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Checklist - Setup at the Field

Posted by Ben on 8/17/2016 to Tips N Tricks
After the "Setup on the Bench", the following will ensure you are set up to fly when at the field. 

1.Install the wings *DO NOT get distracted by the beautiful people at your flying field*.

Being distracted when fastening wings or plugging in ailerons is one of the most common ways to ruin your day. Make sure the wing screws are in and tight. Make sure the aileron servo plugs are correct and locked (at least with tape). Make sure the battery is WELL STRAPPED IN with a strap that goes AROUND the pack and tray. Make sure the pack is IN THE CORRECT PLACE where you balanced the plane to get your forward CG location.

Set a 3 minute timer on your radio.

2.Push the aircraft out to the flight line or club safe run-up area.

Plug in, make sure you get all the right noises, go through whatever sequence your ESC requires for arming properly, and then we begin pre-flight.

Do any recommended radio checks per your mfg.

Run the motor to full power and *sustain full power for 10 seconds*. You may need help to safely restrain your aircraft. Get it. 

Stand behind the aircraft and verify your control move in the correct direction. TRY to have a buddy watch with you. Call out "Right Rudder" as you move the control. Buddy verifies Rudder moves to the right. Remember, ailerons fool people most often. 

Push out to the flight line.

3.I strongly recommend a new 3D pilot have a spotter ( a person who stands next to you as you fly as a second pair of eyes) for your first flight. 

Taxi out, place the aircraft on LOW RATES, and point it into the wind

If you use an idle-up switch to start your motor, do so. If not, trim your throttle up until the motor is just idling. 

Start your timer.

Advance the throttle to FULL and the aircraft will move out smartly. Let it roll for just a second or so (these are aircraft that can accelerate vertically) and moderately pull back on the stick to establish a 30-40 degree climb out. Sustain this climb to approx 100 feet high, pull back to 1/2 - 2/3 throttle and level the nose.

4.First flight trim.

Trim pitch. Usually, the aircraft will need some pitch trim, and we need to take care of that first. If it dives hands off, pull back to establish a new climb and hit the trim knob as it arcs over. Do this a few times and you should be able to get it close.

Once it neither climbs nor dives, trim ailerons for roll. I doubt you'll need to worry about rudder trim on your first flight.

5.Have fun until the timer beeps. Stay up high. Try high rates if you like. Try full throttle. When the timer beeps, set up for landing. Flip on LOW RATES. 

6.Farther away than you usually do, and higher, turn the aircraft on final approach. Throttle down to less than 1/8, or "a few clicks above idle". Point the nose slightly down, aiming at the spot you want to touch down. If you keep the nose down and the thottle on just above idle, the airplane will fly all the way down to the spot you picked out. If you ride out a good, long final approach just above idle, the airplane will not fly past you, at least not far enough to matter.

Just above the ground, ankle high, pull level and move the throttle to idle. The plane will land. Do not make a big "flare" when you land. Just fly down to the ground on a comfortable, stable final approach and pull level just above the ground.

7.Unplug your battery, remember to move your throttle trim back to the low position if you use trim to set idle.

8.Measure the remaining juice in your battery, knowing that you flew a 3 min flight. now you can calculate your flight time.

Now we can set CG and really trim!