Mr Akimoto's Fabulous Flying Advice for Novices!

Oh Good Grief!
Is this what you're saying to yourself as your heart sinks into your
stomach realizing your beautiful day just turned into crap? Yes you,
the beginner or aspiring novice pilot, just screwed up, and it's going
to cost you some money, time, and effort to get back on track. If it
happens often enough, and for some once is enough, you'll say the hell
with it and give up. Why do you think all those 4-channel radios are
for sale on eBay?
The purpose of my little bit of prose is to save you some grief at the
flying field ensuring that you'll at least be able to take off. For my
thoughts on quickly and efficiently becoming an R/C pilot read Mr
Akimoto's Fabulous and Free RC Training Course.
I consider the biggest mistake that most beginners make is not
adequately preparing themselves and their planes before they head out
to the flying field. You're probably going to hit the field on an
instruction night when there are likely too many students and too few
instructors. Also many instructors have to make a living, so they show
up in the evening leaving just a few daylight hours for instruction.
Why waste their time with problems that you could have solved on your
own?
Probably one of the most frustrating experiences for most flyers is a
balky engine. The little sucker just won't run! I'll confine my remarks
to the OS 40 LA which occupies the motor mount of most 40 sized
trainers. The Max operations manual covers just about anything one
might want to know about setting up, starting, and maintaining it. It
tells you how to mount the engine, proper installation of the fuel
delivery system, selection of a propeller, what fuel to use, and so on.
It's all good and valuable information, and the novice should carefully
read and study the manual.
Small glow plug engines are notorious for being cranky and hard to get
along with when they're new, but their attitudes quickly change after a
couple tanks of fuel. In any case, don't attempt any take offs until
you're sure your engine will run reliably. The best way is to tune it
on the ground until you're confident it has gone through an attitude
adjustment.
Begin by opening the needle valve two turns from a seated position and
prime the carburetor. Simply open the throttle all the way and with
your thumb over the opening, turn the prop over a couple of times.
Next, attach the glow igniter and using an electric starter with the
throttle partially open, crank the engine. It should start, but you may
have to repeat the procedure a couple of times. When it does start, run
it full bore until you empty the tank. Fill the tank for a second run,
start the engine, and crank in the needle valve until the engine just
begins to two cycle. You're now ready to begin flying. On each
subsequent flight, lean the engine a click or two until you reach the
point Max calls optimum RPM. This is a point 15 to 45 degrees from
maximum RPM, or the leanest needle valve setting where the engine
reaches it highest RPM. You'll know when you have reached it, because
past it the RPM will drop off abruptly.
OS engines won't run reliably at their leanest setting or maximum RPM.
Also you needn't concern yourself with trying to precisely adjust the
needle valve for the optimum RPM. Just make sure you run on the rich
side of maximum RPM.
Suppose your engine just won't start? First, leave the needle valve
alone. It isn't the problem. The problem is either spark or fuel. Check
the glow plug. It should glow a bright orange. Next, is the engine
getting fuel? If it isn't, the fuel delivery system is screwed up. The
fuel lines are improperly installed, they have leaks or holes, or there
is some dirt plugging them or the needle valve up. You can easily check
the clunk by moving the fuselage about its roll axis. The clunk is OK
if it clunks.
Before every take off, run your engine up to maximum RPM to check its
operation. Does it sound a little weak? Try leaning the engine out a
click or two. Run the engine up again and carefully listen to detect
the change in RPM. I have found that the initial optimum setting of the
needle valve is usually OK, but temperature and humidity changes might
require a minor re-adjustment (either richer or leaner) from
time-to-time. In any case, this requires experience so proceed slowly
and carefully when tuning the engine.
Finally, one last item regarding the engine. Don't screw around with
the idle or air bleed adjustment. The factory setting is close enough,
but if you're a perfectionist and want to waste the afternoon, you most
certainly should. Instead, set up the idle with the EPA (end point
adjustment) on the throttle servo. Adjust it, with the trim centered,
so the throttle fully opens and is cracked open about an 1/8" at idle.
