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Running before walking

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Ron Lang04/02/2015 11:04:11
21 forum posts

Hi all,

I signed up for this forum this morning (whilst supposedly "working" having read the beginners page of the site.

I have historically run cars both nitro and electric whilst always being interested in planes. I had, in my youth, built a couple of trainers but, having taken them to local clubs, got frustrated by being the huge list of rules and specifications I was presented with in order to be able to fly (please read on before sending a defensive response!).

More recently, being older (and more patient), I decided to give flying a go properly and purchased, based on countless internet reviews and my limited budget, a Hobbyzone Supercub. At the time, I couldn't commit to a regular club night and so was hoping to learn to fly solo (!!!). My first flight lasted around 30 seconds; consisting of a hand launch into the low sun and a prompt loss of sight and therefore control!

I repaired the plane satisfactorily and over a period of a few weeks became reasonably proficient at flying with the limited three channel controls. I found landing almost impossible with the tiny wheels fitted and took to softly belly landing without the undercarriage in long grass. I was by no means flying well and also found that the plane couldn't cope in winds of more than 10mph.

Unfortunately, having got a little bored of the now rather poorly Supercub, I got cocky: I purchased a Wot 4 Foam-E. Not only was the model too fast and responsive for me (and ended up quickly in the bin), parts were impossible to source from anywhere.

So. I have so far learnt the following lessons at the age of 28:

1) The advice given by club members is almost always helpful and valid but is sometimes delivered in a manner which puts young kids off the hobby. Dont just list all the reasons they cant fly, be positive and help them to see why they need to prepare properly. In this respect, clubs with their own trainers for learning would be great.

2) Learning to fly solo is not a terrible idea but plane choice is even more critical. I had a flight sim which certainly helped but its no substitute.

3) Going from 3ch to 4ch is difficult. 3ch gave me a false sense of security and bringing in the ailerons was a whole new ball game I wasn't prepared for.

4) I see little reason to add in the complications of IC engined models. I know a lot about these engines but, with the improvements EP has made over recent years see no reason to complicate things further for beginners

5) There is a distinct lack of young people attending clubs! Whilst I have no problem mixing with any age, it can be intimidating if you're the only working age flyer.

6) The Hobbyzone Supercub seems a great choice in some respects. I paid £130 RTF with DX5 radio which I can now use for other models. However the anti-crash system is a lie!

So I am now looking for advice. The Supercub is fairly battered and the brushed motor just isn't good enough. My uncle has just bought a trainer and we re looking at attending a local club if possible. I would still like to be able to learn to fly in my own time and still cannot commit to regular flying days (I have my 1yo daughter at weekends). So do I repair and keep flying the Supercub or invest in a good 4ch trainer? Even though I am still a total beginner, the Supercub just seems too basic to be really teaching me to fly. The 3ch aspect just seems like a false economy.

Any comments ad thoughts appreciated.

John F04/02/2015 12:35:00
1316 forum posts
51 photos

Firstly, Hello Aaron and welcome.

With respect you your points I would boil it down to a couple of statements that might help you.

Flying on your own will increase your spending in the hobby, as you have found out.

An uncontrolled aircraft in the hands of a rookie can, and does, kill people.

Learn from your experience; it is not easy to fly and it is not in any way a shameful act to get proper training via a club.

I would say that the Supercub is an excellent trainer and is exactly what you need at the moment.

The "anti-crash" system gives a panic mode which will help to right the aircraft, if it has enough time to respond, but you also need to take control thereafter. Recovery also depends massively which mode you had set. it won't stop the unintended earthly arrival.

There are many people who post stories of how they think they can fly and end up going home with a bin bag full of new rubbish and it was both brave and honest for you to post your woes but I would urge a huge amount of caution at attempting to fly alone again.

Joining a club will be the best thing you can possibly do.

