12 Comments

  1. I’ve seen similar. Pretty cute. I used to fly
    RC when I was a teenager in the 70s. The
    funniest RC thing I’ve seen was a flying RC
    Snoopy Doghouse. There’s one on youtube at

  2. Yeah, I remember those, too. Way back when, the Cedar Rapids Skyhawks RC club would do an annual airshow, and they had a guy dressed as a clown who’d be out “mowing” the field during the show, and eventually the mower would “get away from him”. He’d go running on after the mower, which would take off and fly around the field.

    Another cool plane was a Blue Angels diamond formation. It was actually four smaller planes connected by rods into one unit, all powered by a single engine in front. Flying around, it really looked the part.

  3. I used to fly RC planes too, but man, that was one insanely time consuming hobby. Great fun though. The witch is great — and the lawnmower is absolutely awesome.

    Fave plane was a SpeedyBee. First one was black on top and gold underneath, with a green “Roswell alien” as a pilot. It looked great, but sucked for several reasons — firstly, it was too much of an attention-getter, so whenever someone brought some brats around, they’d be running amok in the pit, freak out and gawk at my plane… Hell, we had one of the little fuckers run onto the strip as a poor bastard came in for landing, and he had to just crash his plane to avoid hitting the liddle sweet bundle of joy… Also, it was impossible to see if it was right side up or inverted — the colors were indistinguishable up against the sky. And it was slightly underpowered.

    So next one I built, I found a Barbie doll with a bright pink and yellow, flowery dress… So I got some neon pink and yellow monocote (or whatever it was called) and covered it with the same patterns — pink with yellow flowers on top, and vice versa on the bottom. Dead easy to see in the sky. Little girls don’t come to the field, and little boys don’t wanna go near that kinda stuff, so that worked out really nicely (except the rest of the club members started thinking I was gay, but hey, what the hell). And then I put a much stronger engine in it.

    Lots of vertical, and all sorta flat-spin crazy stuff. Great fun.

  4. I’ve always wanted to fly RC planes, just haven’t got the time or money. Closest I get is this Flying Model Simulator – I can’t tell how close it is to the real thing, but it’s pretty damned good at getting me past the point where I have to think about the controls.

    They have a modelling system so that other people can create their own models, including all the flight characteristics. Some of the models are really quite unrealistically in their behaviour, so don’t jump to any conclusions without trying a few.

    The Airbus is my favourite – a good, easy to fly all-rounder. Probably the best one to start with, as it’s a good baseline to compare other models against.

  5. I’ve always wanted to fly RC planes, just haven’t got the time or money. Closest I get is this Flying Model Simulator (http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fms/index_e.html) – I can’t tell how close it is to the real thing, but it’s pretty damned good at getting me past the point where I have to think about the controls.

    They have a modelling system so that other people can create their own models, including all the flight characteristics. Some of the models are really quite unrealistically in their behaviour, so don’t jump to any conclusions without trying a few.

    The Airbus is my favourite – a good, easy to fly all-rounder. Probably the best one to start with, as it’s a good baseline to compare other models against.

  6. FMS is a fun toy, but it’s just a little apples-n-oranges to actually flying. There’s a whole 3-d environment that you can’t really capture.

    There’s also the cubic-dollars aspect, that makes FMS to RC like PC-Blackjack to Las Vegas. Doing a low inverted pass with a $1000 airplane takes rocks. And I don’t even know how Jurgis Kairys even sits down in a cockpit.

  7. The harrowing thing about RC planes is — you crash ’em. Every single one, without fail. I don’t mean you’ll completely destroy your plane (although you will eventually, with at least one of ’em), but you’ll have accidents, and you’ll have to take your plane home and spend hours and hours, repairing it. And that’s after having spent hours and hours just putting it together, before you get a chance to put it up in the air.

    If golf was like RC planes, you’d consider it normal to be going home after 18 holes with a club or two being bent or broken — and you’d spend about six hours maintaining your equipment, for every hour on the links.

