First flight report - New pilot experiment

Report of first flight of ParkZone Spitfire. Student has no prior RC
experience, and has trained only on a computer fight simulator called
FMS. Experiment is to see if I can teach myself to fly a "hot stick"
plane.
It was a nice still morning, and I decided to go ahead and try to fly
the Spitfire before leaving for work. I peaked up the battery, and
drove down the street to the school. I had scoped out the baseball
field, and thought it would be big enough. Almost zero wind. A lady
was walking her dogs, so I waited until she passed by. I switched on
the TX, and plugged the battery into the plane. It started beeping at
me- forgot to slide the throttle to off! After powering up correctly,
I did a control check and walked about 2/3 the way across the field,
thinking I would launch to the west and fly to my north. I have to
admit I was feeling nervous but decided to "just do it".
Here is a link to a picture of the field
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strong hand is my left, so I got my right thumb ready near the
stick, and advanced the throttle to full with my teeth. TX was set on
"easy mode", which limits control surface movement. I gave the Spit a
nice spear chucking type throw. It dipped down a foot or two, and
then leveled off and I pulled the stick back a bit, and she did a nice
zoom climb up to about 50 feet or so. I must have set up the ailerons
correctly, it was tracking perfectly. I really don't remember
consciously doing it, but I cranked a 180 degree climbing turn. Maybe
it was all the sim time burned into my brain?
Plane was up 75 feet or so now heading east, and that's when I saw
the roof of the school gym and thought the field was much smaller
looking now. I realized I was still full throttle, and the plane was
about at the point I needed to turn around. I then thought that I'd
better get this thing back on the ground. Then my brain just locked
up. I think I chopped the throttle, but the next thing I knew the
plane was diving at one of the small trees near the south fence.
Somehow I missed the tree and went over the fence and over the
concrete storm drainage canal (dry) on the other side of the 8' chain
link fence. I pulled up and leveled and should have left the power
off and let it glide in. But I wasn't thinking, I was panicking. I
hit the throttle, and yanked it up ( I think) and the next thing I
knew the Spitfire was sliding on its belly along the pitched tile
roof of a house on the other side of the canal and then disappeared.
I would have to go a ways around to get to the canal road, and I
turned and started to head out. I stopped myself, turned around and
tried to remember which roof it was. Fourth house from the end. I
stopped by the van and left the TX and camera. . I was going to
photograph my crash if it happened, but thought it would be too risky
to be shooting pics in someone's backyard uninvited.
I stated to jog down the sidewalk, and decided to save energy for
fence climbing and walked. Was trying to think of what I would say to
the homeowner if the scraping on the roof woke him up. I got the
fence behind the house, and thought I should have brought a bag to
help gather up all the Spitfire particles.
I had to scale the 6 foot chain link canal fence, then hopped up on
the block wall to the house. Much to my amazement, the Spitfire was
lying fairly intact in a 2 foot deep crater. Actually it was a
partially dug pool, I think. No K9 patrol. I jumped in the yard,
grabbed the plane and hopped back over the two fences. Just like TJ
Hooker!
Quick visual of the damage was bent prop, busted spinner, cracked
cowling. Just a couple small crinkles in the foam body. I need to
take it apart and check the motor, gears and prop shaft. I don't see
how the Spit missed all the vent pipes sticking up on the roof. The
slide slowed it down enough to plop it into the hole at a fairly low
speed. The gods of the air must have taken pity on me today!
Here is a link to picture of damage:
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The little plastic pilot in the Spit appears to be uninjured, but I
pulled a butt muscle and got a small cut on my hand jumping fences.
Flight time 27 seconds, I made the full 30 seconds many of you
predicted if you count the roof slide as still flying.
I will submit my analysis of the experiment shortly. Feel free to
comment, and issue I told you so's if you did indeed tell me so.
Larry
Peoria, AZ
Reply to
Larry
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I took off the bent prop, blew the dirt out of the gears, and fired her up. Motor runs fine, prop shaft looks straight, controls all function. Firewall unit is broken. All parts to fix it are available for $15.00.
What went wrong?
Big mistake was the field; I think if I had been in the middle of a big farm field I would have possibly pulled it off. I didn't get it upside down or stall it, but lost it mentally when I started thinking about obstacles and crashing, and then getting into obstacles and panicking.
Sim training is great; my brain knows what to do, but getting that to the hand when you are experiencing an adrenaline rush is another matter. Maybe I could hire an old drill sergeant to yell at me and whack me when I'm flying the sim? I don't see any real substitution for actual stick time on a real model. This is based on me, maybe if I had cooler nerves I could do it. The sim did not prepare me for proper throttle control.
Two ways to go.
