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Old 04-21-2012, 10:47 PM
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CPTOZZY
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I'm looking forward to gettingback into RC airplanes after I return from deployment . It has been a Loooong time since I built or flew anything, and all I remember from my youth was 3 or 4 channel radio's (and rubber band power). I have seen Ads for on a Futaba 7C 2.4 Ghz FAAST and I have some true newbie questions:

Why would you need 7 Channels for (elevator, rudder, aelerons, engine, wheel retraction, ??, ???)

What is FAAST?

could I use one radio (such as the Futaba 7C) for both Glow and Electric?

Glow vs Gas Vs Electric - Pro's & Cons??

I now have the Great Planes RealFlight simulator to practice, any recommendations for my first plane and/or Radio?

Thanks

CPT Ozzy
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Old 04-21-2012, 11:35 PM
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Radios:

7 channels is about the norm for mid range radios. In addition to the common 4 channels (elevator, rudder, ailerons and throttle), additonal channels can be used for flaps, retracts and other functions. Some really big scale aircraft may actually require two people with two 12 - 14 channel radios. 7 channel radios will serve most pilots and are medium priced. Also, with some of the high performance aerobatic planes with digital recievers, mulitple channels may be used for elevators and ailerons too.

The technology has changed in the last few years with the advent of spread spectrum operating in the 2.4ghz unlicensed range. The 2.4 radios no longer use fixed channels, which used to require pilots to coordnate their activity with other pilots that operated on the same channel. The new radios 'bind' (establish communications) to a specific receiver so multiple radios can be used at the same time without interference. Different radio manufacturers have adopted variations on the technology FAAST is the name of the system that Futaba uses. Any transmitter can bind to any reciever using the same tecnology.

Yes, you can use 1 radio for both gas and glow. There are often a selection of recievers that can be used too, from lightweight parkflyer recievers to larger, multi antenna recievers with more channels.

As for which brand, it comes down to more of an issue of what feels right for you. Radios have different features and often have different feels in your hands. If you have a hobby shop with a variety of radios, ask to be able to hold a few to see what works for you. When your choice is narrowed down, ask around about the specific radios you're looking at. In general, all the major brands make pretty good radios.

Tipically, small electrics are the cheapest way to get into RC. Glow is most ecinomical in the mid size planes, and gas is the most ecinomical for larger planes.

Electrics is the area where the biggest advancements are being made. This is due to the new battery classes now available. The most commonly used of these new batteries are the Lithium Polimer, or LoPos as they are called. These batteries have much more power for their weight than any of the older tecnologies, NiCad, Nimh. They do require more care in operation and charging as they can overheat and become damaged or even catch fire. They must be charged with chargers specifically designed for them and charge times are longer. The problem has been cost. This becomes significant once you start getting into planes that are above about 6 lbs. Costs are dropping, and both motors and batteries have been improving. You can now go electric even with large high performance planes, but the larger, the price really starts to rise.

For a first plane, I strongly suggest joining a club. Most clubs have an instruction program and many offer the lessons on club trainers. Next step (or concurent step) would be to get a high wing trainer. Generally speaking, larger planes are easier to fly. A trainer with about a 50"-60" wingspan running a .40 size glow or equivalent electric would make a good first plane. If cost is a real constraint, then you might consider a park flyer. Get recommendations from a club instructor or others here on RCU on a good park flyer for learning.

I really think that the flight simulators are also a great investment, but there's a lot of areas that they come up short for learning. They are good for practicing manuvers, but they cannot teach proper setup, safe operation, maintenance, engine tuning, rules and field etiquette. These are best learned with a club instructor and fellow club members. A club instructor will save you money as most people who try to learn on their own will usually crash within the first 30 seconds on their first flight (or second, 3rd, 4th,...).

Wecome to the hobby

Scott
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:53 AM
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Thanks Scott - Good Information. Once I get back to the USA I will definitely try to find a local club - Alas for now I will have to keep myself happy with my computer simulator, although a helicopter may fit in my duffle bag.............
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:05 AM
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Welcome!
Good summation above.
I will add that if you have an "older" transmitter on the 72 mhz band it is still usable even though the 2.4 is more desirable. Many fliers still use 72 but it really depends where you will be flying and what interference you will encounter. This is where joining a local club comes in .
If you have nothing and need everything I would recommend either a used high wing nitro powered trainer plane like a Kadet, Tower Trainer, etc.. and you can find them ready to fly sometimes with the plane, engine,transmitter,receiver, flight box, starter,battery and charger for under $225.00.
If price is not a concern or if you want "new" you could try a ready to fly foam airplane like an [link=http://www.e-fliterc.com/products/default.aspx?prodid=efl2725]Eflite Apprentice [/link]. It's easy to fly and repair plus it's something you can use for awhile as you become more experienced. You can get a few extra batteries along with the plane for about $350.00.
Lot's of options out there and a lot of pitfalls too. As stated it's best to hang around some local clubs talk to the members and find one that suits you. If you can find one with friendly helpful folks(I'm sure you will) you will have it made as someone there will help guide you and get you started properly.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:33 AM
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All good info !!! But I do suggest that you get with a club before you do anything other than the sim.

Reasons : 1. You will find out what is compatable with the folks you will be working with. ie radios, motors / engines , other equipment.
1 a. You will be able to figure out what you really want to do in our sport : Elect. glow ,gas, helo, gliders etc. etc.
2. You will probably find an instructor that you are compatible with.

3. Chanches are you will meet a good group to spend time with.

4. Probably You will join the AMA and get good info from them plus insurance and someone that tries to keep our stupid government ( and others ) from taking our sport away from us .

I'm mostly glow but this year I have had almost only electric students. I now have a little different view of electric , some good some bad . Most of the bad is against the pilots , I can put up with new systems.

If you decide on Electric , the Apprentice is a good trainer and once you can fly it can do a lot of Neat stuff. I do suggest that you get a plug & play instead of their RTF set up. That way you can use the radio you decide you want instead of the cheepie that goes with the RTF. My opinion !! ENJOY !!! RED
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:13 AM
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JohnBuckner
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First before anything please let me thank you for your service!

The #2 post by saramos covers all the key points very well indeed an do some rereading of that post.

I only wish to add that networking and finding a mentor (instructor) is vital to realizing the dream and this is normally done at an organized club not always but its worth finding a club.

One other item and this is on your radio system, don,t make the mixtake of buying entry level equipment if you wish to progress in the hobby/sport. I say this to all my students to always buy the most capable radio systems they can afford. Most who buy minimum entry stuff almost invaribly if they stay in the hobby are soon shopping for new equipment.

John
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:11 AM
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Thanks -

It seems like a 7 Channel unit should meet my needs for the forseeable future. I found thisFutaba 7C 7ch 2.4 GHz FASST on Amazon, andI think this will meet myradio needs related to my short term goal to learn (play with)Helicopter flighthere in my restricted space, and my long-term goal of getting fully into fixed wing once I get back Home.

http://www.amazon.com/Futaba-FASST-Airplane-Radio-Servos/dp/B0015UM7R8/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1P0Z3Y7ETA3M2 &colid=52RA5DY6IHP8

Am I on Target?

Thanks guys - I really appreciate your expertise !
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:47 AM
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You are On Target

A very capable system that will serve well with many venues, disciplines and I say that even though I am a Hitec user.

John
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