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Old 02-04-2013, 06:55 PM   #1
AEAJR
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Cool TRYING TO PICK YOUR FIRST PLANE? Ask your qustions here!

Let's create a resource for new pilots.

One of the first things that go though people's minds are, "what plane should I get?"

They get lots of answers, but I am surprised at how few questions people ask. Well I am going to list out some of the questions I would ask and why.

If you want help selecting your first plane, jump in and comment. Ask questions! Tell us about your environment. Anything goes as long as it is about getting your first plane.


Ed's Questions:

1) What is your budget? Do you have a spending limit or is the sky the limit?

2) How big is your flying area? This can influence my recommendations.

3) What are your typical wind conditions? If you can fly in calm conditions, I may provide a different recommendation than if it is always windy by you. See this discussion:

Six Keys to Success
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18


4) Are you trying to learn on your own or do you have a friend/instructor/coach helping you?

5) How committed are you? Are you testing the water or are you sure you are going to stay in the hobby. This will influence what I suggest as things to buy. There is spending on "this plane", and there is " investing in the hobby". In some ways this ties back to question one.

6) Are you a builder or a flyer? Are you both?


That is enough for now. Hopefully you find the idea of this discussion interesting and will post your questions. I, and other members of Wattflyer are here to help you be successful.


Here is the first tidbit of information for you.

Electric planes generally come packaged in one of 4 ways, each of which requires more and more effort on your part. RTF requires the least and kit requires the most.

RTF - Package includes everything you need to get this plane into the air.

BNF/TX-R or H2Go or similar - Like RTF, plane is ready to fly but the package does not include a radio. May include charger and battery. Assumes you have a radio already that can match up to the receiver in this plane. Maybe your friend gave it to you. Or maybe you bought a radio and are not trying to pick a plane.

PnP/receiver ready/P2Go - Similar to BNF/TX-/H2Go except now there is no receiver in the plane. You add your own. If someone gave you a radio and receiver, or if you already bought a package, this might be the way for you to go.


Kits that you build and add your own components. - You get a box of sticks and precut pieces with plans. Or you get foam parts and instructions that you assemble/glue together to form a plane. Then you add the electroncis, battery, charger, radio, receiver and all. If you are a builder at heart, this may be your preferred path. In the olden days, this was the only path.

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Old 02-04-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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I'd also add a few more questions (with the intent to get a honest answer) that may help make a better/good selection:

Is this your first attempt at any RC flying?
What type of take-off/landing facilities will be used?
Do you want to learn to hand launch or ground launch/both?
Are you familiar with RC transmitters & recievers - there just as important as the type of plane and should be considered in your budget?

Like Ed mentioned, your commitment to the hobby will be effected by many factors outside of your desire to get into the hobby. In order to maintain your enthusiasm, learning and confidence, most would agree it's best to not to be over zealous or let your EGO (emotions) get the best of you........start out simple, relativley inexpensive (within your budget), good quality (proven manufactures), and study (research)!

Everyone is different, no two people have the same abilities, passion, IQ or craft experience. The learning curve and enjoyment will only be increased by your ability to honestly stay within your given set of talents which will incremenatlly increase with every satisfying (and a few dissapointing) moments you experince!


Just a thought!
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:43 PM   #3
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How about are you willing to listen or are you still buying that 90 mph jet for your first plane ? I have more along these lines but i will let the rest go for now. joe
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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"Listen".......That really depends on who's doing the talking.....lol...point taken!
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pizzano View Post
"Listen".......That really depends on who's doing the talking.....lol...point taken!
I have seen many a newbe here listen to alot of good advice then do the wrong thing anyways . Those are the ones who most time never come back. joe
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by road king 97 View Post
I have seen many a newbe here listen to alot of good advice then do the wrong thing anyways . Those are the ones who most time never come back. joe
Hey, I resemble that remark! lol

Actually, I did buy the wrong plane at first. But rather than get frustrated I decided to follow advice and get the right plane(or one of them). Just finished building a GWS Pico Cub. Can't wait to go fly it.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by LowThudd View Post
Hey, I resemble that remark! lol

Actually, I did buy the wrong plane at first. But rather than get frustrated I decided to follow advice and get the right plane(or one of them). Just finished building a GWS Pico Cub. Can't wait to go fly it.
Great lowthudd its the ones like you that become good flyers after some practice. I came here to learn motor sizes compared to nitro and after all this time i am still in the dark. Iam lucky that alot of sellers are listing sizes compared to nitro now or going by the weight of the plane or i would be buying alot of stuff i can't use. . joe
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:02 PM   #8
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Mostly good comments guys. Thanks. Hopefully we can provide some guidence to new pilots in a format that will build and become a resource. While the planes will change over time, the considerations should be fairly constant.