Dave Hopkin04/02/2015 12:36:32
3672 forum posts
294 photos

Hi Aaron

I share your frustrations with the way some clubs handle beginners, when I was looking for a club I emailed about 5 in my area - didnt get a reply from 2, Quite off hand and curt responses from 2 and a nice chatty email from 1 - guess which I joined!! First impressions you know

When I turned up at the field I was greeted warmly and given a sensible saftey briefing (we fly about 400 yds from the M62 so enforcing no-fly area is pretty critical!

But the rest was couched in terms of what I should do before I flew....

I was then put on a buddy box and flew., well sort off!!!

In terms of what you should do...

a) Repair the cub and keep on flyung it with all its limitations

b) Buy a 4ch plane, a Bixler is a good one - PNF for 60 odd quid - but set some exponential on the Ailerons at first, get used to using them in conjuction with the rudder

Ron Lang04/02/2015 13:13:45
21 forum posts

Thanks for your replies. I should stress on the first point that I only ever fly in empty fields away from roads or people. These things can do some damage!

I will certainly pursue my local club and seek some lessons and it's seems like the consensus (albeit from two people) so far is to stick with the Supercub. I had been totes by the St models discovery and mad thrust riot but will wait for a while before making my next purchase. I tried bigger wheels to help with landings on the SC but the wire undercarriage hasn't got enough space on it.

Dave Hopkin04/02/2015 13:57:38
3672 forum posts
294 photos

As an afterthought... Flight Sims, there are sims and there are sims - without starting a "which Sim is best "debate I found (and still do) find them very helpful, especially when you set the wind speed up a bit and add some gusts in (how many flat calm days do we get?) a;so crank up the difficulty to max - its only pixels it doesn't matter if you crash as long as you learn as well

I also find it helpful to have a loose flight plan in my head before I take off (sim and real) rather than just toling round aimlessly - to make sure that the parts of flight you are worst at are included

Steve T04/02/2015 14:14:06
488 forum posts
74 photos

Hi Aaron and welcome to the source of normally all the help you will need. The Supercub can be a great learning tool but mine one day went into a very slow left hand spiral into the ground, I never found out why, nothing I did at the tx related to anything the cub was doing! Seagull Epioneer is a very good 4ch trainer, comes with my recommendation anyway. Give all the guys on this forum a chance, they have helped me so much in the past 18 months since I returned to modelling after 30 years (yes before you were born) and saved me a considerable amount of money, time and frustration. Fly on!

Jon - Laser Engines04/02/2015 14:19:42
5674 forum posts
272 photos

Don't shoot me but I still maintain that a 40 size trainer with a 40-46 engine is the better way to go for numerous reasons. Given your familiarity with engines it should not be a problem for you and engines in aircraft are much much easier to set and so much less picky than those in model cars. I have 8th scale cars myself and compared to aircraft engines they are exceedingly temperamental so don't be put off on the grounds of reliability.

If you go that way then clearly you need to fly at a club but that wouldn't stop you getting something electric to fly in the park after work. The ST discovery is a fine model and I have taught a young lad at our club to fly with it but as it is so light (like all foam models) its not good in wind.

ceejay04/02/2015 15:42:03
487 forum posts
419 photos


I don't have a lot of experience of modern trainers but the Cub I'm sure will teach you something, as for continuing go for a well recommended 4 channel, whether it be electric or IC powered is to me irrelevant really, use whatever you feel most comfortable with, I belong to a club that has its own and one of each, not taught anyone for a number of years since the people that do are retired and have more time its not something I do at present, as for foamy,s not flying well in wind, here I would say its not what they are made of more than there size, any smaller model will be buffeted about in wind,

here,s an alternative for learning, do as I did and learn to fly with a glider on the slopes, if any slopes near by of course, no engines and long flights are poss, and just to say in the 40mph winds we get up on Leek moorlands the foamy Foxes et al cope extremely well

but whatever yo do enjoy your toys!!


