Elevating Action on the Water There are those products that come to market that get you all riled up as if you were a kid again and what you see on these pages is sure to get you going. As […]
What Makes the Best Beginner RC Plane When getting started in rc flying you’re going to have to make the decision of what’s going to be your very first plane. Being a beginner pilot you are going to want a beginner plane. Let’s take a look at some of the attributes that make a good beginner plane. 1. Electric powered. Electric powered planes are much cheaper and easier to use than gas powered. You turn them on and they are ready to go. Gas powered motors need a special fuel and then you have to tune them. It’s a lot more work. Also electric planes are much cheaper than gas powered. Most beginner electric planes come with everything you need to fly. For a gas powered plane you need to purchase everything separate.
2. Top Wing design. This is a plane that has the wing on top of the plane. Having the wing on top of the plane gives it more lift. Lift helps keep the plane floating in the air. As a beginner you are going to want a plane that floats by itself, especially if you run into trouble.
3. Large wingspan. A large wingspan will also add more lift to the plane.
4. 2 or 3 channels. 2-channel planes allow you to control the up/down and side to side (turning) movement of the plane. A 3-channel will allow you to do the same, but also allows you to control the speed of the motor. This allows you to control the pitch of the plane. A 4-channel plane is too much for a beginner. The 4th channel is used to control the ailerons which are used in more advanced flying.
5. Anti Crash Technology (ACT). This is not found in very many planes, but if you find one that uses it this technology is great. These planes use sensors to check the direction of the plane. If they sense that the plane is going into a dive they take over control of the plane and adjust its altitude giving you more time to react and avoid a crash.
Following these guidelines will help you find a great beginner rc plane, one that you will enjoy flying for a long time. Good luck and happy flying.
Josh Elkins is an avid rc plane fan and wants to help those who are interested in the hobby. You can find more information about beginner rc planes at www.squidoo.com/BeginnerRcPlanes
Anyone with any racing experience will tell you that jumping from class to class isn’t as easy as just selecting a new model on your transmitter and picking up a new truck. And, many people think that because the scale appeal of short course attracts so many newcomers to the hobby that the class is for beginners and thus easy. The point is that short course racing takes just as much skill as any other class and even experienced racers can have a hard time adapting and succeeding. If you want to run at the front of the pack, check out these five tips:
Racing is all about going fast, right? Well, if you’re constantly flying into corners, spraying dirt everywhere and ripping down the straights, you’re doing it wrong. You might feel like you’re going really fast and that may work to some degree with an overpowered truggy, but it’s the slow way to get a short course truck around the track. This is especially true if you’re in the 17.5-turn class. You can get away with a little bit of a heavy-handed driving style with 4WD class short course truck, but it is essential that you drive smoothly. You should drive like you have an egg strapped to your truck. Drive smoothly and try to keep your truck always rolling.
2. Stay Out of Trouble
I lot of people think short course is the class where it’s OK to beat and bash. Let them think that and let them smash into each other. Just keep your distance and let the action unfold—don’t be a part of it. You’ll lose far less time by slightly hanging back in comparison to getting involved in a wreck. Think about the time you lose when you crash and then have to wait for a corner marshal as compared to when you just ease back a bit and wait for the right time to make a move. We’re talking the difference between ten seconds and a tenth of a second or maybe the difference between first and third.
3. Passing vs. Catching
There’s a difference? There very much is a difference between catching someone and passing them, but you’d never know it watching the typical RC race. Most racers just race as fast as they can try to get around people as they catch them. It sounds good, but catching and passing are simply two different acts. When you catch someone think about whether you’re at a good place to pass. Some slow cars can be blown by down the straight, but keep in mind that a phenomenon called target fixation almost always occurs when you try to pass someone on the straight. They focus on your car and essentially subconsciously drive right into. It looks like they’re trying to squeeze you off the straight, but usually it’s just an unintended rookie type mistake. The point is it’s almost always better to pass in corners. Drivers of equal ability will take some work (that’s what makes racing fun), but there is usually a corner or two they go wide on and most newer drivers are usually easy to pass on the corner going into the main straight as the almost always fly in wide and get back on the gas too soon. Just slow to the inside and out accelerate the on exit.
4. Like a Sports Car
Short course trucks are just like sports cars. Makes perfectly good sense…if you have experience with the racing of full-size cars—either as a driver or an entrenched fan. You see, sports car or road course racers know that you brake in straight lines and accelerate in corners. This is the foundation of proper performance driving. You should be 100% done slowing down before you get to a corner and you should be accelerating through and out of the corner.
5. Practice Smart
There may be no such thing as bad practice, but some practice is definitely better than others. Most racers get their practice in by showing up early on race day. They’ll get there hours before they really need to and then spend most of that time shooting the bull with the other “diehards” that show up at the crack of dawn. When the early birds do hit the track it’s on a dry track that is nothing like the one they’ll race on. Experimenting with tires and setup at this stage is completely pointless as while that practice is valuable, the track is simply nowhere near race shape. It’s far better to stay late and drive on the track after racing has concluded. Check with the race director first, but most don’t mind and you’ll be running on a track in is much closer to race condition. This is the time to try every tire combo you can think of and mess with your shocks. Credits: Matt Higgins http://rctruckstop.com/ http://
We’ve got on-the-ground coverage from Warbirds and Classics Over Michigan, from reviewer Joe Vermillion!
