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Complete beginner - currently using simulator, what next?

Advice re which radiocontroller to fit to PC prior to buying the real thing

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Jim Newmark19/01/2017 20:33:22
9 forum posts

I do intend to buy a RC glider soon, but as a complete beginner I don't want to keep breaking them before I learn to fly. I am currently on a steep learning curve with PicaSim **LINK** , amazing value - well, it is free so how can it not be? ... (why are these programmes not discussed more?). I can now manage to fly the 2 channel VR glider and understand the principles, but I now I presumably need to progress to 4 channels and learn more complex skills before investing in a proper glider for slope soaring. I would have thought that the next obvious stage was to simply buy a "proper" controller and link it in some way to the PC. Is that possible? Or do I need to buy a games type thing?

Denis Watkins19/01/2017 21:41:54
3873 forum posts
58 photos

Do not use a game or a games controller Jim, it will give you a false sense of a real model. Flight sims too increase in quality and "feel", so consider paying for a flight sim, and fly your sim using your actual transmitter. There is nothing to stop you flying an actual glider, and 4 channel would really be the minimum to progress in my opinion.

Edited By Denis Watkins on 19/01/2017 21:43:07

John Helling19/01/2017 22:05:47
67 forum posts

Hi Jim

Welcome to the hobby

Find a local club, join and start the learning process.

Most clubs have instructors, and trainers you could use for your first flights.

John H

Jim Newmark19/01/2017 22:20:31
9 forum posts

Thanks Denis. Honestly, PicaSim is a proper simulation and not a game, I am really impressed with it. My two children, now in their mid 30's, never tire of reminding me of the time, more than twenty years ago, when we spent hours and hours of quality bonding time building a glider together. It all worked beautifully. Then we practiced a little, on the flat. Then early one morning, when nobody else would be about to embarrass us, we took it to the local model gliding place and chucked it off the cliff. I had no idea. I panicked. It nose dived and crashed into as many pieces as we had started with. We looked down at it, looked at each other, said nothing, got back in the car, and went home. My wife hadn't even woken up. I still have the mental scars. And I have crashed the glider in the sim many, many times but now at least I have more of an idea and can keep it flying. So the next stage is to get a proper RC controller with a USB - any particular recommendations or do they all have this facility?

Hamish19/01/2017 22:27:06
642 forum posts
47 photos

Many years ago I used the free FMS flight simulator and spent hours and hours using it which was very beneficial as it assisted in "training" my fingers. It was connected to the pc via a cable/dongle to my transmitter, so at least the transmitter was the real thing.

Practice approaches and landings as these are these most important parts in flying a model, unless you are happy to constantly repair.

Good advice above is to join a club where the members will be only too willing to assist as they want to see you flying. Many try to teach themselves and just destroy the model and give up, so a club is the best option, or if you know somebody who has experience and willing to assist.

Forget the DIY approach, it fails.

Jim Newmark19/01/2017 22:28:18
9 forum posts

Thanks John - but at present finding a club / instructors etc is not viable. For me with other commitments it would very much be small doses, quite often when a have a few minutes, and over a longish period. Then, when I feel that at least I know the principles, a purchase and perhaps then approaching a club. But not at the moment.

Jim Newmark19/01/2017 22:32:01
9 forum posts
Posted by Hamish on 19/01/2017 22:27:06:

Many years ago I used the free FMS flight simulator and spent hours and hours using it which was very beneficial as it assisted in "training" my fingers. It was connected to the pc via a cable/dongle to my transmitter, so at least the transmitter was the real thing. -

Practice approaches and landings as these are these most important parts in flying a model, unless you are happy to constantly repair.

Yes, that's what I was thinking.

kc19/01/2017 22:38:33
6032 forum posts
168 photos

Visit your local club before you buy any radio gear -most clubs have a particular make that their instructor uses. And also check whether the club uses the same Mode ( Mode 2 or Mode 1 ) as you have been using on the simulator.

john stones 119/01/2017 22:42:13
avatar
10577 forum posts
1480 photos

Sim that's fine, buy/build a glider and chuck if off a cliff ? not fine face 1 you'll have a model maybe not trimmed to fly correctly, and you won't have the ability nor time to cope with it, most likely a bag of bits again is the result.surprise

I want to learn to fly models is your start point. wink

John

Jonathan M19/01/2017 23:28:45
avatar
669 forum posts
275 photos

Picasim is great. Your fingers will be trained after a few sessions. You don't now need to do anything more with any simulator.

