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Good First Planes

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Old 11-10-2003, 03:38 PM
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Default Good First Planes

Jason Beach suggested that I start a pinup thread on good trainer planes. Excellent idea, IMHO.

This thread is dedicated to those planes which make good first planes for newbie fliers, what you need to fly them, and what's needed to make them fly even better. I'm going to be adding content as we go along, so if you have any suggestions, please PM me. Post any questions regarding these setups right to the forum; that's what it's there for

Transmitters: One of the first choices you're going to need to make on many of these planes is what transmitter to buy. You can spend a little, or you can spend a mint. What's important is to buy a transmitter that's a good fit for your budget, and where you plan on going with the hobby in the future. A simple, inex*****ve 4-channel transmitter like the GWS "Dream Starter" will run you less than $40. A popular high-end choice for electric fliers is the Hitec Eclipse 7 with Spectra Module. This computer radio offers seven model memories, "shift select," and a synthesized frequency module, allowing you to fly any brand of receiver on any channel. On the high end of the spectrum are the Futaba 9C and JR 8103.

Chargers: Another important choice to make is with the charger. Many newbies want a charger that can be plugged in to an AC outlet. That should not be a priority. DC power supplies are inexpensive, and having a separate power supply means you don't have to lug extra weight to the field when you want to charge up between flights.

Important features to have on a charger are peak detection (automatically knows when the battery is charged), the capability of charging NiCd and NiMH batteries, and the ability to charge up to 8 cells, or more. Two inexpensive options are the Hitec CG340 and the GWS MC2002. Both retail at right around $40. It's also important to realize that these chargers normally do not come with the charge leads to connect your battery packs to the charger. There's nothing more frustrating than getting all the parts together only to find out that you can't charge the pack because you're missing the charge lead! Make note of the type of connector on your battery pack, and buy an extra "mate" for it so you can make up your own charge lead.
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Old 11-10-2003, 03:49 PM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

First up in our cavalcade of excellent trainers is the GWS Slow Stick. This has to be the most-recommended first plane on online forums, for good reason. It's CHEAP ($35 for the kit with motor and prop). It's easy to build. It's easy to fly. It's tough. More people have learned to fly, on their own, with the GWS Slow Stick than I care to count.

The nice thing about GWS is that they provide flight packs for their planes. These flight packs include the receiver, electronic speed control, servos, and a battery. You only need to buy a transmitter, receiver crystal, battery charger, and charge lead to have a complete, ready-to-fly airplane.

Most local hobby shops carry the GWS line of airplanes. A sure sign is if they have Hangar 9 products in stock. This means they're a Horizon Hobby dealer, and can order the GWS Slow Stick and all the parts that you need. If they give you lip, send 'em to me

Besides a transmitter and charger (see above), here's what you need for the GWS Slow Stick:

1. GWS Slow Stick Kit: GWS1040
2. GWS Slow Stick Flight Pack: GWS2080 (for JR or Airtronics transmitters) or GWS2085 (for Hitec or Futaba transmitters)
3. GWS Pico Receiver Crystal: GWSXFRM**, where ** is the channel number of the transmitter you bought.

Hopups: The stock battery for the Slow Stick is a 6-cell, 7.2 Volt pack. A cheap and simple hopup for the Slow Stick is a 7 cell (8.4 Volt) or 8 cell (9.6 Volt) battery.
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Old 11-10-2003, 04:04 PM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

If you're looking for a plane for a younger pilot, or aren't looking to spend a lot of money, the Hobby Zone Firebird series seems to be another popular choice amongst forum cruisers. The advantage to the Firebirds are that they come with EVERYTHING you need to fly: transmitter, plane, battery, and charger.

Typically, these planes have rudder and throttle control, which teaches good habits. Throttle is what makes ANY plane go up and down, not elevator.

With the limited control, though, you may grow bored of the plane quickly after sorting out your right from your left in the air. When flying for the first few times, make sure you have lots and lots of open space around, and light winds. As you grow accustomed to the plane, you might find challenge in flying the plane in smaller areas, or in windier conditions. Some of the planes also have optional "Sonic Combat Modules" so you and a friend can have mock dogfights.

The current version of the Firebird series is the Firebird Commander. Hobby Zone also markets a similar plane called the Aerobird Challenger. It gives you elevator control in addition to rudder and throttle, and is a good step up from the Firebird.

Firebirds and Aerobirds are available at many hobby shops, and top out at about $150 for an Aerobird Challenger.
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Old 11-11-2003, 08:06 AM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

I'm going to try adding a new plane to this list each day. As always, pop me a PM if you have any input!

Today's addition is the Hitec SkyScooter Pro 2. If you decide this is the plane for you, make sure the one you buy is the Pro 2 version, with the 3-channel radio, gearbox, and large-diameter propeller. The original Pro version didn't have a gearbox, and did not fly well in its stock form. The original SkyScooter has a gearbox and big prop, but no throttle...

The SkyScooter Pro 2 is another preassembled, ready-to-fly rig like the Aerobird/Firebird planes. However, there is a major difference. The radio equipment is all standard micro gear, perfect for transfer over to another small plane.

Another major difference is the fact that this plane has ailerons. As I've said many times, there's nothing "harder" about flying a plane with ailerons versus flying a plane with a rudder. On a beginner plane like this one, you won't be able to tell the difference.

One major issue with the 'Scooter is the included charger. It's a cheap timer-controlled device that has been known to not charge the battery properly. You generally need to run the battery through two cycles to get it charged properly. If it were me buying the plane, I would pick up one of the two peak-detect chargers I mentioned earlier in this thread. Luckily, the included charger isn't worth much so you don't feel bad about essentially throwing it away.

An advantage to the 'Scooter is that it's made of some fairly flexible foam. I've flown my dad's into a tree, then crashed it straight into the ground with no damage. Even if you do manage to damage the plane, a little 5-minute epoxy is all it takes to put it back together.

