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Old 01-28-2013, 04:47 PM
Old 'N Slow
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 74

Right off the bat - I have nothing to do with BTE, and I've never built one of the kits. But I've seen plenty of them over the years, and I know lots of people in the clubs I belong to that have them. I'm pretty familiar with the Tharpe kits... they've been around for a looooong time.

You want a well thought-out design, quality kit, with decent balsa and ply, name-brand included hardware, USA support - the you can't go wrong with a Tharpe kit.

You WILL succeed in a top-quality build if you follow the clear instructions in the kits - and you get to use your own quality glue, inspect every glue joint while you're building the kit - you get to pick the colour, and you will be in charge of the covering. YOU will have absolute quality control over the finished product, without having to worry about the quality of the material supplied in the kit.

I've built probably 20 planes from kits or plans over 40 years or so. Building and flying your own plane from any decent kit is a completely different experience from buying and flying an ARF. Really, no comparison. And building isn't for everyone. Then again, neither is flying... I know some people who ONLY build, and don't fly. And vice-versa.

A cheap kit will be apparent when you open the box. Poorly cut. The hardware will need replacing. The balsa may be hard/soft/wormy/whatever. Cheap flimsy plywood. You'll see...

A cheap ARF - actually, any ARF - is a mystery. No question, there are some very good ready-to-fly airframes available from many trusted sources these days. But even with a good one, you won't have any idea what's under that covering until you have do do repairs. You won't know how much care was taken with the glue joints, or if the plane was built with decent balsa, or what. That's a lot of trust for the money...

I saw a main spar fail in the wing of a .40-size UGLY STICK ARF on it's maiden flight at the field one day. When we picked up the pieces, the balsa in the main spar - arguably the most important structural member in any aircraft - was about the consistency of white styrofoam - rotten and punky. It appeared that the rest of the balsa joints in the plane had been done with what looked like hot glue or something like GOOP - no glue penetration into the wood at all. Whoever built that plane, saw that, and just didn't care, for whatever reason. But that plane sure was pretty when new...

If you buy that BTE kit, rest assured, you will get what you paid for. I'm a firm believer that everyone should build at least one kit, just to see how a model plane is put together.

Of course, foamies are a different story altogether...

Just my opinion.
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