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Suggested plane for 11 yr old boy for xmas

Old 12-07-2007, 03:16 PM
  #1  
Lynn39
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Default Suggested plane for 11 yr old boy for xmas

Hello,

My son wants an electric plane for xmas. Which sounds good to me, he usually wants video games. We don't have any experience with flying at all. We went into local Hobbyshop, they suggested Hobbyzone Firebird Fantom and Firebird Freedom. What do you think about these planes for someone with no experience? I have read a few posts and I see that their is alot of recommendations for the Air Hogs Aero Ace for beginners. The problem with that is I think my son would be disappointed after seeing the bigger planes, that the AA looks like a little kids toy. I should have come here first!

My son did play with their flight sim for quite awhile, They thought he did great with that, me not so good:o

Any suggestions? Thanks..
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:54 PM
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wilmracer
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I started with a hobbyzone super cub and it worked out great for me. Cheap parts and easy to fix... most important thing for a beginner plane IMHO. Just make sure he fights the urge to fly on windy days until he has it figured out. I actually just gave the cub to a 12 year old who wanted to learn to fly. Gave them a quick lesson and from what I hear it is still in one peice and flying a few weeks later.

Do you have anyone with RC experience to help you the first time out? If so you and your son stand a much better chance of success on the first few flights. Might want to ask the hobby shop if there are any clubs in your area. Most guys are really nice and happy to help a beginner.
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Old 12-07-2007, 05:17 PM
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peter_ashland
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Those are both poor choices. For those styles of planes there are better ones. But I would not think any of them are good for an 11 year old.

Flying is not like video games where you just hit start after you crash. With most planes you only get a few crashes before the plane needs serious repair and that is usually beyond the skill level and patients of an 11 year old. Plus you have to charge planes for a long time and then you only get 10-15min of flying.

The AeroAce biplanes and the F16 are fun to fly and very hard to break from flying into things. I would get him a fleet of planes and a bunch of batteries. That way he can charge and fly continuously and not have to worry so much about crashing and repairing.
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:12 PM
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dean
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i have a bunch of plans 2 of witch ar hobbyzon supper cubs and love them sempel and easy to repar. thay ar the easyt plan to flay i have. but wate for com day to start
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by peter_ashland View Post
Those are both poor choices. For those styles of planes there are better ones. But I would not think any of them are good for an 11 year old.

Flying is not like video games where you just hit start after you crash. With most planes you only get a few crashes before the plane needs serious repair and that is usually beyond the skill level and patients of an 11 year old. Plus you have to charge planes for a long time and then you only get 10-15min of flying.

I really don't think the HobbyZone pod & boom planes are a great choice for a beginner as young as your son either. Most of them have high wing loading compared to typical trainers, and as a result need to fly with a fair amount of speed.

I started my 5yo son on a GWS Pico Stick F this summer. His first day out, he crashed it maybe 5 or 6 times. And because it's so light and slow, the only damage it sustained was a slightly bent prop shaft, and that could have been prevented if had used a prop saver. The power system has since been upgraded from the stock IPS, to a 12mm Hyperion brushless motor, and he still enjoys cruising it around on the weekends. I put a 1050mAh 7.4V lipo in the plane, and it can cruise around for 30+ minutes on a single charge. In fact, most of his flying sessions end because he gets bored, not because his battery runs low.
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:24 PM
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Here is my 2cents.

Get a slow stick and get a simulator setup. Also, spend a few bucks for brushless on the slow stick. I got a cheap cable for FMS and borrowed an old radio from a friend and that is what I use for the kids. They also like the variety of wacky models available with FMS.

This is what I have done with my 8 and 12 yr old and they can both solo the stick...only after a bunch of simulator time.

Kids really like to crash stuff...unfortunately adults don't have the time to keep up with fixes. Let them crash on the computer and then they can focus on "flying" outside.

Depending on the child they might find the stress of trying to keep a plane in the air for 5-10 minutes too much. My 8yr old likes to fly for a few minutes and then wants to hand the controls over. Flying looks fun to a kid until they are actually doing it!


