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Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

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Old 05-01-2006, 08:36 AM
  #1  
slbks5
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Default Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

I have $200 that I want to spend on my first electric airplane. I have never flown planes, but have had other rc toys before.

What RTF plane would you buy?


Thanks


PS - I would like a 4 channel plane.
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Old 05-01-2006, 10:33 AM
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Leo L
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

Starting with a 4-channel plane is not a good idea. When you are first learning how to fly, there are so many things happening at the same time, that require your instant input, it becomes very easy to get confused, which typically leads to a crashed plane. What you want to do is minimize the number of decissions that you need to make, while maximizing the amount of time that you have available to you for making those decissions. Consider when you try driving a car for the first time: is it easier to learn by driving an automatic in an empty parking lot or by driving a 4 speed on a hairpin mountain road?

For this reason, the Slow-Stick or Slow-V are the best choices for a beginner. They are both 3-channel planes and, quite frankly, are rather ugly. But they fly very slowly, as their name imlies, which gives the beginning flyer the most amount of time to figure out what control inputs are needed for every situation. They are both excellent planes: the Slow Stick is an ARF (almost ready to fly) and requires you to buy the transmitter and receiver seperately. The total cost will exceed your budget, but many people prefer to start with a good quality radio right away. The Slow-V is an RTF (ready to fly) which comes with everything you need in the box and will fall within your budget limitations. The only downside is that some people have compleined about the quality of the electronics and the fact that the frequency used is 27mhz, which can lead to interference from R/C toys that people might be using nearby. I have seven planes from HobbyZone/ParkZone, all on 27mhz, and have not had any problems with the quality of the electronics, nor with interference. I suppose that fact that I fly my planes early in the mornings, when most kids are still sleeping, has helped in this regard.

Whatever you decide upon, remember that as a beginner you must fly when there is NO WIND. Good louck and let us know what you select.
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Old 05-03-2006, 04:17 PM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

If you are stuck on a $200 budget than this is the best deal I have seen in a long time..
[link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXAWF5**&P=7]Superstar EP[/link]
But keep in mind that you will probably only transfer the servos into anythign else you get.
Spend the extra money on a good hobby charger like this.
[link=http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/158374.asp]Pro Peak Prodigy II[/link]

Oh and at Tower referr to add 011j9 to save $10
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Old 05-07-2006, 04:41 PM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

I just got into electric flight myself and bought a stryker...yeah that was a bad idea, I crashed it on my first attempt after getting about 30ft in the air. You need a huge field to fly that kind of a plane, preferrably one without a soccer team playing in it (another bad idea). I nosed dived the plane intentionally because i did not want to risk maiming anyone...My strycker is only lightly damaged even after a 30 foor nose dive. I also own an airhogs aeroace. Its vrtually indestructible, and helps orient yourself to flying but is just basic up down right and left. What can u expect for 30 bucks? Last week I got a killer deal on an aerobird challenger off of ebay (it was like 88bucks shipped), this is what I am currently building my skills on and it is what I recommend as a beginner for a first plane after an aero ace. I crashed the challenger at least 6 times and she was still going. So buy those two planes, and use the left over money for spare parts for the challenger or better yet extra batteries so you can fly longer.
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:11 AM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

ORIGINAL: Leo L

Starting with a 4-channel plane is not a good idea. When you are first learning how to fly, there are so many things happening at the same time, that require your instant input, it becomes very easy to get confused, which typically leads to a crashed plane. What you want to do is minimize the number of decissions that you need to make, while maximizing the amount of time that you have available to you for making those decissions. Consider when you try driving a car for the first time: is it easier to learn by driving an automatic in an empty parking lot or by driving a 4 speed on a hairpin mountain road?

For this reason, the Slow-Stick or Slow-V are the best choices for a beginner. They are both 3-channel planes and, quite frankly, are rather ugly. But they fly very slowly, as their name imlies, which gives the beginning flyer the most amount of time to figure out what control inputs are needed for every situation. They are both excellent planes: the Slow Stick is an ARF (almost ready to fly) and requires you to buy the transmitter and receiver seperately. The total cost will exceed your budget, but many people prefer to start with a good quality radio right away. The Slow-V is an RTF (ready to fly) which comes with everything you need in the box and will fall within your budget limitations. The only downside is that some people have compleined about the quality of the electronics and the fact that the frequency used is 27mhz, which can lead to interference from R/C toys that people might be using nearby. I have seven planes from HobbyZone/ParkZone, all on 27mhz, and have not had any problems with the quality of the electronics, nor with interference. I suppose that fact that I fly my planes early in the mornings, when most kids are still sleeping, has helped in this regard.

Whatever you decide upon, remember that as a beginner you must fly when there is NO WIND. Good louck and let us know what you select.
A 4ch is no harder to fly than a 3ch. Either way you are only using 2 controls to fly. Rudder and elevator or aileron and elevator.

