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RC Flying, 2023 Apr 2

Sunday was mostly an administrative/setup day; not a lot of flying, but what flying I did went all right. Nothing spectacular, nothing really to write about, but here goes anyway.

April 2 was mostly a “field administration” day. The club had a meeting to go over activities for the next year, as well as field maintenance – we rent our field from a local farmer, and we take care of it because good will is important. Not only is it necessary for us to keep our field access (the farmer could always stop renting to us, after all) but because it’s kind to take care of the relationships you have with other people.

I actually repaired my AeroScout; a new fuselage and canopy showed up on Saturday, unexpected. I moved over the electronics and motor, and did a bench test of the plane; it worked, for some definition of “working,” in that all of the control surfaces responded when I expected them to.

It’ll need a full setup when I decide to fly it again.

I put in the Spektrum AR631 receiver, although I have some RadioMaster R88s lying around as well. The Spektrum receiver was chosen mostly because I have two transmitters – a Spektrum and the RadioMaster TX16S – and while the RadioMaster can connect to pretty much any receiver known to man (to which I would have access), the NX8 can only connect to Spektrum receivers.

So for me to fly with one radio means either choosing the TX16S – which is a better radio but with lesser integration with the Spektrum receivers for now, because I’m still learning the platform – and the R88 for the Aeroscout, or choosing the Spektrum receiver, to which I can bind both transmitters and switch between them as needed.

Given that the Apprentice Mini is my primary plane for now, that means the Spektrum ecosystem wins… for a little while. My goal is to get to the point where I don’t need the safety features the Spektrum ecosystem provides, then I’ll be able to use whichever radio I happen to want. (In other words, the TX16S, because it just feels like a better radio, physically. The ecosystem’s safeguards are the main thing holding me to Spektrum right now. They do that astonishingly well.)

On Sunday, we were basically going back over the Apprentice. I did some telemetry extraction on the NX8, which told me nothing particularly useful (which is all right, because I was mostly curious about what data was being recorded), and apparently the process of setting up the NX8 for a neutral model for the flight simulator mangled some settings for the receiver itself, because the plane was… configured poorly.

We (well… I say “we” but it was mostly some of the experienced pilots who took on the task) ended up spending most of the day fixing the plane, setting it up again for consistent flight. That was my “flying day,” watching two pilots with years’ more experience than I try to get the plane to fly as they expected it to, something I wouldn’t have known how to do, and I wouldn’t have even known how to judge the plane; I’d have thought, “man, I’m a terrible pilot” and left it at that.

In the end, though, I did get the plane up in the air and back down; I don’t think I flew especially well for that flight, but that’s okay. The main goal was to get the plane up and back down; that was successful, and I’m going to leave the radio alone now as it has a consistent setup for the simulator and the Apprentice, and it’s been backed up with the known-good configuration.

It was also a beautiful day for flying, and the club meeting went really well; we had four prospective new members introduce themselves to the club at large. I’d already met all four of them, so they weren’t introducing themselves to me, but to the club members who hadn’t been at the field with them yet; what was funny for me in all that is that all four of them were really eloquent and represented themselves very well.

I was laughing my way through their introductions, thinking of how happy I was that I didn’t have to introduce myself in the same way they were doing, because mine would have been something like: “Hi, I’m, uh, Joe, I’ve been, uh, flying pretty much not at all, uh, how ya doin’, next person, please.”

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