Busted! 15 First-Flight Myths Re­vealed

Get­ting started has never been eas­ier

Model Airplane News - - CONTENTS - By the Model Air­plane News crew

GET­TING STARTED HAS NEVER BEEN EAS­IER Myth: Learn­ing to fly model air­planes is dif­fi­cult.

Fact: Many years ago, this was true. But to­day, get­ting started is easy and learn­ing how to fly by your­self is quite pos­si­ble. There are count­less rugged, molded-foam ready-to-fly (RTF) RC air­planes avail­able, and many are ex­tremely sta­ble and re­quire al­most no assem­bly. There are even some that have built-in flight-sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tems that ease the learn­ing process. And if you can find an ex­pe­ri­enced modeler to help you learn, the process is even eas­ier. Myth: I need a new ra­dio sys­tem for every air­plane that I buy.

Fact: That is not true. If you stay with one brand of ra­dio and air­plane, you can con­trol all your mod­els with the same trans­mit­ter. Bind-and­fly air­planes are de­signed to use the same ra­dio sys­tem, and they come with a built-in re­ceiver that works with its ap­pro­pri­ate brand of trans­mit­ter. These air­planes usu­ally come with ev­ery­thing else you need, but you won’t have to buy a new trans­mit­ter every time. With some larger air­planes that come in a “re­ceiver-ready” pack­age, you do have to sup­ply your own re­ceiver and trans­mit­ter, but they in­clude ev­ery­thing else.

Myth: Fly­ing RC model air­planes is too ex­pen­sive for regular peo­ple.

Fact: Wow! This is far from the truth. Back in the early years of the RC hobby, RC mod­el­ers and suc­cess­ful pi­lots were viewed as big boys with ex­pen­sive toys, but it’s not like that any­more. If you are think­ing of get­ting started, you’ll be happy to know that there are count­less sport air­planes that cost less than $50—and that in­cludes the RC sys­tem, bat­ter­ies, and a charger.

For many years, the ed­i­tors of Elec­tric Flight have en­joyed build­ing and fly­ing all sorts of RC air­planes. We’ve met a lot of in­ter­est­ing and tal­ented peo­ple along the way, and we’ve an­swered a lot of ques­tions about get­ting started in the hobby. De­pend­ing on who you talk to, there’s a lot of mis­in­for­ma­tion out there. Here are the top 15 myths that seem to keep many new­com­ers from get­ting in­volved.

Myth: RC model air­craft are com­pli­cated and re­quire lots of tools to build.

Fact: While some larger, more in­volved air­planes are in­deed more com­plex and re­quire ad­vanced build­ing tech­niques, there are many more sport mod­els that re­quire al­most no build­ing or assem­bly. Some of the smaller molded-foam model planes come out of the box with noth­ing for you to do ex­cept in­stall the bat­ter­ies in the trans­mit­ter and then charge the bat­tery pack with the in­cluded charger.

Myth: To add more power to my model, I can just use a big­ger pro­pel­ler.

Fact: Re­plac­ing your pro­pel­ler with a larger one can in­crease power, but it also makes your mo­tor sys­tem draw more amps. This will in­crease heat and can over­load your speed con­troller, draw­ing more amps that your bat­tery can sup­ply safely. The best way to add power is to use a bat­tery that in­creases volt­age. But again, you must make sure your mo­tor and speed con­troller can han­dle the added volts. The safest way to add more power is to switch to a larger mo­tor and use the rec­om­mended speed con­trol, bat­tery, and pro­pel­ler for it.

Myth: I can fly my model air­plane any­where I want to.

Fact: Well, this is not en­tirely cor­rect. Safety should be ev­ery­one’s first con­cern, so go­ing to a lo­cal park or school­yard to fly your model while other peo­ple are there is not a good thing to do. Al­ways be a good cit­i­zen and ask per­mis­sion of the land owner or man­ager be­fore fly­ing some­place. Then tell peo­ple there what you’re up to. Many times, you’ll find that there is a des­ig­nated area where other mod­el­ers meet up to fly. This type of in­for­ma­tion is usu­ally avail­able at the hobby shop or from ex­pe­ri­enced mod­el­ers in your area.

Myth: Learn­ing to fly takes a lot of time and train­ing.

Fact: Sev­eral years ago, com­puter pro­grams called “RC flight sim­u­la­tors” came on the mar­ket and quickly be­come pop­u­lar. To­day, we have gen­er­a­tions of ex­cel­lent RC pi­lots who learned to fly us­ing these vir­tual train­ing tools. With a flight sim­u­la­tor, you can ex­pe­ri­ence safe RC flight right in the com­fort of your liv­ing room or den. And since there’s a re­set but­ton in case you crash your vir­tual model air­plane, you’ll save lots of money and grief as well. It is not un­heard of for stu­dent pi­lots who’ve learned to fly on a flight sim be­ing com­pletely suc­cess­ful when fly­ing a real RC air­plane their first time out. Here again, an ex­pe­ri­enced in­struc­tor makes the tran­si­tion from vir­tual fly­ing to real-world pi­lot­ing even smoother.

Myth: It doesn’t mat­ter what type of charger I use to charge my bat­ter­ies.

Fact: Wrong! It is very im­por­tant to al­ways use the cor­rect charger.

