Archives for May 2014

Full Scale Flying Update

Hello, everyone. Good grief, it has been almost four (4) months since my last update to this blog. Yikes!!!

But, all good at this end. A bunch of things have happened since February. To make a long story short I have decided to try and obtain a job as a commercial pilot. Over the past few months I have been very busy with figuring out how to do this, getting the necessary medical and FAA certificates, along with mapping out a flying currency training course.

Gordon standing in front of a Cessna 172 at Aurora Airport, IL

Gordon standing in front of a Cessna 172 at Aurora Airport, IL

Some background. In addition to my interest in radio control models, I have also enjoyed being a pilot in full scale light aircraft. I have been a pilot for a number of years, to include four years as an FAA Certificated Flight Instructor.

I realized in early February 2014 that there were significant changes coming to the U.S. airline industry due to heightened hiring requirements for pilots (safety issue and laws passes by Congress) combined with a large increase in pilot retirements due to the new FAA requirement for all airline pilots to now end their flying at the age of 65. In short, the timing was perfect to see if a return to commercial flying was possible.

Everything is going well so far in this adventure. I have had several training flights at nearby airports. I am learning new technology, such as the Garmin 1000 “glass cockpit” flight and instrument displays and enjoying a lot of time studying all the various regulations and technical handbooks on commercial flying. The flying skills gained over my 1,600 hours of flying are coming back nicely.

UMX AS3Xtra and Spektrum DX6i transmitter

UMX AS3Xtra and Spektrum DX6i transmitter

Now that things have settled down a bit I am starting to catch up with RC flying! Two days ago I finally received, from back order, my E-flite UMX AS3Xtra indoor RC model plane.

I saw this great model at the February 2014 E-Fest show and knew that I had to have one. I ordered from Horizon Hobby and the plane was put on back order until a few days ago.

The AS3X looks great. I will use my existing Spektrum DX6i transmitter to control it. The instructions are clear. I’ve binded the aircraft to the transmitter and set up the dual rates. Note that with the AS3X technology, built into the receiver, there is no need to program exponential control.

Side view of the UMX AS3Xtra indoor flyer

Side view of the UMX AS3Xtra indoor flyer

I am looking forward to the first flight, but I am not sure when that will occur. Our winter/spring indoor flying sessions recently finished up so I’ll need to wait for a calm wind day to fly outdoors (always a challenge in the Chicago area).

In the meantime, I did find a great YouTube video on programming the DX6i transmitter for the dual rates. Dual rates are required to successfully fly a model like this. Setting up the dual rates on the DX6i is not intuitive the first time you read the manual. The video does a great job walking you through the procedure.

The learning point here is that for just about any challenge you face with RC flight, a YouTube video is out there somewhere to assist you.



Author: Gordon McKay