Warbirds and Classics Over Michigan is Must-See-RC!
CARDS Aerodrome can be found in a nondescript field just south of Grandledge Michigan, and in this humble reviews opinion is one of the best RC Airfields in the country. (of course I am a member)
With its 1000ft well groomed runway, covered pavilion, covered bleachers, and plenty of room for pilots and spectators alike, it is the perfect first stop for the Indiana Warbirds Alliance!
With 67 pilots, about 150 planes and great weather, the turn out was fantastic! We had plenty of flying and fun all weekend long! Now let me stop blabbering on and let you enjoy the coverage!
Douglas C-124a Globemaster
Carl Bachhubers gigantic One-of Replica of the Douglas C-124a Globemaster flew on and off all weekend. This amazing model has a wingspan of 200″ and is powered by Zenoah G-45’s turning 20X10 3 bladed props, has scratch built retracts and SPC brakes. The nose cargo hold actually opens up to carry an RC Tank! This airframe is a true work of art! Carl is one amazing builder for sure! Well done sir! For more info on Carls amazing builds check HERE.
We had a a great event
The weather cooperated nicely and the event was a huge success! Other then the wind being a little high at times, most pilots got plenty of flight time and really took advantage of this fantastic field! There was barely a moment when there wasn’t three or four planes in the air all weekend.
Indiana Warbird Alliance
The CARDS Club Warbirds and Classics Over Michigan event was the first stop in the 2016 Indiana Warbirds Alliance 7 event tour for 2016. CARDS has hosted this event for the last 4 years and it has been a huge hit each time. The Warbird & Classics Alliance is a group of giant scale r/c warbird and classics events. All share a common goal, to KEEP AVIATION HISTORY ALIVE. They support the radio control industry and promote the growth of warbird and classic flying events. More info can be foundHERE
Not only did we see lots of commonly modeled airframes, but we also had a chance to check out several models that you just don’t see at many events. These modelers have some real talent and spend hours on there airframes getting the “just right” touches in place.
CARDS had no shortage of Volunteers to make sure that this years event ran smoothly. Every thing from parking, to concessions, to flight line management, to just answering questions. They also took the time each day right after the noon demos to open the pit up for people to come get a closer look at these awesome aircraft!
The winners of this years awards where, Nole Hunt with his SPAD for Best WW1 Aircraft, Jon Seese with his Stuka for Best WW2 Aircraft, Andy Low with his 1/3 Cub for Best Classic Aircraft, Jim Gebboney with his Tiger Cat for Best Multi-Engine, Jack Kezilian with his BAE Hawk for Best Jet, and Al Ferguson with his Newport for Best Realistic Flight. Congrats to all the winners! It was well deserved!
In closing I would have to say the the CARDS Club WarBirds and Classics Over Michigan R/C Airshow is absolutely “Must See R/C”! It is not only a great event for pilots to come out and enjoy a fun filled weekend of flying and friendship but is also a great place to bring the family for a cheap day of family friendly entertainment! If your ever in the area during the event its a stop you will want to make! Thanks for coming to check it out with me! See you next time! “Mean Joe V” for FlyingGiants.com! Credits:
Joe Vermillion http:// Shop Amazon – All-New Fire TV, Now with 4K
In the RC hobby, flying RC helicopters is often considered the hardest RC skill to master. This might make the marketing claims for easy-to-fly toy RC helicopters hard to understand. The difference is in the helicopter design, the controls, and the range of movement that the helicopter is capable of performing.
Hobby-grade RC helicopters are designed to look and operate very much like full-size helicopters.
Toy-grade helicopters are configured and operate a little differently. They are designed for more stable flight so that children can more easily use the transmitter and control the flight. These changes mean that the helicopter is not capable of the same speed or maneuvers as hobby-grade helicopters.Both can still be fun to fly.
Controlling RC Helicopters
What you can do with an RC helicopter (such as going up and down) are actions initiated by radio signals from the transmitter. The number of channels on a transmitter tells you the number of actions that you can control on the RC.
These actions usually involve things like changing the pitch (tilt) of the rotor blades or making the blades spin faster. A hobby-grade RC helicopter normally requires at least four or five channels for normal flight that closely mimics the controls and flight of full-size helicopters.Toy-grade helicopters may have only 2 or 3 channels and much more limited actions.
Flying Toy RC Helicopters
The typical toy heli is a 2- or 3-channel model that can fly up and down, maybe forward and sometimes backward, and go left and right. It may run at a constant speed. It can hover in place but it’s probably not going to be able to do high speed chases, loops and rolls, or inverted flight.
In order to provide more stable flight, the tail may not have the familiar tail rotor and blades of real helicopters that are set perpendicular to the main rotor.
Instead they often have fixed pitch, counter-rotating dual main rotors (ringed for safety). These rotors eliminate the need for the operator to use tail rotor controls to counteract a natural phenomenum of helicopter flight that makes the body of the helicopter want to spin around and around.