Cheers
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:53 PM
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Hi Lynn,

You have probably read the responses you have gotten and are totally confused by the terms "brushless motors", "1050mAh 7.4V lipo ", etc. Don't worry, there are ways to avoid these words.

I'm a 21 year old "kid" and I had trouble with the Firebird Phantom. DO NOT get those Firebird planes. They break fairly easily, and fly pretty fast for a beginner plane. Be aware that the hobby shop might really be trying to sell you a plane...and maybe another one once the first one is destroyed. But don't get me wrong, some shops are very very good.

I would say get the Aero Ace biplane ($20-30) or another Air Hogs plane. Its a blast, and indestructible. That will keep him busy outside. When he's inside, download the FMS flight simulator (just google it, you should find it) and its free! You might need a controller with dual-joystick, like a playstation controller. Those work the best. Once he gets better at that, upgrade to a bigger plane.

The hobbyzone supercub sounds like one of the best "bigger" planes to start on if he demands a bigger (but more expensive!) plane to start on. I hear the Slow Stick is good too.

In summary, the small Aero Ace wont break, and will teach him the basics that he needs to move up to larger planes. When the plane is flying back towards you, everything seems backwards (i.e. thumb goes right, plane goes left), and this takes some time to get used to. The simulator and the aero ace will teach him without destroying an expensive plane. The Aero Ace will also fly in a backyard, so you dont have to go down to a big field to fly.

I hope I put that in more simple terms for you. You don't have to worry about lipos and brushless motors. Well, not yet anyway! Soon he'll be hooked on RC like the rest of us here!
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:58 PM
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Stick with the SuperCub suggestion.

For a first time flyer, it's the easiest to learn on. It comes with EVERYTHING he needs, except spare parts

And speaking of spare parts, you can usually find everything it would take to completely rebuild the plane, one piece at a time, at the local hobby shop, and most certainly online.

SuperCub SuperCub SuperCub!

I suppose a link to the plane would be a help too...

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...ProdID=HBZ7100
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:06 PM
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Hi,

I started out buying a 'Phantom' and completely destroyed it without getting any air time.... It was an expensive waste of time!
These planes are absolutely not for learning with.

I then bought a Kyosho Minium micro plane.... Superb if space is limited.
Then I moved up to a Slo-V which is easy to fly if you have plenty of space (A soccer field size, or more).

Good luck!

p.s. My 9 year old son has a Silverlit bi-plane (Air Hogs in the USA) and loves it.
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

SuperCub SuperCub SuperCub!
Although the super cub is definitely a great trainer, I'm just thinking that the Supercub might be kind of expensive to start out on, especially for a fairly young guy. I wouldn't want him to crash it (or Mom say, sorry we can't afford to buy you a new $150 dollar plane) and give up on the hobby.

Something like the Aero Ace is only like $30 max, and its enough to learn the basics, without having to learn how to use epoxy first. It should get him hooked on flying, then have the thumb coordination to step up to the Supercub. I would agree that the supercub is definitely the way to go, but maybe just not yet.

It would be up to Mom to decide whether he could handle the cub or not. She says he plays a lot of video games, so maybe he would be fine...
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:18 PM
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Leo L
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Hi Lynn,

I'm glad that you came here for help before rushing out to buy a plane. First, to respond to your request for information on theplanes that were recommended by your local hobby shop. DO NOT buy the Firebird Freedom. Although its advertised as a great beginner plane, its actually only suited for intermediate flyers; flyers that already have considerable experience. If you do a search of the threads regarding this plane, you will find plenty of information, mostly negative. The Firebird Phantom is not a bad plane, particularly if you have a fairly limited flying area, but it has a weak spot in the construction of the tail boom, which tends to break fairly easily. There are much better planes for a beginner.

By most flyers' experience, the two best beginner planes are the HobbyZone SuperCub: http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...ProdID=HBZ7100
and the Multiplex EasyStar: http://www.hobby-lobby.com/easystar.htm
My preference is the SuperCub because it has landing gear, which means that it can take off from the ground and land in a controlled manner, rather than having to be hand-launched; and because it loks like a real plane.

