1/10/2010

First Flight

Ever since I was a wee lad, I always wanted a remote controlled airplane, but I/we never had the money/time, or whatever. So recently I started looking online and found a website www.nitroplanes.com. I saw a lot of planes I liked, and had to have, but finally settled on something more on the trainer side. I picked the Dynam Hawk Sky (weird name, I guess "Sky Hawk" was already taken). Anyways. I ordered it and the E-sky Flight sim and USB 4 Channel transmitter. I read up on it and it had some bad reviews, so I downloaded Clearview and installed that on my Windows XP Media Center pc, with our 37" HD TV. In the meantime I ordered an extra Battery and one of these.

Although I have actual flight time, and soloed in a Piper Warrior, used many different flight simulator, I figured it would be worth the money to practice on the sim before trying to fly the real thing. Turned out to be a good idea, as I crashed a lot. So for the last week I have been practicing for 1 or 2 hours a night. Of the many planes I tried the Cessna 182 seemed to fly like a real "small plane". I tried to find a Hawk Sky to download, but no one had that Aircraft. The closest was the Easy Star but it doesn't have ailerons.

Yesterday morning while the BACON! was smoking I began building the plane. A couple of days prior I had found a forum discussing the "Hawk Sky" and read up on it, good thing to. I put it together using Epoxy and hot glue, instead of the glue that came with it. Here it is disassembled.
The instructions were relatively easy to follow, even though they were written in Engrish. Prior to actual assembly I connected everything up and verified all servos worked. I put the rudder and elevator on with epoxy, and the main wings on with a small amount of hot glue on the leading and trailing edge wing roots, this way if I needed to take it apart again I could. I attached the servo cables to the rudder and elevator, and tightened them with loctite. The Instructions had no information about how to wire or attach the motor (So I guessed). I also insulated the connections with shrink tubing instead of the small and inadequate insulators provided. Since the tech support at nitroplanes lied about the second battery I ordered I had to modify both of them so I could use them in the AC. Once assembled I centered and trimmed all the servos so that all the control surfaces were centered and neutral. Later in the day Chris and Mike came over and we went to a vacant lot near 40th street and McDowell (the city of Phoenix does not allow RC planes in their parks). Here is the plane Fully assembled and ready to go.
I did not put on the decals as I do not care that much about them, and they were munged in the box. I also mounted the small gum spy camera in the cockpit, So without further ado here is that video.
video
Just before flying it today I did some practice with a similar glider. I would say that the Clearview sim helped a lot, but the actual airplane was easier to fly than any of the ones in the simulator. I would have had more footage but the spy camera for some reason discharged it's battery very quickly. So here is some footage from the ground. Please excuse the glitches the tape needs to be replaced.
video
There were only 2 mishaps, One when I landed the first time (the landing gear fell off and we had to look for the wheels). However I was warned that this would happen, So I hand launched it for the remainder of the day, and the second was when the first battery got low and I lost signal, the plane semi crashed on a pile of dirt. It was kind of like those cheesey effects where in TV shows the plane always flies behind a hill before crashing, and all you see is the explosion.
I found the plane to be quite responsive. I did several loops and a couple of barrel rolls (Star Fox would be proud). I even strafed Mike and Chris, and almost hit myself as well. So here are a bunch of pictures courtesy of Chris.

Tonight I Reattached the wheels to the landing gear and epoxied it back to the frame. I also epoxied some Teflon tape to the underside of the fuselage so that if I have to do anymore belly landings it will save some wear and tear on the foam.
So anyone looking to buy this aircraft as their beginner RC plane will not be disappointed, and to anyone that says you can't learn to fly an RC plane using just a simulator, my response is:

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