Because the main rotors are fixed pitch (blades don’t tilt independently), there are no cyclic controls — tilting of the main rotor — for climbing and diving or doing banking turns. Instead, the dual main rotors provide level turning. Some models have a small rotor on the tail (parallel to the main rotors) or vertical rotors in other locations that control forward flight and provides further stability.
These design changes sacrifice some of the maneuverability found in hobby-grade helicopters but it also means that the pilot needs to perform fewer actions to keep the helicopter in flight. Simpler controls, slower speed, and less aerobatics ability makes these toy helicopters easier to fly and provide children and novice pilots with more entertainment value. It doesn’t mean that you can master RC helicopter flight right out of the package though. Even with the toy helis it takes patience and practice to hover, fly around the room, and land upright.
For a step up from toy helicopters but with the stability features that make for easier flight, consider a hobby-grade Blade CX. It provides easier hovering and control but has the advanced features of hobby helicopters.
Flying Hobby RC Helicopters
With hobby-grade RC helicopters there are many more actions that the pilot can do and needs to perform to keep the helicopter aloft. Variable pitch rotors and other design features allow the helicopters to do more diving, climbing, rolls, and loops in addition to going up and down and hovering. These actions along with adjustable speed make hobby helicopters extremely challenging to fly but also more exciting.
Transmitters for hobby RC helicopters may come with many channels to control basic helicopter functions, provide more precise control of mixed actions, and change settings on the helicopter from a distance; but, for basic flight four or five channels is normal.
All four or five channels are activated with just the two sticks on the transmitter. The movements typically controlled by a 5-channel transmitter are:
More throttle equals more power and speed. Less throttle slows down the helicopter.
- Main rotor up and down movement
The collective keeps the pitch of the main rotor blades level with the fuselage and allows for the ascent and descent of the helicopter.
- Tail rotor side to side movements
The tail controls yaw — keeps the helicopter from spinning around and around. The tail rotor also acts like a rudder for turning.
- Main rotor forward or backward tilt
The elevator or cyclic pitch controls forward and backward movement and altitude (diving and climbing) when in flight.
Helicopters, Drones, Airplanes, Quadcopters? What does it all mean? This week we’re clearing the confusion on the very popular quadcopter. This has got to be one of the newest, trendiest, and most popular kinds of drone for sale. If you’re interested, we’ll bring you three things you must know about quadcopters.
First things first, what the heck is a quadcopter?
No need for confusion here, a quadcopter is simply an “unmanned helicopter having four motors.” Most hobby sites, like ours, also use the term to refer to any RC Drone with four motors. Want the breakdown on all other types of multicopters? Heres the list:
The multicopter phenomenon currently ends with a Drone/Helicopter with 8 motors (which is plenty).
What you need to know if you purchase a quadcopter:
Well, first off, congratulations on your new quadcopter! We sincerely hope you enjoy it. Just like becoming a new driver, you’ll need to know a few things before you fly your drone.
1. Drone Registration: It is a mandatory thing to do for all drones weighing .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must be registered to the FAA. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you much, but you must do it before flying your drone.
2. Locate your Power Switch: Sorry if we sound like Captain Obvious here, but you’d be surprised, sometimes it is hard to find this tiny switch. Once you do find it, turn your quadcopter on to see if it had any charge. Test your controller by pressing buttons to make sure that your quadcopter and remote are in sync. If there is no signal, refer to your owners manual to sync both of your devices.
3. Charge Time: All quadcopters are different, but knowing your quadcopter’s charge time is very important. Find out the time LIMIT. Do not exceed your charging limit because you WILL burn out your battery and have to purchase a new one.
4. Flight time: The more money you spend on your quadcopter, the longer you’ll be in the air. When a quadcopter is about to die, it will simply fall from whatever height it is at. If you know your flight time, you can estimate at what time you should bring your quadcopter down to a shorter height as to not cause damage.
5. Range of Flight: How far does your quadcopter go? Know your range of flight so you can always be in control. For all quadcopters, there is a 400 foot height restriction to prevent interference with Aircraft.
6. Short list of general rules to know:
– Avoid flying in residential or highly populated areas. Not all people are comfortable with quadcopters, and if you lose control, you could crash into someone.
– Keep your drone within eyesight at all times.
– Check your local laws to see if there are any restrictions on where you can or cannot fly your quadcopter.
How to fly your quadcopter:
Now that you know the lingo and the rules, here’s how to get your quadcopter in the air.
Before you fly, check everything off this list:
- -Remote battery is charged
- -Quadcopter battery is charged
- -Micro SD card is in place if there is a camera option
- -Make sure all pieces of your quadcopter are secure
- -Pick a flight location with a soft landing and no crowd
- -Make sure there is no wind or rain to cause flight problems
- -Be sure you can maintain a direct line of sight at all times with your quadcopter
Roll: Action of pushing the right stick to the left or right. This will “roll” your quadcopter diagonally to the left or right.
Pitch: Action of pushing the right stick forwards or backwards. This will tilt the quadcopter to move forward or backwards.
Yaw: Action of pushing the left stick to the left or right. This will help you change directions while in flight.