You can shut off the engine with the trim.
When you finally get airborne, how are you going to know when the fuel
tank is close to empty? You don't want to make any dead stick landings
into Grandma's pumpkin' pie coolin' on the window sill. Get yourself a
kitchen timer and attach it to a clothes pin with double-sided tape.
You then can then clip it onto your antenna. I have mine set for 16
minutes (for an 8 ounce tank), and I turn it on as soon as the engine
starts. I usually fly half throttle, and I have plenty of fuel left to
land when the timer beeps zero.
Don't try starting your engine with a chicken stick. You'll have a
heart attack before it cooperates. Get yourself an electric starter.
Also forget about starter panels for field boxes. You want your starter
and glow igniter to both be portable, so you don't always have to drag
your plane over to the field box to get power. Hobbico has a nice
starter where the battery is contained in a case that attaches to the
starter housing.
Next throw away that spinner that came with your pretty RTF and get a
prop nut that accommodates a starter cone. Make sure you use a prop
washer with the prop nut too. Great Planes (GPMQ4642 or GPMQ4630) makes
a very nice one in either brass or aluminum for $6.49. You will also
have to replace your starter insert with one made for the prop nut, and
that'll cost you a few more dollars. You'll then be relieved of being
boinked by a propeller flying off when you try to start your engine.
Another item while you're at the front end, is adjusting the prop to be
horizontal on the compression stroke of the engine. This will save you
many broken propellers. Wooden propellers have many merits but
durability isn't one of them when they come into contact with some
object. Get a Screw Master G/F propeller. Although these "plastic"
props will break too, they stand up very well to abuse like those less
than perfect landings.
Balance that propeller! Get yourself a Top Flite Propeller Balancer for
about $20. I can't think of a more important item for long engine life
and reducing vibration and stress on the airframe and Rx. The benefits
are enormous like not shaking the hardware loose on the airframe and
engine. Have you ever wondered how those screws that held the muffler
on came loose?
There is an art to properly balancing a propeller, and very few people
know how or have the patience to do it correctly. The field geezers
will tell you it isn't important, but they are dead wrong. I will tell
you how to do it. You want to achieve two states of balance: horizontal
and vertical. If you do this, you'll find the propeller will remain
stationary at any point on its 360 degree circle.
Do the vertical first by removing material with a small mill file from
the heavy side of the hub. I combine this with adding weight to the
light side using clear nail polish. Note on the backside, there are 45
degree circular slots you can pour some nail polish into. After you get
the prop to stand on its end, you'll want to get it to remain
stationary in a horizontal position. I usually do this by adding nail
polish to the front side of the light blade. You can also remove
material from the front side of the heavy. Whatever you do, don't
remove or add material to the back side, or you'll change the pitch and
airfoil. The prop is now balanced.
After a few flights, do you see a brown stain where the muffler bolts
to the engine? This flange joint will leak, so smear a little bit of
clear silicone sealant on the muffler and engine flanges before you
bolt them together.
OS mufflers have a habit of coming apart due to losing the nut on the
end of the long rod that holds them together. If it happens, you're
done for the day. You'll never find the nut, rod, or the end of the
muffler. To eliminate this frustration, I just put a drop of thin CA
(or red thread lock) on the nut which will soak into the threads. I
never plan to take it apart, and if I do, I'll have to use CA debonder.
Sometimes the plane will get so far away that the only way you can tell
if it's coming or going is to make a turn. Is the plane going away
from or towards you? Give it right aileron and if it goes right, it is
away, but if it is left, it's towards.
Do something to change the covering to help you distinguish the top
from the bottom of the wing. Clearly being able to tell the top from
the bottom will tell provide more information about the attitude of
your ship.
Take some red rags to the field. After each flight, wipe off the goop
from the exhaust. It will make your plane easier to clean up when
you're ready to go home. Also, if you don't, it'll be like picking up
and trying to hold onto a greased pig especially if you use a full
synthetic fuel.
