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May get back into RC after long absence and have questions

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May get back into RC after long absence and have questions

Old 05-06-2022, 08:15 AM
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Army Retired
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Default May get back into RC after long absence and have questions

My short history of RC...got a Nimbus 2-channel radio back in the late 70's when I was a youngster as a step up from control line. Flew a basic sail plane but quickly reached the end of that radio's usefulness. In college in the mid 80's I got my first proper Futaba 4-channel radio and flew a few trainers and then some more advanced models, but nothing fancy. Couldn't afford to do much more than that and eventually stopped. Quit college and went active duty Army in the late 80's. Got a new 6-channel radio and crashed a Top Flite Zero on its first flight. I replaced that plane with a .60 sized OS Max piped pattern plane. That rocket ship was awesome and I got some great flights out of it before a radio issue took it down. Got my pilots license in 2002 so didn't even think of RC for a while. Sold my full scale plane in 2006 so I could afford to go back active duty Army. Didn't do anything RC related until about 2010 and tried an RC Helicopter. That was a short disaster and that's the end of my RC history.

I'm retired from the Army now and have time I need to constructively fill...and a few extra bucks. I'd love to get another real airplane, preferably a kit. Realistically though I don't have enough money in retirement to be able to afford to either build it or fly it. Thus, my renewed interest in RC.

I've always wanted to build and fly a large-ish scale F3F or F4F. I love how the landing gear works. I've been looking at radios but my knowledge is all out of date by decades. JR and Futaba used to be king of the hill but now JR is dead? I could only afford basic gear in the past. When looking at radios I don't even recognize most of the names. It also looks like you need to shop ala carte...receivers, servos and even batteries are separate. I don't even know where to start.
Old 05-06-2022, 08:51 AM
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BarracudaHockey
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Well JR and Futaba still make radios, the system dujour these days is Spektrum, there's plenty of others.

You need to start with a budget and get out and about and see what fits best in your hands, are the switches and gimbals comfortable etc.
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Old 05-06-2022, 10:10 AM
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Dick T.
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Thank for your service Army Retired, welcome back to RC flying.

Although I am not a Spektrum fan, Horizon Hobby's E-flite series of Ready-to-Fly airplanes will be your best bet to return to the hobby. Everything is in the box so, at this stage, it precludes you having to make decisions ala-carte. These RTF models help you re-familiarize the pieces needed and help you get flying again. From there you can branch out to other choices in radios, power systems (electric or glo/gas), etc.

Visit local flying sites and nearby hobby shops to see offerings in today's RC world.

Good luck.
Dick T.
Not Army retired but proudly served for three years, especially with the 1st Cavalry Division.
Old 05-06-2022, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
You need to start with a budget.
My initial all-in budget is around $5k. That's for plane, engine, radio, etc.

I'd probably get some kind of simple ARF to re-learn on, so that should fit into the budget too.
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Old 05-08-2022, 07:00 PM
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I gave some general radio info in your similar post over in the Beginners section, but Dick T.'s advice is spot on. While that starts you on the path of locking into Spektrum, at the initial stage not all is lost. Total investment will be a small part of your budget, and as you gain knowledge it won't be hard to call it a cost of learning if you want to go another way. Get something like the Apprentice for getting back in, and relearning how to fly, and you'll likely be easily able to recover some cost by selling it all. Or keep it, and enjoy it for what it is - a great flyer for just cruising around the sky on those days when you don't want to mess with the bigger/faster/more complicated/more expensive toys.
By all means find a club you can get to that has a good beginner program, Having an instructor to get your skills back is the surest path to long term success. Most training programs are pretty flexible, and focus on what you need, and not force you to spend lots of time going through again what you already learned in the past.
Old 05-09-2022, 05:36 PM
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Thanks for all the input. Now I’ve got to find a club. The one in Columbus, GA that I belonged to in the late 80’s folded during Covid, along with two other local clubs. I think there’s a club in Auburn, AL. Baby steps…
Old 05-09-2022, 07:55 PM
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Try the AMA Club Finder: https://www.modelaircraft.org/club-finder
Old 05-10-2022, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by tedsander View Post
Try the AMA Club Finder:
I did use that and ended up at a chained up gate at a closed field. Not terribly current info listed there.
Old 05-10-2022, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Army Retired View Post
I did use that and ended up at a chained up gate at a closed field. Not terribly current info listed there.
The info there is what's provided by the clubs
Old 05-10-2022, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Army Retired View Post
I did use that and ended up at a chained up gate at a closed field. Not terribly current info listed there.
I've had that happen a couple of times when in other parts of the country, but the club wasn't actually gone, just that they controlled access to members only - first in opened the gate, last out locked it. Nominally one would assume that a club listed is there because they renewed their charter with the AMA. A call to contact information, especially if they have a web site, could clear up whether they are active or not.
Old 05-10-2022, 04:18 AM
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I found the closed and locked gate on a beautiful Sunday after finding the info on the AMA website. I called the contact number after finding the locked gate…my mistake. They are closed while the AMA thinks they are still active.
Old 05-10-2022, 04:26 AM
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Again, the only reason they are listed as active is because that is the information the club provided to the AMA, in other words, the club charter is active and that is the address and contact information they provided
Old 06-09-2022, 11:01 PM
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The SIG Kadet LT40 is a great flying trainer. It is an ARF, but the instructions to put it together are spot on. I use a Thunder Tiger .46Pro and it flies great
Old 06-11-2022, 12:36 PM
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I had purchased a 41Ē Great Planes Edge 540 in 2010. Tried flying it once in a little league baseball field. Thatís a very tight fit and I didnít fly it again until I broke it out a couple of weeks ago at my new club field. I had an experienced pilot get it in the air for me and trim it out. After that I started getting the feel for it again and probably have 25-ish flights on it. Itís a fast and squirrelly bird. Canít really nap for more than a second.