Throttle: Action of pushing the left stick forward. This will adjust the height or altitude of your quadcopter. This is the action you will need to use to get your quadcopter off the ground.
Trim: Buttons that will help you increase or decrease the sensitivity of the roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle.
Getting off the ground: All you need is throttle. Use your left stick to put your drone in the air. Make sure you move your left stick smoothly and slowly to achieve more height. Slowly release your left stick to gently place your quadcopter back on the ground.
Once you feel comfortable with flying up and down, try out the rest of your remote functions. One by one, add throttle and yaw, throttle and roll, and throttle and pitch. Moving between all of these functions will get you more comfortable with flying your quadcopter. Credits: http://www.hobbytron.com/blog/ http://
Elevating Action on the Water
There are those products that come to market that get you all riled up as if you were a kid again and what you see on these pages is sure to get you going. As a kid, who didn’t want a sailboat that set off for unexplored lands while you played on the beach? And who didn’t want a plastic boat that braved the rapids of that stream behind your house? Well for big kids into boats, there is a new release that will blow away the wildest inner child’s imagination. The new Aquacraft Rescue 17 Fireboat is the first model boat I’ve ever reviewed with an “interactive” feature, a rotating water cannon capable of shooting a stream of water 10 to 12 feet. It also has lights and a powerful brushless system to propel it to other boats in peril. This boat is sure to get that inner kid in you excited to brave the water as a scaled-down fireboat captain. Let’s Get the Rescue 17 out of the Box
The Rescue 17 arrived in a big shipping box. With an overall length of 38 inches, a large shipping box is required to protect the model. I was impressed by the packaging technique utilized to secure and protect the hull and cabin structure. There’s a considerable amount of packaging engineering required to create the foam padding encasing the hull to prevent damage during shipping. Although I had seen photos of the Rescue 17 on the inside cover of RC BOAT, Volume 4 and the AquaCraft website, I was still very impressed with the attention to scale detail on the hull and cabin structure. The Rescue 17’s amazing amount of detail adds to the realism. The old axiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” will provide a visual listing of the scale detailing.
Getting Ready to Put out the Fire
There only a couple of things that need to be done to the Rescue 17 to prepare for operation. The light mast is secured to the top of the cabin with the .15 x 16 screw provided. A dab of CA glue applied to the bottom peg of the antenna will hold it to the light mast. Two “AA” batteries, not provided, are installed in the battery holder inside the cabin to power the light mast. The plug between the battery pack and on/off switch needs connecting. The Tactic TTX 490 4-channel radio requires four “AA” batteries that are also not provided.
Propulsion for the Rescue 17 is provided by an AquaCraft 600 brushed motor powered by a 2200 – 3300 mAh 3S LiPo battery pack. There’s plenty of space in the boat to use a 3S pack with a even a higher mAh rating. The AquaCraft Multi-Controller ESC provides both forward and reverse. Reverse speed is probably around 25 percent of top speed in forward.
It is highly recommended that the pump be primed prior to using the water cannon. There is a direction sheet describing how to prime the pump. This procedure involves removing the water line from the intake tube to the pump, submerging the line in water, and then reattaching the water line. I primed the pump using a fuel bulb filled with water and connected to the intake tube. Squeeze the bulb till water shoots out of the water cannon and the pump is primed. A two-ounce Sullivan Brand fuel bulb is a common hobby shop item. It would also be possible to adapt a cooking baster bulb to shoot water into the pump. Putting out the Fire and/or Candles
Before heading out to run the Rescue 17, I dropped by the local Walgreens to pick up some candles. I have run nitro, gas, electric and sail boat model models over the past 50 years, but the Rescue 17 is the first time I’ve ever operated a model boat capable of extinguishing a fire. Granted, four candles on a piece of foam don’t provide a blazing fire. The candles did, however, provide sufficient flame to test my mini firefighting skills. I quickly discovered attempting to hit the candles with the water cannon wasn’t all that easy. Hitting the candles with the stream of water involved positioning the Rescue 17 the correct distance from the candles, using rudder and speed control and rotating the water cannon to spray across the candles. Racing a 60 mph hydroplane involves less coordination of transmitter inputs than attempting to keep the stream of water from the water cannon on the candles. The slightest amount of breeze greatly influences the positioning of the boat and the direction of the stream of water. At full throttle, the Rescue 17 moves across the water on plane with a great-looking bow wake. It is capable of making tight corners in either direction. However, sweeping corners would be more in keeping with scale operation of a fire boat. Run time with a 2200 mAh 3S LiPo pack was 12 – 15 minutes, running at full speed. Longer run times would be available if the Rescue 17 was stationary or operated slowly while attempting to extinguish candles. After Run Maintenance
A maintenance step not included in the instruction manual was greasing the driveshaft. After approximately one hour of running the Rescue 17, I removed the driveshaft and it needed to have grease applied. It is necessary to remove the rudder to allow removal of the prop shaft. A 1.5mm set screw wrench is required to loosen the set screws on the rudder control arm and shaft coupler. A thin coating of Grim Racer Speed Grease Drive Cable Lube was applied to both the driveshaft and rudder shaft. Wipe any excess grease from the end of the prop shaft to avoid splattering grease on the hull bottom. It was necessary to push the driveshaft slightly downward to insert the shaft back into the coupler. Make certain the flat area on the shaft matches the coupler set screw.