    Still, when you first solo, it’s absolutely awesome. You put that thing way up in the sky, and manage to bring it down in one piece — absolutely fantastic.

    I’ve got lots of stories about this stuff, but one that I’ll never forget, is when one of the guys had built this beautiful scale replica of a dual engine WWII bomber, but accidentally reversed the cables for the aileron servos. Ie., the steering ended up being reversed. This was an experienced pilot, but he was so freaked out that he never got control of his plane, and it ended up flying WAY the hell out into the fields, and crashing. It took hours and hours to find it. And it was extremely badly damaged.

    Several months later, the guy had restored this beautiful model, and he took it up again. He’d done a great job. But — and I swear, this is the truth; I was there both times — he had not switched the wires for the aileron servos. He ended up crashing it again. This might seem funny to someone who’s never done RC planes before — but I tell you, I felt sick, watching this happen. It was heart rendering…

    Oh, okay, one more. To get the engine to run properly, you have to adjust the carburetor — the little “dial” is just behind the prop. The “correct” and safe way to do this, is to kneel next to the plane, and adjust it from behind the proper — because you have to do this while the engine is running. And you start up the plane while kneeling in front of it — you got an electric rotating thingie that you put on the prop nut to rev it up. And then you make a quick adjustment to the carb, check the control surfaces, and taxi (or carry) your plane from the pit to the strip. This means, you have to be extremely careful, because you will be reaching around the running prop to reach the carb adjuster. You need to really concentrate when you do this — no brain farts allowed. You get your fingers in the prop, even if it’s running at idle — you are gonna get CUT! I’ve seen it…

    This oldtimer with no respect for safety, once cut himself doing this. Then — because he was a tough old coot — he just switched hands and tried using his off hand to make the adjustment. And then he promptly put that hand in the prop to. And these weren’t little nicks. these were deep, bleeding-like-a-stuck-pig cuts. He couldn’t even drive himself to the hospital — someone else had to take him. Jeeebus. Fucking crazy hobby.

  8. It’s not that dangerous, if you take it seriously.

    Reversed ailerons are a basic check you do before flying. Stick right, right aileron UP. The “experienced” flier obviously didn’t learn from that experience, that’s all. As in most things, dumb people lose.

    You have to be CAREFUL around props. The *safe* way to handle the tuning issue is to have the plane tied down or held by someone else. Then once you start the engine, walk around and tune the needle valve from the back.

    RC isn’t nearly as time intensive as all that. Six to one? Not even close. I would build a couple planes over the winter (in Iowa) and then fly them every weekend, pretty much. Bumps happen, but nothing that some five minute epoxy can’t fix, in a few minutes. A plane would last three or four seasons that way, then I’d retire it, and I still have most of my planes hung on the wall in the garage, as we speak. I only totalled maybe ten or fifteen percent of the planes I built.

    In my 20s I became an RC flight instructor, and finally quit when I moved out here to SoCal where it’s hard to find good space to fly the big gas planes I like.

  9. Another option is electric. I know some only like nitro but if you are looking for something without a lot of maintenance and is quick to fly electric is the way to go. Electric components have made many improvements. There are brushless motors that will fly a 1.20 size plane with more power than glow. There is no adjustments to make, brushless motors don’t lose power over time and there is no mess.

  10. Yeah, I actually have a “kit” for one of those 3-D foamboard brushless LiPO park-flier things. My wife gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago, but with the baby and other things, I just haven’t got the round-tuit to get it flying.

    No question, electrics have come a long way.

    Pet peeve: “Nitro”.
    They are “glow” or “gas” powered. “Nitro” is what the teenage kids with glow powered RC cars started calling it to sound cool. It’s not even accurate, as the fuel is primarily methanol and oil, and the nitromethane is a tiny ingredient, and purely optional (FAI fuel).

    “Nitro burning funny-cars” are totally different, as they DO run on pure nitromethane.

    It’s as if someone started calling electrics “ion drive” or “lightning” or something.
    Yeesh.

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