Well I took my brand new Radian Pro out for it's maiden flight this morning. I had gone over everything that I could think of and did my checks pre flight. Had a nice field of alfalfa about 6 inches tall and a gentle breeze, a bit of fog yet but I wasn't planning on getting too carried away on my first flight.
Gave it about 3/4 throttle and threw it up and it took off great .... flew about 20 yards in a shallow climb, rolled over to the right and went nose down right into the ground. Did a fair amount of damage to the front cockpit .... nothing that a little glue and TLC probably can't fix. Been evaluating trying to figure what went wrong. Noticed that the screws that hold the wings on had moved .... is it possible that the screws weren't holding , or did it hit that hard? Left wing aileron arm came unhooked in the crash ... looks like the little ring keeper failed with the impact, it was in place on take off. I believe that the cause was my C G ... it was not as perfect as I would have liked, it was off about an inch... felt pretty good though. This is supposedly an easy bird to fly and launch but something wasn't right .... unfortunately I don't know what that something is ... yet. It did not seem to respond to commands to climb or turn which was puzzling and I gotta admit .... it is hard to watch something like that. I love that plane and it took me a long time to pull the trigger and buy it cause I am pretty careful with money. I wish I had someone to take me under his wing and help me evaluate ... feel kind of all alone and not sure what to do next. HELP?
I agree with Bjorn.
Best to check the control surfaces before you fly, just a quick wiggle, you will do it second nature before too long.
I fired up my heli while testing with Martin and had the Aileron Reversed, easy done.
A sim is a must these days.
A club is even better!
Actually your analysis was correct on the reversed ailerons. I had the flaps hooked up making the left aileron in the "auxiliary" slot. I reversed this on my controller and now is correct. I did not notice that I was looking at the plane reversed in the illustrations and therefore was backwards..... definitely a rookie mistake.
I have other issues which have bothered me about this plane since I bought it. My left aileron does not move nearly as much as does my right one. I have looked at all connections and cannot explain this problem. I am in the process of looking for a mentor and hopefully he/she can address this glitch, and help me with making sure that the C G is correct.
Again thanks for the help from all.
NO need to be discouraged! Until you've toasted about 3 dozen planes, you have not seen many of the things that can go wrong! The difficult thing is having the guts to learn to fly.
1. get the basics very close to right before you launch
CG about 1/3 to 1/5 back from leading edge (if the wing chord is 9 inches, then 3 to 2 inches back...)
range test your radio
make sure that wings and tail parts are firmly attached
have all your batteries fully charged (a little $5 volt meter is great to verify cell voltage is > 4.0 for LiPos)
test all control surfaces, to make sure that they are going in the right direction (pretend to fly the plane on the ground, and verify that ailerons and elevator and rudder are moving in the correct direction, when you move the transmitter sticks)
2. reduce all the other risks possible
choose a no wind day
choose a nice grassy field
keep away from flying into the sun
have someone else toss the plane (keep your hands on the controls)
have a good flier fly and trim the plane for you.
choose a time when there is no crowd watching (this is a bad distraction)
just before you launch, remind yourself that the worst that could happen is that you completely auger the plane,
and in that case, you are sharing in the experience that the best RC pilots have come to appreciate.
3. when something goes wrong, think about it, identify the error (if there was one), take notes, and don't repeat it.
Don't get paranoid. You're doing something that most people don't have the guts to try.
4. You know that you can build your own foamy planes with blue insulation foam from Lowes? There are plans on the web. Build 3 of the same model, and try different CGs.
5. If you destroy your Radian, and can't afford another, there may be ten guys out in RC land who would be willing to mail you one of their old beater trainers.
Stephen from Tucson
Have now procured a mentor ... finally. We took the Radian Pro out the other day and the C G was still not correct. He had his hands full but at least he did not crash it. Wanted to do loops and was nearly uncontrollable. Managed to get it on ground safely but it was a challenge.
What really upsets me is that the owners manual tells you that C G is correct if you have battery in correct place and it is so far from right that I wouldn't even try that. This plane is extremely tail heavy and needs a lot of weight in the front to balance.
I wish now I would have bought the regular Radian but I am kinda stuck with this one. I have ordered a new fuselage for it now as the other one has been glued a couple of times and I want to make it look good once I get the kinks out. At least they are not real expensive.
I do have a new problem however ... I removed one of the servos because the throw was wrong on one of the ailerons .... there is a white glue that holds them in and I need to know what I should re-glue back in with, so it can be removed possibly later without damage to the wing. Anybody know what kind of glue is used on this plane or a suitable replacement?
Make sure that the center of gravity is about 25% back from the leading edge of the main wing. Make it balance here -- don't rely on this or that size battery to balance it. Without this right, the plane just will not fly.
Make sure that the ailerons are in the neutral position, when the radio sticks are centered. (Aileron trailing edges should be lined up with the trailing edge of the wing.)
