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Rediscovery or biting off more than I can chew

Ramblings of an amateur human

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pm05gah06/08/2020 11:07:45
2 forum posts

Dear all,


firstly hello. I am new here. I’m feeling somewhat sentimental but also excited during what has been a very odd year. Below is therapeutic waffle (therapeutic for me) that bears no wisdom, will confer no education, purely an insight into a renaissance of a wandering mind looking for peace.


It has been a fun couple of weeks. I dabbled (at a very amateur level) in the world of both electric and IC model flying about 20 years ago as a teenager. Built and flew a couple of planes. A glider. Then an ic trainer. Crashed it. Then running before I could crawl bought a 3d artf. Crashed it.

Then life, university, partying, girls and “being cool” took over (amateur at all those too) and rc flying dispersed into the ether like a passing mist. Kit sold or given away like cheap trinkets to make space for other toys and sporting equipment.

Years later, with a new baby, a busy on-call work schedule, a self diagnosis of needing to rediscover catharsis and mindfulness and a garage, I found myself looking for a quiet relaxing hobby to offset the busier aspect of life (and also for when the surf is pants). To say I was looking for it actively is false. Subconsciously, maybe. But it was serendipity That lit the tinderbox.

Driving home from a rather tiring surf session I see some planes flying in the field I’m passing; must be models? Didn’t know there was a club there?

During lockdown, my brother, in a bid to relax with two obstreperous children at home, got into airfix. His eye for detail and steady hands have come into their own and the quality of kits he is producing is incredible.

we get talking about his guilty ‘childhood hobby’ and he says he’ll send me one. So a week later a 1/72 spitfire arrives with all the glue paint and brushes needed.

a fun two weeks I had with my new “after-school” dalliance. And a quiet time which was completely absorbing and hours passed in the space of minutes. It gave the missus time to herself (once the bairn was asleep) and me time to reflect and generally slow down.


whilst surfing the interweb looking at bigger models to build I stumble upon remote control. A small bulb flickers in some deep and dormant oubliette of my midbrain. I used to have one of those. Cue more googling and research. And before I know it I’ve agreed to collect a secondhand model that needs some tlc from down the road.

Ok, it’s bigger than I remember and the engine is leaking what looks like mouldy honey. And there’s mud and grass deeply ensconced in the gear and left aileron.


ok maybe this was a bad idea. I’ve no tools, kit or well, idea really. Little of the gear, and no idea.


It’s got an engine, servos, a receiver, ok, 2.4g? Ok better google that. I’ll need a transmitter. The wings are big, where will I put them. Garage filling up already. Few holes in the covering (solartex was it?) I don’t think it’s dope and tissue. The more I look at it the deeper the rabbit hole goes and before long I am staring into the gaping maw of a satisfying, tricky, limitless and seemingly enduring pass time.


to be continued...



Edited By Pete B - Moderator on 06/08/2020 13:37:46

trevor wood 206/08/2020 20:38:00
87 forum posts
60 photos

As nobody else has said it, welcome to the site, and welcome back to the hobby. Looking forward to Epsode 2 of the saga!

Former Member06/08/2020 20:50:50
1020 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Simon Chaddock06/08/2020 23:20:17
5849 forum posts
3103 photos


Buying a old plane in need of "TLC" was probably not the best idea unless of course you are proficient at RC plane "TLC", but if you don't mind a long haul,

Given that it was some planes flying that rekindled your interest it might be better to get yourself in the air sooner rather than many months away. smile o

Fortunately there are a number of relatively cheap ready to fly (RTF) electric foam planes that you can learn to fly and crash on. It all depends on which part of the 'RC itch' you want to scratch!

By the way repairing and keeping a multiple crashed plane will likely improve your TLC skills that can then in principle be applied to your original purchase. wink 2

Will follow your posts with interest.

john stones 1 Moderator06/08/2020 23:28:25
11915 forum posts
1531 photos

I like a good read, will it be coming out in paperback ?

Hello as well.

Geoff S06/08/2020 23:39:54
4033 forum posts
68 photos

Welcome to the forum. Just one small consideration - if you're looking for a quiet pastime to occupy you at odd times you may be in for a shock. Playing with toy aeroplanes - building, fettling, flying, reading etc - can be surprisingly time consuming; oh, and can be expensive, too


leccyflyer07/08/2020 06:34:33
1752 forum posts
349 photos

Welcome back and very best of luck. BTW you write beautifully -that was a very enjoyable read.

