Monday, November 17, 2008


First flight for my airplane!

My NexSTAR 46 airplane was finished, checked out and ready to fly this weekend and yesterday Pat's son-in-law, J, his son B and I went flying. The weather was about as good as it gets in the northwest in the winter. No rain, no wind and a temperature in the low 50s, so it was pretty comfortable. J & B had taken J's trainer out for a couple of flights before I got there about 12:30 and we flew it twice before moving to mine. After mine was checked out but before flying it we took some photos of me with it, just in case it was not still in one piece later. Here is the proud owner with his NexSTAR 46:
First flight 1
It is a pretty good sized plane, with a wingspan of almost six feet. It is a trainer so there are some design features that make it easier for a new pilot to fly and it is not as fast as some of the low wing planes, which also is better for the beginner. We put the wing on in J's shop, then added fuel and started the engine. When they are new you should run them rich on fuel as they are two cycle, so the lubrication is mixed into the fuel and you want to lube it well until it gets broken in. J adjusted the engine to where he felt it was rich enough yet still would give us enough power to fly satisfactorily.

First flight 2
We did a bit of taxiing around in the yard just so that I could get the feel of it and how the control box moved, although I had used this box on the simulator so actually did have a pretty good feel for how the controls move. This plane has tri-cycle landing gear and the front wheel steers when it is on the ground, moved by the rudder control on the control box.

First flight 3
We taxied the plane to a corner of the lawn and got ready for takeoff. Here is J with his son, B, and the plane just starting it's run. The most danger to a plane is at takeoff and landing so those were done by J and then I flew it once it was in the air. One thing we learned is that I need larger wheels if it is going to be flown from lawns. The propeller was cutting grass and the wheels sink pretty deeply into the grass, even though J had mowed it just the day before.

First flight 4
After taxiing all the way across the lawn it finally lifted off. You can see the smoke from the exhaust- that is because it is running so rich on fuel. But it is flying! The pasture behind their back yard belongs to the neighbors and you can see some of their cattle grazing out there. They didn't pay much attention to the planes but J's three horses in their side pasture sure did and didn't come very close to us!

First flight 5
Here we are in what seems to be the standard position of an RC plane pilot- looking up. I am flying it with J standing close by but I actually did fine and he didn't need to take it over until it was time to land, which came up fairly quickly as we had burned a lot of fuel setting the mixture, then taxiing on the ground. The tank holds 7 fluid ounces of fuel which should be good for about 15 minutes of flying time, when it is broken in & leaned out. The plane was fairly high when it ran out of fuel and the engine stopped.

First flight 6
At that point I handed the control box over to J and he flew it in, dead stick. He said it flies real well and is easy to control, even without power. The neighbor house isn't as close as it looks here- this is a fairly long telephoto lens. The cattle are still ignoring us. The attitude of the plane is perfect and it came in and set down just as well. Notice that the prop is not turning.

We decided that we wanted to fly again so filled the tank with fuel once more, this time from my supply, which does not have as much oil in it as J's did. We also decided that we would try flying from in front of the house where we could take off & land on the road. They are the end house on a private road with four other homes. The road is gravel but it has been well packed to where it's almost like paving. It worked perfectly and the plane was up flying right away. I don't have as many photos of this flight as J's wife who took some of the others with my camera had gone inside, along with Pat, and I did a lot more of the flying this time. But I did get a photo of it as J buzzed the road before looping around to land:
First flight 7
You can see the plane coming toward us probably 15 to 20 feet high. The pasture behind the white fence in the background is their horse pasture and the horses had retreated to the other end of it. Across the road we took off from is another of their pastures that is probably close to 20 acres in size and is perfect to fly over. This is a good place to fly these planes.

One thing I have wondered is how far is it safe to let the plane get away from the control box. I think I now have the answer and it is not really limited by the radio control box but rather by how far away you can see the plane. This one is pretty good size but when it gets way up there or way out, it is hard to see. We had some small clouds and at times it was above them, literally out of sight. Maybe a bright yellow one would work better to spot but mine is red and white and I thought it would be easy to see. It isn't bad but you do want to be careful not to let it get too far away.

I didn't do any take offs or landings but did get quite a bit of flying time. I feel that I can better control it and have a better understanding how it will react to my controls. Before long I'll at least do take offs (I think I could now) and then soon try my first landing. But I want to buy some glue first.

This is FUN!!!!!

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look slike you had a great time and that it was well worth the time and money!

have a great week
Looks like you're having a 'blast'. What a neat hobby!
I haven't commented in a long, long while, but I always enjoy your photos and reading what you and Pat have been up to.
Gday Dick, Looks like your having a great time out there. Brrrrrr. temperature in the low 50s,were getting mid to high 80's at the moment.. we have a saying =The difference between men and boys is the Price of there Toys..Have fun enjoy life to the fullest..
Methinks you done been bitten by the model airplane flying bug! Well, it's a cheaper hobby than the Miata, that's for sure, LOL. ;o)

It won't be long before you're chief pilot for all of it, take off and landing included.

Great pics as always, and your guest photographer did a bang up job on her contributions.

Hmmm....I probably shouldn't have said "bang up job" considering how fragile those planes can be...

Have a great week, Dick. :o)

Love and hugs,

Looks like a whole lotta fun.
That DOES look like fun Dick!
you look like the happiest kid on the block ,great to see !I bet it is an awesome feeling , love to try it! have a wonderful time enjoying your plane , nice to see you !
Take care mr Pilot mocha LOL
my best to your Mrs.

you look like the happiest kid on the block ,great to see !I bet it is an awesome feeling , love to try it! have a wonderful time enjoying your plane , nice to see you !
Take care mr Pilot mocha LOL
my best to your Mrs.

They do a lot of model plane flying around where I live with the salt flats and all that. Nothing to really crash your plane into and since the flats can be kinda mushy with water sometimes you can get a soft landing.
LOL, Dick, you got it! I haven't been over for awhile and didn't know! Hey, got a question for you. I need to buy my daughter a nice camera. Could you take a look at this one and let me know if it's a good buy or not? She wants something more professional than the little digital she has now. There are awesome pictures over here and she's quite talented with the camera, only she doesn't have a camera that can zoom in on all this wildlife like she wants, plus she wants better picture quality. Email address is Can you let me know? I'll buy it today if you think it's worth it.
There is a flying club on the Navy OLF right over there>>>> and on weekends there is always planes flying on it. Sometimes they CAMP there....

Also there is a group up the skagit by Hamilton-Lyman, towards that new State Park right on the River....
That's a beautiful plane, what fun!
Great pictures like always. You look like a little boy with a brand new toy, a very happy guy. Hope you had a happy thanksgiving.
It was my hobby 20 years ago. I still had my 6 feet trainer at my sister's house in California. I will fly it again when I retired. cool...
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