Aftermarket Siren from RAM Models
After numerous trips to the lake with my Rescue 17, it seemed like there was something missing from the experience. That missing something was a siren. Having spent time at hobby shows with Ralph Warner, owner of RAM Radio Control Models, I knew Ralph had a siren in his electronics products inventory. Anytime I call Ralph, I know I’m in for a well-deserved, good natured ribbing. Over the years, Ralph has been very generous, providing me with various items his company sells for the RC aircraft, boat, and car enthusiast. Just a few days after our conversation the RAM Mark II Siren arrived in the mail.
The siren kit consists of a circuit board, on/off micro switch, cardboard material for a speaker box, a 1.5-inch speaker, and directions with diagrams. The only assembly required is constructing the speaker box and gluing the speaker to the box. I painted the box black and attached Velcro to the top. Velcro was also applied to the top of the cabin in back of the middle window. The plastic window was removed to allow the sound to exit the cabin. The on/off micro switch is mounted to a separate servo with double back tape. A Y-harness plugged into the throttle section of the receiver actuates the servo when throttle is applied. I spliced a connector into the wires leading to the speaker which allowed the cabin to be removed without having to remove the speaker.
The siren definitely adds realism when the Rescue 17 is in operation. The RAM Mark II Siren is available from RAM Radio Control Models, RamRCandRamTrack.com, or you can give Ralph a call at (847) 740-8726.
The Last Word
The Rescue 17 is a model boat an entire family could enjoy operating. My wife, Maren, ran the boat for the photo shoot. Maren’s attempt to extinguish the candles proved rather challenging. Steering the boat wide open around the lake proved much easier than dousing candles 10 feet off the bow. The Rescue 17 is visually impressive as a static and operational model fire boat and it can provide a feeling of accomplishment when the only thing moving is the water cannon spraying water on candles. The Rescue 17 is proof you don’t have to be going fast to have fun with a model boat. Credits: http://www.aquacraftmodels.com/, http://www.rcboatmag.com/, Tony Phalen and Words & photos by Jerry Dunlap http://
Taken at the “Barnstormers Over Champaign” event August 23 and 24, 2014. An event I went to on a whim, but next year it will be intentional. Everyone there was friendly and hospitable and made me feel like I was one of the family. If you like radio controlled flying, I strongly recommend that you make it a point to go to the event.
http:// Credits: Scott Coyle and http://www.ccrcc.info/main/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
Want to shoot your own GoPro videos from high vantage points and other places you can’t normally reach? You may want to mount one on a quadcopter. Getting started isn’t difficult, but you’ll benefit from our recommendations and tips for beginners. Welcome to the world of multi-rotor RC aircraft. A cursory search on YouTube or Vimeo will yield a bountiful selection of footage captured from radio-controlled (RC) model aircraft known as multi-rotors. The name comes from the fact that these particular models rely solely on horizontal propellers (rotors) to provide lift and directional control. Most multi-rotors have four propellers, so they are called “quad-rotors”, or just “quads”. For the sake of simplicity in this article, I’ll brand all multi-rotors as “quads”, while recognizing that there are versions with three to eight airscrews…sometimes more.
Despite their unaerodynamic appearance, quads are ideal for capturing photographs and video footage from the sky. Many of them can heft a surprisingly heavy payload (i.e. good quality imaging equipment) and hold a steady posture in the air. With the ability to hover in place and fly in confined spaces, quads can often provide perspectives that no other filming technique can mimic. Watch some of those YouTubevideos and you’ll see what I mean. Not only that, but quads are fun to fly with or without a camera attached.
But before you zip out and buy a quad of your own, there is one more thing you should know. Switch over to a news site and it won’t take a lot of digging around to find the unglamorous B-side of quads. How about the wedding photographer who flew his camera-toting quad into the bride and groom? Then there is the wise guy who took his quad over Manhattan, only to crash into the side of a high rise, where his machine plummeted to the sidewalk 300 feet below. Let’s not forget the genius who flew his quad so high and so near JFK airport that it was spotted by a passing (and quite perturbed) airline captain! This unfortunate list goes on and on, yet the takeaway is but twofold:
- Multi-rotor models are capable of inflicting surprising amounts of injury and/or damage…think “flying Cuisinart”.
- Multi-rotor models require diligence and practiced skill to fly competently…think “unicycle”. If you’re still reading, I assume that you have some aspiration of owning a quad and perhaps racking up those YouTube views. That goal is reasonable and attainable even if you’ve never operated a RC vehicle before. Just recognize that diving into multi-rotors without heeding the lessons above could render you the next bungler featured on the evening news. Not to mention that doing something with your quad that captures the attention of CNN is also likely to attract the attention of local police, the FAA, and quite possibly the FBI…and that’s no joke. My point is not to discourage you from buying a quad, but to inform you of the aspects of quad ownership that are often unintuitive.Let’s get started!