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Old 02-05-2013, 03:57 AM   #9
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I guess i'll go first.

1) $200-250

2) I have some really big fields near me so flying area isn't really an issue.

3) It can be windy some days here in Florida so we would like something that could handle it.

4) My father in law and I are going to try to learn on our own.

5) We are defiantly going to try to stick with it and would like equipment that could potentially be used on another plane in the future like the radio.

6) We could build but mainly looking to fly.

Other Suggested Questions:

Is this your first attempt at any RC flying?
We bought a cheap $70-80 RTF trainer that looked similar to the Firebird Commander a few years ago and was able to fly that decently but after a few crashes it just wasn't the same. It never seemed like it had enough power even before taking a few hits.

Do you want to learn to hand launch or ground launch/both?
We would rather do ground launch.

Are you familiar with RC transmitters & receivers
No but we're eager to learn since we know these can be transferred to other planes as we get more experience.

My original idea was to get the Hobby King Bixler 2 and the Turniky 9 channel radio but they do not have the plane in stock at the US warehouse and their shipping to Florida is ridiculous from China or the US warehouse.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:40 AM   #10
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BlakeL,

Welcome to the fun and excitement of learning to fly. I know you are going to love this. I am going to answer some of your questions in-line, in other words right were you answered. I will use a different color type so you can see my comments more easily.

Note that you may get different opinions. Don't let that bother you. We each come from different experiences, live in different areas and learned to fly in different ways. So our reference points may be different. But we are all going to try and help you.


Originally Posted by BlakeL View Post
I guess i'll go first.

1) $200-250 - good starting budget for a quality RTF. In my opinion, you don't need to rush into the big purchases, but we will keep your intention to sick with it as we go forward.

2) I have some really big fields near me so flying area isn't really an issue.

That is good. Space helps, expecially if you are going to have to deal with some wind.

Take a look at this thread for some starting advice:


> Six Keys to Success
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18

3) It can be windy some days here in Florida so we would like something that could handle it.

What you will come to learn is that it is the pilot more than the plane that determines how much wind is workable. No matter what plane you get I want you to try and be patient. Wait for those calm days or calm times and work up to wind handling slowly. See the Six Keys thread above for more.

4) My father in law and I are going to try to learn on our own.

Always good to have a teammate. Shared joy and shared frustration. Each will learn different things at different paces, so you can help each other.

5) We are defiantly going to try to stick with it and would like equipment that could potentially be used on another plane in the future like the radio.

Will keep this in mind.

6) We could build but mainly looking to fly.

I have a strong preference for RTF packages to start. If you want to build you can do that while you are learning to fly the RTF or you can wait till you are successful with the RTF, then do the kit. That is what I did.

Other Suggested Questions:

Is this your first attempt at any RC flying?
We bought a cheap $70-80 RTF trainer that looked similar to the Firebird Commander a few years ago and was able to fly that decently but after a few crashes it just wasn't the same. It never seemed like it had enough power even before taking a few hits.

Do you want to learn to hand launch or ground launch/both?
We would rather do ground launch.

Are you familiar with RC transmitters & receivers
No but we're eager to learn since we know these can be transferred to other planes as we get more experience.



My original idea was to get the Hobby King Bixler 2 and the Turniky 9 channel radio but they do not have the plane in stock at the US warehouse and their shipping to Florida is ridiculous from China or the US warehouse.
> I feel a high wing three channel R/E/T plane is your best choice for a first plane. And I highly recommend RTF package for self training pilots. This eliminates most radio set-up and component miss match issues.

Assuming you go with a Ready to Fly, RTF package, use the radio in the RTF package and hold off on the Turnigy 9X, or any other computer radio you might get. There will be time for that. The added complexity of the computer radio may be minor or it may be daunting. In any case, you won't need the features for this first plane.