When you rubber band down your wing, don't put ten on each side. Just
use three, so when the wing hits the ground, it comes off without
damaging itself.
After every flying session, you should plan on doing some home
maintenance. Check every screw on the engine to ensure it's tight. Do
the same on the rest of the plane checking control horns, servos arms,
landing gear, wheels, and any place there is a screw or a nut holding
something together. Also check the hinges to see if any have failed and
don't forget the keepers on the clevises.
Now get out there and nail those landings!
Ciao,
Mr Akimoto
Reply to
Mr Akimoto
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that much you got right most of the rest of it was a total load of crap
Oh, But wait,,,,, you are the one who also claims that the durapuke is a great flying airplane
maybe you should go back and have your medications adjusted rather than posting a bunch of bogus crap and trying to make out that you are some big expert.
at least SOME of what you posted was downright dangerous, ASSuming that there was someone stupid enough to take it as truth.
Reply to
Bob Cowell
Gosh Bob Cowell, you seem to be taking a lot of offense at Mr. Akimoto's attempt to be helpful to folks new to the hobby.
Perhaps instead of insulting Mr. Akimoto and his suggestions in a blanket manner, you could post your suggestions for aspiring R/C pilots instead.
One you've completed your post, we can all decide for ourselves whether we think Mr. Akimoto's advice or your advice is more valuable, and nobody will have to be insulted for having posted their opinions or suggestions.
Reply to
Ed Paasch
did you actually READ that pile of "stuff"?? here's an example
"When you rubber band down your wing, don't put ten on each side. Just use three, so when the wing hits the ground, it comes off without damaging itself."
BAD ADVICE
one should ALWAYS use enough bands to be SURE that the wing does not shift or separate in flight on a five to six pound plane (typical weight for a .40 sized trainer) that equates to a MINIMUM of 5 or 6 bands PER SIDE with an extra pair crossed over to keep them from slipping off the pegs
need any more examples??
Reply to
Bob Cowell
What I find most amusing is that no one has figured out who Mr. Akimoto really is as yet.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Nemo
Hello Everybody:
We all breathe the sweet air of freedom, so everyone is entitled to their opinion. In this sanctuary of democracy, the critics have the freedom to say just about anything they wish, but many of them often invalidate themselves by their vicious and usually pointless attacks.
I have found the best response to a view that I don't support is to express mine usually in a separate post. All forums are a collection of opinions, and since the reader isn't paying anything to read them, that may be what they're worth?
However, I have picked up many good ideas by observing others at the flying fields, from finding solutions to my own frustrating experiences, and reading various posts on the RC forums like this one. Thus I offer my advice gained through many experiences both good and bad. The reader is, of course, free to totally reject everything I say or perhaps use some part.
Anyway, I guarantee all of you that I will have a lot more to say on the subject of RCing. Throughout my life, I have always looked for the best solution to difficult situations and sucessfully piloting model planes is just another example.
I don't happen to agree with a lot of the accepted philosophy that revolves around this hobby. Have any of you ever noticed how much anger and hatred the mention of the Duraplane products stir up? Why are so many people so incensed at this innocuous little flyer? I have some very strong feelings and opinions on this very subject which I shall get into sometime in the future.
Ciao,
Mr Akimoto
Reply to
Mr Akimoto
Thank you, PhantomFlyer. I really wouldn't mind reading more specific examples of Bob Cowell's disagreements with Mr. Akimoto, though. Debate is usually more informative than a simple lecture.
With regard to Bob Cowell's comments about Mr. Akimoto's discouragement of overloading on rubber bands, I happen to believe they're both right under certain circumstances.
New rubber bands are stronger and more elastic than rubber bands that have been used for many flights. Rubber bands lose elasticity as they become soaked with fuel and/or nitro exhaust.
