I've wanted to fly R/C planes for a long time. I tried on my own in the early days of electric - 2000 ish when you'd take a regular balsa trainer and add a motor and r/c car nicads...hand launch was the only viable option and a crash was, well, it made a mess. I wanted to fly, and fly electric and no 'real' flyer did batteries...so on my own I managed to live the cliche- 30 seconds and it's over.
Flash forward a decade and heli's finally have come of age - I started with a coax, then got a few settling on an mcx and learned to fly well. Moved up a 450 full cp heli and am still learning on that (minor crash enabled me to upgrade radio and servos...still setting it up).
I've been seeing these small planes in hobby stores for a while now, just like the helis, but it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks - trainers need to be .40 sized (4 to 5' wingspan) and forget scale...that requires big spaces and big money (relatively speaking) and well, my last experience wasn't great.
Flight sims are a cool new tool, but I found flying the sim to be very hard, especially with a plane. I have newfound respect for them (they are indeed very realistic) but who wants to fly the computer?
I went to an e-fly in last winter and wow, what's out there today is unreal (to me anyway - my r/c dates to the 60s and heathkit radios my dad built). Wow, small, light, foam? Really? Interesting...
Chatting here about foamies and lurking about convinced me to go get a Champ at the local hobby store - wow, I can FLY! Tried my back yard (1/2 acre) and didn't do badly but more space (less to worry about hitting) would help so I went over the new housing plan that is going nowhere and just got back from 1/2 hour of flying -with no mishaps! OK, so I can't land on the X...yet. I got disoriented twice, lost it in the (low evening) sun a couple of times, but managed hand launches, takeoffs, and many landings all with out incident (as in crash, repairs, swearing, etc). And I got to experience some wind up about 50 to 100' too - good learning experience.
I think the past year flying heli's has helped a lot - I don't need to 'think' too much and can react - usually correctly. My biggest errors were in trying to land or turn close to the ground doing a spiral that ended in a landing...a real landing too, not a nose dive to momma earth.
My hand launching isn't perfect (the plane needs up elevator at launch and i gotta get better at tossing or quicker at getting my hand back..or learn to toss left handed) - fortunately it's a very light and robust little plane.
Well, tomorrow and for the next week I should be able to fly daily - nice warm days (as opposed to the past 12 of rain and more rain...) and begin to create the muscle memory and brain connections one needs to fly stress free.