The simple radios that come in most RTF packages are simple for a reason, they are matched to the plane. And the $ value of the radio is so small that you should not worry about it. I have several radios that sold for over $400, and I sometimes still buy RTF packages for convenience, even today.


The Bixler is a very popular first plane. I have never flown or actually seen one, I hear generally good things about it. As this is an aileron plane it will be quite responsive. In my opinion, that can be a problem for first pilots.

Many first pilots tend to over control which can lead to crashes. So I typically don't recommend aileron planes for self trainers. I recommend Rudder/Elevator planes. the wing design of a R/E plane is different from an aileron plane and tends to be more self righting. That is why I like them for self trainers.


I have heard that there can be some quality issues or consistencies with the Bixler, but that my be a thing of the past. Having never touched one myself I can't say for sure.

The Bixler was, in my opinion, modeled after the Multiplex Easy Star. I have a strong preference for the Multiplex Easy Star, which has been replaced by the Hitec SkyScout. While this is a much higher price package it is based on Hitec brand electroncis and radio. The Easy Star/Sky Scout is hard to break, eash to fix and has been the training platform for many pilots. The newer SkyScout package has a much improved motor. The Easy Star was under powered, but the SkyScout should be much better in this department.


The Firebird Stratos has been getting RAVE reviews as a first plane. The reports have been stellar. I would highly recommend you consider this one. Unlike the Bixler and the SkyScout, the Stratos has wheels so you can do your ground take-off and landings. And it is well supported by Horizon Hobby with spare parts. You should be able to find this one in many hobby stores.


Another favorite of mine is the HobbyZone Super Cub. This is based on the very popular Spektrum radio system. The Super cub is a very stable plane that has landing gear. Unlike the Bixler or the SkyScout, the Super Cub can take off from the ground on wheels.


So there are some things for you to look at. The Bixler is not a bad choice, from what I read but how will you get spare parts if you need them? And how will you get support if you need it? Consider this.

The SkyScout and the Super Cub are proven planes that have taken many new pilots into the sky, successfully. AND, they both have readily available spare parts. That can be a real advantage as compared to some low cost RTF packages. Worth considering.

The Stratos may be your best choice at a low price for a really good trainer that can be purchased at most Hobby Shops that sell RC airplanes. Or you can get it from the Horizon Hobby web site. Spares are readily available.

Some more reading.

> THINGS TO CHECK ON AN RTF
> http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26372

This is more than about radios, but i want you to start to read this free on-line book. Don't try to learn it all in one reading. It will give you a better foundation as you go forward and as we try to help you.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC POWERED FLIGHT
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31368

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Old 02-05-2013, 06:08 AM   #11
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This is a plane which is recomended highly, and that I wish I had bought: http://www.hobbytown.com/Shop/-Ares-Gamma-370-RTF/

Here is a thread on the plane: http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69644

Alot of plane for the money.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:21 PM   #12
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Good suggestions. I'm leaning towards the Stratos because of the price but I like the size of the Super Cub and that it comes with a Spektrum tx/rx. I'll talk with my father in law and she his opinions. I know he really wanted a 6-8 channel radio that we could use for everything. I checked and the expensive shipping on the Turnigy 9x brings the price to around $75 which I think is way too much. Is there any other companies that sell budget radios that are decent in the USA? I was looking at the Spektrum 5dxe but I think it might be a waste since we'll probably need more channels in the future.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:51 PM   #13
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Hey AEAJR hope you will include a list of some kit trainers and a list of second plane recomendations futher in this thread .Some of the new flyers i hope would turn into new builders also. joe
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BlakeL View Post
Good suggestions. I'm leaning towards the Stratos because of the price but I like the size of the Super Cub and that it comes with a Spektrum tx/rx. I'll talk with my father in law and she his opinions. I know he really wanted a 6-8 channel radio that we could use for everything. I checked and the expensive shipping on the Turnigy 9x brings the price to around $75 which I think is way too much. Is there any other companies that sell budget radios that are decent in the USA? I was looking at the Spektrum 5dxe but I think it might be a waste since we'll probably need more channels in the future.
The Spektrum DX5e would be a waste, but not because of the channel count, thought that would be a limitation. Because it has no model memories and almost no mixnig.

Read this article to understand the considerations.