Mr. Akimoto's assertion that fewer rubberbands may be better to assure that the wing is attached in a flexible manner is completely true when using the correct size of new rubber bands. Bob Cowell's assertion that such a statement is idiotic is also true much of the time. The pilot can't simply use a preset number of rubber bands at any given time and assume he's ready to fly. The pilot instead needs to know what the ideal blend of firmness and flexibility is, and then add rubber bands as needed until that ideal is met.
Nowhere on this forum is a topic that I can see called, "How many rubber bands should I put on my wing?" This is an awfully important topic for folks training on glow planes, however. An intelligent debate between Bob Cowell and Mr Akimoto will reveal this fact. Pontificating or name calling will not.
Reply to
Ed Paasch
then don't read it
If YOU want some newbie taking all that stuff at face value without questioning it, that's up to you. Personally I feel that it is better to point it out before somebody gets hurt trying something that is dangerous just because some self proclaimed expert said it was right
Reply to
Bob Cowell
| I'll confine my remarks to the OS 40 LA which occupies the motor | mount of most 40 sized trainers.
Is this really true? I'd say around here, it's in perhaps 1/3rd of the 40 sized trainers I've seen.
| OS engines won't run reliably at their leanest setting or maximum RPM.
That pretty much applies to any glow engine.
| Suppose your engine just won't start? First, leave the needle valve | alone. It isn't the problem.
That's hardly certain. Yes, you've told them where it should be, but they could easily have gotten it wrong. Or the needle valve itself could have some crud in it (which you do cover later, good.)
| The problem is either spark or fuel.
Well, `fuel' would include problems with the needle valve, so I guess this is correct most of the time.
And there is no `spark'. This engine runs by dieseling -- there are no spark plugs, and the glow plugs don't create sparks.
| Check the glow plug. It should glow a bright orange.
Of course, you should mention that merely having a bright orange glow plug doesn't mean that everything is good. If the engine dies when you take the glow ignitor off, this suggests that maybe you need a new glow plug.
| The clunk is OK if it clunks.
Profound. But maybe. Or maybe the clunk has come off completely and is `clunking' around in the fuel tank by itself.
| Finally, one last item regarding the engine. Don't screw around with | the idle or air bleed adjustment. The factory setting is close enough, | but if you're a perfectionist and want to waste the afternoon, you most | certainly should.
Maybe the OS 40 LA's are close enough, but other engines often need some adjustment. Especially if you change fuel nitro or oil content. If it's not right, your engine will generally not run correctly except at full throttle.
But you are right -- it can be very difficult and time consuming to get it right.
| Instead, set up the idle with the EPA (end point adjustment) on the | throttle servo.
Of course, many trainers have low end radios that don't have EPA adjustments.
| When you finally get airborne, how are you going to know when the fuel | tank is close to empty?
A timer isn't a bad idea, but the engine will start to speed up (as it leans out) as it runs out of fuel, and then it'll start sputtering. Usually you have some warning if you know what to listen for and pay attention.
| You don't want to make any dead stick landings into Grandma's | pumpkin' pie coolin' on the window sill.
?
| Don't try starting your engine with a chicken stick. You'll have a | heart attack before it cooperates. Get yourself an electric starter.
I'll agree that an electric starter is easier. But chicken sticks work too, as long as the engine is set up correctly. But electric starters are a godsend for when you're trying to get the engine running correctly.
| Also forget about starter panels for field boxes. You want your starter | and glow igniter to both be portable, so you don't always have to drag | your plane over to the field box to get power. Hobbico has a nice | starter where the battery is contained in a case that attaches to the | starter housing.
Good advice. I never cared for those power panels.
| Next throw away that spinner that came with your pretty RTF and get a | prop nut that accommodates a starter cone. Make sure you use a prop | washer with the prop nut too. Great Planes (GPMQ4642 or GPMQ4630) makes | a very nice one in either brass or aluminum for $6.49.
You want it to be light, unless you need more weight up front. Most of the time, you'll want the aluminum one.
