Part 3 – RC Airplanes / Gliders for Beginners

Let’s begin with a term called ‘maiden‘. Maiden is the term we used for our first RC flight (and yes, we only use it once! although I heard some people kept saying that wanted to maiden their craft over and over again – I guess these people just wanted to have fun and simply doesn’t understand the term that we used, but hey, it’s OK – the most important thing is – to have fun!)

So I’ll start off with a story.

The other day I went back to my village and met with this uncle who had flown a 4 channel coaxial indoor helicopter. We met at a small village field with small tarmac road that is a bit wider than an average car.

As with intermediate and expert flyers, they made things look very easy. And I eventually attracted an uncle who wanted to join in the fun. Seeing that he already have some bit of experience flying an indoor heli, he approaches me and asked to buy him a Sky Surfer on the spot. And I did.

We had to drive all the way to Sri Botani as Taman Temara flying field is not suitable for beginners with it’s narrow, short, and tight landing area. Sri Botani was more forgiving and is spacious enough for new flyers.

But then, I was scared.. it hit my mind that Uncle Haji does not have ANY EXPERIENCE flying a plane before. It doesn’t even matter if you have 20 years of experience flying helicopter, a plane is different. And what worries me more is the fact that Uncle Haji have 0 hours of simulator time.

For the first day, I maidened Uncle Haji Sky Surfer per his request. And I got up to a really high altitude to begin with. I asked Uncle Haji that he can take away the control when he is ready (after giving him some ground lesson about the plane controls and stuffs). Uncle Haji was a fast learner and he remembered how to set the CG and stuffs before taking off.

However, due to the fact that he have 0 hours of simulator time and 0 experience, he only managed to get hold of the stick for around 10 seconds before he screamed for help and passed the transmitter back to my hands. The first issue he got was with the elevator orientation. When he pull it up, he imagined that the plane will go up – but instead it plunged down. This need some time to taking used too as I continuously advised him over and over again of the correct controls, but when he got hold of the stick and panicked, he forgets everything – as what usually happens with most of the new flyers as well. This is normal.

Day 2 showed some improvements and I was amazed with the guts of this great Uncle. Not everyone have the courage to step up and fly. He trembles when he holds the transmitter, but that’s normal as well (you should see how I trembles during my early days of flight, as if I was hit by a scale 9 earthquake! Seriously!). But as I was around, he flew safely and most importantly, we had fun!

However, things got bad on the third day when I was not around. It seemed that Uncle Haji was too eager to step up and fly on his own and unfortunately crashed his plane, broke his elevator, cracked his fuselage, and snapped his prop. He called me and we begin discussing about repairing the unit, and to get himself A SIMULATOR!

# RC Simulator

So moral of the story is, unless you don’t mind spending lots of money and time to repair your unit. Get yourself an RC Simulator. These are sold at your Local Hobby Shop. There are cheap ones, and there are one that costs you a fortune (maybe more than your RTF glider kit). The cheap ones will have cartoonish (or very vector based) graphics and you may not have advanced functionality such as weather and wind simulation. While the expensive ones have them all, with realistic graphics,  including varieties of models from planes, helicopters, to quadcopters and stuffs.

I personally use Realflight the most. Although there are several other flight simulator (eg. Phoenix and all) available. You just need to try it out yourself and see which one fits you.

# Does RC flight simulator works?

Let’s take it this way. If you are a real pilot, would they risk by just teaching you theories and throw you off to fly an actual Boeing 747 (or a Cessna even?!) in no time you WILL CRASH and die in a horrific pilot error. Difference with RC stuffs, you will burn a hole in your pocket (could be a small or a big one!). So yes, simulator does WORKS. It works for me, and it have worked for many out there as well. The feeling of flying in an RC Simulator is close to flying a real RC plane, around 80-90% I would say on my personal experiences.

There are a few out there that you can just pick off the shelves. If you don’t have a transmitter which supports RC simulator, you can always buy one that comes with one (can only be used as a PC simulator transmitter of course) – this are a more cheaper solution although I own a Futaba T8FG, I still use my PC transmitter on simulator, as not to wear off the actual transmitter which I use for real flights.

Those who would like to enquire or get a cheap RC simulator, can drop me a line with your email and I’ll do my best to get you started!



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