SONIC R/C AIRPLANE



Sonic R/C Airplane, retail $9.88
Manufactured by (Unknown)
Last updated 01-16-09






This isn't a flashlight, household lamp, Christmas light set, or other thing that glows, but since I love things that fly (also why I added a seperate section titled "PRODUCTS DESIGNED TO FLY" on my website), what the hey.

This is a small, lightweight, easy-to-fly remote controlled airplane. It has two motors (not just one like many other R/C aircraft), and is steered by varying the power to each motor, not with an adjustable horizontal stabiliser like single-engine R/C airplanes (and most real airplanes for that matter) have. (Update 01-16-09): The following is from an email sent by a pilot; this person knows more about aircraft than I do.

I read a few of your RC aircraft reviews, and you have a pretty serious misconception stated at least twice in discussions of models with 2 motors: In full-sized aircraft or in RC, the horizontal stabilizer is NOT primarily involved in turning the aircraft. It does have a secondary role in turning, which I'll return to later. I have dabbled in RC aircraft a couple of times in my life (I'm essentially your age) and I also have a private pilot's license for full-sized aircraft, although I have not exercised that privilege since moving out of Colorado.

The first part of your misconception seems to be that the horizontal stabilizer controls horizontal movement. Not so.

There are three rotational movements: yaw, pitch and roll. Yaw is the horizontal displacement of the nose and tail about the vertical axis. Pitch is vertical displacement about a horizontal axis roughly aligned with the wing, and roll is vertical displacement of the wing tips about a horizontal axis roughly aligned with the propeller shaft.

The fixed horizontal stabilizers (the little wings usually at the back of the aircraft that stick out horizontally) and movable elevator attached to them (or the "stabilator" or "all-flying stabilizer" in the case of a single piece which moves in its entirety) control PITCH. Although this points the nose up or down, and so generally increases or decreases lift, it really controls airspeed: nose-up leads to slower airspeed and nose-down leads to higher airspeed. The aircraft's "state of trim," which depends more or less on the position of the elevator or stabilator, tends to maintain a constant airspeed, although the varying airflow with changing engine power off the propeller does affect trim speed somewhat. POWER translates into climb or descent: at a constant airspeed, more power means climb and less power means decent, and at a constant power more speed means descent and less speed means climb (until you reach the "region of reverse command," when induced drag increases so much that lower speed means MORE power is needed to maintain level flight, or in the most extreme case: when the wing stalls and a small decrease in speed leads to a loss of lift and RAPID descent). This is a common-sense situation: it takes more power to go uphill at a constant speed than downhill, whether in an airplane, car, bicycle or scooter. The lack of a solid hill doesn't really matter.

So, you probably really meant that the VERTICAL stabilizer (the fin sticking up at the back of the fuselage), which affects yaw, controls turning. This is also wrong, although not completely in the case of some RC aircraft. However, unlike in a surface vehicle, YAW, although it does slew the nose sideways, does not turn the aircraft in the sense of causing it to travel in a circular horizontal course. That is actually the result of ROLL, or banking. Rolling into a modest bank angle causes the lift vector of the wing to point sideways as well as up. The sideways force becomes a centripetal force that moves the aircraft in a horizontal circle. The only centripetal force provided by yaw directly is the vector of the engine's thrust resulting from the yaw angle, and except for military jets, the engine's thrust is WAY less than the force of the wing's lift, and is not enough to turn the airplane through a decent arc. (Other exceptions exist in 3D aerobatics, but I'm ignoring that.)

In fact, in a really well-designed airplane, the rudder is hardly needed to turn, and in RC aircraft, low performance planes with 2 channel control have rudder and elevator, but high performance 2 channel planes have aileron and elevator control. (Assumes either glider or constant-power engine/motor. Read as "3-channel" if you want a throttle control, too.) Low-performance models use yaw-roll coupling to let the rudder CAUSE the roll needed to turn the plane, usually via excess dihedral in the wing, but ideally, roll is controlled directly by ailerons. The problem is that ailerons cause roll by increasing lift on one wing, which raises that wing but also induces drag (lift is not free of cost) and slows it down. The wing going up needs to go faster, not slower, to go around the outside of the turn, so this causes "adverse yaw:" the plane tends to turn the opposite of the intended direction, at least while the roll is occurring (the effect becomes less, but not zero, while maintaining a constant bank angle). The rudder is primarily needed to provide a yaw force to offset this adverse yaw and lead to a "coordinated turn" in which there are no net yaw forces, also described as lack of slip or skid. (Deliberate slip is a another use of the rudder to increase drag on the aircraft, and skid can cause the fun/dangerous spin or snap-roll when combined with stall. Brief rolling motions with proper rudder use leads to a "Dutch roll" in which the heading of the airplane doesn't change while the wings rock back and forth. Look them all up if desired!) Older airplanes had lots of adverse yaw, and needed active footwork on the rudder control pedals to make a nice turn or good Dutch rolls, but more recent and more clever designs can make almost-coordinated turns with your feet off the rudder pedals, at least at average airspeed.