The real reason to get these isn't that it'll stop the propeller from flying off (if it flies off, you did something wrong), it's that it'll make things much simpler when you do break your propeller and want to replace it.
| Another item while you're at the front end, is adjusting the prop to be | horizontal on the compression stroke of the engine. This will save you | many broken propellers.
Of course, for a newbie, this probably isn't enough detail.
| When you rubber band down your wing, don't put ten on each side. Just | use three, so when the wing hits the ground, it comes off without | damaging itself.
I disagree. Three is NOT enough. I've seen planes with just a few rubbers bands (two? three?) go up and fly around nicely, then they try a loop and the wing pops off and the plane makes a lawn dart and the wing comes down a while later.
Even with 12 rubber bands on, the wing will shift enough to absorb much of the impact. But a plane without enough rubber bands on is dangerous, and it's not likely to survive if they break. (But on the bright side, the wing is likely to be undamaged.)
For a 40 sized trainer, I'd suggest at least 8 of the Hobbico #64 rubber bands or something similar. And NEVER just put one rubber band on `just to hold the wing down while you're working on it'. Either put all 8 on, or none on. If you get in the habit of putting one on, eventually you'll forget and think you're OK to take off. And it might even work, at least until you make your first turn ...
As an example, your Duraplane 40 `trainer' weighs 5-6 lbs. Give it a sharp turn, a loop (if it can do a loop) or pulling out of an accidental high speed dive, and you could probably put three (?) g's on it (before it stalls.) 3 x 6 lbs = 18 lbs. Can your rubber bands support 18 lbs? They may be able to if brand new, but they do weaken over time, due to sun, fuel and age. Some have imperfections that make them weaker.
(I'm not really sure how many G's that plane is capable of. Given enough speed, three seems reasonable.)
Maybe three rubber bands will work 99% of the time, but that is a failure mode you do NOT want to happen. Use more.
Reply to
Doug McLaren
I'm not arguing that you shouldn't offer your opinion. I simply said that the insult was not welcome. You could have expressed your concern in numerous ways without insult.
Reply to
PhantomFlyer
Mine doesn't give any warning. It just dies mercilessly without warning. I've already bought the timer. Prior to that I did more dead stick landings that live ones (about 3 to 1) unless I was bringing it down early for other reasons. I think do the dead ones better than the live ones by now.
Reply to
Phillip Windell
Anybody who puts three rubber bands per side on a trainer is asking for serious trouble. I have personally flown planes with inadequate rubber bands and can tell you that it is a bad idea to use only three per side. I was given the job of figuring out what the hell was wrong with an airplane that was flying OK at idle but would pitch up drastically at a specific airspeed. Whether the throttle was opened gradually or all at once, when the plane reached a certain speed it would pop up as if it were being reeled in on a fishing line.
In case you can't guess what was happening, air pressure was lifting the wings, changing the angle of incidence, and the nose would pop up. It is a very bad idea to connect the wings in such a way that they can easily pop off, because you stand a chance of making the plane fly poorly and be more likely to crash.
In fact, I think that the whole rubber band phenomenon is misunderstood in the first place. If you have enough rubber bands to fly properly, the wings are not likely to "pop off" unless the airplane hits hard enough to destroy the nose anyway. It is unlikely that rubber bands were ever used to avoid wing damage. It is more likely that rubber bands are used simply because doing so makes the airplane easier to build.
By the way, most of the rest of the original article in this thread is rather silly, but I will not comment because most of the silliness has been addressed by others. If you're a new user of model airplane equipment and accessories, you should be able to figure most of it out, but if you are having trouble, ask specific questions of a few people who can take off and land, and you'll get some good advice.
