AirHogs Just Not Enough Anymore

I have had alot of fun with them, but I-m just itching for more. My biggest desire is to for control surfaces. You can move the rudder and elevators on the AirHogs, but not in-flight. I have been doing quite a bit of research online and finally committed to the next step. In reading most of the -Beginners Guides- they recommend joining a local flying club and learning with a buddy box (were you can tether your transmitter to an instructors). I am sure this is great way to learn, but this is the digital age right? Yup, they have several RC flight simulators that are very realistic. The most popular is Great Planes Realflight. However, there is a new kid on the block. Horizon Hobbies has built FSOne. Apparently their physics engine is unmatched. You can get the software with a USB transmitter or with a USB adapter for a real transmitter. I decided, why not get a real transmitter and learn on that. So, I went to the LHS (Local Hobby Shop) and picked up a Spektrum DX6 Transmitter and order the flight-sim online. They had a Real-Flight kiosk, but something about all the -add-ons- really didn-t appeal to me.

When I bought the Transmitter, the guy at the hobby shop talked me into buying a plane to -actually fly-. I wan-t planning on getting a plane until I tried several models in the simulator. I am glad I did though, I didn-t even think about the building part of the hobby. He recommended a SoarStar, it is a simble 3 channel plane that is easy to build. It was a great exercise to get familiar with servos, linkage, expoxy, esc (electronic speed controllers), recievers and working with foam. I really learned a lot.I found out really quick that the batteries that the transmitter came with wasn-t going to work. It had a trickle charger without peak sensing and it was only 600mh. I found some rechargeable AA NiMh-s on eBay for really cheap and found a battery tray from RadioShack that fits in the transmitter. 8 AA-s work out to the same voltage and have 2400mah of juice.

Before I figured the Transmitter batteries out I thought oh no- I should have got the Simulator that came with the transmitter. There would be nothing worse that having the transmitter die in the middle of a flying session. The point of the simulator is to learn and spend more time flying that building, fixing, charging, etc. Turns out it didn-t matter anyway. When the transmitter is plugged in to the USB converter, it draws a small amount of current. Not enough to charge the battery, but enough to keep it at the same voltage (or so it seems).I haven-t flown the SoarStar yet, I am still logging some time on the simulator. It is not easy, but it-s a lot of fun. I have saved at least a thousand dollars in all the planes I would have wrecked.

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