Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

RC Super Cub first flight, originally uploaded by Alex Leigh.

No it’s a flying drill. After the first flight ended shortly after take off – and some twenty feet up a tree – Carol felt that maybe, until a proper adult was present, I should curb my enthusiasm to smash it up again.

But always ready with excuses for why things cannot be my fault, I pointed out that the tail-plane exhibited fifteen degrees of lateral movement, which was in no way controlled by the electronic servos. Although the reason for this sorry state of affairs was a multi-bottled Cava assault on the build from the man with legendary MTB mechanical skills.

Ahem. Er. Moving swiftly on…

After restoring flying status, by exhausting the spares box and bandaging the accident damage with duct tape, we walked over to a field with significantly less in the way of spikey trees. I couldn’t help but be faintly embarrassed that I’d broken the plane, after a fifteen second inaugural flight, not by stuffing it into a tree but by wrestling it out from twenty feet up. Woody bruises and a broken propeller narrated our failure to catch it as it fell.

An yet, the plane is festooned with anti-crash technology. Which is good because – assuming the MTB crossover persists – I have crash technology essentially burned in from birth. However the super clever, sensor driven anti dive algorithm doesn’t actually operate below about a hundred feet.

Now I’ve not flown planes much, but most crashing I’ve ever been involved with tends to happen closer to ground level. And while the manual does trumpet the plane’s forgiving characteristics and apparent effortless flying capabilities, it does go on to strongly recommend your first flight is taken under the wing of someone with an unhealthy obsession of all things miniature fly-ee.

A quick probe into the forums suggest these people are slightly more geeky and even more self obsessed than Mountain Bikers. I honestly thought such a thing was not possible on a planet colonised by humans. Maybe – I’ve occasionally pondered – there is some alien race who are as single minded as a needle and twice as obsessive.

But no, these people are all around you. And they have committees and rules and Gala days. And beards. Lots and lots of beards.

The second flight was great and it went on for ages. The plane was either disappearing over a far horizon or pinging back like a boomerang with a vendetta. Much comedy over-controlling pitched and yawed us back over the field and a landing – that actually made use of the wheels – was affected. Affected by tufty grass and poor skills so the plane had an arse up repose, but amazingly nothing was broken. Except, maybe, my nerve

Flushed with success, of we went again and things went bad almost from the start. As the wind strengthened, my tenuous control weakened and an inevitable nose down furrowing crash followed shortly after. Second prop broke, game over.

But because the company that makes the plane secretly admits that all the anti crash stuff is nothing more than marketing guff, consumerable spares are cheap and readily available. A bit like ISIS bottom brackets except for the cheap part.

Still, this plane is currently costing me about 2 quid a minute to run. Which happily upgrades my Mountain Bikes to a status of “outstanding value per mile

Build. Try. Crash. Grin. Flash cash to repair. Repeat until broke. Great hobby, sound familiar at all? 🙂

3 thoughts on “Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

  1. Pingback: I want my life back » Blog Archive » Feed your inner geek

  2. Pingback: I want my life back » Blog Archive » Plane Stupid

  3. Pingback: I want my life back » Blog Archive » Oh Shit.

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