Checklist & Useful Tips for the RC Plane Maiden Flight

You are planning to maiden fly your new pride and joy – what do you need to know/do to maximize your chances of success? And success means having fun while going home with your remote control airplanes in one piece.

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We’ve put together a brief but complete list of things we think you might find it useful. It’s not exactly aimed at the complete beginner, perhaps the beginner on their second plane through to whatever.

  • CoG as far forward as recommended (or further if you get info on the net to suggest that).
  • Control throws measured and deflect the recommended amount. If you have a computer radio mix in some exponential (say 30% as starting figure) to make the aircraft more docile on small stick movements.
  • All control surfaces trimmed by eye, and enough throw left in trim settings to trim further in either direction once in flight.
  • Make sure control surfaces deflect in the correct direction – double check each of the following carefully:
  • Aileron: push stick right, right aileron comes up, left aileron goes down – stick pushed to the left, left aileron comes up, right aileron goes down.
    Elevator: pull back (push stick down), elevator comes up. Push up (push the stick up) elevator goes down.
  • Rudder: push stick right, rudder moves to the right – push the stick left, rudder moves to the left.
    Before takeoff remind yourself where the trim tabs for all controls are on your radio.
  • Try to plan your takeoff so you don’t need to do anything but climb until you reach 50 meters altitude (rolling takeoff is best if it can be done).
    Don’t try and trim the aircraft until you reach 50 meters – instead, compensate for lack of trim with stick inputs.
  • Establish a cruising speed at 50 meters (the speed where the aircraft is comfortably in the air, capable of maintaining altitude in level flight easily) and trim your aircraft.
  • Once trimmed you now have the remaining duration of the battery to figure out how to land her.
  • At altitude intentionally stall her a few times to figure out the stall speed and whether there are any bad tendencies when stalling.
  • At altitude figure out what throttle setting will give you that slight downward dive with constant speed for your landing approach.
  • At altitude close the throttle and figure out what her glide curve is like.
  • If you are confident you still have battery left throw in a loop (you must have some fun right – this will also help you trim your rudder), victory roll and whatever other aerobatics you feel brave enough to try.
  • While you still have plenty of battery left start your landing attempts. Be ready to wave off two or three while you figure out the correct approach speed, angle, flare point etc.
  • Last but not least – don’t forget your normal takeoff checklist as well.

Good Luck!

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