For most RTF air­planes, a bat­tery pack and a com­pat­i­ble charger will be in­cluded in the box. If, how­ever, you de­cide to buy a charger that can charge var­i­ous types of packs, you have to prop­erly set it for the type of packs you use. These charg­ers are known as “mul­ti­chem­istry charg­ers,” and you have to set them up ac­cord­ing to the in­for­ma­tion printed on your bat­tery pack.

Myth: I must have an ex­pe­ri­enced in­struc­tor to learn to fly my RC air­plane.

Fact: Well, as we have just men­tioned, hav­ing an in­struc­tor to show you the ropes will be a great help, but with to­day’s light­weight, foam RTF model air­planes, you could in­deed learn to fly unas­sisted. Since these air­planes are so sim­ple and light­weight, there’s very lit­tle in­er­tia built up when they fly, mak­ing them pretty dam­age­proof. Mod­ern ma­te­ri­als also make these air­planes quite rugged. And even if you do man­age to dam­age them, they can be eas­ily glued back to­gether. Many air­planes also have re­place­ment parts avail­able.

Myth: I need to join a club to en­joy RC model flight.

Fact: Join­ing a club is not a re­quire­ment, but there are lots of model-plane clubs across the coun­try for RC en­thu­si­asts. They pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to talk with other RC mod­el­ers, and they’re great re­sources for in­for­ma­tion, of­fer­ing lots of ex­pe­ri­ence you’ll find help­ful. And many of­fer the use of a fly­ing field for their mem­bers.

Myth: Elec­tric power sys­tems are good only for smaller air­planes.

Fact: Back in the be­gin­ning of elec­tric power, this was true; the costs of larger mo­tors and bat­tery packs went up greatly when fly­ing big­ger mod­els. But to­day more ef­fi­cient brush­less out­run­ner mo­tors and speed con­trollers as well as higher-cell-count LiPo bat­tery packs are a lot less ex­pen­sive. Also with to­day’s CADde­signed and laser-cut air­plane de­signs, big­ger air­planes also weigh much less than be­fore, which is al­ways a good thing with elec­tric power.

Myth: I need to get a li­cense to fly my RC air­plane.

Fact: You do not need to ac­quire or pay for any type of ra­dio or pi­lot cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to fly small, elec­tric-pow­ered RC model air­planes. And with the new foam RTF mod­els, you can fly eas­ily in your own back­yard if it’s big enough. To­day, how­ever, if your model air­plane weighs more than half a pound, you do need to reg­is­ter with the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FAA). The FAA re­quires every un­manned air­craft sys­tem (UAS) op­er­a­tor to reg­is­ter be­fore flight, and all model air­planes, quad­copters, and other mul­ti­ro­tor mod­els are con­sid­ered a UAS; for more in­for­ma­tion, go to drone-reg­is­tra­tion.net. It is also a good idea to get your AMA mem­ber­ship card and the li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance that mem­ber­ship pro­vides (mod­e­lair­craft.org).

Myth: I can glue a bro­ken pro­pel­ler back to­gether.

Fact: While there are some amaz­ingly strong glues on the mar­ket, pro­pel­lers are one of those air­plane parts you should not try to re­pair. Al­ways re­place a dam­aged pro­pel­ler with a new one.

Myth: Elec­tric planes aren’t af­fected by high al­ti­tudes like glow en­gine air­planes are.

Fact: It’s true that the mo­tors aren’t af­fected by al­ti­tude, but prop ef­fi­ciency can de­crease. In ex­treme cases, you may need to in­crease the size of the prop to com­pen­sate.

Myth: To make my air­plane faster, I can clip its wings to re­duce drag.

Fact: It is true that by re­duc­ing drag you can in­crease speed, but when you re­duce the wing area of your air­plane, you also in­crease wing load­ing, which can make your air­plane more chal­leng­ing to fly. With an in­crease in the ra­tio of model weight to wing area, your model will land at a faster speed and will also stall sooner. Try seal­ing the con­trol-sur­face hinge gaps with mask­ing tape, re­mov­ing the land­ing gear, and hand launch­ing your model to in­crease speed.

You don’t have to buy a new ra­dio for every plane you buy as many sim­i­lar brands can bind to­gether, so you can fly your planes with one main trans­mit­ter. At the worst, you sim­ply buy a new re­ceiver, or switch out the re­ceiver and use it in the new plane.

Fly­ing RC air­planes is a lot of fun, and any­one can learn to be a pi­lot. At­tend­ing events is a great way to learn more about the hobby and to see the planes you might be in­ter­ested in fly­ing.

The hobby shop is a great place to see what’s avail­able and get in­for­ma­tion. You can also learn where mod­el­ers hang out and fly their planes.

A great learn­ing tool is the flight sim­u­la­tor. These com­puter pro­grams help you ex­pe­ri­ence RC flight with­out en­dan­ger­ing a model air­plane. Just hit the rest but­ton and you’re ready for an­other flight.

Al­though you don’t need a full-time in­struc­tor, there is a lot of in­for­ma­tion to be had by go­ing to the lo­cal fly­ing field.

The Tri­ton2 EQ is an ex­cel­lent mul­ti­chem­istry bat­tery charger, which can charge all types of bat­tery packs.

Short wings mean fast speeds, but it also means that the model will be more de­mand­ing to con­trol and will land faster .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.