On rolling right on takeoff -- make sure that you have full power on the motor when you toss the plane, and toss it pointed a bit up. This sort of "roll" could be a tip stall, when flying speed is too low.
If you had full power on launch, then a right roll should be overcome with left aileron. Generally, even a plane that is out of trim can be "horsed" into level flight using ailerons and elevator.
On servo installation: most foam planes are made out of a type of foam that will melt if you use CA glue on it. Try a little drop of CA on an unimportant place on your plane, to see if it is CA safe. If not, most people use 2 part epoxy on foamies. You can get it for about $10, and in different drying speeds (I use 5 minute and 10 minute epoxy). BE CAREFUL! If you use CA around a servo, it can wick inside and glue the gears together, ruining the servo. If you epoxy a servo in directly, you may not be able to get it out without ripping apart the wing. A standard way to attach servos is to tape around the servo with electrical tape (to water proof it), then epoxy an inner side to the wing. If you ever have to remove the servo, cut the electrical tape, and peel out the servo. (The electrical tape is epoxied in, but the servo is just taped in.)
You can use white glue on foam, but it is often brittle, which is not good around servos. (I use Aleene's Tacky Glue to glue spars into foam wing cores. About $4 for 16 ounces at Walmart or craft stores. It dries a bit yellow, so you may not want to use it where it will be seen.)
It may sound weird, but don't be discouraged. RC flying is a real skill, and you have to do it, to learn the skill. If you persist, in a year you will look back and laugh at the troubles of the early flights. We all do.
Make it a first priority to learn from your experience -- not to be an instant good flier. Guys with this attitude look at a crash as an opportunity to learn what was wrong, and how to fix it. They are achieving a major goal even when the plane crashes. These are the guys who get incredible flying skills. And so can you. You're asking all the right questions.
By the way, 2 part epoxy will harden even in large pieces (you can fill spaces with it). White glue only hardens where it is exposed to air (It makes a bad filler, as the inside doesn't harden.)
Hang in there! I have splattered a whole fleet of craft in my few years flying. I think you feel miserable right now and that is to be expected. Give it a couple of weeks and the "sting" will lessen then you'll start trying to figure out what happened. As has been mentioned before, if you can get an experienced pilot to help you that will be best. They will know CG, range testing, et.al. He may want to try an fly it first to verify it. Of course that can stress a friendship in the event of a crash. I know it happened to me. You flying on a buddy-box with an experience person on the main is an excellent way to learn. If you don't have a pilot to learn from then if you can get a simulator, that can help a whole bunch. Good luck, take a break, come back with vengeance!
Yes keep plugging away I'm on my third rc plane this year the first was lost in dense woodland the second smashed to pieces and today was the maiden flight of my Radian it was a bit breezy and within minutes the fuselage was in four pieces! but I taped it back together again right there in the field then crashed it again! but after the addition of more tape she was up again now slightly bent, but the wind dropped a little and all of a sudden something just fell into place. I had her gently flying around me like a bird, I had learnt to just caress the controls not the panic inputs of before and what a great feeling it was.
I have been offered help to learn but I have very limited time and could never find a suitable day, so I just grab the opportunity to fly when it comes. Im sure with help it would have been a lot less painful. Just the C of G to sort out now as when I throttle up she points up and sort of stalls?
Good luck to you.
Thanks, and thanks to all who have given words of encouragement and advice. I think my Radian Pro is so beautiful and it pains me to crash and have to glue it back together. I think things will progress well now if I can get my mentor freed up, he thinks the Pro is a neat plane too and is wanting to fly it as bad as I .... so I think I am on the home stretch here.
BTW I bought out a flyer who stopped a few years ago and he has some very nice homebuilt airplanes which are well done. They are glow engines a large 2 stroke and a large 4 stroke model and literally hundreds of spare parts, some of which I have no idea what they are..... example, over 50 props. Trying to decide whether to keep them or sell them to continue my dream of a drone with live feed video, auto pilot, etc. Any ideas on how to sell them for a fair price would be appreciated.
Just an update to you all. I finally found an R C instructor in my home town. Kind of funny how it worked out. I had the Radian Pro and 2 other nice planes and a lot of gear that I had bought from a guy who no longer flies. I gave up finding someone to teach me and posted them for sale on Craigs list and a young man told me if I wanted to learn to fly to show up at the field and gave me the name of the instructor. He is a great elderly gentleman who gives his time to the club helping others learn and a host of other things he does for free. I have now solo'd and have several other planes and my son is now a pilot. You were right to give me encouragement, but more than anything I want to let everyone know that sharing your knowledge is very important and I intend to help others as my mentor has. Your knowledge is very valuable for those of us who are struggling to learn and we need lots of help. So don't be afraid to help others at the field where you fly .... it is important and appreciated. Giving of your time freely advances the sport .... and it is a fantastic sport and hobby.
Now to teach my grandchildren when they get a little older.