Just go out and buy a Whipit, bind it to a cheap 4-chan transmitter, and go fling it about your local park like some micro-DLG. Its ridiculously easy on rudder and elevator, very forgiving, and also huge fun into a gentle wind on a gentle slope.

Once you're into actual flying, buy something a bit more sophisticated, like the ELF mini-DLG, also just rudder and elevator, which you can use either on the flat (trimmed you can get up to one minute in dead-air, several minutes or longer in good thermal weather) or on the slope in light/moderate conditions.

Once you've got experience, get yourself an aileron soarer...

Jonathan M19/01/2017 23:41:16
avatar
669 forum posts
275 photos

Whipit

Essential kit, best prices:

Basic transmitter: **LINK**

Glider: **LINK**

Batteries (I'd get two, one spare): **LINK**

USB battery charger: **LINK**

Elf

See videos at bottom of page: http://www.hyperflight.co.uk/products.asp?code=ELF&name=elf-mini-dlg

 

Edited By Jonathan M on 19/01/2017 23:47:00

John Stainforth20/01/2017 04:38:36
310 forum posts
38 photos
Posted by Jim Newmark on 19/01/2017 20:33:22:

I do intend to buy a RC glider soon, but as a complete beginner I don't want to keep breaking them before I learn to fly. I am currently on a steep learning curve with PicaSim **LINK** , amazing value - well, it is free so how can it not be? ... (why are these programmes not discussed more?). I can now manage to fly the 2 channel VR glider and understand the principles, but I now I presumably need to progress to 4 channels and learn more complex skills before investing in a proper glider for slope soaring. I would have thought that the next obvious stage was to simply buy a "proper" controller and link it in some way to the PC. Is that possible? Or do I need to buy a games type thing?

Don't go this alone. Do join a club. Do seek advice. Ask others to help you fly your first models.

cymaz20/01/2017 06:06:46
avatar
8648 forum posts
1175 photos

Morning Jim

 

Advice posted above about joining a club will serve you well in the long term. Here is a little bedtime readingcool

Enjoy the hobby, that's the main thing.

Edited By cymaz on 20/01/2017 06:07:33

Jonathan M20/01/2017 07:18:20
avatar
669 forum posts
275 photos

I agree with John and Cymaz, especially as regards learning any sort of RC power, but I taught myself to fly lightweight rudder & elevator gliders from scratch just using the Picasim app on a smartphone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJY1XOXZo6o

If you can do this with a touch-screen (or better still by connecting a transmitter to a PC), then you can do this:

Edited By Jonathan M on 20/01/2017 07:19:23

Cuban820/01/2017 08:01:39
2705 forum posts
13 photos

Joining a decent club with training facilities is always the best advice, but providing one has appropriate access to a safe and suitable area and insurance, then taking incremental steps with a suitable foamy plug and chuck RTF electric outfit is perfectly feasible these days, at least to get you going.

Twenty plus years ago when beginners inevitably started with a heavy 60" span built up model, powered by a .40 or .46 glow and all the paraphernalia surrounding it, proper instruction was essential in a whole host of areas that needed expert instruction for success and safety. It's no longer that way in 2017, although there are still responsibilities both legal and common sense that must be followed by anyone considering beginning alone.

 

Edited By Cuban8 on 20/01/2017 08:04:01

Frank Skilbeck20/01/2017 08:12:39
avatar
4443 forum posts
101 photos

my 1st flights, many many years ago were with a cambria Capstan 2 channel glider, off a small hill, no simulator training, I actually took the glider home!. After which I joined a power club and had instruction.

Today with something like a Multiplex Easy Glider it would be much less fraught, I've launched mine twice with out switching the rx on, one on a bungee, it circled round and landed perfectly, second off a hill, it crashed into the side with minimal damage. Hence something like this will give you the best chance if you plan going it alone.

