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Beginner Flight Modes

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Dominic28/05/2015 15:25:02
24 forum posts
14 photos


I'm a noob to RC planes and after joining/talking to members at my local club and researching online, bought the HK Bixler 2 and a Spektrum DX6. I want to set up some flight modes to make the Bixler as easy as possible to get off the ground/keep in the air/land safely laugh. I've also read a bit about aileron differential and wasn't sure whether it will help on the Bixler or just add complexity I don't need. My thoughts for flight modes are:

Flight Mode 1 (Take off/Landing)
Aileron rate: 50%
Elevator rate: 80%
Throttle rate: 100%
Differential: 50%
Expo: none

Flight Mode 2 (Keeping it up)
Aileron rate: 80%
Elevator rate: 60%
Throttle rate: 80%
Differential: 25%
Expo: none

Flight Mode 3 (3 mistakes high surprise)
Aileron rate: 100%
Elevator rate: 100%
Throttle rate: 100%
Differential: 0%
Expo: none

The numbers above are guesstimates after some background reading and for me it's as much about learning how to use the DX6 as it is about flying the Bixler. The wind is blowing here, I have a new plane that I can't use and I'm looking for something to fiddle with... Or am I making it too complicated?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Pete B - Moderator28/05/2015 16:53:40
7628 forum posts
733 photos

Hi Dominic,

Welcome to the forum! Plenty of advice available from the good folk here - and there's a few Bixler flyers amongst them, me includedsmile

You'll probably get lots of conflicting advice but, for what it's worth, here's my take on it. The Bix is pretty easy to fly but for a novice, nothing is easy - take my word for it! It doesn't take long for any model to get one step ahead of you when you're learning and the Bix is no exception. Having said that, it's quite forgiving and reasonably stable once set up.

No problem in setting up flight modes as it's a good way to learn about the Tx, but the Bix should be quite satisfactory with one mode at 100% and a second at 80% of the recommended throws. Personally, I'm an advocate of expo as it eliminates twitchy fingers making for a twitchy flight pattern. I also tend to stick with the same ele movement - about 60% IIRC - as this reduces the potential to 'porpoise' and keep the rates option for ailerons and rudder.

There's some difference of views re the battery pack size, too. I find a 1300 or 1600 3S pack, set well back from the nose, is fine for C of G but others use a 2200 pack, which for mine would make it way nose-heavy.

Anyway, I'm sure others will be able to offer some suggestions, toothumbs up


ChrisB28/05/2015 17:29:34
1220 forum posts
34 photos

I would suggest High rates and low rates as the two conventional ways of flying. I use High rates or rates on (maximum movement) and low rates or rates off as (normal or minimum movement).

I agree with Pete B in terms of the amount of movements. Given the type of model it is I'd stick to limited movement on ELE.


gliggsy28/05/2015 17:32:19
102 forum posts
4 photos

Hi Dom, my opinion, the best beginners plane by far, personally, I think that you may be over complicating things but that's not a bad thing as it helps you understand the tx and how it works. For me, I would set dual rates at 80 and 100 with 50 percent expo,set throttle to 90percent and launch in to the wind pretty much level and don't stir the sticks too much until you have gained some height. Plan the landing beforehand, try to keep the sun at your back and relax and enjoy. Ps welcome to the forum.......glyn

Dominic28/05/2015 17:58:22
24 forum posts
14 photos

Many thanks for the quick responses - Sounds like you're all saying the roughly same thing, but just to be clear for my noob brain...

  • dual rates (on ailerons and rudder?) to 80% and 100% - with 50% expo on both
  • elevator to 60%
  • throttle to 90% to launch
  • and ignore setting up any aileron differential on the tx.

And I shouldn't crash right? laughlaughlaugh

Dave Hopkin28/05/2015 18:58:27
3672 forum posts
294 photos

The Bix is a great little plane, flies a treat, Dual Rates and Expo are the way to get going - personally I wouldn't bother with flight modes - by all means play with them on the TX but you will be concentrating on flying the plane at first that you wont have the time to change modes....

Get someone from the club to check the balance (under the wings AND length ways) if you have never flown before grab a tame test pilot to take it up and trim it out for you - the last thing you want to be doing when your learning is wrestling with an out of trim model!

I would recommend a TX neck strap if you are hand launching yourself (but always better to get someone else to chuck it!)

To launch mine, throttle to about 75-80%, launch directly into the wind with slight upwards about 5-10 degrees, try and if your throwing action is smooth and level it will fly level (if its balanced!) if you throw it at a tilt be ready to with the ailerons to correct the roll!