Tim Flyer07/08/2020 08:43:12
1407 forum posts
254 photos

Well written 😊 welcome back. Sounds a familiar story. The same happened to me years back when I was riding on a heathland trail and regularly saw some planes. Best advice I can give you is to join a local club. Advice and help then becomes free and you can maximise your limited spare time with successful flying. Most of our members including me juggle a number of hobbies and family commitments.

Geoff Copping07/08/2020 08:44:34
54 forum posts
3 photos

Welcome back, I too am a returnee.

I gaveup because I got fed up with needing black bin-bags.

However, I kept catching myself watching thermalling Gulls so it was only a matter of time.

Touch wood, there's been no disasters so far this time a couple of years back in, but I've been amazed at how far the hobby has progressed, especially with electric foamies and no need for numbered clothes pegs.

I hope you can recapture the magic, as I have done. (so farclock)

Keith Miles 207/08/2020 09:20:33
501 forum posts
6 photos

Welcome back to the mad house!

I agree that you might not have started on the right foot if you’re keen to get flying fairly promptly but that depends on your experience and what items you already have, plus the spare time, of course!

As someone has said, these days there is a wide choice of ready built models, albeit of varying quality, and on that, if you dare to ask the question, you will be given numerous recommendations!

The one piece of advice which few, if any, would disagree with is to join a club, for numerous good reasons, and you certainly don’t want to upset any locals by flying in a “model unfriendly” environment!

Also, since the “Gatwick Drone” incident, and others, a while ago, the hobby has been subjected to the attentions of the legal system and new regulations brought in. Whilst it is frustrating, compliance is not onerous.

Edited By Keith Miles 2 on 07/08/2020 09:27:19

Simon Burch 108/08/2020 18:49:05
14 forum posts
7 photos

Hi pm05gah

Welcome back! Since the C-19 lockdown measures were imposed, our club has seen a considerable increase in its membership and many of our new joiners are in a similar position to you. As has already been mentioned on this thread, things have moved on considerably in the last 20 years. By no stretch of the imagination are all the changes for the best, but one thing that has improved is the means and process of learning RC flying.

For what it's worth, here's that generic advice that I send to prospective members in your position; others might have different but equally valid ideas.

Most beginners find flying RC models is quite difficult at first, and it's certainly not intuitive. I strongly recommend that you don't attempt to fly those beautifully built models by yourself - unless you are up for frequent rebuilds. The good news is that the (insert model here) looks to be a perfect beginner/intermediate model; however, rather than starting with the that, I recommend that you invest in a relatively inexpensive lightweight EPP foam 3-channel (throttle, rudder, elevator control) electric powered glider to learn with, and use a PC-based RC simulator to help get to grips with the basics - especially orientation. Many of our newcomers have followed this route and it works. PC-based simulators are a great way to prepare yourself to fly a 'real' model; I use mine a lot even now. However, to get the best out of an RC simulator, you need to use one which interfaces with a 'proper' RC transmitter - a normal PC joystick or game controller will work but it isn't really good enough for our purposes. Ideally, you should use the same transmitter that you intend to use for 'live' RC flying. To do this, you need to purchase a lead and a USB interface that is compatible with your system. Again, an experienced club flyer would be able to help you to set it up.

Before you fly your (insert model), or any model with a mass in excess of 250g, you'll need to register as an 'Operator' with the CAA (cost £9), display your Operator Number on the model, and take an online CAA Competency Test (it's very easy). Before flying any model, you should also join the BMFA, which provides £25M third-party insurance.

As you might expect, I would strongly recommend joining (insert local club here); you'll benefit from a wealth of experience and advice. I hope this hasn't put you off! To my mind it's well worth the trouble; model flying is always challenging and you are always learning.

pm05gah10/08/2020 21:06:34
2 forum posts

Dear all,


firstly, thank you for your welcomes and welcome advice. Gratefully received and noted.

Below is a further update on my (mis)adventures. No doubt riddled with error and illogic, classic "how not to" and outright buffoonery. All advice and further guidance is most welcome, but hold on to it for a short while longer and let me take you back to my dusty garage...