Pretty much everything you need is included for about $169. It's not an item normally kept in stock at local hobby shops, though. Ask around; some may be able to order it for you. There are also many online sources of this plane, including many RCU sponsors.

Hopups: Again, a cheap and quick upgrade is a battery pack with an additional cell. I believe the stock Pro 2 version comes with a 7-cell pack. An 8th cell will give you a ~30% power boost.

People have been known to install a brushless motor in the plane. It makes the plane go like stink and gives it impressive aerobatic capabilities, but it costs more to upgrade to brushless than the plane cost in the first place...

Taping over the underside of the wing to change it from an undercambered airfoil to a flat-bottom cleans the plane up somewhat and makes it a bit faster and more aerobatic. It might be worth a try once you get the hang of flying.

Not really a hopup, but the plane comes as bare foam. You can paint it up with any color scheme you want using foam-safe paints such as Tamiya acrylics from a local hobby shop.
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Old 11-13-2003, 02:54 PM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

Maybe you're looking for something a little bigger? Jason Beach contributed this write-up on a simple foam-n-tape trainer from a JK Aerotech, the T-52:

The JK Aerotec T-52, it's all foam and flies more like a traditional .40 size trainer. It flies very solidly with no bad habbits, and is very durable for those less than perfect landings.
I used a geared Mag Mayhem setup with a 6 cell sub-C batt pack. Though not a power house, it was a good flyer and wasn't flying on the edge of a stall all the time. I'd suggest a geared 400 with an 8cell KAN 1050 or similar. I believe the weight savings with this setup would make the plane fly even better.
Editor's note: I believe the gear ratio on the Speed 400 motor is 3:1 and the propeller size is 10x6.

For $35 it's a good plane.
You can buy just the kit, or they offer a combo deal with battery pack, ESC, motor, prop, and pushrods. I would recomend that you put a gearbox on this rather than stick with direct drive.

Other things you'll need (other than radio and charger):

1. Reciever. I would recomend something a bit more dependable than the GWS 4ch rx. This is a fairly large parkflyer and you'll use a bit more room.
Editor's note: A popular choice for larger planes is the Hitec 555 receiver, the Hitec HFS-04MG, or the Hitec Electron. The GWS receivers have a fairly limited range, and are best used in small park fliers that won't be flown very far away.

2. 2 Servo's. I used GWS Picco's in mine, but would suggest something a bit bigger, I stripped a couple of the Picco's in crashes that I think larger servos would have held up fine. This plane has no problem packing the extra weight.
Editor's note: A poular choice here are Hitec HS-81 micro servos. Don't let the term "micro" confuse you. Compared to the tiny park flier servos you may be familiar with, they're quite large. Still, they're about half the size of a standard servo, and about an ounce lighter.

3. Landing gear if you want it. This is personal preference. This plane belly lands easily.

4. A speed control. You will want one with at least a 15 Amp continuous capacity, if not 20 Amps.

5. Motor & gearbox. The recommended setup is a 6V Speed 400 motor. Don't get confused by the 6V. It does not indicate how many Volts the motor can handle for electric flight. People routinely run 9.6 Volts through these motors, and they hold up for 50-100 flights. There are many gearboxes available that will give you ratios near 3:1.

6. Battery. Definitely run 8 cells. You will not be happy otherwise. A pack made from one of the popular 2/3A cells is perfect. Don't worry about all these letters and numbers, 2/3A is just the size of the cell. It's the same diameter as an A cell, but only 2/3 as long. An A cell is slightly bigger than a AA cell, just like a AA cell is slightly bigger than a AAA cell. One popular choice for 2/3A cells is the "KAN1050." Again, don't worry, that's just the brand/model of the cell. It's no different than saying "Mitsubishi Zero."

Hopups:
When you get the hang of flying this plane, you can go to the next level easily by adding ailerons.
Editor's note: Adding ailerons is pretty simple. The ailerons can be simple flat strips of balsa, taped to the wing with the same packing tape you used to cover it, and the servo can be embedded in the top center section of the wing.

Modify the wing to take the dehidral out. This will help with aerobatics.

Other hopups include motor upgrades, wing mods, lightening, etc.
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:33 AM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

The next couple of planes I'm going to list here are more traditional trainer-type planes, and it's highly recommended that if you decide to go this route, you find yourself an experienced instructor to help you. These aren't park fliers, either, so you'll need to find a large field of several acres to fly these in. You will probably want to seek out a local R/C flying club for both the instructor and the field.

On to the plane:

About a year ago, Hobbico released a new electric trainer, called the Superstar EP, EP for electric power, of course. It comes in two versions:

1. An ARF, almost ready to fly version. The major building is all complete, and the plane is sanded and covered. Some minor assembly is required, plus you need to purchase and install the radio equipment yourself.
2. An RTF, ready to fly version. The motor, speed control, and radio all come installed in the plane. A typical first-timer should be able to assemble the plane in about an hour, while an expert could do it in the advertised 20 minutes.

Power for the Superstar EP comes from a typical 7 cell "flat" R/C car battery pack, which direct-drives the prop through an inexpensive 600-style "can" motor. The motor is the same as the "540" motors you used to get with the old Tamiya R/C buggies. It's a very simple system that reportedly works surprisingly well, considering the "slap a car motor and a car pack in a .40-size plane and try to fly it" method nearly ruined the chances of electric flight several years ago.

It works now because the plane's airframe is much lighter than a glow plane of similar size, and it has lots of wing area. Back then, manufacturers didn't understand that because electric power is so smooth, you didn't need to build the planes to withstand the vibration of a glow engine.

It's a 3-channel plane, with rudder, elevator, and throttle. From the looks of the relatively small amount of dihedral, it's designed such that a beginner can't get into too much trouble. Rudder planes with lots of dihedral, like a Great Planes PT-40 with the "A" wing (has a total of 8" of dihedral!!), will roll as if they have ailerons!

What you need:

The ARF version requires a radio, speed control, and a battery charger. An on/off switch is included with the ARF, but a speed control is so much nicer to have. You'll want a speed control, ESC, that's rated for at least 30 Amps. The Great Planes C-30 and C-50 are nice because they come pre-wired with a Tamiya style connector to match the battery. Motor, propeller, and battery are all included with the package.