Other good beginner planes, but not as good as these two, are the Aerobird3, T-hawk, Wingo, SkyFly, SloStick and Slow-V. if you aren;t sure if your son will really be interested in flying, or your budget is too limited for these planes, the AirHogs AeroAce is a fine choice to start him on. You can buy it at Toys-R-Us, Target, Walmart, etc. for around $30. However, be sure that its the AeroAce. AirHogs makes a number of other models, but they are not worth it; only get the AeroAce. It comes in several body styles, which are all good flyers.

Which ever plane you select, do a search of the forums and find out more details about it. Also, get some basic information to help your son on his first flights. Here is a link to some great info:http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18

(P.S.: get him the SuperCub!)
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:23 PM
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Kids that play video games all the time have the hand eye coordination that most of us lacked when we started. They also do better with orientation coming and going, than at least I did.

I have seen people that never picked up a transmitter fly a supercub right out of the box.

The whole thing is made of foam. I haven't seen one break yet, but even if it did, you wouldn't be buying the whole thing, you might spend 20 bucks on a new wing, I think the fuse costs the same. Hot glue will fix most breaks. The most common damage is the propeller, another cheap fix.

The airhogs are fun, but I think an 11 year old would get bored with it quickly.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:29 PM
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I would go with the supercub, but remember to turn the ACT (anti crash technology, or as some call it automatic crash technology) because it can take over during a crucial moment and crash the plane. So long as he does a bit of time on the sim, and has patience and self control an 11 year old should have no trouble with the cub. Just make sure he understands how fragile these can be, and that they are not cheap.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:43 AM
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Here's a $20 sim controller for FMS. It's what I use and it works great. Looks like you have plenty of good plane suggestions.

Maybe start with the Air Hogs and a sim and then let him decide between a Cub or Slow Stik. You can find similar models of both planes for download to FMS.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:47 AM
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That sim controller is GREAT!

I bought one for a friend, and took a few minutes to try it out.

FMS is better than I remember it as well.

Definitely the way to go.
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Old 12-08-2007, 04:14 AM
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Toys R Us has the Fastlane Raptor. Buy one in white. Made by the same company that makes Aero Ace; same materials, same controls, etc. It's just bigger. It's nice because it doesn't look like a toy. But, like the Aero Ace, it's nearly indestructable.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:51 PM
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Lynn39
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Wow, I didn't expect so much help! You guys are great! I think I have come up with a plan. I'm gonna stay away from the firebirds. I have a couple of family members asking what to get him. One of them can get an Aero Ace, we will get the supercub. I'm hoping I can convince him to practice with the AA first, maybe I will show him this thread after xmas, he will believe you guys more than me .

I will also download the FMS. I have a mac and an old computer, it doesn't work with mac, not sure how well it will work on my old computer.

Thanks again and we will probably be back with questions on how to fix a plane
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:29 PM
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It should work fine on the older computer.

You will need to buy that $20 controller that smokejohnson has suggested.

The program is real basic, I was playing with it last night. But it will get him used to how the plane will react to his inputs on the transmitter.

You can't go wrong with the AA. It is a fun plane to play with. Before he flies it though, tape a penny to the nose of it. They need just that extra little bit of weight to fly well.

For the Mac, THIS program will work... http://crrcsim.sourceforge.net/


It is even more basic than FMS, it's limited in what models you can fly, and you only have to flying areas to choose from, but, it WILL work on a Mac.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Lynn39 View Post
I have a couple of family members asking what to get him. One of them can get an Aero Ace, we will get the supercub.
Wow, lucky guy. I hope thats what I get for christmas!
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:52 PM
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Sounds like a good plan Lynn. Moy boy just turned 12 and has been flying now for a couple of years. The young ones seem to pick it up very quick. It'll help tons if you can find a club and get with a good instructor. The sims are great but what an instructor can teach you goes way beyond that.

Here is a vid of my son flying a plane similar to the Supercub called the GWS Estarter. He had just turned 11 when we made this.

http://rcuvideos.com/item/D7NLQW459LD3WQMP
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:31 AM
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Hey, I was in your shoes two years ago! I went with the T-Hawk from ReadyToFlyFun and it has worked out great... easy to fly and rugged (we haven't needed the included spare wing yet). Folks with more experience will argue the fine points of this or that trainer, but the T-Hawk has been a fun and positive experience for my son. We're moving up to a Multiplex Space Scooter this year.