Also keep a good eye on the hinges - they are not that robust and will split over time, but nothing some sellotape wont cure

kc28/05/2015 19:00:04
6304 forum posts
170 photos

The normal use for the word MODE in RC flying is to denote which control goes on which 'stick'

So Mode 1 means throttle on the right stick with elevator on left stick, while Mode 2 means throttle left and elvator right. Ailerons and rudder are the same on both Modes normally. .

Mode 2 seems the most popular now, however it's best to learn on the Mode taught in your club. That way anyone else can fly your model and eventually you may be given a go on another club members model too.

Dominic28/05/2015 21:02:50
24 forum posts
14 photos
Posted by kc on 28/05/2015 19:00:04:

The normal use for the word MODE in RC flying is to denote which control goes on which 'stick'

Yeah... That confused me. However I'm using the terminology that Spektrum use. From their website...

Programming for Airplanes, Helicopters and Sailplanes
Five available flight modes, 4 wing types, 3 tail types, a flap-to-elevator curve mix – it has all this and more.

Soooooo many things to learn frown

Edited By Dominic on 28/05/2015 21:03:38

Dave Hopkin28/05/2015 21:24:46
3672 forum posts
294 photos

It is a little confusing, but Mode and Flight Mode are two different things, and to be honest not many people use Flight Modes for ordinary day to day sport flying, they are simply not needed - they are for the more specialised power flyers and I think the glider fraternity use them extensively

For general day to day flying all you need are Rates and Expo - half of the battle of learning to fly is getting to the stage where you dont have to think about what control(s) to use in any situation and to he frank trying to switch flight modes will just make that harder

Select Low rates to start with with 30-50% expo programmed in and enjoy

fly boy328/05/2015 21:26:56
3647 forum posts
22 photos

Welcome Dominic, to the best flying forum around. Ask as many questions as you like, and the clever lads on this forum will help as much as they can. Wish it was around when I started, but there were no Pcs around then LoL. Cheers ps The Bixler is a very good model to start with. Does the Bix 2 have under carriage ?

Edited By fly boy3 on 28/05/2015 21:27:44

Dominic29/05/2015 07:21:57
24 forum posts
14 photos

I've adopted the simple approach... Dual rates set on a single switch and 50% expo.

Fly boy - I ummed and arred about getting the under carriage and decided against it. What are your thoughts?

Now just need this wind to die down.

Allan Bennett29/05/2015 08:31:57
1607 forum posts
44 photos

My limited experience with a Bixler (helping a club member learn to fly) is that it needs great care when hand-launching, for too much throttle too soon can make it nose-dive.

But my own view is that using different flight modes, or even rates, can be a distraction for beginners. I may have dual rates programmed on some of my models, but I can't remember when I've ever actually thought "I need to change the rates" and actually flipped the switch in flight, other than perhaps on a maiden flight. An experienced flyer should trim it so it's flying nicely for you, and then you should leave it like that while you learn, in my opinion.

ken anderson.29/05/2015 10:03:32
8557 forum posts
776 photos

hello advice is get it set up with some gentle settings......forget about flight modes and making things too complicated at the stage your at(learning)...once you have a natural feel for the model and your confidence is 100%..... you can alter things and experiment.........see the effect's on the model.......I would say have low rates for general flying and high rates(more movement) for times when needed.......(windy)..

ken low/high rates dept..

Vinegar Dave30/05/2015 10:51:31
98 forum posts
1 photos

coming from hellis to planes Speed is an issue as getting out of the habit of sitting there as with a plane its a stall and the other is to keep the stick still to keep straight and true without using a tiny bit of elevator. Both seem to contradict each other dont they but moving the sticks to the extent i see plane flyers do it horrifies me!

So now i have decided to go back to a complete beginner in flying but the mind set and habits are hard to break.

Dominic31/05/2015 20:04:11
24 forum posts
14 photos

A bit of an update for all you helpful folk...

I took the Bixler out yesterday where my club trainer put it in the air, trimmed it up and recommended 60% on all control surfaces with 50% expo. He launched it again where I flew it for a while smiley then handed the controls back for him to land it. Then I had a dozen or so 'mock' takeoffs/landings, launching the plane and attempting to keep it 4' off the ground and level in the air for increasing distances until eventually I went for it and took off properly laugh. And that was it.... after a 5 minute flight I was talked down and landed successfully. My first solo flight laughlaughlaughlaugh

Anyway, the point I wanted to make was firstly, excellent advice from this forum - Thanks. And secondly, anyone new out there looking to get into RC... JOIN A CLUB. Loads of excellent advice and I guarantee my plane would have come home in bits without their help.

Dave Hopkin31/05/2015 20:23:48
3672 forum posts
294 photos

Thats good and bad news Dominic..... Good news that you flew solo - excellent

Now the bad news - you are now officially addicted....... its a slippery slope from a Bixler to a 20 foot Spitfire... wink

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