How to select your first radio
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68741

My reason for saying hold off on the first radio purchase is so you will focus on the plane and the flying and not on trying to figure out the radio. Radios are not going away. There are a lot of choices in radios as you will understand after you read the article.

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Old 02-05-2013, 02:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by road king 97 View Post
Hey AEAJR hope you will include a list of some kit trainers and a list of second plane recomendations futher in this thread .Some of the new flyers i hope would turn into new builders also. joe
I will point to several excellent sources for aircraft kits for trainers, more advanced sport planes and gliders. Anything you buy from these sites will be high quality and well supported. There are others, but I know I can recommend these with confidence.

http://www.mountainmodels.com/index....d81400487df250

http://www.stevensaero.com/Model-Air...-p-1-c-15.html

http://www.skybench.com/index.html?

http://www.arthobby.com/

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Old 02-05-2013, 03:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
The Spektrum would be a waste, but not because of the channel count, thought that would be a limitation. Because it has no model memories and almost no mixnig.

Read this article to understand the considerations.

How to select your first radio
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68741

My reason for saying hold off on the first radio purchase is so you will focus on the plane and the flying and not on trying to figure out the radio. Radios are not going away. There are a lot of choices in radios as you will understand after you read the article.
Thanks for the help. I gave my father in law a list of the plans so we'll see what he picks. The Ares Gamma is also a good option since I have a Hobby Lobby pretty close by. The RTF version has a decent 6 channel radio from the looks of it and if we go with the ARF version we can grab the Turnigy 9x and a battery and it will still be under $200.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:26 PM   #17
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Best of luck with whatever you choose. If you do decide to get the Turnigy 9X radio and an ARF, make sure that the included receiver will fit in the plane. The standard receiver is a little big and might be a tight fit in some planes.

Here is a reference thread for you on the Turnigy 9X.

9X - FlySky/iMax/Turnigy/Eurgle FOR DUMMIES
Quick summary that will explain a lot
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1616229

Best of luck. Let us know how you do. And, of course, feel free to ask questions.

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Old 02-05-2013, 04:22 PM   #18
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After trying different radios i finlaly bought a dxm 7 channel and so far i cant find a thing with its programing i cant do. I liked it so much i bought another one. Iam now thinking about the new dxm 8 channel and selling one of my 7's and the 8 will be used for my bigger planes. BTW i sent two recievers back to horrizon servise center to get looked at The one i just wanted checked out after a crash and the other was bad after a real bad one. I told them the badly broke one was my fault and they sent me 2 new recievers free. Try that with hobby king.lol joe
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:08 PM   #19
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Who makes "dxm" radios ? I don't think I've heard of them before.

Steve
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:15 PM   #20
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Spektrum - DSMX is their protocol

www.spektrumrc.com

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Old 02-05-2013, 07:06 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by slipstick View Post
Who makes "dxm" radios ? I don't think I've heard of them before.

Steve
They are sold and serviced by horrizon hobbys and were the very first to relese 2.4 radios if my memory is correct. I think its a side company of JR radio's . joe http://www.horizonhobby.com/browse/p...parts-10001017
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:22 PM   #22
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Ah you mean Spektrum who made DSM, DSM2 and now DSMX....but never anything called DXM. I thought you'd found a new type of radio .

It really helps newcomers if you give them correct information. Googling "dxm" isn't going to be much help to someone just trying to get started .

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Old 02-05-2013, 10:07 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by slipstick View Post
Ah you mean Spektrum who made DSM, DSM2 and now DSMX....but never anything called DXM. I thought you'd found a new type of radio .

It really helps newcomers if you give them correct information. Googling "dxm" isn't going to be much help to someone just trying to get started .

Steve
Yea sorry about that but on other forums i have seen it caled dxm for short i guess .I put the link up even you could figure that out. joe
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:18 PM   #24
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I got into rc aircraft about a year ago. went on the web & found a local shop with the least es about. I had in my head a glider would be nice' but the owner talked me into a super cub by hz. I joined the AMA & joined a club I still crash now & then but boy am I haveing fun
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:29 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by zoltron55 View Post
I got into rc aircraft about a year ago. went on the web & found a local shop with the least es about. I had in my head a glider would be nice' but the owner talked me into a super cub by hz. I joined the AMA & joined a club I still crash now & then but boy am I haveing fun
Gliders are what I fly most of the time so if you want to take another shot at gliders I would be happy to help you.

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