There IS an important roll of the horizontal stabilizer in turning: If you want to turn and simultaneously maintain constant altitude, you need to pull back on the stick (pitch the nose up) to increase lift, since as you roll the lift vector would otherwise be the same force. With part of the force directed horizontally, the aircraft would begin to descend unless lift increased, so total lift must increase by either more power (and more airspeed) or more pitch (and slightly reduced airspeed). The latter is usually chosen, so to turn an airplane properly, you use aileron to roll and simulanteously rudder to control adverse yaw, then as the bank angle increases, back stick to increase lift and maintain constant altitude. It's all much easier when you are in the aircraft and can FEEL the results vs. an RC model or flight simulator program, except the consequences of mistakes are worse.



 SIZE



This toy is remarkably easy to use for an airplane...here's how to get it flying:

Assemble it (see the included instructional material), let the glue dry overnight (for safety sakes), screw the antenna into the top of the remote control, and as with any rechargeable product, charge the flight battery (see directly below) -- then you can pretend to fly a really large dragonfly (well, that's what the kitty cat would think it is).

Hand-throw the airplane first (unpowered) to see if it needs any adjustment of its rudder (horizontal stabiliser) or elevators (vertical stabilisers).

Attach the ribbon to the remote control's antenna, extend the antenna, point the antenna straight up, and observe the ribbon. If the breeze blows the ribbon at less than a 45 angle, it is safe to fly.

1: On the bottom of the airplane's fuselage (body) behind the battery door, there's a black slide switch.
    Use a fingernail to slide this switch toward the left (as the airplane is facing down) to the "on" position.

2: On the remote control, turn the "on/off" switch to the "on" position.

3: Hold the airplane in one hand (face it forward) somewhat over your head, push the left hand stick on the controller up (toward the front), and gently but firmly toss the airplane. Be certain that you do not crash it into the remote control's antenna while tossing it forward.

4: The motors should immediately throttle up, and the airplane should now be flying. Be certain to aim the remote control more or less up at all times; this will help to reach maximum range of the R/C.

For additional instructions & tips on how to fly, please read the instructional material that comes with the product.

Turn the airplane and remote control off when finished using them.
Same switches as before, but slide them in the opposite direction this time.



The battery in the airplane itself is rechargeable; however the batteries in the remote will need to be changed from time to time.

To do this, slide the battery door on the back of the controller off, very gently place it on the ground, and kick it into the garden so the hungry, hungry praying mantids will think it's something yummy for their little insect tummies and subsequently strike at it...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Remove the eight used AA cells from the compartment, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert eight new AA cells into the compartment, orienting each cell so its flat-end (-) negative faces a spring for it in each chamber.

Finally, place the battery door back on.
Aren't you glad you didn't kick that battery door into the garden with all those hungry, hungry praying mantids now?


Here is what a praying mantis looks like.
I found this guy on the morning of 09-08-06 clinging to the basket of my scooter.



To charge the battery in the airplane, use a small phillips screwdriver (included) to unscrew the small phillips screw from the battery door on the underside of the airplane's fuselage (body), and set it aside. Remove the battery door, and set it aside also. Tip out the battery module, and disconnect the plug on the end of its short cord from the plug coming from inside the airplane.

Plug the battery's plug into the receptacle for it on the underside of the remote, just behind the antenna. A green LED on the remote will begin flashing.
The suggested battery charge time is just 3 to 5 minutes, or until the battery becomes quite warm (113F (45C)).
According to the instructional material, never, ever charge the battery for more than 5 minutes!!!
Use a watch or a clock with a second hand on it if possible. When the flight battery is charged, the green light on the remote will stop flashing and operate steadily.
Power will still be flowing from the R/C to the battery though, so you really ***DO*** need to unplug it!!!

To reinstall the battery in the airplane, just reverse the above steps.
The screw for the battery door is rather fiddly; it's good that a spare is included...you just might need it.