Reply to
Robbie and Laura Reynolds
I have to take this opertunity to agree with Robbie. I've never thought rubber bands were to save the plane. And 3 rubber bands is just wrong. I'm working on a GP trainer and I've changed the wing mount to 4 screws. It'll be on floats though. mk
Reply to
Storm's Hamburgers
Its WAY more than that ... (kinda Scary when you think about it) The max G-load is proportional to the SQUARE of the speed ratio. To run some typical numbers Say the stall speed is 20 mph (probably high ... even for a durathing ... ) Lets say you have a really crappy engine on it and max level speed is 40 mph ... in that case (40/20) squared = 4 , so 4 Gs (24 lbs) Upgrade to something better than an LA .40 so that your max level speed is 60 mph... (60/20) squared = 9 Gs (54 lbs) Now dive it to a speed of 80 mph ---> 4 squared is 16 Gs (96 lbs) Even an unclean plane will hit that in a dive... Assume your trainer is cleaner than a duraplane and can get to 100 mph in a terminal dive ... thats 25 Gs (150 lbs)
3 rubber bands per side is STUPID STUPID STUPID.
Absolutely; a minimum of 8/side, I use 12 to 14/side. I have seen wings and fuselage part company in the air several times, and it sucks.
(as an aside, if this does happen, input the controls for a spin, sometimes the offset rudder and elevator can get the wingless fuselage to do a "maple leaf" type autorotation. If you have time, vary the throttle to try to get it going, otherwise just go to idle, but do try the spin ... at that point you have nothing to lose.
Martin
Reply to
Martin
...
Hell Martin et al -
Do you re-use your rubber bands? I notice mine on the exhaust side are fouled with fuel, etc. I wonder about their strength. What do you think?
Cheers - LeeH, Airman 4th class, Duraplane squadron
Reply to
LeeH
I keep a ziploc bag of cornstarch that I put my used rubber bands into. I only use them a few flights and get rid of them for new. My typical habit is to set aside any I take out of the bag that show any nicks or other problems. Usually end up putting 2 new ones on every time with the used ones and more or less replenish them that way.
Reply to
John Alt
I always put used rubber bands back in the box with the new ones. If the plane needs 8 per side, I use 10 or 11. If the bands have a 20% failure rate due to use and wear, then I'm still safe. Usually they break when you put them on. Every once in a while they break on removal. I've never had one break in flight.
Reply to
Robbie and Laura Reynolds
Interesting. Thanks for that bit of information. I didn't realize the load would be that much.
I agree . Theres also a difference in quality. I've had guys mention getting the cheap #64 bands at Office Depot or someplace like that and I reccomend they not do it. Maybe theres no difference , but Hobbico and other similiar brands have proven to be reliable. Don't want to risk an aircraft for a few pennies. Believe it or not, we used to have a couple memebers who would re-use their rubber bands. They carried a Pringles box with talcum powder in it and dumped them in at the end of the day.
I don't think they will hold on a 40 size planes after all day in the hot sun , exposed to fuel. How many of you have been sitting around the field on a hot day and hear a fuel soaked rubber band pop all by itself ? I've seen it happen a number of times.
So have I. And once I can recall especially when we were having an open house and one of the guys was hauling 'Charlie' , our RC sky diver up for a jump on a Kadet Senior. It was a very hot day , and at about 500' feet the wing came off and everything came down in the middle of the lot where the visitors were. Charlie himslelf weighs almost 2lbs , and his chute never opened :-(. Fortunately , no one was hurt , but our collective rear ends could have bit 16 d nails into until those pieces hit the ground and we seen no one was hurt.. Oh...Charlie is alive and well. I'm sure he has many jumps left in him.
Good advice. Never really thought of that. But , I have never had a wing and fuselage part company in the air.
Ken Day
Reply to
Ken Day
Here in the UK it's quite normal to use 3 bands each side on a trainer, the last two are crossed over. However the bands normally used are made of a white rubber around 3/8 of an inch wide. they are much stiffer than the normal brown bands and seem to be less affected by engine exhaust or light. With these bands the wing is solid and I've never seen one come off in flight, even during tight loops.
Jim Gill Dundee Model Aircraft Club
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Reply to
Jim Gill

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