Slowing down to speed up

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I'm stealing the phrase from a project manager - it sounds too cliche to be his original so, to whoever coined the phrase, thank you.

That said, after spending a couple Monday's in a local school gymnasium watching a variety of pilots flying various smaller electric planes and helicopters and even test driving a plane thanks to a generous member of the group, I have decided to actually invest in a small indoor RC plane to build some basic flying skills.

citabria_stand.jpgcitabria_box.jpgThe plane in question is a Parkzone Citabria. A very light (20 grams), 3 channel airplane. The plane comes complete with a 2.4Ghz transmitter and receiver, so there is no channel conflicts, just power it up and fly!

Tonight will be my first go at really learning to fly. The battery lasts at least 10 minutes per charge, and takes about 15 minutes to recharge, so I should get over 1/2 hour of good flight training / practise (compared to the 30 seconds or so per flight I have had to date). I am looking forward to it.

Over the weekend I put up a couple pages documenting my RC experience to date. The main reason for needing to get better at flying is evident by my attempts at flying a sailplane. I was given a Sophisticated Lady RC sailplane last fall and after getting it flight ready, proceeded to get more experience repairing it then flying it....

... later that evening....

Well, I just got back from almost 2 hours of flying and watching. Between charges I managed probably 30+ minutes of actual flying and was getting quit good at it. There was an initial scare as I tangled with a much larger bird - the sound of a prop tearing through styrofoam isbelly_wound.jpg unmistakable. The collision was mid-gym 15+' in the air and I thought I was done. However, I pulled out of the dive and managed to keep flying. After a couple more laps with no sign of problems or missing bits I brought it in for an inspection and notice a nasty but fortunately not fatal gash on the belly. I'm not sure when the chipped prop happened. That it is also lying on the belly is the next story.

broken_prop.jpgAgain, the big crash is always on the last flight - if I had packed it in a bit sooner, all would have been well. Wind up to a few weeks ago when I was test driving a Cessna, and flying full speed, full throtle straight into the wall. At least 2 or 3 times I crashed hard enough to tear the engine mount off the frame and it had to be reglued. Turns out the weak motor mount may have been saving it from a bigger disaster. Tonight I again got a bit close to the wall, however, this time it was not straight on, gearbox.jpgbut a glancing blow that caught the wing and torqued the plane into the wall. As it fell to the ground, I noticed the prop fell seperately. Alas, I actually managed to break the shaft. So RC-EHUD the Parkzone Citabria is grounded until I can purchase a new motor / gearbox / prop assembly. Apparently they are only $13.99, so I should be back in the air soon enough.

Total airtime on this frame is 30 minutes for sure - quite possibly more, I wasn't really counting. I went through 3 batteries and ran each battery for about 2x5+ minute flights.

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