I thought I would start this thread to give Champ pilots some tips on how to have good experience with this airplane. Not that I am an expert by any means, but hopefully other will chime in with some good pointers.
I read a lot of posts where Champs are lost in trees and just seem to fly away. I hope this thread will help prevent that.
I think the first thing you need to understand is that this airplane has a very limited range receiver and transmitter. It is just not meant to be flown very far away from wherever you are standing, or very high up.
If you can keep this airplane in the 25' to 75' range in altitude you will have much less chance of losing it. Be aware that the winds are often different when you get 100" off the ground. They can be much stronger than you think they are, and they can easily and quickly carry the Champ out of TX range - then it is just gone. This is not meant to be an airplane that floats majestically off into any distance. It is too small and too light for that, and way too susceptible to a gust of wind that will carry it away or park it in a tree.
Keep this plane in close and away from any trees to start with. . Try not to let the airplane get more than about 25 - 50 yards away from you. Keep it in front of you at all times and upwind - so the wind wants to blow it back towards you - not away from you.
The best way to use a Champ to progress in the hobby is to use it to learn to fly consistent, level figure eights. You can do that in close. I think the goal should be to learn to fly consistent eye level figure eights in a space not larger than a basketball court. Once you can do that, you can handle a more advanced airplane.
When it is time to upgrade you will do yourself a huge favor if you invest in a good computerized radio to start with. Something like a Spectrum DX61 or something comparable. As you advance in the hobby, nothing will help you fly new planes successfully more than a decent radio. You can rebind the Champ to any radio with similar Technology. After that you can get away from buying RTF airplanes which tend to be more expensive with inferior electronic and end up having you pay for stacking up an endless supply of inferior radios that you will never use again.
Hope this helps save an airplane.