Find a bigger field and try the Spit again. For me to get enough stick time to quit freaking out, I'm afraid ParkZone may have to increase Spitfire airframe production to WWII levels. I can see a few high speed augers looming. I have no doubt I could get proficient on the Spit, it just might take a while waiting for parts to arrive between flights.
For about the same money as a couple of Spit airframes, I can buy a Super Cub trainer. This thing is billed as a beginner plane on "anti-crash" mode, and that can be switched off to make it more of an intermediate trainer. It has elevators and rudder, no ailerons. Stick time should be cheaper on this plane. Plus my 10 year old daughter wants to fly now too. She was mad I didn't wake her up to go fly the Spit.
I don't want to abandon the experiment, but I'm thinking the Super cub is the way to go.
Larry
Reply to
Larry
On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 21:24:56 -0700, Larry wrote in :
Sorry to hear about your misadventures.
Thanks for writing it up in such great detail--with photos, too!
Very likely.
You didn't ask and we didn't think to recommend lots and lots of open space for your first flights. :o(
Once you've got the hang of it, you'll be fine in the ball field.
The sim only gets you so far.
I don't see any way around the adrenaline rush. That's what makes it all so much fun.
Chances are that it will be slower and more forgiving.
It's great that you've piqued her interest!
It sounds to me like a good investment. I'm not familiar with either plane, so I'm just guessin'.
Marty
Reply to
Martin X. Moleski, SJ
Sounds like you had fun for your first flight, but you've made a few errors. 1. You picked the wrong plane to learn with. Get a high wing trainer WITH ailerons. 2. Find a club and hook up with a instructor. You'll save a pile of cash this way, and learn how to fly correctly. You'll learn faster too. The simulators are great, but nothing beats an instructor. 3. If you haven't yet, join the AMA
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is a fun hobby, but it can be dangerous. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and learn the things about RC flying that can't be learned on a sim. An instructor and advice from club members can be priceless when learning. Just my $0.02 42
Reply to
42etus
Hi Larry, sorry about your mishap. Look at the bright side, I stuffed my old not-so-trusty F27B today too... more on that in a separate post.
Larry wrote:
Sorry... should have mentioned field size. :/ Having to worry about obstacles definitely is not a good idea when doing first flights.
~chuckle~ an instructor is usually helpful because they _usually_ can buddy-box, and thus save your plane if things go wrong. Unfortunately for you, Parkzone transmitters do not have buddy box plugs as far as I know.
The jittery nerves won't go away until you have A LOT more stick time. They're normal.
Super Cub would be a lot easier to fly, agreed, Add a bigger field to it nonetheless. If you really have enough mornings/evenings, a Slo-V might also be an option. Even slower, even easier to fly. I've never flown either, so I'm not entirely sure which would be better for you.
Jen
Reply to
Jennifer Smith
The cub won't save you from a small field, but it'll give you more time to think.
Something that one should always do (my last crash, in fact, was from not doing this, in fact), is plan the flight -- at least to the point where you're up in clear air. This way you don't end up pointed at the trees trying to decide on up, down, right or left. Look out over the field, say "OK, I'm going to fly out to _there_, then I'm gonna turn _this_ way, then I'm gonna fly to _there_", etc.
You may also want to plan your landings, if it's a tight space -- know where you're going to make the transition from open air to tight air, and make sure you have room to turn. Know how you're going to maneuver down, and do it. Plan this out _before_ you start flying, and try to make it mesh with the takeoff plan so you can abort if need be.
I'm really good at building and repairing aircraft, because I taught myself how to fly. I'm _still_ good at repairing aircraft, because I don't practice enough.
Oh well...
Reply to
Tim Wescott
Hi Larry, Good choice - I've flown a friend's Super Cub and it is a fun bird. Light enough to thermal (on a good day) and the ACT will help you stay out of trouble. If you really lose it with ACT on it will be a gentle crash :-) Good luck - Oh and BTW, if a field looks large enough, Find a larger one! ;-)
Reply to
Ed Forsythe
If you lose your plane, especially in a heavily wooded area always take the TX with you. You can throttle up a little and hear the motor to locate and retrieve your plane. I fly in South Florida near preserves, and would have normally lost planes if I couldn't hear the motor running. ...jerry
Reply to
Jerry Alibi
Or if electric and the prop happens to be obstructed in some manner by the intrusion into the wooded area, you can always look for smoke. :-)
Reply to
Red Scholefield
"Larry" schreef in bericht news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com...
Why didn;t you ask someone to hold a videocam.
Would have been great for
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Now go outside and try again.
The plane is not (yet) a total loss.
Film the second attempt. go for it...
F.
Reply to
-----> Vliegende Tijger

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