As with any RC vehicle, there are two basic components to deal with: the transmitter and the vehicle itself. The transmitter is the device you hold to provide control inputs. A quad transmitter is the standard two-joystick box that is also used for RC airplanes and helicopters. Moving the left joystick up or down changes the power setting on all four motors and makes the quad climb, descend, or maintain altitude. Moving the left joystick to the left or right causes the quad to yaw in that direction (i.e., it pivots about an imaginary vertical axis through the center of the vehicle). The right joystick controls pitch and roll. Simply put, whatever direction you move the right joystick will command the quad to tilt and translate in that direction.
Most quads are arranged in an X configuration (when looking from above) with a motor/propeller at each corner. A rechargeable lithium polymer battery provides power for the motors and the electronic equipment onboard the quad. As a beginner, it isn’t really necessary to understand the function of all of a quad’s electronics. Those lessons will come as you progress in the hobby. For now, you just need to understand that the four motors work in unison, at different speeds, to keep a quad hovering and maneuvering through the air.
I’m Learning To Fly, But I Ain’t Got Wings
One aspect of RC flight that many beginners have trouble with is the light touch that most quads and other RC aircraft demand. The overwhelming tendency of beginning pilots is to over-control and then overcorrect. The result is a herky-jerky flight path that that may or may not end well for the quad. Watching videos from these types of flights can make you turn green with nausea.
Fly with a light touch. The overwhelming tendency of beginning pilots is to over-control and then overcorrect.
Another hurdle for beginning pilots is overcoming the perspective of being outside the model. When the quad is in front of, and facing away from you, everything seems normal. Right is right, and forward is forward. When the nose of the quad is pointing towards you, however, the perspective changes. Now, when you command the quad to tilt to the right, you will see it tilt to your left. When you command it to tilt rearwards, it will move away from you. The quad is still responding to your commands the same way. It’s just that the quad’s right/left and front/back are no longer the same as yours.
Perhaps the hardest thing about flying a quad is simply keeping track of which end is which. Quads lack the wings, tail surfaces, and other visual cues that you are used to seeing on airplanes and helicopters. So, it is often difficult to know which way the quad is pointed. Such disorientation leads to erroneous control inputs. Commanding a zig, when you meant to zag is the root cause of many crashes.
While the challenges of becoming a competent quad pilot may seem daunting, I have yet to meet anyone that didn’t eventually get the hang of it. Most catch on rather quickly…especially kids. Mastering the necessary skills is simply a matter of getting some flight time under your belt and learning from your mistakes. And yes, that also means occasionally making repairs to your quad after an especially ham-fisted or harebrained flight.
Where To Start
Logging flight time does not mean that you have to put an expensive, camera-ready quad at the mercy of your fledgling skills. That would be like learning to juggle using flaming Ginsu knives or moody honey badgers. There are a couple of more sensible alternatives. One option is to get a RC flight simulator for your PC. The one I use is RealFlight 6.5, which includes a quad in its stock database of flying models. Just as important, RealFlight includes a USB controller with the same look and feel as a RC transmitter. This helps to make the transition from virtual flight to genuine flying pretty seamless.
One great thing about a software simulator is that it also lets you try your hand at RC airplanes and helicopters of all skills levels. It is really remarkable how broad the performance spectrum is for different models. Plus, no matter how badly you mangle the quad, airplane or helicopter on the screen, pressing the reset button will instantly make it as good as new!
Another way to learn quad flight is to purchase a micro quad. These are small (about 5”x 5”) quads that look and behave the same way that larger quads do. They are really amazing little machines. The advantage of learning with a micro quad is that they have such low mass and so little power driving their tiny propellers that they are very unlikely to cause any harm when you smack them into something (and you will).
My first quad was the 1SQ from Heli-Max. It is a “hobby grade” micro quad, as opposed to “toy grade”. This means that you can buy spare parts and keep it going if you somehow find a way to damage it. My 1SQ absorbed quite a bit of abuse as I learned the basics of quads, and it is still going strong with nothing more than replacement propellers.
Buying a micro quad with a gamepad-like transmitter or one that is controlled by an iphone won’t really help you transition to larger, more capable quads.
eBay is flooded with all types of micro quads. Some appear to be genuine, while others are obvious knock-offs of popular hobby-grade quads. Then, there are other quads of even more questionable pedigree. Honestly, I don’t know how to tell the good eBay finds from the bad. My recommendation is to spend a few more bucks and buy a micro-quad from your local hobby shop. If you decide to go the eBay (or similar) route, at least make sure that the micro-quad you choose includes a 2-stick transmitter. Buying a micro quad with a gamepad-like transmitter or one that is controlled by an iphone won’t really help you transition to larger, more capable quads.
A neat thing about micro quads is that you can fly them indoors. Foul weather and darkness need not impede your training. As I said, you will bump into things as you learn (and beyond). So be sensible and stay away from pets, kids, the plasma screen, Aunt Edith’s urn…you get the idea. And for Pete’s sake, turn off the ceiling fan! Other than exercising those precautions, there is little to worry about. As your piloting skills progress, you can challenge yourself to increasingly difficult tasks. You may start out just trying to land on the coffee table. In time, you’ll be dusting your ceramic frog collection with the micro quad’s rotor wash.