Simon Chaddock04/02/2015 20:10:10
5812 forum posts
3080 photos


If you are going to continue to learn to fly alone my advice would be keep your planes modest and get good at doing repairs! wink 2

If you are flying from rough ground there is nothing wrong with hand launch and belly landing but it makes sense to use a suitable plane. As has been mentioned you wont go far wrong with something like a 4ch Bixler.

Don't be fooled by the 'toy' looks of such a design. If you find it wont do some manoeuvre the chances are the limitation is yours not the plane.

At this stage avoid expensive and fragile no matter how good it looks. You are learning a skill not trying to impress anybody.

avtur04/02/2015 21:04:55
883 forum posts
20 photos



There have been a couple of versions of the Super Cub so it is difficult to comment on the 'safe' system.

I bought one about three years ago, as a previously experienced flyer returning, I thought the 'safe' system was useless and immediately disconnected the sensors. Since then I wouldn't like to think how many hours the model has flown, It has spent many happy hours in the air and fortunately hasn't required any repair.

For my money I would say don't think of it as "only" three channel, there is a heck of a lot you can learn with this model. I fly a lot from a beach and have spent many happy hours doing my own 'spot landing' competition, be it three channels or four there is a lot to learn from this model. Oh ... and on the beach the wheels are just fine, in fact they make for a very satisfying feeling when you get a touch and go right!

One of the models I also have is the newer Parkzone Cub Sport S2, many folks think the S2 is the original Sport Cub with the most useful mods done to it ... in particular brushless motor, ailerons and flaps. For my money the S2 is a great development from the Super Cub, maybe one to add to your list.

Just going back to the Super Cub, if it is a very recent one with the newer 'safe' system well that system appears to be much better received than the earlier version. I've recently bought the Sport Cub S which has the latest 'safe' system, it actually works very well. I don't need the safe system I've just bought it because I have a 'thing' about Cubs. The safe system is a bit strange because in what it does it is very good but to set it up correctly actually takes a bit of time and skill, possible more than might be expected of the target audience for the model. (which I have commented on in a different thread)

So my suggestion is please persevere with the Cub, when you've got circuits 101% mastered look for something else, in my very humble experience I don't think the move form 3 to 4 channel is a huge deal, as long as you don't go for a meg aerobatic type.

Also, for what it may be worth I do understand your thoughts about staying with electric at this stage and I understand your views on clubs. There are some great ones about, which is fine if you happen to live near one, sadly there are those that don't quite live up to the mark for beginners. I am self taught all be that some 40+ years ago and I believe that with the models available today your chances of achieving success are greater now than perhaps they might have been in the past.

Stick with it and good luck!


Edited By avtur on 04/02/2015 21:07:38

Edited By avtur on 04/02/2015 21:09:20

Ron Lang05/02/2015 10:58:51
21 forum posts

Thanks a lot for all your comments and show of support. I have ordered a couple of new lipos from Hobbyking (that new UK warehouse is ridiculously cheap!) and the other parts I need to get running. I will dig out my simulator again (if I can find it) and enquire about local clubs.

I'll keep you posted on my progress and aim to upgrade when I'm ready. I must admit, flying foamies doesn't appear greatly suited to the weather in the UK so maybe a balsa model will be a better bet if a little risky for a newbie!



John F05/02/2015 11:27:18
1316 forum posts
51 photos

A blustery day is going to give you some issues but, then again, is good training in itself.

A foamie is an excellent way to train but it is down to the choice of day rather than a foamie being rubbish for UK flying. The foamie is also able to asborb impacts much, much better than any balsa built aircraft. The latter will guarantee a trip to the repair bench more than a foamie.

Go to a club, take it easy, get an instructor and you'll be fine.

eflightray05/02/2015 20:14:06
626 forum posts
132 photos

Model planes are strange things.

When we flew free flight model they rarely crashed.

Add radio and give us control, and we can crash them without even thinking, or knowing why they crash.

There must be some relationship between radio and people. Maybe it's that, 'we are superior, they are only toys' thinking that keeps letting us down. wink

Give someone more controls are they can achieve chaos sooner. (Sorry, I might be thinking of politicians there ).

