Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flying Success!

While Emily was at her book club meeting, enjoying the movie Get a Clue (based loosely on the novel The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin), Thomas and I had about an hour to head over to the Greene County Park to fly his Super Cub.

We don't have the recommended 300 ft radius of clear land around us at our house, even if we do live in the country--what we do have are lots of trees, a couple buildings, bird netting for tangling planes in, cattle across the road (along with their barbed-wire-strung fencing), a gravel road, etc, etc. Great for killing your plane, not for flying it.

So we were really glad to have time to head to the soccer fields at the park, at a late enough hour that we hoped the fields would be empty. Not to mention that we had cooler temperatures in the evening.

We are on our third propeller at this point, and had to go to the hobby shop to get them to remove the 2nd one that had broken. Somehow it had gotten jammed onto the prop shaft, and we couldn't remove it. Not to self: include pliers in tool bag. It took the guy about a second to remove it. :)

Also, while at HobbyTown, I spoke with the very helpful clerk, who told me how to hold the plane and aim it to assist with the takeoff--I hadn't been doing it correctly, and that probably is part of the reason that our previous attempts at flying ended quickly. Learning to take-off from the ground is challenging, and something to work on later.

At any rate, once at the fields, we attached the wing and Thomas took the controls.

I wish we'd had someone with a video camera to film for us--Thomas had a lot of really great flights!

They weren't very long, but he was able to fly the plane a distance of maybe 200 ft and circle it back toward us. Several times it landed nicely--not crashing nose-first into the ground. Nothing broke, so that was a bonus. :) Next time, I think we need to focus on getting to a higher altitude before turning.

We stopped flying only because the battery was getting low (12-15 min flying time per charge) and the plane couldn't get enough altitude. So we fully discharged it and used the quick charger in the car. It takes only about 1/2 hour to fully charge the battery, vs about 2 1/2 hours using the wall charger at home. Maybe because it's using DC current already? I think that the wall charger has to convert the AC to DC first. Or maybe it's just a completely different kind of charger. Anyway, by the time the battery was charged, it was also time to go pick up Emily from the library. So we packed up and left the fields.

After reading the manual (looking for battery charge time), I realized that it had different instructions for attaching the wing than what they told us on the DVD. So I'm not sure which is correct and/or necessary. The DVD said just to use two rubber bands and criss-cross them over the wing. The manual said to use two from front to back and two criss-crossed. Huh. The wing also screws in underneath the plane using wing struts, so it isn't going anywhere, but I can see that it would wiggle less on (crash) landing with more rubber bands. We've had one rubber band snap already, so we have just 4 now, which is enough to try what the manual says. But I only figured that out at the end when we were packing up to go.

Thomas had so much fun, and is really starting to get the hang of flying. Not an easy task, I'm sure. I haven't been allowed to fly the plane yet. :) I'm happy to see him so excited about flying, and to see him being patient with both his and the plane's limitations. Not easy for an 8-year-old. And while we were in the car waiting for the battery to charge, Thomas said to me that he wanted to play World of Warcraft, but that flying was more fun, so he'd rather do that.

We're planning to meet up with the Fluvanna R/C group soon, maybe this weekend. I'm hoping to get more pointers, and more flight time for Thomas. Maybe he'll even let me fly the plane . . .

Related Posts: Super Cub and Super Cub Takes Off

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Henry Cate said...

My youngest daughter has also developed an interest in flying remote control planes. We've been out once. A friend of mine rescued the plane a couple times. He suggested my daughter spend some time with a simulator. We've been using FSM Simulator for the last couple weeks. The simulator is free and we had to buy a $25 controller.

Flying RC planes looks fun, and my daughter has already learned a few things.

Silvia said...

Thanks for the tip. I knew there had to be something for the computer to practice with!