Once you feel that you have the hang of quad flying, it’s time to upgrade to something capable of carrying a high quality camera. It is worth mentioning that there are some micro quads with integrated cameras (including the V-Cam version of the 1SQ). These quads are also a lot of fun and you can get some good experience tackling the challenges of filming without the benefit of a viewfinder. Just don’t expect the image quality to meet the level that we’ve become accustomed to from GoPro and similar cameras.
Beyond micro quads, there is a lot of room to grow in terms of cost and capabilities, but let’s focus on the next logical step. The DJI Phantom is a very popular quad that is capable of carrying a GoPro camera. The Phantom includes all of the things that you want in an intermediate quad: attitude stabilization, brushless motors, a GPS unit, a built-in GoPro mount, etc. What has made the Phantom so popular is that all of these components come preconfigured and integrated as a flight-ready system. You can bring home a Phantom and have it flying in the time it takes to charge the included battery (about an hour).
If you choose to buy a Phantom, I think you will agree that it is considerably easier to fly than a micro quad. I’ve found the Phantom’s stabilization and position-holding ability to be rock solid. I can park it in the sky and take my hands off of the joysticks. Even if there is a light breeze, the Phantom will stay in place until I command it to go somewhere else.
Unlike micro quads, the Phantom has enough mass and horsepower to cause grief when you hit something with it. The conscientious world citizen in you should want no part in causing a dent in a car, or maybe buying stitches for a stranger. The savvy economist in you should never forget that you don’t want to squander the nearly $1000 tied up in a Phantom with the latest GoPro by crashing it into a lake. Play it safe on both counts with your first flights and find a nice open space devoid of other people. You will appreciate the elbow room until you get comfortable flying the Phantom. Even later, you should always ask yourself “Is it safe to fly here?”
Some makers will shun the turnkey approach afforded by the Phantom, since it’s an all-in-one package that works out of the box. Fortunately, DJI and other companies offer many quads in kit form. This lets you choose the components you want and customize the quad to your liking. Taking the DIY route also provides you with an intimate knowledge of how the different components of a quad work in unison to achieve controlled flight.
You may find that a Phantom/GoPro combo is all that you need to satisfy your aerial photography ambitions. For many fliers, however, this stage is a gateway to more capable set-ups. One popular upgrade is to add a First Person View (FPV) system. FPV provides a real-time video downlink from the quad. When you connect that downlink to a portable screen or video goggles, you get the same bird’s eye view as the onboard camera…neat stuff for sure. FPV systems are often coupled with a two-axis gimbal that lets you pan and tilt the camera during flight. Just be aware that most FPV systems require a HAM Technician license to operate legally.
GoPro Heroes are awesome little cameras that will serve you well. If, however, you yearn to carry higher end video equipment, there is probably a multi-rotor to fit the bill. The cost and complexity of these aircraft climb accordingly. Most of the larger multi-rotors have six or eight motors. Some of these units can run several thousand dollars (without video equipment). It’s a matter of balancing your budget and skills with the image quality that you aim to achieve.
Finding Solidarity and Community
With the ever-growing popularity of quads, there’s no reason to jump in to the hobby alone. Unless you live way out in the boonies, there is probably an established quad flyer not too far away. Search for RC clubs and hobby shops in your area to get started. Most RCers are happy to share their knowledge and experience. There are also numerous online forums that discuss all aspects of quads and other RC endeavors. My favorite is RCGroups.com. The only problem with online forums is filtering out the genuine good advice from the well-meaning misinformation of self-proclaimed experts. With a little lurking, you can usually pick out who the trustworthy members are.
You should also consider joining the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), which is a national organization that provides a united voice for all types of aeromodelers. In fact, AMA membership is a prerequisite for joining most local RC clubs. Among other things, the $58 annual dues provide an insurance policy for you and help the AMA in its efforts to protect modelers from unnecessary regulations. This is especially important now, as the FAA is considering folding model aircraft operations into its jurisdiction.
This beginner’s guide is admittedly light on technical information. There will be plenty of time for that stuff once you’re ready to buy a quad of your own. I hope, however, that the roadmap presented here will help you to avoid some of the common mistakes and misconceptions of budding multi-rotor pilots. Flying quads is a lot of fun, and shooting videos only sweetens the deal. It just takes a little bit of training and situational awareness to be successful. Now go have fun and make a video worthy of awards, not the news! Credits: TERRY DUNN http://www.tested.com/ http:// http://
In over a decade of my Radio Control Boating experience, I have come in contact with many different Fast Electric boats. I can remember the days of charging up my NiCD packs in anticipation of a solid day of boating. Then one day there were an overwhelming amount of people switching to the newer NiMh battery technology. NiMh proved as a solid performer for many years to come. Then to every RC maniacs dreams, LiPo’s were born. This technology in batteries have given RC in general one of the biggest uproar. It allowed a much greater overall power system to be used in any RC imaginable.