Most gas flyers start out on 4ch planes. People can be a little nutty in the electric world thinking the less ch, the easier to fly. I guess they have shocked themselves badly doing the electric motor water breakins. IMAO.
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Old 05-08-2006, 09:36 AM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

- You can get a free flight simulator at http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fms/index_e.html You can download a lot of available models into it. Use a two stick analog game controller for $12 from Walmart
-
The cheapest starter is the Air Hogs Aero Ace. It’s $30 RTF including a transmitter. It’s only controlled by thrust of the two motors so you can’t do loops and it will fly different from a rudder and elevator plane, but its’ tough. It only needs the space of a two car garage to fly.
-
With a Slow Stick you will go through a ton of props, a motor and maybe a fuselage before you are competent. A Slow Stick does require only the space of a baseball field to fly. It’s more of a “floater”. A Multiplex Easy star is bigger than a slow stick, much tougher, has a very difficult to break pusher propeller and can handle more wind. It's available RTF for about $180 and as a ARF for $55. The Easy star requires the space of a soccer field to fly. They soar well. See http://www.plawner.net/3/1st_plane/ in which he recommends mainly Multiplex planes for their toughness and ease of construction. They also fly very well. Other options from Multiplex are the Easy Glider and the Twin Star II.
-
- I think the best idea would be to get a receiver ready Mutliplex Easy Glider Electric, which is all built except the receiver installation and get a JR Spectrum radio and receiver for it. Would make a 4 channel great trainer.

http://www.redrockethobbies.com/Spe...M_p/spm2460.htm

http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/240107.asp

- A wise addition to most planes:

http://www.aeromicro.com/Catalog/gw...ba__1500029.htm
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:52 PM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

$200 is a good starting budget for a good RTF. Among these I would go for the Easy Star first.

Six Keys to Success for new e-flyers
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355208


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 -
I have flown the slo-V. My RTF of choice for small spaces.
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 large 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 - $150-170
I have flown the T-Hawk. Excellent first plane.
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
I have flown the Easy Star - Great plane for new flyers!
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
Build Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=350408
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=459096
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
Travel Box
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...5&goto=newpost

Aerobird Challenger - RTF Electric - $110 -
I started on an Aerobird RTF. I have over 600 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! Great keep in the car plane - take off the wing and
it goes
back in the box fully assembled. Most can't do that!
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

Hobbico Sky Fly - $100
I haveflown this one personally. About the best landing gear and ground
handling of the planes I list here
NOTE: Radio range is only 500 feet. This is adequate if you are careful
but about 1/4 of the range of the others listed here.
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXKLV7&P=ML
Video
http://video1.hobbico.com/gallery/hc...961-deluxe.mpg
Review
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=489248
Discussion thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...t=493271&pp=15

Essential Add-ons:

When evaluating costs, add the following items to your list.
Spare wing
1-2 battery packs

The T-Hawk comes with these already, so factor that into
the price and you will see it is closer in price than it first apperas.

For the Slo-V, an extra prop will come in handy too. The others are
pushers so props are less at risk.

The Easy Star really does not need a spare wing so you save money in that
department. The wing is very tough and very repairable. Easy Star add-on
battery packs should be 7 or 8 cell NIMH packs of 900 mah or higher. The
stock 6 cell is OK in calm conditions but get 7 or 8s for add-ons.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:45 AM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

If you are going to buy the Challenger.. do NOT purchase it.. instead, purchase the Firebird Freedom. Why? It has ACT (anti crash technology) METAL push-rods (vs the REDICULOUS fishing lines on the challenger ...whoever designed that should be shot) easily replacable servos (integrated on challenger), soft nose cone (hard plastic on challenger), lower wing and 480 motor (challenger has high wing and 380.. less room for improvement), better controller (the challenger requires you to shut off the receiver to change from begginer to advanced mode.. the freedom has the capability to do it in mid-flight). Both have X-port. Challenger is cheaper now that they have dropped it from 179 to 110 in most stores... but for 29 bucks more for the freedom.. it is a no-brainer.

I started with the challenger.. and it was ok.. but on one bad crash it broke the circuit board from the fuselauge (sp) (cannot fix.. easily anyway). I have since flown my Typhoon 3d, the F-27B stryker, another challenger, the Firebird Freedom, sailplanes, gas planes, on and on. Out of all of them, I cannot stress enough how well the Freedom makes for a trainer. It is also much quicker than the challenger, surprisingly. It isn't as nimble, but it goes faster flat-out. This is undoubtably due to the larger motor.

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...ProdID=HBZ7000




NOTE: I have never seen that T-Hawk before.... it looks like an excellent alternative to the parkzone/hobbyzone planes. I like how they fixed what I didn't like in the challenger.. yet it still looks like the challenger... kind of.
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:18 AM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

Yoster,

You are comparing apples to oranges. You are relying on your memory of flying the Challenger when you were a beginner, with your experience of flying the Freedom as an experienced flyer. The Freedom is a nice plane, with nice features, but for a beginner, it is not nearly as easy to fly as the Challenger. The Freedom takes off from the ground very nicely, as does the Challenger, but because of its greater weight and greater wing loading, the Freedom requires considerably more room to take-off. For hand launches, the Challenger is a piece of cake: full throttle and off you go. The Freedom, on the other hand, requires a very hard toss, usually requiring a few running steps, to get it up to speed so that it doesn't stall once you release it. There are dozens of threads detailing how difficult the Freedom is to hand launch. Landing is a similar problem: the Freedom needs to come in fast to prevent a stall - you cann't just cut the throttle and glide it in as you can with the Challenger. The ACT is a terrible feature, but so is the Sport Mode on the Challenger. Both planes can withstand crashes pretty well. The Challenger's biggest problems are having the wing chewed up by the prop and having the electronic board come loose. The Freedom has a tendency to snap the tail off.