The flight time per charge is stated at ~20 minutes.




The Sonic R/C Airplane is meant to be used as a toy in a dry area, not as a flashlight meant to be carried around, rained on, thrashed, trashed, and abused, so I won't try to drown it in the toilet tank, bash it against a steel rod or against the concrete floor of a patio, let my housemate's citty kats go to the litterbox on it, run over it with a 450lb Celebrity motorised wheelchair, stomp on it, pee on it, or perform other indecencies/potentially destructive test on it that a regular flashlight might have to have performed on it. So this section of the web page will be significantly more bare than this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

The remote control's maximum range is stated as 150 feet.
The frequency of this particular unit is labelled as 27.145MHz.

There is a long, thin black wire coming from the back of the airplane;
***DO NOT*** pull, cut, or otherwise remove it!!!
This is the airplane's antenna, and it is absolutely necessary for the wire to be intact for the airplane to maintain contact with the remote control!!!

Included with the other items (screws, glue, ribbon, etc.) was a piece of plastic who's purpose remains a mystery. It is not referenced to in the instructional materials, so all I can do is photograph it for inclusion on this web page (see below) - perhaps another user of this product knows what it's for or where it goes.



Photograph of the remote control.



Here's the "mystery part" included, compared in size with a 5mm yellow LED.


WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the thing ***NOT*** taking off.
This clip is approximately 2.088 megabytes (2,121,350 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than nine minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

In this clip, you can hear me say "Flight number four", in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the
coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the little thing failing to take off - just circling on the "tarmac" a few times.

This product - so far anyway - appears to be a "feline flagellated stool sample female parent inseminator" (potty words replaced with innocous ones - the correct acronym is PWPOSMF). But what did I honestly expect for under ten bucks?

I see that it was specifically *DESIGNED* not to be able to lift off on its own; you have to physically throw it.

My next flight test will take place in a large park at the intersection of Windbridge Dr. and Pocket Rd. in Sacramento CA. USA.
I'll hand-launch the airplane rather than attempt to get it to lift off on its own.
Figure this test flight will {most likely} take place sometime between 06-12-08 and 06-14-08.


This is the park I will attempt these future test flights in.


WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the airplane following a mainly ballistic trajectory and then crashing.
This clip is approximately 1.89 megabytes (2,038,072 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than nine minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

In this clip, you can hear me say "Flight number ten", in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the
coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the airplane flying
in a mainly ballistic trajectory, veering to the right, and crashing.



Screen dump from the above movie clip, showing its "flight" - well, sort of anyway.
I was certain to throw it straight for each "flight".
This frame of the video, taken not long after throwing it, shows it veering to starboard (right).



Aerial view of the park I made the test flight attempts in, courtesy of Google Earth.
This is Garcia Bend Park; I did not know the name of it prior to today (07-07-08).








TEST NOTES:
Test unit was purchased on Ebay on 06-05-08, and was received on the afternoon of 06-09-08.

A sheet of stickers to customise the airplane are shown as being "included" in the instructional materials, but were not found. I even went dumpster diving for the box several hours after disposing of the box just to be certain (as my former housemate might have said "just to be sure it's Westinghouse"), and these stickers were not found even after thoroughly searching all of the packaging materials.

This product was added to my website on 06-11-08.
This is a day I like to call "611 Day" because I used to tend bar (from mid-1989 through ~mid-1992) at a place called The Six Eleven Tavern in Seattle WA. USA.

Product was made in China.
A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.


UPDATE: 06-11-08
Looks like it's going to be too windy to fly today or tomorrow (winds forecast to 40MPH today and 30MPH tomorrow), so that kind of puts the kibosh on the test flight until at least Friday.


UPDATE: 06-13-08
Looks like it's going to be too windy to fly again today or tomorrow (winds forecast to 20MPH today and 15MPH tomorrow), so that kind of puts the kibosh on the test flight until at least Sunday.


UPDATE: 06-16-08
Yesterday was Father's Day, and I had to be across town, so I was not able to make that test flight despite favourable weather conditions.


UPDATE: 06-18-08
I may make a test flight later today.
Note that I said ***MAY*** here.
If I do make that flight, one or more movie clips will be added to this web page.

And if I do make that test flight, it will be in the midmorning hours (est. ~9:15am PDT) as the forecast high temperature is to be 101F (38.3C)...I'd rather fly this airplane because it's fun; if I wait until afternoon to do it, flying the Sonic R/C Airplane will seem more like a chore because of the temperature.