My initial acquisition is in ok shape having been cleaned up and all innards removed, inspected, tested and mostly returned. All flying surfaces and load bearing structures appear sound (because I am totally qualified to make that judgment...). And after a thoroughly 'enjoyable' few hours with our (rarely used) household iron, some left over solartex from the local model shop and a heat proof towel through which to apply the heat directly (learned the hard way, it is surprisingly tricky to remove seared plastic from an iron...) we were airtight and (w)hole again!


Infernal combustion:

Well this is an SC 46, looks pretty good now I've removed the oil and grass, whipped out the old glow plug and inserted a new one. compression feels solid, turns well and freely. Took the carb apart - why is there epoxy in one of the holes that the carb securing bolts go.....oh wait. Someone has stripped the thread. Um, is this a deal breaker? Is this ready for the knacker's yard? I thought this was too good a deal. How on earth were they using the engine like this.

A promptly-sourced M3 24mm bolt through the entire carb port fills both holes and secures nicely with a nylock bolt. Ok, probably ok, pretty sure the 150 I flew previously (in a brief tango with PPL) probably has as much ice and cowpat blocking the venturi at times...

So it's now clean and turning over smoothly, the glow plug glows. I should probably build a testing bench. A quick rummage in the wood store produces a flat board leftover from a flooring project and some 2 by 4. Voila, a botched and pretty rough and ready testing bench with a friction-based throttle wire.

On goes the propellor, cleaned fuel tank and new tubing cut to size and attached. Outside we go. Thick fire proof woodburner gloves donned ("overkill," and "you wimp!" I hear screamed from the stalls; I've seen many a person in my job who is short a couple of digits and each case is usually accompanied by a story that has me thinking 'that was stupid,' and I wasn't ready to join their ranks, just yet).

Right how do we do this again? I block the venturi, couple of turns, sounds like fuel going through. Attach glow stick, grasp rubber-handled screwdriver upside down and flick. An again. And again. And with a hoarse cough and a smokey judder she spins into life.

S**t the bed, it actually works. Umm ok, glow stick off, drops a few beats, (I rack my brain desperately trying to remember how to tune the needles) thin out the mixture, rises, rises more, then drops and stops. Half a turn rich, retarts on first flick. Glow away and she settles into a nice grumble at idle. After a bit more fiddling and fuel-tube pinching the speed needle is set and she throttles responsively and smoothly.

After 15 minutes of playing and fiddling and cutting the throttle to kill it and then restarting just to ensure it isn't some unholy fluke that has caused this once defunct engine to sputter into life I decide that, although imminently moving house, an internal combustion parting shot is not what the neighbours deserve.

I grab the testing station and new favourite machine and we return to the garage. The sickly sweet smell of nitromethane is a beautiful reminder of years gone by and, like a pair of smokey hands, drags me back to my childhood: simpler times.

My halcyon daydream is rapidly snatched away as I pick up the engine by the muffler, which apparently gets quite hot, and I've taken off the fire gloves. Excellent.

I've now got a big smile on my face. Mostly because it works, I made it work, and nothing can take that away. I also still have eight fingers and two thumbs, although a few lightly seared. Whatismore I can smell internal combustion and as filthy and un-ecological as we know it is, I can't help but feel excited. (Years of commuting to work on my pushbike, I am hoping, will go some way toward offsetting my now slightly larger carbon footprint).


The aircraft seems airworthy, and now the engine works. I should probably get some sort of controlling device for it...





Edited By pm05gah on 10/08/2020 21:07:48

Former Member10/08/2020 21:10:16
1020 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Keith Miles 210/08/2020 23:42:29
501 forum posts
6 photos

Excellent post, my friend.


Edited By Keith Miles 2 on 10/08/2020 23:46:26

iflylilplanes11/08/2020 03:53:39
46 forum posts

I will soon too, be relearning/returning to IC, have all three, Glow 2 and 4 stroke and diesels and want to use them all.

When is the next instalment? Love your trip into rediscovery of our fantastic sport.

I'm about to go back to IC and building, ARF's and electric are too easy, I miss building. Repairing old models, either my own or helping mates repair their crashes has helped me decide to go old school and use the services of OuterZone.

Go join a club, and get an instructor, it wont stop all the crashes, but, it will extend the time between them, the more time on the sticks than on repairs will pay off.



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