Standard radio gear should fit, but I say should because I haven't seen the plane up close. In the world of electric flight, lighter is better, so micro servos like the Hitec HS-81 and a small receiver like the Hitec Electron or 555 will save you a few ounces. Do NOT use "Sub-micro" or "Pico" gear. This plane is large enough that you can fly it at over 1000 feet away, out of range of most tiny receivers, and it's too heavy for the light and fragile gears on those tiny servos. If you're buying a complete radio, the Hitec Flash 5X "glider" package has exactly what you need for this plane, and the 5X is an excellent middle-of-the-road computer transmitter that will last you a long time.

The RTF version comes with almost everything. All you need is a good peak-detect charger, and 8 AA alkaline batteries.

Hopups:

Right off the bat, I have to say, "GEARBOX!" While the direct drive system is adequate, a geared system will give you increased thrust and better efficiency. Great Planes markets an inexpensive gearbox for this motor, the GD600. With the included 2.5:1 gear ratio, the motor can spin a 12x8 prop. Since prop clearance might be an issue with such a large diameter, a Master Airscrew folding prop is a wise choice.

The nice thing about a plane powered by a car motor is the fact that you can improve the plane's performnace by using modified car motors. For example, you can use a Kyosho Endoplasma motor, a 10-toothed pinion to increase the gear ratio to 4.6:1, and a 10-cell pack to turn the plane into a real performer. Even with the stock battery, this setup will outperform the stock setup, using less energy. Most people elect to simply replace the stock motor with a Kyosho Magnetic Mayhem, use the same GD600 gearbox, and an 11x7 propeller.
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Old 11-24-2003, 09:11 AM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

If that "inner craftsman" in you is screaming for an outlet, how about a kit? A kit is simply a box of precut parts, sheets, and sticks that you glue together into an airplane. Kits allow you the most flexibility in that they don't include much, if any accessories outside the wood, and maybe some basic hardware.

Be warned: Kits require assembly, sometimes lots of it. If you're looking to be flying by this weekend, you might want to look at something else. There are many "extras" to buy that don't come with the kit, like wheels, covering, and many times even the pushrods and other assorted hardware. That said, building a kit can be a lot of fun and one of the most gratifying experiences in the hobby is seeing a plane that you built YOURSELF take flight for the first time.

One such kit is the Great Planes PT-Electric. The Great Planes PT, which stands for Perfect Trainer, series has been the trainer of choice for countless new pilots for decades now. It's an oldie, but a goodie.

This electric version of the PT is an earlier electric design, based on the R/C buggy motors and 6-cell car packs available at the time. Not the most efficient, or the best system for this plane, but adequate, especially if budget is a concern.

Here's what you'll need:
1. A large, flat building surface that you can insert pins into. You'll be pinning the parts down to hold them in place while you glue. A piece of drywall on a flat table, or an acoustic ceiling tile make good "pin boards."
2. Adhesives. An ounce each of thin and medium CA, and a tube 30-minute epoxy should be enough to build this plane. It's relatively simple to build and not very large.
3. An X-Acto knife and plenty of blades. Keeping the blade razor SHARP is essential, especially when cutting covering.
4. Sandpaper and sanding blocks.
5. Covering iron. I tried to cover my first plane with mom's clothes iron... Believe me, a $15 covering iron is a boon to the industry Your first covering job won't be perfect, but don't worry about it.
6. Other assorted tools, hex key wrenches, screwdrivers, etc..
7. Tower Hobbies has a pretty complete list of accessories needed to complete this plane: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...T=1&I=GPMA0110
8. Two rolls of covering. You could probably cover it with one, but you'll probably make mistakes and a one-color plane is BO-RING! Two colors will also help you differentiate between top and bottom while the plane's flying.
9. Radio gear. See the top of this thread for info on choosing a transmitter. The onboard gear for this plane CAN be full-size, but lighter is better. An ounce here and there will make a heck of a difference. I like HS-81 servos and the Hitec Electron receiver for this plane, but any brand of "Micro" servo, and any "dual conversion" receiver will do fine. GWS "Pico" gear won't be adequate.
10. Battery and charger. Check my recommendations on chargers at the top of this thread. They recommend a 7-cell battery pack for this plane. Any 7-cell, Sub-C pack will do, even inexpensive car battery packs. You can get up to 3300mAh in this size pack depending on what cells you get, but the 1900mAh Great Planes pack will do just fine.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, so let me know if I did.

Hopups:
This plane is just begging for hopups. Built as stock, the plane will fly for 6-7 minutes, will climb so-so, and won't be able to loop from level flight. Simply adding a 2:1 gearbox and a 10x7 prop to the system will improve things greatly. At that point you can upgrade to an 8-cell pack and gain even more power. If you're willing to bend longer legs for the landing gear, a 3:1 gearbox and 12x8 propeller is in order. Switch the stock motor out for a Kyosho Magnetic Mayhem, even better. Go to a 10-cell pack.... Yeeeeee-haaaaw!

You can get these gear ratios, or ones close to that, using the inexpensive Great Planes GD600 gearbox, and the optional pinions they sell for the gearbox. The plane will look a little odd if you just bolt the gearbox to the motor, so you might want to relocate the motor mount lower and further to the rear as you build, if you intend to put the gearbox on right off the bat.
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:54 PM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

Here's a contribution from Jason Beach:

Another kit plane that's an excellent first plane IMO is the Duskstik from Mountain Models.
http://www.mountainmodels.com/duskstik.php

This is a kit made up of balsa, Carbon Fiber, and light ply. It's easy to build, and is an excellent flyer.
With balsa main wing and tail, and a carbon fiber fuse, it is surprisingly light and durable.
It can be built as a standard 42" wing or an extended 49"wing. Weather you want a standard or extended wing, you can build either as a regular dehidral wing, or as a polydehidral wing.
You can build the wing to suit how you want the plane to fly. The standard dehidral wing will give you better wind penetration, and the extended polydehidral wing will give you better low speed characteristics, but is more sensative to light winds.
The Duskstik comes with clear covering. This covering can be painted to suit the pilots wishes with regular spray paint, or model paint such as Testors. Just keep the paint as thin as possible to keep the weight down. If you want colored covering, I suggest using Solite. It's about as light as it gets, and with practice can be fairly easy to work with.