Edited By eflightray neath on 05/02/2015 20:14:33

Dave Hopkin05/02/2015 20:35:58
3672 forum posts
294 photos
Posted by eflightray neath on 05/02/2015 20:14:06:

Model planes are strange things.

When we flew free flight model they rarely crashed.

You speak for yourself......... angry

mine usually did! laugh

eflightray05/02/2015 20:53:27
626 forum posts
132 photos
Posted by Dave Hopkin on 05/02/2015 20:35:58:
Posted by eflightray neath on 05/02/2015 20:14:06:

Model planes are strange things.

When we flew free flight model they rarely crashed.

You speak for yourself......... angry

mine usually did! laugh

I had a good free flight teacher, it's all about trimming and knowing what and how to. Which also helped considerably when I moved on to single channel RC, (no trims on the Tx back then). Sadly I doubt many of to days RC fliers will ever try free flight, and learn about how to trim a model.

Chuck Plains20/02/2015 21:57:44
1096 forum posts
244 photos

Hi Ron,

I started out with a not particularly easy small electric assisted glider. I did join a local club, mostly to kickstart the BMFA insurance. But I ended up learning by myself over the next few months. I had a couple of hours on a cheap flight sim and bought a Max Thrust Riot. 2 months later I finally managed to co-inside with someone suitable at the club patch and took the sticks on that after my friend got it trimmed. It seemed exactly like the simulated trainer! I really mean that too. I was convinced then that I would be able to learn RC flight and carried on from there. After that I acquired a Bixler2 and flew from the Little Haldon site on the edge of Dartmoor. Many different winds were the order of the day up there and the Bix did well. It can be flown with the rudder, if you increase the rudder's size, no problem. So that could be a good one if you feel like eventually going to 4 channel. And if you fancy a radio upgrade, the Bix can also have flaps.

Best of luck anyway mate. thumbs up

Ron Lang25/02/2015 16:38:34
21 forum posts

Sorry its been a while since my last post, things have been a bit hectic. I now have all the spares i needed for the cub except a battery adapter (I bought hobbyzone batteries which have an xt60 connector) which is due to arrive this week.

I have someone to buddy up with now too so am looking forward to learning properly.

I just wanted to ask if anyone has or would recommend converting the cub to brushless. I have the system from the Wot 4 lying around and it may help when the wind is a little stronger (it currently just stops into the wind). All the conversions I can see are from the US and I dont really know what i'd need (especially wrt the prop etc).



Ron Lang25/02/2015 16:47:22
21 forum posts

Also, is this the plane you were all referring to? Seems awfully cheap considering a new fuselage and wings for the cub will be this much anyway (they're getting very tired). Wasnt sure what it meant by optional flaps.

Andrew Whiting25/02/2015 17:19:20
7 forum posts

You can release the flaps from the wing and add servos for them if you want to or just leave them still connected in the fixed position by the foam web an forget about them.

Dave Hopkin25/02/2015 17:20:37
3672 forum posts
294 photos
Posted by Ron Lang on 25/02/2015 16:47:22:

Also, is this the plane you were all referring to? Seems awfully cheap considering a new fuselage and wings for the cub will be this much anyway (they're getting very tired). Wasnt sure what it meant by optional flaps.

Yep thats a Bixler 3 - itsa good basic introduction trainer and winter hack - dont bother with the wheelsm they are far too small to be any use unless you fly off a giant billiard table - though without them the CoG may be a little to far back (I dremelled the tailwheel off mine and applied some heavy duty tape to the nose/belly as a bit of nose weight and protection

Hand launch at about 75% Throttle upwards at about 30 degrees - on a 2200 lipo I can easily get 12 mins off mine - gets buffetted a bit by the wind and tends to weathercock but nothing uncontrollable

It certainly doesnt need the flaps (though if you loaded it up with video/FPV it might) so just ignore them

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