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My R/C flying history
Monday, 23 February 2004
First R/C flight
On 2-2-04, I finally got to do what I felt like I would never get to do, fly my R/C plane! After checking with the airport manager about flying it at the airport, I went to the spot he told me about, along with Alan, Mark, and Paul. The area in question was the taxiway north of the hangars. It was a bit windy that day, and a guy from the FBO kept saying I would crash because he crashed his plane in less wind a few days before. Luckily for me, the wind was perfectly lined up with the 'runway' I had. After I got the plane set up, we discussed whether or not we should try flying the plane on that particular day or not. After we decided to go ahead and give it a try, I fueled it up. Then Alan thought we should check the C.G. I didn't remember exactly where it was supposed to be at (I finished building back in like June) but I knew that with the full fuel tank, the current C.G. was going to be ahead of the C.G. listed in the manual anyway. So Alan said that it is typically right around the wing spar, so we tried that out. It came out really tail-heavy. This lead to more debate because I remembered testing it when I was building, and it balanced perfectly on the correct location without needing any weights, but Alan thought that it was way too far aft. (I found out later that it is supposed to be a ways back, about in the middle of the wing, instead of 1/4 chord or so.) Alan finally agreed to give it a try, but said he will try to keep the speed up to keep it from entering a un-recoverable stall. Alan took off and tested out the controls. Man that was cool getting to see a plane that I built fly! It did require full nose-down trim and a little forward stick pressure, but it was flying pretty good. Alan took it around the patch a few times, then attempted to land, which turned out to be a pretty good one. We decided to adjust the elevator push-rod so that it would have a little 'manual' trim, then Alan tried it out again. Somewhere at this point, I think, Alan mentioned that it had been a few years since he had flown R/C. I didn't know what to think about that. I probably wouldn't have been so anxious to let him test out MY airplane if I had known this before the first flight. But, as far as I could tell, he flew like a seasoned pro.
After Alan had my plane at a safe altitude, he turned the controls over to me. I was pretty nervous and immediately saw why I should get a neckstrap for my transmitter. My hands were getting sweaty and I felt like I was going to drop my transmitter. But I flew around for a bit, and Alan was impressed with my handling. I did have a problem with turns though, mainly because there is a certain part of the turn when you can't tell which way the plane is pointing. To make that even worse, you can't tell which wing was going up, and which was going down. So I learned that you just have to establish a turn, hold the control inputs, and wait for it to come around, and hope you are doing it right. I also learned that you can make a wide turn get really tight really fast by applying too much elevator back-pressure. I didn't feel I was ready yet for landing, and it was getting dark, so I let Alan have the controls again to bring it in for another nice landing.

Posted by globemaster3c17 at 11:44 AM CST

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