The Duskstik is a very forgiving flyer. Stalls are a non event with the nose mushing down to recover. The plane is very stable, and flies very slowly giving the pilot lots of time to plan turns or react to mistakes. Because of it's light flying weight (7-12oz) the plane resists damage surprisingly well. I have cartwheeled mine several times with little to no damage. If you do nose it in, not to worry. The motor mount is balsa and designed to break and save the motor/gearbox, and most importantly the prop shaft. Extra mounts are provided in the kit, so it's a 5 minute job to get the plane back in the air.

The Duskstik kit includes everything needed to complete the airframe. Pushrods, mounts, landing gear, and covering are all included.
Here's what you'll need to complete the plane.

Transmiter and charger (see first post in thread)

Motor- GWS IPS-A or GWS EPS100C-A work well

ESC- 5amp ESC

Servos- The servo mount was designed to use GWS Picco servos, but some people have modified it to fit Hitec HS-55's. You'll need 2 servos.

Reciever- Just about any small reciever will work on this plane. Berg 4 or 5, GWS 4ch, Hitec 555, etc

Battery- Good batterys for this plane are 7 or 8 cell 720mah nimh or 370mah nimh packs, or you can save weight and increase flight time with a 2cell 700mah Li-poly pack.

The good news is that the Duskstik is also offered in a package with motor, ESC, servos, and batt pack for $125, which is cheaper than buying everything individually. The only thing that's not in the package (other than the transmitter and charger) is a reciever.

Hopups.
This is also a plane that can grow with you, in stock form, you can turn up your elevator and rudder throws for good loops rudder rolls, stall turns, etc. Just don't expect this plane to do 3D. Popular hopups for this plane are motor and battery changes. With a small brushless and Li-poly batts, you can save weight and increase power and flight time.

The Duskstik also makes an excellent platform for photography. Though it will pack a small camera such as a Pencam with a GWS EPS100 powering it, a brushless power system will pack even better.

I have also straightened the wing and added ailerons to it, but this is a time consuming project that involved reinforcement where the wing halves met and some other bracing in high stress parts of the wing.
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Old 02-06-2004, 03:07 PM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

You've probably noticed that I haven't updated this thread in quite a while. I had originally intended to update the thread more frequently, even daily. Unfortunately, I ran out of planes that I had personal experience with to review

There are many more great first planes out there, but a guy's only got so much time, so much money, and so much desire to fly "beginner" planes... If you've helped someone learn to fly on an airplane, tell us about it! Send me a PM with a write-up of the plane. Make sure you include exactly what you used to fly it, and any modifications you made to the plane to improve its durability or flyability.

The following review was submitted by Mikerjf:

Suggested that my club buy an electric trainer to keep in the lockbox at the field. Plane had to

meet the following criteria:

1- Easy to fly, responsive, durable, easy to repair and affordable.

2- Capable of using standard radio gear.

3- Flyable in wind better than our average 5-10mph.

4- Fairly large with a removeable wing.

The Multiplex Teddy fit the bill nicely and as I've got a lot of experience with my Nieces I went to order one and found that the Teddy's been replaced by the Easy Star.The Multiplex Easy Star's slightly larger than the Teddy (54inch span), made from Elapor (EPP) foam, has a two piece removeable wing with a fiberglass spar, it's 3 channel and can be setup to use anything from micro to standard gear and it's powered with a direct drive 6v speed 400 (pusher). It also looks alot swoopier than the Teddy and most importantly, they didn't call it the Teddy II.
I ordered the kit which comes with the motor and prop for $64. The RTF version is $187 and comes with a Hitec 3 channel AM radio and Multiplex gear. Assembling the kit only takes an hour or two. The airframe consists of 9 pieces that key together and fit up nicely. The Elapor foam requires CA for assembly so it goes fast. The other 18 pieces are the control cables/housings, canopy and locks and the motor and prop. Multiplex has the motor and servo's CA'd in, this plane will see a lot of use, so I chose to make them removeable. Glueing a Speed 400 motor plate to the face of the motor housing and cutting a tape on hatch in the motor cowling took care of the motor. Two pieces of 1/8 lite ply glued into the servo cutouts allow the servo's to be screwed in. The plane is setup with a Hitec 4 channel transmitter, standard Hitec receiver, GWS 15 amp ESC, two Bluebird mini servo's and an 8 cell 1600mah nimh (AA) pack. Made a styrofoam filler block that fits tightly into the canopy (and secures the receiver in the nose). The battery pack sits on the foam, centered in the canopy opening, putting the CG on the money. All up weights around 25 ounces.
First flight was on a cold and windy (~12mph G20) day and it required very little trimming. Our field is fairly confined and I found the rudder a little too unresponsive for a tight area in these conditions. Moving the clevis to the innermost hole on the control horn solved that problem and now it's actually a little too much. I would suggest using the innermost location and selecting a hole in the servo arm that gets 50% more throw than Multiplex reccommends for the first flight. Also, put the clevises in the control horns before glueing the control horns to the control surfaces unless you enjoy assembling very small parts in very akward places. Subsequent flights showed that the plane has no bad habits. At full throttle it's fairly fast with the 8 cell pack, loops are no problem and with a load of down elevator it can fly inverted, rolls are very sloppy but can be done with enough altitude and the plane specks out pretty quick. At half throttle it maintains altitude and provides around 20 minutes of flying on the Buddy Box. Power off is very controllable and the plane slows to a walk when landing. I spend most of my time with 3D stuff (electric and glow), but it's always a pleasure to fly something this relaxing that flies so well. If you're looking for a keeper, this is it.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:05 AM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

I know it's been a while since I've updated this thread, but I just received this excellent write-up from RCDOC on the Estarter:

Quote:
GWS E-starter. This is my personal favorite. Comes with eng. 350 or 400 and has ailerons. Extremely easy to fix. I had a wing pop of in mid flight (due to a hair-line crack from an earlier tree mishap) and the plane missiled the ground from 150 ft. I was very scared since I had just put on a Himax 2812 0805 brushless. (direct bolt-on) The drive-shaft snapped off in the prop. As I found out later they are designed to do this for the reeason that nothing elses gets bent or busted. Anyhow, The shaft cost me $3.50 and I used about .50 cents of 5 min epoxy and 2 hrs later I was in the air, and it flew like new.

