Comrade Mikhael's Guide

A Beginner’s Guide to Building Model Aircraft

(Learned from bitter experience)

By Comrade Mikhael Braithwaite KGB

Selecting your plane.  Buy as many different coloured rolls of PVC insulating tape as you can find.  If the plane you are thinking of has any other colour on it than you have tape for, don’t buy the plane.

When choosing servos, buy JR or better; otherwise be prepared for the “I lost a plane because” lecture from Stewart.

When cutting the holes in the wings for the servo leads on your first low-winger, make sure these are cut neatly.  They will be easier covered when you realize the holes should have been on the top of the wing.

Wing bolts work best when they are actually screwed through the wing and into their keepers.  In fact, they don’t work at all unless screwed in.

Before using cyano, vigorously apply hand cream.  This won’t stop the glue sticking to your fingers, but at least your hands will be soft when the glue eventually peels off.

If you are of a portly disposition, when gluing, always wear your “special building“ T-shirt.

When using glue and you have a sudden attack of heartburn, don’t reach for the Rennies.  Instead, grab your T-shirt and rapidly pull it away from your body.

Ignore all itches when gluing.

When you drill a hole with too big a drill bit, remember the words of master craftsmen.  “If at first the screw don’t fit, then fill the hole with glue and whatever else you can find’.

Buy a servo tester.  When your servo tester refuses to work, take it back to Ian.  He will then sell you a battery pack for it.

When choosing a pilot for your plane, make sure you have the correct scale.  Do his/her clothes match the colours of the plane?  Is it in stock or just listed on the internet?  When it arrives, carefully open the package so as not to damage it.  Then admire your wise choice and leave the pilot where your dog can get it.

When assembling a Hanger 9 ARTF kit, the Instruction Manual insists that you use thread lock on all metal to metal joints.  (Thread lock is blue and sweet tasting).  However, Hanger 9 does not tell you not to use it on the adjusters at the threaded end of pushrods.

Don’t use thread lock on the upright fittings which attach to the servo arm and the pushrod goes through.  These fittings are meant to swivel, otherwise the pushrod bends alarmingly and the servo screams in agony.

Buy Z bend pliers and either loads of piano wire for replacing pushrods with bends in the wrong places or read the instructions and discover what that spike on the back of the pliers is for.

When snipping off excess pushrod, use one hand to hold the length that is to be disposed of.  If you need to use two hands on the wire-cutters, ensure that the pristine wings at the far end of the room are removed to the other end of the building.  If not, search for the PVC tape.

If the adjusters at the end of your pushrods do not come with plastic safety tubing and an IC flier gives you some fuel tubing to use, don’t mention that you have yards of it unused at home as you fly electric.

Learn text spelling for using your transmitter.  That way you might have a chance of typing Spacewalker in eight characters

Why is it on R400 receivers the pins on the servo ends go away from the writing but on a 6210 the pins are the opposite way round?  Nice one Spectrum.

There is no quicker way of removing spectators from the flight line than to have a free spirited tail wheel.

A plane is not just for Christmas.  Try to make it last ‘til the New Year.  In my case, that means getting someone else to fly it.

Mike B

(Guess which one)

A Beginner’s Guide to Flying

Matthew Poots, multi British champion, flies Mode 1, but can also fly Mode 2.  I fly Mode 2 but sometimes Mode 1, and, what’s more, I do it during the same flight.  I must therefore be a better pilot than Matthew.

When attending a club session always wear navy.

Words have different meanings.  For example, there is a picture on the website entitled “Ian’s lovely Spitfire on finals”.  For me, “finals” is my last bounce.

The club is kindly erecting a barrier so that my planes won’t hit parked cars when landing in a sou’westerly.  It is shaped like a giant, squared off baseball mitt.  Somewhat sarcastically they are calling it a shelter.  If it really is a shelter, it would face the opposite direction.

Don’t leave home with any plane that is not one hundred per cent perfect.  Something mysterious happens in a car.  A minor niggle at home has developed into a major crisis by the time you arrive at the club.

A “good” day is when you go home with the same number of planes as you arrived with.  I remember that Saturday in October like it was yesterday.

Don’t try and be clever and use an elastic band to hold your throttle stick back when carrying your plane to the runway.  You’ll forget to remove the elastic band.  Sorry Trojan.

Learn from your mistakes.  Sorry Wot Trainer.

When landing in a sou’westerly, never have anyone standing on your left.  It is a shame not to watch your plane on “finals” narrowly miss the club chairman as he lifts his own plane behind the flightline.  Sorry Barry.

A person of rotund proportions hasn’t seen his feet in years.  Every step is a leap of faith.  Add a transmitter to the bulge with the proverbial red strap around said rotund person’s neck and then carry a plane in front of the transmitter, you can see nothing.  I don’t care how big that Sukhoi is, you shouldn’t have left it lying on the ground.  No apology Matthew.

Fly figure of eight patterns horizontally.  It’s cheaper.

When learning to fly, for every one day flying, spend five days building.

In a crosswind, is the downwind leg crosswind?

React-a-light lens take about fifteen minutes to change.   A dark cloud can cover the sun in seconds.  Add a sprinkling of precipitation together with a navy coloured plane and it’s time, once again, to get a bin bag from the back of the car, if you can find the car.  Sorry Corsair.

The figure eight can be transcribed in many different ways.  The top loop can be smaller than the bottom loop.  Both top and bottom loops can look like squares.  Sometimes the loops can appear to be quite far apart depending on the angle of the connecting lines between the loops.  Anyway, that’s my excuse.  Find your own.

I mentioned in a previous blog that wing bolts don’t work unless they are screwed in.  But let me ask a question.  How high can a plane climb when only one wing bolt is half screwed in before the wing comes adrift and mockingly floats to the mud?  Answer.  Two hundred feet.  Sorry Orbit.

Thank goodness it’s not a toll stile.

Flying is rather akin to golf.  You keep going back to try to create that perfect day.  Usually my hopes are dashed by the end of the first flight.

Isn’t it strange how an hour’s drive home is always longer than an hour’s drive to the club?

When you decide to change from Mode 2 to Mode 1 in the middle of a flight, don’t forget to tell the plane.  Sorry Pulse.

Can’t understand why neither Barry nor Mike has approached me yet to take my “A” cert.  They both took tarpaulins.  What more do I have to do?


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