The following article will give you an insight to what is required basically to get started into RC Flight with a high wing trainer type model powered by a glow fuel two stroke engine. The modesl used for this purpose are the Seagull Boomerang and the Black horse Speed Air but many other models follow a similar pattern. Both these models are trike landing gear, they have steerable front wheel and two main gear landing legs.
You can also compare the cost of getting started with either glow or electric.
You will need some items for your tool box and these will be explained....
What basics do I need to get started in Glow Power?
- A Sport Trainer type model. See below
- Transmitter ie; DX6i - Futaba 6EX
- Receiver ie; AR600 or AR6210
- Two stroke engine 0.40 - 0.46 size
- 4.8 volt battery pack
- Glow Starter
- Glow Fuel
See also Pairing or Binding
See also Range Checking
An ideal starting out model would be the Boomerang High Wing/Sport Trainer from Seagull Models as an example. Or the popular Arising Star also from Seagull both having large wing surfaces, simple construction, bright colours which makes it easy to follow for orientation purposes and finally quite cheap to purchase at virtually all model shops. Some shops also offer a bundle option where you buy the model and a suitable engine in a deal which reduces the outlay a little.
These two models are trike versions, in other words two mains legs and a steering front nose leg. This allows you to steer the model on the ground.
Other trainer models may have only two landing legs. These are no known as "tail-draggers" as steering whilst on the ground is done by the small tail wheel ususally attached to the rudder. As a tail dragger gains speed on take-off the tail will lift which means steering is handled by the rudder only.
With the trike type models you have steering via the nose leg until the model lifts off into the air then you steer the model using ailerons and per normal flight. We would suggest having a trial flight on the club trainer aircraft to help you decide which type suits you best.
If you have not assembled one of these before then read the manuals carefully, don't rush it. The manuals for the above are quite clear and easy to understand.
** What will it cost?
So, let's look at the outlay as of today to get a flyable model. A model such as those shown above:
- One ARF Kit - £120 - £185
- 0.46 two stroke engine - SC46 or OS46 £46 - £95
- Propellor eg: Master Airscrew 12 x 6 - £4.00
- 4 standard servos (Futaba/Hitec/Spektrum) £52
- AR600 or AR6210 receiver - £39 - 53 (Pairs with Spektrum, JR, HiTec transmitters.
- Transmitter - Popular starter TX - Spektrum DX6i £89 - £120
- Glow starter with integrated battery cel + Wall Socket chargerl - £10 - £15
- Glow Fuel (1 Gallon or 5 ltrs) - £17 - £20
- Glow Plug (not usually supplied with engine) £4.50
- 4.8 volt battery pack (to power receiver and servos. - £8.50
So, we could round this all up to about £450. It may seem a lot of money to get started but this is from a new start. As you purchase more glow models you won't need to to outlay for a TX, glow starter at least.
Every model you buy will need it's own receiver, battery pack, servos (usually four to five of these) You could go for electric there being three options here. RTF or Plug-n-Play or ARF. Plug-n-Play means a virtually assembled model requiring only a receiver and battery pack and of course your own transmitter. ARF versions require assembly of the model, select your own motor, ESC (speed controller), propellor and battery pack. RTF is ready to go. Transmitter and model set up in factory, receiver paired or matched to TX, usually all that is needed is battery pack.
Make a comparison with the article on Electric Power. Then decide which is better for you.
You now have assembled the model and now we need to install the receiver and pair it to the TX. Depending on your choice of TX , Futaba, Spektrum or JR controllers the receiver has to be paired to the TX so that it only answers to commands from your TX.
Futaba: Pairing Futaba for example requires the TX to be switched on and a model selected. Supply battery power to reciever and press a small button on the side of the RX and hold till the LED stops flashing. You are now paired (Futaba uses channel hopping technology)
Spektrum and JR: (these use the DSM or DSMX technology) JR receivers have to "bound" to the TX. This is done by inserting a bind plug into the RX 's battery/bind socket, supplying some battery power via any of the other channels. The difference here from Futaba is the RX is powered up with bind plug inserted. Then the TX is switched on whilst holding down the button on the rear of the TX. The RX LED will flash a number of times and when steadily lit means you are paired. In this order switch off RX, remove bind plug and then switch off the TX.
Note: From now on you always switch on the TX first and then your model's reciever. Switching off is reverse order. Failure to do this golden rule may unbind the model and if flown or operated be become out of control. This rule is global for RC Cars and Boats too
Get into the habit, make it mandatory to range check at the start of every days flying for each model. Depending on which type of transmitter you have (see handbook) switch on Transmitter then receiver. Holding the transmitter as you normally would, antenna extended or at 45 degrees, set the transmitter into low power/range check and walk away to about 90 paces using the sticks to operate the control surfaces, watching the model as you walk back to ensure that the controls are responding as they should. If all is well then it is safe to fly.
Some pilots do this in varying ways.
1. With glow engine running and the model restrained (recommend a purpose made restraint) or held by another flyer, walk away operating controls as in previous paragraph ensuring you also have full throttle control. If electric powered then follow previous advice but ensure the motor powers up and down correctly.
2. Optional - Range check first before fuelling up a glow powered aircraft, if there is a problem you won't have to drain the fuel tank if the model has to be held upside down for an extended period. Don't want to lose any of that expensive fuel!
*** If you don't have full radio contact during this check then it may be necessary to move the receiver antenna or the unit itself until range check is successful