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2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

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Old 04-03-2006, 07:58 PM
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belsamber
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Default 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

Hi all,
First of all, if you believe the only way a person can learn RC flight is to get an instructor, stop reading… You won’t like this post.

OK. I am wanting to learn to fly RC and while I know that the fastest (and probably cheapest) way to learn is to get an instructor, that is not how I work. Most of the fun is in teaching myself new things. I am prepared to break a plane or two in the learning process. But I would still like some advice on how to break the least number of planes possible.

I have two paths which I am considering taking.

Path One: A WingDragon Sportster/BeginAir with a standard WindDragon wing. I can then use the controller with older simulator software (much cheaper than buying the new versions that require the proprietary controllers, though it may lack features.) This provides a path all the way up to my first 4 channel plane for a very reasonable price – provided I can make the jump from sim to 3 channel without too much incident.

Path two: Get a cheap two channel plane first – the AeroAce or the Hobbizone Scout are about the same price from here (New Zealand). Then go the WDS route. That means my first flight will be on an actual plane. I don’t feel like spending 200USD on a sim + controller, the another $x on a two channel, then another $x on a three channel etc.

I guess the real question is: What would give me the best step up: A cheap 2 channel plane or a simulator.

Cheers,

Dylan
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Old 04-03-2006, 08:28 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

I faced this same decision today, I went with Hobby Zone's Firebird Freedom

it's a 3 channel, it's ugly as sin, and it couldn't be any easier to fly, plus with the V tail you get a lot more flexibility than your standard 3 channel setup IMHO, plus at $179.99 CAD the price is right, check it out.


edit: note it's cheaper than even G2 software and you get "real" flying experience.

....but I still kinda want G3 [:-]
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Old 04-03-2006, 08:29 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

I'll rock the boat and say go 2 or 3 channel hobbyzone plane. I've found w/ a few hours time on a sim you can "fly" any plane on the package - that has been my experience w/ the hangar 9 software and fms. Nothing really quite adds up to the spatial/speed adjustmens of having a plane in the air out in the open.
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:29 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

Dylan,

You need to get an instructor and<NOT> I'm just kidding don't hit me! If you do want to learn on your own, I know many people who have done so on a ZAGI. Very easy to repair due to its design. It is a wing plane, flown on 3 channels, but you won't have learn the transistion from rudder to aileron. FMS is a freeware simulator that will at least get some practise. Sorry, I can't comment on the paths in that I'm not familar with the planes and haven't been able to search for the planes except the Scout. My only comment on this plane and others like it is that it does not fly like a conventional plane, and if I had to guess, more than half my club would put it into the ground on the first attempt. Also, it might help to know what your ultimate goals are, ie your definition of "flying".

Good luck!
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:31 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

sfsjkid - you had me for a minute, I was all prepared to be peeved.

Sorry for the lack of links:

[link=http://www.parkflyers.com/]BeginAir[/link]
[link=http://www.hobby-lobby.com/wingdragon.htm]WingDragon[/link]
[link=http://hobbyzone.co.nz/hobbyzone/scout.asp]Scout[/link]

As far as the flying.... I honestly don't know. I'm a bit of a technogeek, which is why I'm going electric. Higher powered aerobatic type stuff appeals at the moment, but we'll see what I enjoy once I start.

Cheers,

Dylan
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:33 AM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

Dylan,

Sorry, I couldn't resist Chances are 50/50 that I would have gone into an instructor sermon if you hadn't included that caveat, for I did fall into the dark side and became one And thanks for the links.

I'm going to go on a limb and say I like the BeginAir route since you seem to want to fly aerobats, ie more conventional planes which can take up to four servos. You'll have a radio system that will most probably "grow" into your next plane and the 8 cell 1000mAh battery allows you more choices. For all the planes, I think early on you'll find the roughly 10 minutes on one pack very limiting, and end up buying another battery pack or two (maybe more) along with a 12V charger quick field charger, making it more important to think about the future.

In reading the RCU review I didn't see a connector on the back for a sim, but I'll take your word for this and another reason for this preference. The controls will be reversed when the plane flys toward you, and most beginners will tend to overcontrol the sticks, so this will give you a fighting chance. BTW most planes are flown aileron/elevator/throttle and some people find the transistion from 3 channels to 4 almost like re-learning how to fly. A couple of people I know have used the bunny hop method, ie short hops to get used to the controls successfully.

I haven't commented on the WingDragon since I'm not convinced that the wing is transferable as you are considering, please correct me if I'm wrong. Also, the radio is only 3 channels, so you'll end up buying another new one anyways. This might be a good middle of the road route though. I'd only get the Scout if that was the only plane I'd ever wanted to fly, or feeling very timid about flying.