And we live in a very windy area next to the Rocky Mountains and we fly it in major winds (kind of a competition now) as long as you point it into the wind it can handle alot.

350 engine with a 1000 mah nimh and you get 12-15 min flights. Now I have the

HOP-UPS -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Himax 2812 0805 (direct bolt-on)
CC 25 pheonix ECS
Kokam 3-cell Li-poly 1500mah
Prop 10/4.7

WOW This thing is now a very fun to fly, take anywhere, fly upside down, with minimal down elevator, crowd pleasing, trainer with attitude and altitude.

But still flies slow if you want to (but who wants that.)

Me and my cousin and two brothers all have the E-STARTER and so far we have found no bad traits. ENJOY
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Old 03-09-2005, 04:42 PM
  #11
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Default RE: Good First Planes

Matt..perhaps you should at least mention on your 1st recommended plane {the slowstick}..that it does not handle even a moderate amount of wind very well in its stk form..a newbie will not know this before buying one..and I feel it is very important that this be known..ecspecially considering some areas of the world are more prone to daily windy conditions then others..just a suggestion..
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Old 03-23-2005, 11:09 AM
  #12
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Default RE: Good First Planes

I have heard over and over that the SS is the very best first plane. I just picked one up yesterday and look forward to some build time this weekend. Hopefully I will have it in the air on Easter Sunday. I opted for the hop up of a bigger battery, I bought two packs, both 7 cell 8.4v 1150mah NiMH that fit the application. Hopefully I will get some good fly times if I manage the throttle and don't get carried away. Thank you for your time and reviews in helping newbies make these decisions. I actually found your posts after I had already made up my mind, but your posts did support my decision as being a good one. We have a great bunch of people in Northern California called the Sacramento Area Modelers. I have been hanging out at the club field and absorbing any info that anyone could offer. I suggest this to anyone interested in jumping into the hobby. The wealth of experience at these clubs is the best tool in making an educated decision on what to buy. Pair that with a good hobby shop like RC Country here in Sacramento and you are sure to get all the help you will ever need, and sometimes more than you asked for! Thanks again for the info!

Jeff

GWS Slow Stick, JR 6102PCM
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Old 05-06-2005, 04:24 PM
  #13
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Default RE: Good First Planes

matt can you do some reviews on park flyers and indoor planes?

i am a beginger and have a trainer and im looking to get into parkflyers and indoor planes
i have another 6 months of trianer before i get another plane.

i dont like the areobird or anything like that.

i want a plane that has a/e/r/t

ive been eyeballing warbirds at hobby lobby

any airplane suggestions?
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:24 AM
  #14
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Default RE: Good First Planes

matt
I'm an intermediate pilot been flying for about 5 years but I would like to try indoors any suggestions I love warbirds but I am not sure what constitutes an indoor flyer vs a park flyer
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Old 11-17-2005, 12:08 PM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

Matt...I'm just getting into EP's after several years with glo and just purchased a GP Super Sportster. I have a Futaba 6EXA ch 48 and couldn't find a crystal on the Tower Site. I ordered a hitec 555 receiver and HS55 servos from Tom's RC Ebay store. Is there a problem with CH 48?
Also, do all ESC's include a BEC for the receiver? Thanks, Bruce
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Old 12-01-2005, 09:26 PM
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Default RE: Good First Planes

I am a expert pilot, looking for a good second plane for my elderly Dad. He lives in the middle of nowhere so, training sessions are during tri monthly visits. He has, however learned to fly on a Slo-V. His first few flights were dramatic, but he can now maneuver it with authority. It has taught him well enough for me to let him fly my Furious 3-D, which he flew well, with me watching over him, I will not let him fly the .90 Funtana! Now, I want to get him a second plane, with full house 4 channel control. It has to be Slo-V slow, but I would like something Brush-less, powered by lithium. Capable of loops, rolls, wing-overs and such, at very mild speeds, very stable flight, nearly indestructible (NO Wood!), easy to build - (RTF) or close to it, and inexpensive. I see Horizon now has a little Cessna, but they say nothing about performance, only how easy to build, Any thoughts on that plane or any other?
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Old 12-02-2005, 01:30 PM
  #17
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Default RE: Good First Planes

hi could you post some pics of these planes
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:19 AM
  #18
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Default RE: Good First Planes

Matt,

Hope you don't mind my adding to your thread.

Starter Radios

I have a very specific position on radios. Don't buy a Standard Radio!!!

Computer radios are now so inexpensive and offer so much more than standard
radios that it doesn't make sense to get anything but a computer radio. Don't
get me wrong, there are many good standard radios, but for only a few bucks
more you get a much more capable computer radio that can do more for you than
any standard radio and can save you money by time you get the second plane.
They can also make it easier to fly your plane, perform aerobatics and more.

Below are four radios. All will fly your plane. Two are standard radios
for the uncommitted or low budget first time flyer. These will get your
plane off the ground with very basic radio features for a low price. Each
package includes radio, micro servos, micro receiver.

