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Our first plane

Old 06-16-2013, 08:43 AM
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Wemic
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Default Our first plane

Hi all,

My first post here on RCU. My son (14) and I are just starting to get into the hobby. Actually, I flew 1/2A about 35 years ago but you can consider me a beginner for all intents and purposes. We're looking for an ARF trainer and stumbled upon the L-4 Grasshopper from HobbyKing. It seems to be big and stable enough to give us a good introduction. I've seen some videos of it in action but I'm looking for some 'real' experiences. Does anyone here know of this plane both from the build aspect as well as flying it? I'm interested in all opinions and if someone has an alternative that they think is better, I'd like to hear about that as well. Thanks in advance and I look forward to getting to know some of you.

Wemic
Old 06-16-2013, 08:57 AM
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Gray Beard
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Default RE: Our first plane

Welcome to the forum.
You may want to use the search engine and look up Hobby King. There is zero support if there is a problem. There are a lot of companies in the US like Tower Hobbies or Hanger Nine with a good selection of products. You will pay more but you will have a warranty and support if you have a problem. I do get my battery packs from HK but I get with others when we buy and gang our order to offset the shipping cost. If there is any problem we just write it off. My rule is, if they can't be contacted by phone I don't use them.
Old 06-16-2013, 09:09 AM
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bogbeagle
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Default RE: Our first plane

Are we talking about the big L-4, or the little L-4?

This is the big one, from HK... @ 2.3 metres wingspan.


Old 06-16-2013, 09:35 AM
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noveldoc
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Default RE: Our first plane

You may want to consider the Stik 40 Plus from Balsa USA. Price ain't bad. Simple build, about 1 step up form an ARF. And solidly built so it will survive some beginner's prangs. Worse comes to worse, they do sell wing kits. BUSA is a good company that has been around.40 sized 2 stoke or 50 to 60 4 bangers. Doesn't need a high end expensive engine and works fine with basic servos.Easy to convert to trike gear.Tom
Old 06-16-2013, 09:38 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

Since you stated you & your son are both beginners, you will most probably be needing some type of support in parts & or service down the road. Also there are better first airplanes to choose from. I'd personally look at Tower hobbies or Horizon hobbies for both your original investment & service. Cubs can be challengeing to fly compaired to a trainer model that is designed for just that purpose. I'd save the Cub for a later model down the road once you and your son are proficient with a trainer. At least your asking questions before buying stuff! Good luck to both you & your son in your entry to model aviation......Gene
Old 06-16-2013, 11:03 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

Hi Wemic, You may be interested in something like the Hobbico NexSTAR (Tower Hobbies) they have a package that includes just about everything you need including radio, engine, flight stabilization and even a computer simulator. It seems to be only partly covered in monocote(the red) so you may want to research what kind of covering the main color is. We have an old Hobbico flightstar and it has some kind of sticky film on it that is a pain to patch(covering melts if iron too hot). Good luck and have fun, don't get into a hurry, enjoy each step it will help to insure you and your son success.Calvi
Old 06-16-2013, 11:40 AM
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Wemic
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Default RE: Our first plane

Thanks for the response everyone. 

I didn't realize that HK wasn't so hot in the support department.  That's good to know as we're definitely going to put some dents in the plane and support is going to be key.  

We were looking at the little L-4 but I'm definitely going to check out the suggestions you guys have made.  We were leaning toward going with electrics but to be honest, all the terminology for them is a bit confusing.  I have some familiarity with the gas/nitro world from before.  Also, the gas/nitro planes just sound sexier.  

Wemic

Old 06-16-2013, 12:01 PM
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Default RE: Our first plane

I would suggest the first thing to do is look for a club. A club will be invaluable in gaining information and learning how to fly since most clubs have an instructor pilot. It would also be helpful to know what is the favored brand of radio and trainer equipment for that area so you can acquire something that is compatible with what others in the club have.

Go to [link=http://www.modelaircraft.org/clubsearch.aspx]AMA club search[/link], input your zip code and see what clubs are near you. There's a pretty good chance you'll also be able to pick up on a used trainer and radio in really good condition through one of the local clubs.

As far as getting something that looks scale for a trainer, scale planes generally fly like scale planes no matter what they are and don't make good trainers - a WWII fighter or something as simple as a Cub. You're better off staying away from one for your primary trainer and getting a plane that is designed from the outset as a trainer.

As stated above about Hobby King - it can be a gamble when you buy from any company in China since customer service is for the most part not in their vocabulary. I too have ordered from HK, but you have to figure if it arrives defective, missing or broken they be prepared to eat it since it will not be replaced or repaired- with the rare exception you're prepared to send it back to China for them to see if they'll honor the warranty. But the shipping back to China is not cheap.

