Bixler. The sad story of my maiden RC flight.

I've spent last couple of days preparing my Bixler. I did some mods listed here like reinforcing wing spar and fuselage with additional carbon fiber rods and changing prop to 6x4. Even my tail was detachable using similar trick.

Today was a nice weather to go and check what have I've learned in the simulator...It didn't go well (see video).

Stock servos were cheapo. One of them were buzzing from start with no stick movement. After first crash one of them worked only in one direction. Probably one tooth of the gear broke.

Servo rod's endings that hold horns were one-time. After opening (for changing the rods for better) both broke a bit leaving horizontal bolt going through the horn too short.

I'll have to find a way to fix that wing. Maybe a few small carbon fiber rods going through the wing? Also, polymer glue that was suggested on many Polish forums doesn't look for me good - it's very flexible and does not create a strong bond.

If you have any suggestion on how to fix that wing (and fuselage) to be strong and survive my future landing let me know.

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Comment by Nick Arsov on July 27, 2012 at 8:21am

Hi Marooned,

It's not a pain to die. You'll fix the wing, but you have to check/do some more things:

1. Check the CG;

2. Check the neutrals of the ailerons, ruder and elevator;

3. Apply a bit more power on takeoff;

4. Trim a few degrees + to the elevator if needed;

5. Climb/have more altitude as soon as possible to have more time to react;

6. Never let the plane to get behind your sight;

7. Check the range of your Tx.

Best regards


Comment by Marooned on July 27, 2012 at 8:27am

Ad. 1 - CG was ok, 6cm from wing leading edge (as found on rcgroups), balanced left/right too

Ad. 2 - neutrals were set properly (along with the non-movable edges)

Ad. 3 - aye

Ad. 4 - yeah, that would probably help with starting (I might use some unused switch to add elevator a bit and used that for starting)

Ad. 5 - that's true - my mistake was to think "do not go high before learning how to come back"

Ad. 6 - trying - need to find a bigger field w/o trees - at least for start

Ad. 7 - yeah, this is my main concern - any clues on that different than ask wife to go with receiver and some servo attached and call her? ;)

Thanks for the tips!

Comment by Nick Arsov on July 27, 2012 at 8:40am

Forgot to tell you another usefull thing. When you get enough altitude...say 70-100m, reduce the power at about 35-40-50% to tame the plane. For the first flight, better use mainly the rudder than ailerons. When you feel more confident, then try using the ailerons.

Comment by Marooned on July 27, 2012 at 9:09am

Yeah. I was just "unlucky" to learn on a tight area instead of some vast forgiving field.

I'll order some CF rods, servos and maybe that glue and will try again. 1..2 weeks for shipment for sure.

Thank you all for useful tips.

Comment by John Moore on July 27, 2012 at 9:22am

Just glue it together and fly again.

Its a $30 plane, the Bixler thread is full of mods that they recommend newbies do to the plane before their first flight and it ends up taking people a month to buld an "ARF" plane that they dont even know how to fly yet.


IMO people starting out with a Bixler/SkySurfer should be prepared to buy two. One which you do the bare minimum to and fly immediately so that you can actually learn and a second to mod to your hearts content once you get through the initial crashing phase.


These are the only mods I think everyone needs before flying a Bixler:

Strengthen the wing spar

Velcro to connect wings

Replace Control horns

Remove nose washers

Fiber tape on impact surfaces

Carbon rod on belly for stiffness.

Comment by John Moore on July 27, 2012 at 9:23am

Also, the Bixler motor likes the 6x4 prop better than the stock one but the stock one is better for learning to fly.

Comment by Marooned on July 27, 2012 at 9:29am

John Moore: you've just mentioned all mods I've done (plus removable elev/rudder). So my Bixler is almost 1:1 with your suggestions :) (ok, I've used some "strong tape" on the nose - not fiber one)

The outer wing spar broke in the middle. Good I had smaller one inside it. Also, the fuselage broke just where canopy has magnets (weakest part as there are servo holes nearby).

3D Robotics
Comment by Alan Sanchez on July 27, 2012 at 10:45am

It seems like you threw it in stabilize or manual modes. Next time try throwing it in FBW. Its almost impossible to crash in that mode.

Comment by Marooned on July 27, 2012 at 10:46am

Alan, this is not using APM or any other board. It's just plain receiver, esc and servos.

Comment by Marooned on July 27, 2012 at 10:47am

My APM2 sits deep in the copter - I have to share one board to all my "toys" ;-)


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