STANDARD RADIOS

Hitec Neon 3 - 3 channel standard radio $59
2 micro servos, micro receiver, switch, etc
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...I=LXLGF4**&P=7
For $19 you can add a trainer port to this:
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXDEK8&P=V

This package is such a good value that you can almost consider the radio free.
If you bought the two servos and the receiver by themselves, that would come
to about $60. So this is about as cheap as you can get into a hobby grade
radio that will fly a three channel R/E/T or A/E/T parkflyer or 3 channel
glider ARF or kit plane. It includes mixing for flying wings or V-tail 3
channel planes as well as servo reversing. It does not have ATV/EPA or dual
rates, however these can be added later. You can also add a trainer port for
use with an instructor or to connect to a flight simulator.

You can add a 4th channel but it is not proportional, so don't confuse this
with a typical 4 channel radio. It would operate landing gear or a bomb drop
on a three channel plane. Should worked fine. I had the Focus 3 model, which
preceeded this. I now use a Focus strictly as a travel or keep in the car
radio now that I have moved to a computer radio.

If you buy this package with the intenion of adding the 4 optional features
right away, you are better off getting the Hitec Laser 4 I list next. It
will cost almost the same and the Laser is a true 4 channel radio.


Hitec Laser 4 - 4 Channel Standard Radio $129
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...=LXANT7**&P=ML
My minimum recommended 4 channel standard radio for A/E/R/Throttle parkflyer,
glow plane or 4 channel glider. Radio, micro receiver, 3 micro servos,
Switch harness, etc. It will fly a 4 channel aileron plane. Includes V-tail
and Elevon mixing, servo reversing, ATV on ch 1&2 . Also has a trainer port

In my opinion, pick the Laser 4 only if you are unsure you will continue in
the hobby and want to spend as little as possible to get a 4 channel plane
into the air. Not my recommendation for a committed flyer who plans to
continue in the hobby. If you get it, you can always use it as a buddy box in
the future, dedicate it to your flight simulator or use it as a back-up or
travel radio when you move up to a computer radio. Or you can give it or
sell it to a friend to help them get
started.


COMPUTER RADIOS - Much Better Choice

Futaba 6 EXAS Entry Level 6 Channel Computer Radio - $160
micro receiver, 3 micro servos, Switch- $160
Receiver in this package is not appropriate for sailplanes or glow planes.
OK for parkflyers/low speed electrics.
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...=LXJUV7**&P=ML

The Futaba 6EXAS is an entry level computer radio. For the committed flyer,
this is a much better choice than the above radios. Six channels, 6 model
memories, surface mixes, end point adjustments, servo reversing, dual rates,
exponential, and more. Rich with features and convenience that will carry you
a long way. You will invest a little more up front but it will pay you back
in convenience and flexibility as you move forward. For about $30 more than
the Laser 4 radio you are miles ahead in capability!

Airtronics VG 6000 - $160
http://www.airtronics.net/VG6000.htm
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...I=LXEUY5**&P=7
This particular package is very attractive for small electrics. Comes with two
small servos and a 20 amp ESC. 6 channels, 4 model memories, 6 standard
mixes, no user definable mix capability listed. I can't find any info on the
range of the receiver in this package so I must assume it is around 1000 feet.
Suitable for small or low speed parkflyers only, unless you find the receiver
has more
range.


There are lots of other good choices in computer radios if you have a bit more
to spend, however these would be my minimum entry recommendation for the
committed flyer who knows they will continue in the hobby.


FLIGHT PACKS

Once you have your new radio, or if you have a radio already, these flight
packs would be good for your next parkflyer or sailplane, as noted. They will
work with Hitec or Futaba radios, or any radio that will work with a negative
shift receiver. There are also positive shift versions of these for JR and
Airtronics and other positive shift radios.


GWS, 2Naro, RCn6 Reciever, ICS 300 8/15 amp ESC $69
Includes speed control and reciever - Good for small electric
planes. Note that receiver has 1000' range. NG for sailplanes or glow
planes.
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Shop/ByC...dID=GWSCB667AF

Hitec receiver, w/ 2 HS-55 servos and ESC speed control $79
Receiver has 1 mile range. Servos are good for for parkflyers and up to 1.5M
sailplanes.
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXGZU5&P=7


Hitec Micro 555 Flight pack with 3 HS-81 - $98
Stronger servos and better receiver - that can handle larger electric planes up to about 60 inch wing
spans, .40 glow planes and 2-3M RES sailplanes or slope gliders.
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXUZ92&P=ML

GWS Speed Controls
8+ Amps - $11
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXHUY9&P=7
15+amps - $22
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXHVB5&P=7
30 Amps - $28
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXHVC1&P=7
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:25 AM
  #19
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Default RE: Good First Planes

SPACE

How much space do you have for flying? If you have totally clear space of at
least 600'X600', about 9 square acres, approx 4-6 6 square football/soccer
fields,
then I
can recommend one class of plane. Call this class 1 - CL1

If your space is more like 200X200 (one square acre) then a different plane is
in order. Call this class 2 - CL2

If it is less than that, different again. This we will call this class 3 -
CL3

These are my own designations and are based on my subjective ranking of the
space a new flyer should have when learning on his own. An experienced flyer
can fly faster planes in smaller spaces, but a new flyer wants to have more
space so you are not in a constant state of panic trying to turn. Now, you
can get above the edges of the field and expand your space, but if you lose
control, you drop in woods, on top of kids or smash someone's
windshield. If that windshield is in a car is traveling down a road when you
hit the windshield, you could cause an accident or worse.

So much for space. You get the idea.

I don't recommend pretty planes as first planes. They are too easy to break,
too hard to fix and look bad in short order. So you won't see any especially
pretty or true scale planes. Make one of those your second or third plane. I
also don't recommend two channel R/T electrics, so you won't find any on the
list. If you want one of these, I would suggest the Firebird series from
HobbyZone. They can be very easy to fly and can be a lot of fun, but they can
also be very easy to lose. You should plan to fly them in dead calm air when
you are first starting.

