advice. Next step is to see if my eBa seller will help out with some properly working electronics (fuselage in exchange for what he sold me, then go forward from there. Shoul be a fun learning experience. Might not be pretty; but fun anyway.
..Bra
-- biplanepilo ----------------------------------------------------------------------- biplanepilot's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?action=getinfo&useridB95 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid (258
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