Hogflyer
Old 06-16-2013, 01:41 PM
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noveldoc
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Default RE: Our first plane



Club is a very good idea.  You may find someone there who has soloed and wants to sell his trainer at a good price.  Some clubs even have a club trainer.



And the instructor will often take you up for a first flight.



Don't forget your local hobby shop.  May cost a bit more but lots of beginner's advice and service.



I would definitely not deal with a China or Asia based company.  You get what you pay for.





Tom.

Old 06-16-2013, 02:37 PM
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chris923
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Default RE: Our first plane

Looking for a local club is a great Idea. Hooking up with a competent instructor will save you a lot of money and your son some heart ache.The L-4 (Cub) is a great plane. Not a trainer. They can be very unforgiving even for experienced pilots.
Old 06-16-2013, 03:59 PM
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OliverJacob
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Default RE: Our first plane

I doubt a Cub is a good first plane.
They can be tricky on the ground and tend to take off way before the ailerons become effective. If you don't have rudder skills, she'll hit the ground before you know what happened.

High wing tricycle planes are not that fancy, but a lot more forgiving.
If you want to learn fast, get one of these and save the Cub for later.

My 2 cents
Old 06-16-2013, 04:24 PM
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redbiscuits
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Default RE: Our first plane

The instructors at our club are starting to suggest the Dynam T-28's from Nitro Planes as a first plane. They fly great and are very forgiving, plus they are actually pretty scale.

Good Luck and welcome to RCU
Old 06-16-2013, 04:48 PM
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noveldoc
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Default RE: Our first plane



A lot of trainers look pretty scale.  Like a sort of generic light plane.  I get a strip of sticky chrome Monocote and use it to make windows.





Tom

Old 06-16-2013, 05:13 PM
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thebest_102
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Default RE: Our first plane

Like others have said look for a club. That club will know what they like for a trainer. A trainer is a trainer and like radio brands people like what they like. To say one is better than the other just satarts battles over which is better. The best thing to do is go to the club find the instructors and find out what they suggest. That option makes sense in that you want the instrictor to be as comfortable as he can be whenb teaching you then you can get more out of the training. Welcome to the addiction.
Old 06-16-2013, 05:33 PM
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Default RE: Our first plane

Apprentice......Club.........instructor........AVO ID the Hobby King trap. Just my $0.02
Old 06-16-2013, 06:00 PM
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Default RE: Our first plane

Yes, welcome to the addiction and to RCU
Old 06-16-2013, 08:22 PM
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Default RE: Our first plane

#1 id get a sim first
#2 join a club that has an instructer and get buddy box time in on your plane.
then bigger flys better but its more expensive if you break it.
just my 2ΒΆ nothing more.
Old 06-16-2013, 11:26 PM
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flycatch
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Default RE: Our first plane

Simple requirements which are: High wing with at lest 60" wing span-Tricycle landing gear-Electric ,glow or gas power plant-Minimum four channels(ailerons, rudder, elevator, throttle). I would recommend the Hobby Lobby Telemaster for your first trainer. An instructor is mandatory but a flight simulator is optional. I learned to fly on a two channel glider and it is a lot cheaper than going the power route.
Old 06-17-2013, 05:40 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

stay away from hobby king get a good 40 to46 size trainer> maybe a rtf kit go to the field and get some help>> try and buy american
Old 06-17-2013, 05:43 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

try your local hobby shop or go to horizon get a goodtrainer i think you might get a lot of answers back stay american
Old 06-17-2013, 05:44 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

If you want to build the greatest trainer ever is an LT-40 from Sig. While it is being built get with a local club and learn. Good Luck
Old 06-17-2013, 06:17 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

Welcome to insanity Finding a club and an instructor will save you hours of frustration and provide invaluable information. Our club uses Hanger 9 Alpha Trainers that come as a complete package all ready to fly out of the box with a 2.4 spectrum radio for about $350-400. We buy them from our local hobby shop who supports us on learn to fly days. Good luck finding any plane/radio/engine made in the USA.
Old 06-17-2013, 06:21 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

maybe youwont find much in america but at least if you get it from horizon or your local hobby shop you will get better service then from hobby king
Old 06-17-2013, 09:38 AM
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zacharyR
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Default RE: Our first plane

I don't think hobby king airframes are a good choice for new user's I mean you really need to know whats going on when your setting one up theres alot of mickey mouse .. and things where a seasoned modler would probably fix themself you could over look, simpley not knowing later on down the road it could cause you issues


thats just my openion
Old 06-17-2013, 09:47 AM
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Default RE: Our first plane

hobby king is not much good for anything

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