I feel a high wing three channel R/E/T plane is your best choice for a first
plane. R/E/T will require a little more learning than the two channel R/E
planes but is a better choice as a first plane, in my opinion. These use the
same control inputs as more advanced planes and can be flown in more wind once
you have mastered them in calm conditions.
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:26 AM
  #20
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Default RE: Good First Planes

READY TO FLY STARTER PLANES - Electric Parkflyers
No building - they practically fly right out of the box
These also glide well so you can thermal soar
with them under the right conditions.


Slow-V from Parkzone - $140 - Space CL2/3
Best flown in still to under 5 mph breeze. This is the best choice for people
who only have a small space to fly or who have an indoor place to fly, such as
a gym or
similar space.
http://h1071118.hobbyshopnow.com/pro...p?prod=PKZ1300
Discussion Thread
http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_20...tm.htm#2089493
Review
http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/a...article_id=426
Video
http://users.cwnet.com/dhsc19/Slo_V_Aerobatics.wmv
Night fly module on a Slo-V
http://rc-galaxy.com/messageboard/mb...ViewMsg&num=-8


T-Hawk - RTF - Excellent Value - $170 - space CL1
Comes with extra wing, tail and battery
Flies well and stands up to hard landings
Can be flown on 27 MHz or 72 MHz
http://www.toytx.com/thawk3chrtf.html
T-Hawk - Without Radio - add your radio and receiver
http://www.readytoflyfun.com/wittran.html
T-Hawk Discussion Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ighlight=THawk
Videos
http://www.readytoflyfun.com/thawkvideos.html


Easy Star - RTF - $170 - Space CL1
Believe this goes easily back in the box to keep in the car
Super tough foam. Comes with 72 MHz radio in the US.
Good parkflyer and a good glider
Radio in RTF package can be used to fly other planes
http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/240025.asp
Easy Star - ARF - Add you own radio gear
http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/240009.asp
Amazing information site for easy star
http://www.mpx-easystar.de/
Videos
http://plawner.org/video/easygo.wmv
http://plawner.org/video/easystar.wmv
Mods, upgrades and more
http://www.mpx-easystar.de/
Adding ailerons
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...8&goto=newpost


Aerobird Challenger - RTF Electric - $150 - Space CL1
Great keep in the car plane - take off the wing and it goes back in the box!
I started on an Aerobird RTF. I have over 350 flights on my Aerobirds. I
also thermal
and slope soar this plane. Flies well and stands up to hard landings. Their
add on fun accessories for night flying, air to air combat and drop module add
to the fun!
http://www.hobbyzone.com/rc_planes_h...challenger.htm
Review
http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Disco...ID=1289#Page01
Discussion Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147621
Video
http://www.parkflyers.com/html/aerobird_video.html
http://www.hobbyzone.com/rc_videos/a...nger_loops.wmv

Firebird Freedom - RTF Electric - $140 - space CL1
This is a three channel plane that incorporates electronic anti-crash
technology which actively monitors the plane's orientation, as it relates to
the ground and sky, and cuts the motor, in tandem with giving neutral steering
and up elevator, if the plane enters a steep dive. This causes the plane to
come out of the dive so the user can regain control. Once pilots gain
experience flying, they can increase maneuverability and overall control by
turning ACT off via the switch on the transmitter
Two piece wing that fits neatly back in the box.. Includes charger and
battery, radio and all that is needed to start flying. .
http://www.hobbyzone.com/rc_planes_h...rd_freedom.htm
video
http://www.hobbyzone.com/rc_videos/HBZ7000.wmv
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:26 AM
  #21
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Default RE: Good First Planes

ALMOST READY TO FLY and EASY TO BUILD KITS - STARTER PLANES


Below are ARF and simple kit planes. You will need to buy a radio if you don't
have one, so you might want to read two posts up on first radios.

Below are ARFs wood and foam packages as well as some are very
easy to build all wood kits. In each case you must add your own radio,
receiver, servos, speed control, batteries and battery charger. They all come
with a
motor.

If you have a radio already, one of these flight packs will fit most of these planes:
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXGZU5&P=7
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXGZU6&P=7
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXCZX2&P=7
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXKKY1&P=7
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXGZU7&P=7

Slow stick - $35 - CL2/3
Best flown in still to under 5 mph breeze. This is an excellent choice for
people who have a smaller space to fly.
Can also be flown indoors in a gym or similar space.
http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_inf...&products_id=2
or
Slow stick Complete Package incl radio - $150
(need battery charger)
http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_inf...roducts_id=602
The Slow Stick Info Site
http://mattsrc.rchomepage.com/ssir/index.shtml
Review
http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/a...?article_id=75
Discussion Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...hreadid=122951
souped up slow sticks - video
http://skrogg.com/wed.wmv

Tiger Moth - $50 CL 2/3
http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_inf...products_id=20
or
Tiger moth Complete Package incl. radio - $150
(need battery charger)
http://www.gwsexpert.com/product_inf...roducts_id=343
Best flown in still to under 5 mph breeze.
This is an excellent choice for people who have a smaller space to fly. Can
also be flown indoors in a gym or similar space. Cool looking little plane.
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Shop/ByC...ProdID=GWS1020
Review
http://www.backyardflyer.com/BY/articles/tiger_moth.asp

Tipsey - $55 CL 1
Remove the wing and it goes back in the box for simple
protected transport or keep in the car fun!
http://www.hobby-lobby.com/tipsy.htm
Review
http://www.hobby-lobby.com/pdf/gr6232.pdf
http://rcgroups.com/links/index.php?...at=198&id=3871

Magpie - CL 2
I recommend the $55 package with two wings.
Has slow fly/trainer wing AND an aileron sport wing.
Master the first, then advance to the second.
They offer a complete package with both wings and all the electroncis for $160
Makes it so easy to get it right!
http://www.mountainmodels.com/magpie.php
discussion threads
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...51#post3502851
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295225
Video - slow fly wing
http://www.mountainmodels.com/Magpie.wmv
Sport wing
http://www.mountainmodels.com/MagpieSP.wmv

