Xie xie! For my hobby! (Thank you China for my hobby!)
I was thinking about some things today and one was how I got started in this hobby. I never could have were it not for the way things work in China. (Yes I am American).
I bought originally "Beginner Planes" which seemed to take over a football field to turn around in, and would require a trip to the hobby shop or the trash can with each less-than-perfect landing... I'm simply so glad that that no longer represents my hobby.
My first successful plane was a $100 RTF Extra 300 (Nine Eagles). Lasted all of 10 seconds. BUT this plane I glued back together, popped back on the prop, and flew it for 20 seconds the next day! I never bought anything for it, and must have repeated this procedure 50 or 60 times before I could stay aloft until the battery forced me down. I learned in 30, 40, 50 second bursts over well over 100 crashes and basically replaced one prop. (probably 3 bottles of glue, and 20 or so toothpicks.)
The Lipo battery, 2.4ghz, EPO, EPP foam processes, and cheap electronics make planes like that possible.
Thank you China!
* RTF Cessna Trainer - (Radio, Battery, Plane) - $39
* RTF 4 Channel Heli - (V911) - $29
* RTF Quad (V929) - $35
* RTF Video Platform with Light HD Camera (V959) - $79
* RTF 4 Channel Aerobatic Plane (Mini-Air)- $55
* 55 inch trainer ARF (Bixler) - $59
* 50 inch 3D Capable Aerobatic EPO PNF (Nitroplanes) - $120
* 73 inch 30cc 3D ARF (Nirtoplanes) - $180
* 9 Channel programmable radio supporting JR modules - Turnigy 9XR - $50
* Under $50 FBL systems for helis!!!
Quality in this industry has always been based on, and compared by support when things go wrong. Buy from China directly, and expect nothing in terms of support. You may be pleasently suprised! (For me that matched my LHS anyway... 1 hour drive away... 5-8% chance they'd have MY part when I needed it, at least after the first month or so of selling the item...) My dealings with Hobbyking, and even Banggood were suprisingly good. Many orders behind me and I had one problem from each. Both companies resolved the issue.
* Banggood replaced the item in return for photos of the problem.
* Hobbyking did warranty work and credited me for the item. (Even after I had made modifications to it changing the firmware)
* Even one purchase from an individual from china over Ebay resulted in a more than fair remedy. (sent me the missing parts)
Other LHS's I visited, even stocked the FMS and Hobbyking parts now, which I think is AWESOME!
I think in most cases, the LHS gear is comparable to the direct from china options, just more expensive... I ALSO think that some manufacturers go the extra mile and produce things you can't get anywhere else at any price range! (Precision Aerobatics, Extremeflight, and 3DHS to name a few.) I can understand the decisions to go with any specific manufacturer as well.
I love my approach though. I buy everything now as if it is "Cost is No Object" When you take that approach, it is easy to justify the "Its $40 and it might work." from an unfamiliar source, so you guys would get an absolute kick out of what is in my stable.
Trex 450 clone that was "RTF" (haha)- $55 ebay.
* Did FBL conversion (Tarot) and got a Fusno canopy.
* Replace the motor (technically a downgrade) to boost flight time.
* End result - Doubt I would sell it for $500 now. Love that Frankenstein thing.
Parkzone Extra 300 (3 flights.)
Dynam SU-26 w/h OrangeRX - Over 100 Flights (Favorite foamy!)
Extremeflight (x2) Yak and Edge - One 100% HK, one 100% recommended.
* Both fly awesome! but the "Expensive" gear I'd buy again is the Airframe and the Torque motor. (I'll pass on the Hitec servos and Airboss ESC because of negligible difference from the Turnigy.)
5 x Turnigy 9XR radios (Flysky, OrangeRX and Tactic Tx-R modules)
* They fly my whole hangar! (Me and all family members fly.) I was considering scrimping and saving for 5 DX7's prior to that. Got one. It didn't suck... Heck it was pretty awesome!!! Never looked back at spektrum.
Why did I pick Extremeflight? Local, Georgia based company, so drove there and popped in. Why would I stick with em? I plowed into Tera firma on my maiden and nothing broke. (Heck I expected Tissue and Toothpicks to be left.) Read back over PA and 3DHS.... Common thread - They use Balsa, Ply and CARBON FIBER INSIDE THE PLANE!!! (Now I know why.... AWESOME JOB GUYS!!!)
This was just my little rant... Hope it is at least entertaining. This is an awesome hobby I am having a blast with!