Frank Skilbeck20/01/2017 08:13:52
avatar
4443 forum posts
101 photos

my 1st flights, many many years ago were with a cambria Capstan 2 channel glider, off a small hill, no simulator training, I actually took the glider home!. After which I joined a power club and had instruction.

Today with something like a Multiplex Easy Glider it would be much less fraught, I've launched mine twice with out switching the rx on, one on a bungee, it circled round and landed perfectly, second off a hill, it crashed into the side with minimal damage. Hence something like this will give you the best chance if you plan going it alone.

Jim Newmark20/01/2017 09:14:05
9 forum posts

Perfect, thanks all. That's my birthday sorted then - but I am tempted to jump the gun and buy the transmitter right now. But there is no specific mention in the blurb of linking it with a PC flight sim ie PicaSim - is that because it is too obvious?

MattyB20/01/2017 10:17:21
avatar
1938 forum posts
30 photos

I think you are getting some slightly confusing advice here from power flyers who (rightly) advise joining the club is the best way to learn for their discipline. I don't disagree for power, but as you stated you want to learn on the slope then it is a little bit different.

My 2c's as someone who did this many moons ago...

  • Joining a club is optimal, but may not be practical - slope clubs are relatively rare. What is important is getting some instruction in the early days. It's not impossible without, but will certainly be a lot harder, irrelevant of how much sim time you have. Remember, slope is a more dynamic environment than an open field with a gentle breeze blowing across it, especially at landing time. There is a reason we joke it stands for "Smashed, lost or pulverised, eventually"!
  • If you have a club locally that's great (you can look this up on the BMFA club finder), but if not don't worry - you will just need to identify your local slope site and introduce yourself to the pilots who use it. Chat to them, see what they are flying and get some tips. We slopers are a friendly bunch and will be happy to support a newcomers to take their first steps, though by nature we tend to be a little more maverick than the average club power flyer!
  • Picasim is absolutely fine for learning slope - in fact init's far more realistic than some of the commercial sims which have very dodgy physics for soaring. Optimally you would be able to connect up your TX (Picasim is certainly capable of it - if you have questions on that join the Facebook group and ask the app designer how to do it, he is very helpful), but you will still be able to learn useful stuff just using the inbuilt controls. Don't rush to buy a TX until you've visited your local slope site and chatted to the locals to get their advice.
  • Model choice - there are two options I recommend to newcomers I meet on the slope. The first is an EPP chevron (Zagi type) wing. Quick to build and essentially indestructible, if you are competent on the sim you should be able to progress quite quickly with one of these if you have an instructor, though they are not the absolutely easiest thing to fly or orient in the sky. The alternative is an electric powered glider like the Hobbyking Phoenix 2000 or Mpx Easyglider. I like these because you can take your first flights on the flat in benign conditions under power, get them trimmed out on the glide and become comfortable with the handling before you get to a slope. They also mean you can get in more time on the sticks as you can still fly them from the flat when conditions are not suitable for sloping.
  • The final option if you cannot find an instructor to help is a Radian (the original 2m, not the XL) - more benign still and very easy to master off the flat. The only issue is you will be limited on how high a wind you can fly in at the slope as they are very light and draggy - above 10mph will be too much for a beginner with a Radian, whereas the Easyglider and Phoenix are good in winds up to the high teens with a bit of ballast on board.

Good luck, and welcome to the brotherhood of slope! laugh

Edited By MattyB on 20/01/2017 10:25:05

Jonathan M20/01/2017 11:00:15
avatar
669 forum posts
275 photos

Jim

Firstly, the DXE transmitter I linked to above is the latest entry-level transmitter from Spektrum. You can use it straight off with, say, the Whipit, later you can get the smartphone app and configure it for different model types etc.

Personally however, I'd avoid all the app stuff (probably aimed at the digital natives) and buy a used DX6i, which will introduce you to basic computer-transmitter menus etc, and which definitely has a rear buddy-lead socket (which you'll need to connect the TX to your PC for simulator flying). See: **LINK**

Secondly, the cable I use to connect TX to PC is an Ikarus: **LINK**

Picasim's website has a video on how to set the software to your TX.

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