Incidentally the advice to train on a simulator is absolutely invaluable... I am convinced that FMS cut weeks and many heartbreaks off my son's learning time. He soloed on our first outing and ran thru both battery packs twice without anything resembling a crash... I'm sure it would've been a different story without the several hours on the sim (with the downloaded T-Hawk model) for practice.

Eddy
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Lynn39 View Post
Hello,

My son wants an electric plane for xmas. Which sounds good to me, he usually wants video games. We don't have any experience with flying at all. We went into local Hobbyshop, they suggested Hobbyzone Firebird Fantom and Firebird Freedom. What do you think about these planes for someone with no experience? I have read a few posts and I see that their is alot of recommendations for the Air Hogs Aero Ace for beginners. The problem with that is I think my son would be disappointed after seeing the bigger planes, that the AA looks like a little kids toy. I should have come here first!

My son did play with their flight sim for quite awhile, They thought he did great with that, me not so good:o

Any suggestions? Thanks..
*****************

Hi Lynn,

I agree with the other posts that flight simulation is a good idea.

As far as the choice of plane... Simply put, there is only one best seller for beginners and that is the HobbyZone Super Cub. It has the best reputation for beginning pilots.

An experienced pilot will tell you that the larger the plane, the greater stability it has in any wind. The high-wing planes are proven more stable because of having a lower center of gravity with the fuselage under the wing, much like a keel on a sailboat.

The HobbyZone Super Cub is available from www.diversionhobbies.com for about $120.00 including shipping (it may depend on distance) delivered by FedEx.

I would encourage you to supervise his flying the larger plane as it does require more space; I recommend at least two soccer fields wide, without obstacles. If any flag is blowing greater than at a 45 degree angle to its pole, it's too windy to fly... the motor will not be strong enough to fly the plane, causing the plane to be blown back and likely crash.

I speak from personal experience. I have owned two Firebird Phantoms and three Aerobird 3 models. The Super Cub can fly slower with greater ease. The key is to give your son a fun time flying -- successfully. He can learn to build after he experiences the excitement of flight, unless he's more the builder type, in which case a kit plane may be a better choice.

The Super Cub is simple... comes complete with a DVD and is ready to fly when charged and prepped, which is a very short time... no glues, no mess, no fuss. Some pilots put a strip of clear packing tape across the wing and along the edges for extra support.

Hope this helps.

Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:25 PM
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since we're giving flying tips...

flying higher is better. staying close to the ground is not safer, it leaves you with less room to fix a mistake.

practice flying slow and level while up high, and then work your way back down, until you're able to fly just over the ground while staying level. then practice touching the wheels, giving it full throttle, and flying again. then you can practice landing.
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Old 12-10-2007, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by firemanbill View Post
Here is a vid of my son flying a plane similar to the Supercub called the GWS Estarter. He had just turned 11 when we made this.

http://rcuvideos.com/item/D7NLQW459LD3WQMP
He's moved on pretty well from there too. Flies the stryker like its part of him.

I did think it was great in that video, 1min, 40 secs in, Where we all get to see why you almost took him out with the airliner, I'll bet you were jumping on that take off, lol.


FM makes a great point about flying high. My son and I went out yesterday flying. I would take the plane up about 100' or so and fly at that altitude and try any tricks I wanted up there, once I got below 50' or so the only purpose was to land (well there was one weak hover attempt- hehe). I could fly as long as the battery let me like that. When he flew there was constant chatter from me "Up Up Up, ok kill throttle and lets relaunch" I could never get him to fly UP. He did get 1 run up about 75 or so feet, but brought it down cause he was afraid of control loss. Hard to help them understand control range, his comment was "I just feel helpless that high up". He'll get used to it as it took me a while to learn as well.
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:55 PM
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Thanks Paul, Yeah he does do very well. And maybe the Airliner was just a tad bit of payback!:p
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