A new addition on the way?

This weekend, I had some time to think.

When most folks think about R/C flight, what do they think of? Airplanes! If most folks think about airplanes, then why did I start with helicopters?

The story of my start in R/C was posted a while ago. The short story…a 2-channel Christmas present for my son led to my now-third heli sitting on the shelf. I can hover it just fine as long as the tail is pointing to me, and every once in a while I feel comfortable taking it for side-to-side flight…which ended in a crash last time I did it. While I was waiting on my latest heli to arrive, I basically spent my time watching the airplane pilots (95% of our club) fly around and have fun. When my heli showed up, I worked to get the tail to work right and even now it still doesn’t work right. Anyway…back to the point…

While I was watching them fly, I decided to come home and try flying planes. Well…last night I spent 4 hours…with no crashes!

There are times when I wished that I’d started with airplanes, and times when I absolutely LOVE flying the heli…but right now isn’t one of those times. I think it was because my last heli was set up damn-near perfect. The only problem was the crappy battery that I wasn’t aware of its fault until after the crash. The new one is good and has TONS of power, but the tail…I know…upgrade the servo and gyro to fix that. There’s also a vibration in the tail (or head) that I can’t get rid of, and it causes the tail servo link and boom supports to vibrate…anyway…back to the point again…Right now isn’t one of those times when I want to fly the heli.

A friend at the club flies both helis and planks (nickname for airplanes because the wings used to be made from a plank of wood), and he just got a new plane…a Turbine Ugly Stik. (Look up Das Ugly Stik to see the basic design). When I first met him, he was flying his helis around, then one weekend I saw him with his Ugly Stik. I asked where his heli was and he replied, “Sometimes I just fly my Stiks because the heli takes too much concentration, and I lose the fun.” Lose the fun? How could you NOT have fun flying a heli? …now I know.

Flying the heli takes so much concentration. You have to keep it in line up/down, left/right, and forward/back…as well as the tail. 4 things to keep track of, and any minor distraction can cause it to go anywhere…like balancing a marble on the bottom of a bowl. When I’m flying my heli, I can’t keep a conversation or look away for anything. 5-7 minutes of pure concentration…even when hovering.

When I’ve been on the sim, the airplane goes. I don’t use the rudder, and I only have to worry about rolling, and elevation. Thats it. Kind of a set-it-and-forget-it thing. I can look away for a second or two. I can talk when I’m not turning. I can relax a small bit. Plus, with an airplane I can do loops and rolls using one movement each (with the heli, I use all 4 for ANY movement) and they’re the basic tricks…something I can’t even do on my heli after 9 months of flying.

On the sim, I can do whatever I want with the heli, but it usually results in a crash. Airplane…take off, fly around, do a couple of tricks, and then land it. The only reason I’ve crashed a plane in the sim is because I can’t see the ground and there is no depth perception…something remedied immediately at the field.

So in 9 months, all I can do it hover with the helicopter, and less than 1 week on the sim with a trainer I’m able to take off, fly around, do a couple of tricks and land it. I know it’s a simulator, but this plane, a Hobbico Nexstar, was designed and tested for the simulator. The actual trainer comes with a lite version of the sim that has the plane because it acts so realistically. So, hopefully when my next job is steady, I should be able to buy the actual trainer and fly it easily.

At least I’ve got the 2 nearest fields marked on Google Earth until then.

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