Now in the boating community this was very big news. Boats take a tremendous amount of power to drive them at speeds that a typical RC car would travel at. This need for extreme power was the result of intense amounts of drag for any object moving through water. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, when was the last time you changed your disk brakes on a boat? Yep boats don’t have brakes, it feels as if they have permanent anchors.
Before the battery technology and brushless technology that we currently have today, it was difficult to get a Ready to Run boat that traveled faster then 40 km/h. In most cases, when you did have a boat that was in that range of speed, it had to have 2 brushed motors running to the same prop shaft, running off of multiple cells and through an awkward transmission coupling it all together.
It wasn’t until the very first Mainstream boat was introduced that we started seeing some excellent performance numbers that changed the Ready to Run boating market.
The Hull of Fame – Fast Electric
The boat that enters the hull of fame at RadioControlInfo is one that every enthusiast will remember. It was the first mainstream brushless boat that could really benefit from LiPo’s, but many were still using top notch NiMh packs with great success.
Entering the hull of fame is the Aquacraft Supervee 27 RTR.
This Boat sold well before it even hit stores, it was well marketed, well designed, and well built. Many popular features were built in to the boat to ensure that it performed well, we will first start with the hull itself.
Why the Supervee “27” – The Hull of Fame
The Supervee 27 was called the Supervee “27” as the hull length was based around being 27 inches in length. This was an important part of the design as size did matter. A hull under performs if the length is too small, but here’s the catch. The hull also under performs if the boat is sized to long. The under performance changes in each case where a smaller hull will suffer in the handling department and a hull that is sized too large for its power system will suffer in its power and performance department. In order to get this correctly, it takes a precisely selected hull length.
Running Hardware – The Hull of Fame
Blue anodized running hardware was nailed to the back of this hull. The blue colour looks great, and the sizing of each individual component was well determined and affected the handling performance in a very positive way. Now since there’s so many good things about this boat to talk about, let’s hurry up and get over the one issue that this boat suffered from. Water cooling. Yep, that’s it. Now did it matter? Mine ran no problem with the limited amount of water that circulated through the cooling system. The problem was found to be in the aluminum rudder of this hull and Aquacraft corrected this problem in a later version of this hull. Now that we are over that one hurdle, let’s move in to the power system.
Welcome to Brushless Power – The Hull of Fame
Aquacraft dropped in the best power plant that a high volume RTR hull has seen in all of fast electric boating history, making every father shake in his shoes while driving one of these. Pop open the cowl on this boat and you will find a 3/4 horsepower electric motor. It isn’t just any motor, it’s a brushless motor. Brushless motors at the time were relatively new to people and the 3 wires coming out of the can on this motor would confuse many people. I remember the countless threads titled ” which motor wire connects to which ESC wire?” This just goes to show the lack of experience in brushless motors in that particular time. Not many people seen them in boats before, especially RTR boats.
Electronic Speed Control – The Hull of Fame
The component responsible for delivering battery power to the motor was an ESC (Electronic Speed Control) that was still designed around NiMh batteries. The only reason one could not use LiPo’s was because of the lack for an appropriate low voltage cutoff built in to the ESC. If you wanted to run the boat on LiPo’s you would simply have to time your run and bring the hull in after a certain time period or purchase a 3rd party device that would incorporate a lower voltage cutoff. Timing your run is something that I talk about a lot in the build a fast electric boat part of the website, and is something that every boater should be doing in good practice. When performed correctly this is a guaranteed way of preventing any over discharging of the batteries.
Putting it all together – The Hull of Fame
When putting it all together, this hull sold for approximately 300 USD. At this price point it was a very good deal, especially for something this advanced in the boating market. No other Mass produced radio control boat had all of these features combined in to one solid package.
What did you get in terms of performance? Well, quite a handful. The handling characteristics of this 27 inch long hull was very good considering the speed you could achieve. Among many things, cornering felt smooth and predictable. Tight turning radius’ were possible at 70% speed which offered excellent control. This however was only possible during a right hand turn. Due to the nature of racing, our RC models at a race circuit will only make right hand turns and keeping this consistent, the Supervee 27 was only fitted with a right hand turn fin which did not allow for aggressive left hand turning performance. The overall speed of this boat heavily outweighed this small minute obstacle. With 64km/h speeds possible, this boat was a handful. Even with NiMh packs, maintaining over 55km/h was entirely possible.
Paving the Road in to the Future – The Hull of Fame
Aquacraft Models whether they knew it or not paved the road for companies to jump on board the Ready to Run High performance Radio Control boating market. Looking at what we have available now is surely different in terms of variety then it was just 7 or so years ago. Someone had to break the ice and it did not take long until there were Supervee’s buzzing around the lakes and ponds right after that ice starts to separate. Credits: Ryan http://www.radiocontrolinfo.com/ http://
Throughout the Intermat trade show in Paris , the first pieces of yellow iron attendees saw as they entered the earthmoving pavilion were a bit on the small side. Situated just before the entrance of Hall 5 was a whole city of where remote-controlled scale model construction equipment were free to move and haul to their hearts’ content. We’ve put together a gallery of the mini machines above. The loaders and cranes were especially impressive in person. And in the video below, you can check out a few of the machines in action. And be sure to stick around for the “Final Countdown” at the end.