UPDATE: 06-18-08
No, you aren't seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
The test flight of the Phoenix...er...uh...the Sonic R/C Airplane has been postphoned at least for the immediate future.
This is because the airplane does not fit the basket of my electric wheelchair securely enough to ensure that it will not fall out during my trip to and/or from the park, as the photograph immediately below shows:



As you can see, it does not fit the basket of my wheelchair securely enough; a gust of wind could easily blow it out of the basket, where it would then stand a rather significant chance of being run over with the rear drive wheels of my wheelchair and subsequently becoming irrepairably damaged or possibly even destroyed.

The main wings cannot be removed and then reassembled at flight time; they're affixed to the airplane's fuselage (body) with double-sided tape and glue.


UPDATE: 06-21-08
I have decided to make that test flight anyway - the airplane and remote cost me less than $10.00 so if it does fall out of the basket and become damaged or destroyed, it would not be a huge loss. If it does become irreparably damaged, that dreadful "" icon will be added next to its listings on this website (this would be the first time that this icon would need to be used!!!); however, if the flight was successful (even if the poor, innocent, helpless, defenseless airplane is damaged or destroyed on the way home), one or more movie clips in .AVI format showing its flight will be added to this web page - in addition to the "" icon if necessary.


UPDATE: 06-21-08
No, you aren't seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
It's not even 9:00am PDT and it's already too hot to make the flight.
I'm from southeast Alaska, and any temperatures much higher than 80F (26.7C) are uncomfortable for me...as Bob Barker used to say on The Price is Right, "...and don't just say 'that's too much', say it like a drill seargant in the Navy, 'THAT'S TOO MUCH!!!'".
Next chance for this will be tomorrow (06-22-08); no earlier than 10:45am PDT.


UPDATE: 06-22-08
I decided to "tough it out" and attempt the flights yesterday anyway for this website sakes (and for Pete sakes and for heaven sakes and for Christ sakes and for your sakes and for crying out loud too ) . The temperature at flight time was 94F (34.4C), and I had *NO* successful flights. The airplane maintained a mainly ballistic trajectory on every flight attempt (it veers to starboard (the right), but still follows a primarily ballistic trajectory), even when the elevator flaps on the vertical stabilisers (tail wings) were raised and the flap on the horizontal stabiliser (tail) was moved to the left. The movie clip above shows this.

The airplane's black nose cone also came off during the final crash, however, it appears to have been fastened with the same type of glue used to fasten the wings to the fuselage, and it should be a very easy repair.

Apparently, this product really *IS* a "catbeat segment of poo poo female parent inseminator" (toliet words replaced with innocous ones - the correct acronym is PWPOSMF).


Since I do not award non-light products a rating at all, I cannot award this "Groundplane" (it doesn't fly, so it makes no sense to call it an "Airplane") that dreadful "Zero Stars - Whip Out your Ding-Dong or Sit on the Commode and Uranate On It" rating.
So this photograph of it in the {vulgar term for feces}bowl will have to do here.





PROS:
The price is right


CONS:
Does not fly


    MANUFACTURER: Unknown/not stated
    PRODUCT TYPE: Remote controlled airplane
    LAMP TYPE: N/A
    No. OF LAMPS: N/A
    BEAM TYPE: N/A
    SWITCH TYPE: Slide on/off on bottom of product's fuselage
    CASE MATERIAL: Plastic & compressed foam
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: 8xAA cells (remote), 3.6 volt NiCd rechargeable (airplane itself)
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: Very light splatter-resistance at maximum
    SUBMERSIBLE: NO WAY HOZAY!!!
    ACCESSORIES: Two spare propellers, wind ribbon, small tube of glue, small screwdriver, spare screw for battery door, sticker set for plane, unknown plastic component
    SIZE: 17" long, 20" wingspan
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated

    PRODUCT RATING:







Sonic R/C Airplane *







Do you manufacture or sell an LED flashlight, task light, utility light, or module of some kind? Want to see it tested by a real person, under real working conditions? Do you then want to see how your light did? If you have a sample available for this type of real-world, real-time testing, please contact me at ledmuseum@gmail.com.

Please visit this web page for contact information.

Unsolicited flashlights, LEDs, and other products appearing in the mail are welcome, and it will automatically be assumed that you sent it in order to have it tested and evaluated for this site.
Be sure to include contact info or your company website's URL so visitors here will know where to purchase your product.







This page is a frame from a website.
If you arrived on this page through an outside link,you can get the "full meal deal" by clicking here.