Of all of the HobbyZone/ParkZone planes, the Slow-V is the best beginner plane. The next step plane is the Challenger or the Freedom; but of the two the Challenger is the better, even if they were the same price. Since the Challenger is also cheaper, it is clearly the better deal.
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:25 AM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?


ORIGINAL: yoster

If you are going to buy the Challenger.. do NOT purchase it.. instead, purchase the Firebird Freedom. .

..................................

NOTE: I have never seen that T-Hawk before.... it looks like an excellent alternative to the parkzone/hobbyzone planes. I like how they fixed what I didn't like in the challenger.. yet it still looks like the challenger... kind of.
Yoster,

I endorsed the Freedom when it first came out because I like all the HobbyZone planes, for their intended purpose. However I have read so many "less than satisfying" reports from new flyers trying to learn on the Freedom that I had to withdraw that endorsement. I am not saying it is a bad plane, but it does not seem to meet the needs of the intended target, the first time flyer.

Now, for you, an experienced pilot, it may be a great plane and I will not argue any of your points on the Challenger. I don't agree with some of them, but that is not the point of this post.

slbks5,

Do a serach on the Firebird Freedom on this forum, on www.rcgroups.com , on www.wattflyer.com and see what you find. More often than not the posts have not been positive on the Freedom. As such I withdrew my recommendation for the plane.

What seems to be the problem?

I have not flown the plane, but the reports seem to suggest that the higher wing loading and higher weight requires a much stronger hand launch than most new flyers are able to manage. As such, they stall on launch and the plane seems to stall to left consistently. The plane does not seem to launch all that well form ROG, rise off ground and most new flyers don't seem to have much in the way of runway anyway. Most are flying over grass fields, as I do. No runway!

I have not read a single report that was positive on the anti-crash technology. I have been surprised by this, but even the newest flyers who have achieved some degree of success seem to attribute that success to turning the ACT off.


The Challenger, the T-Hawk, the Sky Fly and the Easy Star seem to be easier for the new flyer, learning on their own. The lighter wing loading, the smaller size, the lower top speed and the excellent low speed glide seem to positively contribute to the success of these planes with new flyers.

slbks5,

If you agree with Yoster about integrated electroncis, and pull pull control systems, then choose the T-Hawk or the Easy Star, two very succesful first planes with huge followings and excellent customer support. I wish I could endorse the Firebird Freedom. It looks great on paper, but the field reports just don't support it.

Best of luck with whatever you choose. Once you buy, let us know what you got and we will try to help you along with your training.
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Old 05-13-2006, 03:46 AM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

Hmm, interesting. I have not read-up on the Freedom online yet. I have however flown it several times, and cannot confirm that it is hard to hand launch. I simply throw it, and it goes. Maybe I throw it harder than other individuals whom are used to a lazy toss.. I cannot be certain. As I mentioned I also fly a F-27B stryker that I give a good shove when launching, so maybe I am launching the Freedom the same way without really thinking about it.. i've never paid attention. Regardless.. why wouldn't you give your plane a good toss? That just doesn't make sense to me. Honestly, had I never read this thread I would never had even thought that the plane was hard to launch. I've flown planes that are far more difficult to get airborn than the Freedom. I have also never taken the plane off from the ground, so I cannot comment on that. I do agree however that most of my comments about the Challenger are from memory, as it was the very first plane I ever flew. I still stand behind my comment on the fishing-line connections tho..

As far as the ACT is concerned, after a little playing around with it, I'm going to have to agree with your comments. I have never flown with it turned on, so after reading this thread I decided to go fly it while having ACT enabled. Surprisingly, it made things a little more challenging. Landing was more of a chore because it didn't want to nose-down. It also didn't want to turn to fight any wind. On the other hand, it wouldn't let me put it in a dive.. even if i tried. It also kept me from doing any loops. So, I really can't say if it's good or not.

I guess its hard to recommend a trainer when you aren't a beginner.. maybe I should ask one for their opinion lol.
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Old 05-13-2006, 08:00 AM
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Default RE: Have $200 to spend...What plane to buy?

yoster,

I agree with a lot of your post. Once you get the hang of hand launching, it seems obvious. However, because I teach a lot of new pilots, I see the problems they have all the time. The two biggest hand launch problems I see are, throwing the plane at an upward angle that the motor can't handle, or throwing it too softly. Occasionally I get the fastball pitcher that throws a great slider or curveball and sends the plane right into the ground.

Once you mastered the Challenger, you just naturally knew how to launch after that. And the Stryker needs more of a push than the challenger, so the Freedom went easily.

If you want to remember what it was like to be a beginner, teach.
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