Fun Flies high, low, on the ground, fast and slow.
No matter your age or what part of the world you live in RC is Fun. That’s why we’re drawn to this great hobby in the first place right?
As young boy I can remember going to the hobby shop. I remember buying the Grass Hopper race buggy kit, then the Frog buggy. I also purchased a used nitro airboat which I never did get to run. All electric cars were running brushed motors with grey plastic case hard-packs of NiCd batteries. The speed controllers were exposed copper that took a servo to move the two contact parts back and forth. I remember melting some battery packs and speed controllers.
The RC hobby was tough keep going back then.
Soon my interest focused on being a teenager and my RC days were just a great memory for quite a while. Every time I saw a remote controlled car or airplane those cool RC memories returned.
More recently Drones, UAVs, multi-rotors whatever you want to call them started to show up on YouTube. I spent more of my free time than I’d like to admit watching and day dreaming about building and flying a bunch of those amazing RC machines.
I read a quote somewhere that said “personal drones today are like the rise of the personal computer in the 1970’s”. I guess I was too young for the earliest PC’s I remember seeing the commodore 64’s in the 80’s.
What really got me were the seemingly unreal HD FPV (first-person-view) videos people were posting. I never imagined when I was young the RC technology would be where it is today.
I am sure this is why there is such mass market appeal to what used to be a niche hobby full of experienced old timers passing it on to their children and grandchildren. AMA members introducing new folks to the hobby.
That’s been the traditional way you learned to fly. Join the AMA and find a local field where someone would teach you how to fly you model. Now we can watch YouTube channels, practice on flight simulators, order parts and kits online and got to the park to fly. AMA has a special parkflyers membership for this too.
I love to tinker and build stuff this is probably my favorite part of the RC Hobby. I don’t remember any thing coming ready to run, you had spend hours building – build then run. I really wanted to buy one of those DJI camera quad copters and jump right into FPV. There was no way I was going to lay out fifteen hundred bucks without doing a lot of research and getting the right flying machine for me without wasting money on something I was going to get bored with.
My – let’s not spend a lot of money – make sure we can do it and will stick with to get started side of me kicked in, luckily. I decided I would start off scratch building a simple 3 channel yank and bank airplane out of RL Adams foam board (found at dollar tree and Dollar General stores in the USA) with inexpensive power pack parts and a decent transmitter and receiver.
I spent about two hundred and fifty bucks on my first electronics order and printed out some tiled plans I found on the web. They sat for about six months while I continued to watch more YouTube videos of quadcopters and FPV planes.
Then I ordered a FT quadcopter frame kit and electronics pack. The youtube channels that stood out and influenced me the most from the many I subscribe were Experimental Airlines, rctestflight, FliteTest, and glassdogangle. The latter having some of the best narrated FPV videos on the net.
The first foam-board plane I finally ended up building was based on rctestflight’s miro drone v2 design with experimental airlines tube fuselage.
Along with my first electronics order I got a Universal 6CH USB simulator transmitter that can be used with the various free or paid downloadable RC Flight Simulators. My kids loved this by the way every time I brought is out they ran me off of my laptop to play with it. This is when I realized that this addictive and fairly expensive hobby was right for my me and the kids too.
There is a small football sized field near our home so this is where we decided to test out our first build. I had only used the simulator enough to familiarize myself with the sticks on the transmitter. I did not pay too much attention the the details of making simple control surface adjustments, etc. Needless to say the first flights only lasted a few seconds and resulted in crashes. And getting stuck at the very top of a tall tree. It took forever, a tall latter and long pole to reach the plane and finally knock it out of the tree.
I tried flying my little foamy a couple more times without success. Then I remembered some of the videos I watched of RC trainer airplanes and looked at my little guy. I said to my son “Ah ha let’s go home an try gluing on some extension tips with a slight upwards angle (dihedral)[insert image] like on those trainers”. At this point he did not look too convinced it was going to work after all the crashes.
We took some of the scrap foam board taped it on one side then filled the gaps with hot glue, added more tape and BBQ skewers to hold the angle. [ad image of wing tips]. Repaired and taped up the nose section which was quite crinkled and beaten up by now. Batteries recharged we hustled back to the field double checked everything. My son Chris who is the hand launcher held the plane while moved the throttle forward and yelled “give her an toss” away she went gliding off into the sky. I was smiling the kids were jumping up and down.
Success finally we had some great longer flights after that with fewer crashes. Adding length to the wings made our little lightweight pusher (motor mounted above and behind the wing backwards) model the perfect easy to fly trainer. The larger wings allow the plane to fly much slower which I learned was really important when you are learning to fly remote controlled airplanes.
Around the same time I built the quadcopter kit and overlooked centering and syncing the TX to the flight controller with the software. Until I read some more tutorials it was nearly impossible to fly as well. Once I realized this step was important and need to be done before it was ready to fly. I spent some time with the flight controller plugged into the laptop and got everything set according to the instructions posted online.
It too flew like a dream until I became disoriented on a windy day flying with the wrong battery and in an instant it was gone never to be found. Best we can tell it ended up in a canal behind a neighbors house. That was about $200 bucks in the drink.
We also purchased a small V929 toy quadcopter for my kids and I to fly inside the house and practice on while learning to fly the big one. I still have not replaced the big FT Electrohub yet.
I went on to scratch build the FT Simple Storch from tiled plans. This plane was a little intimidating to build and even more so to fly because it took a lot more time and effort to build. Also after losing the quad my confidence was bruised a little. I was not as easy to fly and my rear motor (pusher) trainer but by now I was skilled enough to have only minor gliding crashes with a fence, a tree and one low stall to the ground which broke a prop.
After a few flights with the Simple Storch on very calm days with no wind I got the hang of it. This is a larger full sized 4 channel trainer which flies slow but has a ton of power to go fast and do tricks. This was my first front motor (tractor) puller model airplane.
About this website. I have had a great time so far getting back into the RC hobby as an adult and sharing the hobby with my children. I love tinkering with websites and FunFlies.com is here to share my adventures in RC with other Dads, maybe a few moms and some cool kids.
The RC – Drone technology is so advanced yet easy to get started now middle schools, high schools and even big universities are using the hobby – building full blow courses around it to teach our young people about aeronautics and engineering. A way to get them started and interested early on in possibly pursuing a career path in one of these areas of technology. Fellow parents feel free to rationalize getting your kids a new model this way.
For me a Dad it’s all about spending quality time with my kids doing something fun and productive with them!
My kids and I are learning to take better videos and photos every weekend so sign up to our email list and we’ll keep you up to date with our latest builds and ready to fly model purchases. Our goal is to make it easier for you to get going without spending money on the wrong stuff and quitting this great hobby before you have your first fun experience, kids jumping up, smiling onlookers in amazement success moments.
Start Here if you are surfing around to find scratch build projects, links to plans, RC product reviews, buyers guides or something fun to do with your kids and keep them out of trouble.