I have fond memories of a name forgotten .60 piped pattern plane I flew back in the late Ď80ís. It flew like it was on rails. Due to my decades older eyes, a larger plane is probably a good idea. In order to try and recapture my youth and relearn proper flying technique Iím going to buy a Phoenix Aurora (60Ē) and run it electric. Hopefully between the Aurora and Edge they can tide me over until I get the 1/5 Scale Wildcat done.

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Old 07-14-2022, 03:30 PM
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Ok, guess Iím back. Still flying the little Edge 540, bought the Aurora and am slowly assembling that. But my craziest move was buying an 85Ē EF Extra 300 from a local-ish guy. Biggest issue is that I had already bought a Radiomaster TX16S. Itís taking me a bit to figure out OpenTX, but Iím almost there.
Old 07-14-2022, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Army Retired View Post
Biggest issue is that I had already bought a Radiomaster TX16S. Itís taking me a bit to figure out OpenTX, but Iím almost there.
That will continue to be a "biggest" issue. The chief downside to Open Tx units......
Old 07-15-2022, 04:11 AM
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Wecome back to the greatest hobby around Army Retired. Getting the hang of the 'Open source' radios can sometimes be a mountain to climb at first, but very rewarding once you reach the top, so best of luck in conquering yours.
Old 07-21-2022, 07:58 PM
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greetings army retired i to am just getting back into the hobbie myself back in the early 80s up until i joined the army in 88 i was an avid builder and flyer of rc planes ( mostly the balsa usa smoothie ) I must have built and crashed about a dozen of those....good times Now that i am starting back up I started with a little umx radian and a dx6i i got from a hobby shop guy who went out of biz a few months back and quickly have moved to the apprentice and while electrics bnfs are cheap and fun to fly i wanted to build the planes i fly. for me that's the most joy of this hobby.
Recently I went back to the balsa usa site and was pleased to see they still were making kits, after some shopping and deciding i finally ended up getting the Student trainer i figure its been awhile since i built and this way i get a nice nitro plane out of the deal, to graduate from the electric. i also couldn't resist and bought a smoothie xl I mean just look at it, it screams fly me!! I will be using futaba radios for my nitro as well as eventually for the gasser smoothie, futaba never failed me back in the day and while i like my spectrum radio, for me I feel better trusting a 1500 dollar smoothie to futaba just my two cents

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Old 07-22-2022, 03:10 AM
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Welcome back!
Old 07-22-2022, 09:28 AM
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Welcome back to the hobby Cafguy. Sounds like you made some very good choices of both models and electronics in getting your feet wet again. Best of luck as you transition forward with both your flying and model building.
Old 07-31-2022, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Army Retired View Post
My initial all-in budget is around $5k. That's for plane, engine, radio, etc.

I'd probably get some kind of simple ARF to re-learn on, so that should fit into the budget too.
I've been out of the R/C flying for a few years myself and am looking to get back into it again. I thought your amount for a start budget was a bit high. But I just ordered a radio, battery, charger, and plane from Tower for over $1000. That was just a basic electric to get my feet wet. I still plan to get a nitro plane but I'm not sure about these new sizes yet. It seems everything is sized as if they will be electric. Wish I had a local hobby shop to visit.
Old 08-01-2022, 01:23 AM
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Suggest you strongly consider just staying with electric power. It's so much more reliable, so much less money than glow fuel and so much cleaner......

If you want to leave a smoke trail, wait until you have enough experience, money and desire to fly Turbines......

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Old 08-01-2022, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
Suggest you strongly consider just staying with electric power. It's so much more reliable, so much less money than glow fuel and so much cleaner......
......
Which is probably why so many have converted to electric over glow. I never got into the gassers but I still have a few glow planes and engines. I'm sure it won't be cheap to have glow fuel shipped. I'll consider my options on that when I'm ready to get one or two of them into the air.

Thanks for the tip.
Old 08-01-2022, 04:14 PM
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My main reason for switching from glow to gas was the high cost of nitro fuel. There are now so many advantages of using gas such as next to none engine tuning issues, cleaner exhaust operation and excellent reliability, I have no intention of going back to glow fuel.
Old 08-02-2022, 04:41 AM
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You should be able to pick up fuel at a local hobby shop cheaper than having it shipped to you.

I dabbled in gasoline, but the obnoxious smell and all the extra weight and limited size options drove me away. I even tried the OS gasoline glow but the reduced power was not for me. My hangar has glow planes from .049 to 1.20, 2-strokes and 4-strokes. It also has a bunch of electrics from 110 grams to 4 pounds.

Electric is super convenient, but the cost-of-entry can be pretty high due to battery cost. When you buy a battery, you have to think of it as several years of glow fuel all at once. Then you have to do proper maintenance for storage charging, and not over-charging if you want it to last all those years. And if you screw up, it's like pouring a gallon of fuel down the sink. At least if you knock over a gallon jug, you have a decent chance of not losing all of it at the same time.

The right choice for you will depend on your value of convenience (electric wins hands-down) vs. initial and recurring costs vs. the size of your models. If you want small stuff, go electric. If you want mid-size stuff, you can use glow or electric. If you want big stuff, all three will do it. And if you want really big stuff, gasoline will win out.

As they say, "choose your poison."

And welcome back!

Andy

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