Anyways, these are my 2 cents worth, and I'd take it as that. Ultimately and obviously the decision is yours but I would like to say that no matter what happens keep at it and you'll make it fly! Took me 3 planes to learn how to fly and land, friend of mine did the same and hasn't crashed yet.

Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:02 AM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

I think either the simulator or a 2-ch would be fine to step you into a 3-channel trainer. The simulator being the better choice since it will give you practice with 3 channels instead of just 2. However, a real 2-channel airplane will teach you some real-world lessions like a respect for wind and trees, etc.
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Old 04-04-2006, 02:22 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

ORIGINAL: sfsjkid

... BTW most planes are flown aileron/elevator/throttle and some people find the transistion from 3 channels to 4 almost like re-learning how to fly. A couple of people I know have used the bunny hop method, ie short hops to get used to the controls successfully...

...I haven't commented on the WingDragon since I'm not convinced that the wing is transferable as you are considering, please correct me if I'm wrong...
There was a thread on here somewhere saying you could switch the wings farily easily but I can't find it now [&o] Even if it was possible to switch the wings, are you saying I might be better just to stick with 4 channels as rudder/elevator/throttle knowledge might not be so useful? I hadn't heard that before.

Also, I've enquired of a couple of shops and both have said it has the trainer port even though it isn't mentioned - I'll just need to get an adapter to USB.

It seems like the general feeling is fairly split (as I expected) but after all the responses I'm leaning towards the BeginAir/Simulator route. I was before as well but... this has confirmed it a bit.

Can anyone direct me to a good cheap simulator? (I know the sim wars are a bit like the Mac/Windows thing around here...)
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:49 AM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

If you want a cheap simulator, try the free one. It is called FMS and google will find it for you. It may not be quite as good as the $200 simulators, but should do the trick.
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Old 04-05-2006, 12:20 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

Actually, I do believe that getting an instructor is the best way .... of course I did NOT.

I got FMS and played with it for a few months (all the different planes and sceneries that I could find), just using the PC keyboard.

Then I got myself some decent gear: radio, charger, GWS E-Starter. The E-Starter is a bit hot for a first plane but I managed not to break it, practicing over long grass (no landing gear).

About 30 years of interest in things that fly may have helped a bit in getting my stuff right.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:46 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?


ORIGINAL: belsamber

There was a thread on here somewhere saying you could switch the wings farily easily but I can't find it now [&o] Even if it was possible to switch the wings, are you saying I might be better just to stick with 4 channels as rudder/elevator/throttle knowledge might not be so useful? I hadn't heard that before.

Can anyone direct me to a good cheap simulator? (I know the sim wars are a bit like the Mac/Windows thing around here...)
I won't say R/E/T knowledge isn't useful but going to a full 4 channel is going to be another step, so unless you need to economize, might be best to go for the "gold", or A(ileron)/E/T?

Here's the link to the freeware simulator, even if the TX doesn't have a port you could probably pick up a cheap box for around $40.

http://n.ethz.ch/~mmoeller/fms/index_e.html

BTW I don't think there is a Mac/Windoze thing here since all the sims are for the later (sigh).
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:53 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

First plane I flown successfully was the beginair. I trained myself how to fly via the G2 sim. Pretty much any sim is good for learning how to fly. I have yet to crash a plane into pieces except for a 3d plane which the CG was way too far back on its first flight.

The 2ch planes i consider starter planes. They are not good trainers and are actually harder to fly than 3 or 4 channel planes.

The G3 sim has a free demo and uses the keyboard. Something to play around with in the meantime:
http://www.realflight.com/free-g3-demo.html
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Old 04-08-2006, 11:40 PM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

Thanks for all the great advice everyone. Unfortunately it looks like all I will be flying will be a sim for a while as I crashed my car yesterday [] Actually no big deal (just dented the other car's door, my car has a scrape on the bumper) but I'm under 25 so my excess is 1000NZD (600USD) which pretty much wipes out my disposible income for a while

So STUPID. Just backing and forgetting that my car has a long boot (sorry, you guys call it a trunk right?)

Anyways, I'll try and get my xbox controller hooked up to my computer and FMS which will give me some fun for zero outlay. On the bright side, maybe this will mean I end up getting more practice on a sim and will crash less when I do get a plane...
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:14 AM
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Default RE: 2 Channel plane or Sim the best first step?

If you can swing it, get an AeroAce. It won't cost you much and you will have a terrific plane to start flying with.
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