RC Airplanes!

Moving from RC Cars, which are great, I decided for various reasons to get into RC Planes.

What all started my interest into RC Flying is a post on Facebook that I shared from Scott Kelby. It was a Boeing RC Plane flying around inside a hanger. It was just going very slow and looked awesome and so easy. A patient’s wife related that her husband got into RC planes, built his own, but unfortunately had an 8 sec disappointment and crashed the plane he built. He had to order parts from Asia and that takes some time to get. Looking to have a better experience, I started my research. For those who know me, this turns into a purchase quickly!

Doing my research, I came across a FMS Fox Glider 800mm. The wing span is 800mm or 31.5″ wide. I wanted to buy a plane that would fit in my car, not SUV! The description about the plane said it was for beginners! Good enough for me! I bought it from www.MotionRC.com. Because I ordered it the day before New Year’s eve, shipping took a bit of time. I finally got it, but left it in the box. Because of the delay, I started to do a bit more research.

My continued research pointed me to RC Air Training Command. These two guys made some YouTube videos that were funny while at the same time very informative. They recommended the Hobby Zone Champ. It is a little plane that is light orange on top and darker orange underneath. It is a RTF (ready to fly) kit. It takes a small 1S Lipo Battery and comes with the charger that uses 4 AA batteries. After watching how easy it seemed to fly this plane, including landing on its own, I decided to buy it, but wanted it right away. I bought it from J&M Hobby House in San Carlos, a mom and pop shop. I wanted to give them my business. There wasn’t much to assemble except for putting the batteries into the controller, charger, and the plane itself. The only thing I wish is a battery charger than can tell me how many maH were used or put into the battery compared to flight times. This way I can monitor the battery levels better, but since the batteries are like $3-4 I don’t mind trashing them. Since the plane can land itself even if the battery goes out, the battery issue is no big deal.

I rushed out of the office on Saturday after work and I drove all the way down to Menlo Park to Bedwell Park. It is known for hobbyists to fly their aircraft from planes, to drones, to helicopters. It is a nice open area that might be reclaimed landfill turned into marsh land. There are a lot of pathways and trails where people hike, run, or just stroll. The wind was very calm and I managed to fly the Champ. It did crash during its first flight because I had to trim the controller to get the plane to fly level and straight. Turns out the rudder was the problem and with a squeeze in the bend in the wire that controls the rudder resulted in it in the correct position and flight was predictable. I really enjoyed flying it slow. Landings improved one after another while learning how slow the plane could go controllably. The wind picked up at the end right after sunset, so I had to call it a day. It was a successful first flight with the Champ.

The next morning, right after my haircut and before the kids’ swim class, I managed to fly it at Abbott Middle School’s black top. It was big enough to fly. The difference is the ground is asphalt and nice smooth easy landings were the challenge. I did land it well, but need more practice. I managed to actually get it stuck in a tree. Luckily I wasn’t that high, but high enough that I couldn’t jump and get it. I had to use a piece of wood from a tree to knock it loose. It then crashed to the ground and dented the front end a bit. Luckily, there were no cracks and not much damage. Meanwhile, Julie raced home to get me some balls to help knock the plane out. She brought back a stepping stool, broom, and some of the kids’ balls.

Monday morning after dropping the kids off to school, I had about 30-45mins to fly the Champ before heading to the cinema to watch Taken 3. This morning I was trying to decide weather to try the FMS Fox Glider after recent success with the Champ. The RC Air Training Command recommended to fly the P-28 Trojan as the next plane. It has gotten some great reviews on www.MotionRC.com. I then called up MotionRC and talked to the rep about returning the Fox Glider and possibly exchange it for the Trojan. He advised against it and even advised against the Champ, even though the guys at RC Air Training Command do plane reviews and test flights for MotionRC! He recommended I keep the Fox Glider because he said it is a fantastic plane and a good step up to the next level and he added that I might be paying $70 to ship it back. I wouldn’t think it would have been that much, but it was enough convincing for me! Before driving Hayley to school, I put together. The Fox Glider required some gluing and one screw. I charged the battery in the mean time. The ailerons weren’t flush and the elevator wasn’t as well. Trying to trim it on the controller itself seemed like it would be fine before its first flight.

For the first flight, it didn’t go well. The plane crashed nose first. The cockpit buckled. The cover didn’t stay on very well and there was a crack near the nose area. I decided to not fly it again for fear of breaking it quite bad. Julie and I then went to the movie and enjoyed that. I had to regroup after getting back home and before having to pick up Matthew from school.

I repaired the crack with a little glue from the kit and used some scotch tape to reform the front. I payed attention to the center of gravity to determine where to put the battery and the receiver. I put it near the rear of the cockpit and a bit into the next chamber. The plane balanced perfectly. I had to adjust the plastic attachments from the servos to the rods. I managed to center the trims on the controller and made the ailerons flush as well as the rear elevator. The body of the plane has a hole through the side where a screw can be loosen so that the rod could be adjusted. After making that adjustment the plan should fly level and without turning. After my allergy shot, the family went with me to the Menlo Park to help me and watch me fly my planes.

I flew the Fox Glider first. I had a much better experience. The plane is so much more powerful than the Champ. I only had to trim the plane to the left a little bit and it flew straight and true. The winds were light and didn’t seem to affect the Fox Glider much. It was fast. I managed to do a few loop-d-loops and a short barrel roll. The difference between the two was quite a bit. The Champ self corrects. The Fox Glider does not because of the ailerons and elevator and no rudder. After turing, I have to level the plane out myself. The Champ does it by itself. It was very fun to fly. I have to get use to leveling the plane after making a turn. Because I only had one battery, I had to call it quits and fly the Champ instead.

Matthew and Hayley took turns throwing the Champ into the air. The plane kept going to the right and banking really close to the ground. I had to put a lot of elevator and left rudder! Hayley in the end stuck with me for the whole time and she seemed to have fun too. I made some good landings with the Champ.

Getting home was challenging. Rush hour traffic on 101N was bad. Took us about 45mins to get home. Next time will eat in RWC instead. I got onto MotionRC website and bought myself several batteries so that I can fly longer.

What a day full of flying! The Freewing A-10 is in my sights.

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