I started R/C flight around 1985 with a Graupner "Amigo II" glider. It's a very good model to start with, easy to build and to fly. During school and through university I didn't have much time (and also lost a bit of interest) but in 1999 I took it up again. At first I mostly flew planes my dad built, one a Graupner "Elektro-Taxi" (first without ailerons, later with a new wing with ailerons) and the other a Graupner "Falke".
Helicopters have always fascinated me so afters years of whining I finally got around to buy one. My initial idea was an "Eco 8" which is cheap and seems to be quite popular. However my dealer convinced me that I would get better quality for about the same price with the "Gensmantel Heaven" so this is what I got. Assembly took me a while (as usual) but that wasn't the problem of the kit. Since I didn't want to crash the helicopter on it's first flight I took some flight lessons and didn't do too badly IMHO.
Problem with helis is that the right setup and tuning are absolutely essential and unfortunately I didn't have much experience (or help but then I didn't ask) with that. So the first flight was the last for a long time. I was stupid enough not to take it easy but took the heli straight up and actually thrashed around a bit but the landing was hard. The resulting damage wasn't actually that bad, mainly a bent tail boom. But until now (Sep 2003) I didn't get the tail stable and don't really know what the problem is. Could be the gyro or the various mixer settings in the transmitter...
Rotor: 1060mm Weight: TBA Motor: LRP 600-7-BB (came with the kit) Cells: 8x 2400mAh NiCd
This one had a very short, but fulfilled life before it crashed straight down into our airfield. Not sure if this was pilot error or a malfunctioning servo. Looked somewhat like the site of a major crash and was beyond repair. However, the components made it safely into the next plane...
A very nice, easy to fly plane. Controls are using ailerons and elevator only so one could argue it takes some experience. The engine is a Permax 480 direct drive. At first I flew it with 7 cells (1350mAh) but recently switched to 8 cells. The new battery pack is actually lighter than the old one so you get all the fun without increasing the weight.
Nov 2003 Recently my dad built an additional wing with a faster profile and separate aileron servos. This should help with landing but I haven't flown it yet.
Apr 2004 The larger ailerons on the new wing caused me some problems at first but some exponential mixer took care of that. Rolls are so much snappier now... The plane sometimes suddenly flipped itself on the back when the motor is running. This can pretty much kill you at low altitudes (and it did). It turned out that the running motor caused some noise in the receiver and the aileron servos.
Wingspan: 925mm Weight: 771g Motor: MEGA AC 16/15/5 Cells: 3S 1300mAh LiPo Prop: 6x5.5
'The Spit' got it's own page.
(Scorpio calls it "JAS-38" but what I've found on the Internet is always "JAS-39".)
The "Gripen" is my first plane using a ducted-fan. The manufacturer claims that it flies with as few as 8 cells using a R/C car motor but all reports I have read basically say "no way". So I'm not even trying that but going for some big iron right away...
I searched around the Internet and found a picture of the original "Gripen" cockpit, printed it on a color printer and glued it to the dashboard. Looks quite nice actually!
First flight wasn't that successful. It looked alright at first but then started to bank right and I was only barely able to counter that with full left aileron. The plane spiralled down and crashed but actually not too bad, the ground was pretty soft there. I figure the battery became loose during take-off and moved around, shifting the CoG.
The speed wasn't that impressive either. The fan reportedly is designed to provide a lot of static thrust for take-off and sacrifices top-speed for that. The plane was a lot slower than the "F-20 Tigershark" a friend was flying the same day on a 480-class drive. The cheater hole in the wing is a bit of a disappointment as well and there's basically nothing to guide the airflow through the body. I haven't decided if I fix it or just get another EDF model for the motor.
I'm currently thinking about range of models: FlyFly "Mirage 2000", "T-45 Goshawk", "A-4 Skyhawk", "A-7 Corsair II", "F-16" and "F-35". It'll most likely be a Midi-sized plane so that I can use the Fun 500.
Wingspan: 860mm Weight: 1533g Motor: Kontronik Fun 500-38 Cells: 3S3P Li-Ion EDF: Fantex 6xx, rotor dia 76mm, len 106mm
While looking for a three-wheel plane I found the "Pilatus PC-9" from Modell-Expert. At a little over 1m it's a rather small model but I really like the looks. The markings are those of the Royal Australian Air Force aerobatics team, the RAAF "Roulettes".
The kit is actually quite nice although some struts were damaged during transport but they were easily fixed and reinforced by some additional plywood. The manual was a bit troublesome e.g. it didn't mention the motor mount at all, at least not the one included with the kit. It also gave a CoG of ~9cm from the leading edge for a wing only 18cm deep.
Apr 1 2007 First flight! The elevator deflection is way too great but it flew very nicely in the waning sun. The prop is about right but I'll try a 8x7 just to be sure.
May 18 2007 Last weekend I noticed that the ESC cut off the engine when in vertical climbs. I put that down to the ESC only being rated for 15A so I got a 30A controller as a replacement. Unfortunately the same thing happened to me again today, just after take off, only this time I didn't notice that the engine was cut-off. So the plane stalled and hit a fence post. Luckily the damage is only moderate and I hope to have it fixed soon.
Damn, stalled the plane during landing. It hit the ground at an angle and smashed the engine mount and the main component board. Nothing too serious but I'm not sure I can fix it before I leave for Australia in September.
July 2009 Finally found some time to build a new engine mount, battery slide and such. The engine mount is a piece of PCB and the struts are 4/6mm CFK tube with 4mm threaded bolts glued in. There was a lot of rattling when going full throttle on the first flight so I came down after two circuits. And just in time too! Two of the engine mount screws came loose because I forgot to put some locktite on them. Also the engine trim was wrong: instead of being slightly right-and-down it was left-and-up!
Wingspan: 1023mm Weight: 697g (517g + 180g wing) Motor: MEGA AC 16/15/7 Cells: 3S 1700mAh LiPo Prop: 8x6