SmoothE - E$50 CL2
Easy to build Balsa and foam kit. Build as 3 Channel Slow Flyer
Optional 4 channel aileron trainer when you are ready
http://www.mountainmodels.com/smoothe.php
Discussion Threads
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...=SmoothE+build
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...&page=19&pp=15
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295225
http://www.rcgroups.com/gallery/show...cat=500&page=1
Funny video
http://www.mountainmodels.com/SmoothEsmall.WMV

Carbon Falcon ARF - $140 including servos
Almost nothing to build. This may be the ultimate take it with you plane
Folds up to almost nothing for travel or for keep in the car fun!
http://www.acesim.com/rc/p2/p2.html
Discussion
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=272229
Review
http://rcgroups.com/links/index.php?...at=198&id=4236
Video
http://www.acesim.com/rc/p2/videos.html

Frog - Foam kit CL2 - $39
http://www.foamfly.com/customer/prod...acfe94b8213f09
Instructions
http://www.foamfly.com/Plans/Frog_Instructions.PDF

Dandy - $42 - CL2
Wood kit
http://www.mountainmodels.com/dandy.php
Complete package - $122
Build thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=359035
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295225
Video
http://www.mountainmodels.com/dandy.wmv

Dusk Stik $40 CL2
Balsa Wood Kit
Similar to GWS Slow stick or ParkZone Slo-V in design
http://www.mountainmodels.com/duskstik.php
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295225
Complete package with all electroncis - $112
http://www.mountainmodels.com/duskstik.php

T-IFO - $75 including Motor
http://www.flyifo.com/htmlpages/tifo.html
Complete package with radio - $275
http://www.flyifo.com/htmlpages/ordertifo.html#
Review
http://www.rcgroups.com/links/index.php?id=4117
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:44 PM
  #22
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Default RE: Good First Planes

EXCELLENT advice regarding the space needed to fly. The more flat open space the better. You can land a plane from a great distance away if you have no obstructions, and can at least see the aircraft. Beginers often have a brain meltdown that alows the plane to fly further away than they planned. if you have a big enough area you can power back and let it settle in for a landing. I've even saved my more advanced sailplanes this way, flying far away to chase thermals and not making it all the way back. I've even had them go out of site, but had them trimmed out to fly straight and slow enough to limit or avoid damage.

I wish I would have seen your (aeajr) aircraft data a couple of weeks ago. I ended up buying a Eflight Cessna for my dad. It has been easy to assemble, and I believe the right second airplane for him. Although we won't fly it until Christmas day, I would NOT recommend it for a first plane. It is too scale, the landing gear is too fragile, and most importantly the wing is not "beginner like" , having ailerons, and a slightly more advanced airfoil.

In the very near future, with the advances in electric flight, I would expect great advances in trainers. I would love to see a .60 size trainer, with a brushless motor, and lithium power in a RTF. Even four channel park flyers, RTF, with standard radio gear installed. (By standard I mean hobby class equipment, that is compatible with equipment you can purchase at any hobby shop), Even complete with a four channel digital radio (always get a digital, it will save you tons of money.)[8D]
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Old 01-11-2006, 09:22 PM
  #23
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Default RE: Good First Planes

I'm looking for a 4 channel arf capable of stable flight with decent aerobatic ability (I don't need 3d but would consider growing into it). I was flying a Sig Four Star 40 with a .46 glow engine and want to get into electric.

I love how the Cap 232 flies on the Realflight Simulator. I just want to be able to do knife edges, fly with some speed and fly inverted a lot. I plan to fly on a golf course, so I've been looking for a park flier. I don't have a tremendous amount of room, but I think I have enough for short takeoffs.

Any suggestions?

I've considered the following:
Great Planes Mini Super Sportster (does it have much power?)

http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXHSR6&P=0

Watt-Age Crazy 8
http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/128427.asp

Great Planes P-51 Sport Fighter ARF

http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXKZC5&P=0

Any known threads on converting a Sig Four Star 40 to Electric? I love the way it flies, but don't know if I'd have the room for take-offs and landings.
Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:27 PM
  #24
newbie420
 
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Default RE: Good First Planes

I Just bought a Parkzone super decatlhon and i am a first time flyer. It seems that everytime i take it for a fly it just simply keeps going up and stalls then come down and does it again, i havnt flown it longer than 20 seconds without crashing it. I hate to see it go to pieces when i just dropped alot of money on it. I would appreciate if someone could give me a few pointers on just keeping the damn thing up in the air, learn the basics i guess... well anyways also is there a really good beginer plane that can take alot of abuse and is fun and easy to flt. I would really like some feedback on this issue. thanks alot
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Old 01-17-2006, 02:55 PM
  #25
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Default RE: Good First Planes

Hi newbie420,

The ParkZone Decathlon probably wasn't the best choice for a first-time flyer. The full scale Decathlon is a very twitchy aerobatic plane, and at least some of that translates into any scale model of the plane. Even this severely dumbed-down version of the Decathlon is more than the average newbie really should be taking on as a first airplane.

Since you've got it, we may as well try, though...

No plane flies perfectly out of the box. At least, most planes don't. Planes need to be trimmed to fly straight and level. From the sounds of it, yours is in need of some down-elevator trim. There should be a little slider next to the elevator/rudder stick that slides up and down. That's the elevator trim tab. Push that ahead a few clicks and give it another try. Repeat until the plane flies level.

Better yet, have an expert pilot fly it for you and get it trimmed out. It'll probably take you a few crashes to get the plane trimmed out, and there's always the chance that you'll break something and have to start all over with the trimming process. An experienced pilot can correct for any weirdness until the plane gets to a safe height, then he can trim it out in the air until it flies straight and level.

When you launch, launch straight ahead. Not up, though a little down is helpful. These planes don't have the power to go straight up; they need to fly "on the wing" which means that need to get up some momentum before you start trying to turn or climb. Just concentrate on keeping the wings level and keeping the plane from climbing or diving too for the first few seconds.

Make sure you have plenty of room for early flights. The bigger the area, the better. Launch into the wind, or better yet, wait for the wind to die down completely.
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