beginner questions -- V-tail vs. elevator/rudder, 3 chan vs 4 chan

I'm about to purchase a second rc rtf plane. I have a Firebird Outlaw, and I'm trying to figure out what a good next step would be.
I'm most interested in electric park fliers -- I might move up to bigger stuff later, but just now I'm not interested in fuel motors or anything so big I need to belong to a club to fly it.
The first question I have is V-tail vs. elevator/rudder planes. Is controlling a v-tail that has movable surfaces (elevons?) similar to controlling a plane with an elevator and rudder? Similar enough that someone familier with the v-tail could fly the other easily?
Next, am I doing a disservice to myself by not purchasing a plane with 4 channels and ailerons as opposed to going with one with just a v-tail or elevator and rudder? That's something I want to learn, but right now I'm happy with just flying, and everything I've read seems to indicate that if I go with something with ailerons, I'll need an instructor for a while. If it's not going to be giving me bad habits, I'm okay with just tail controls.
I read a review in "RC Flying" that gave a very good review to the "Easy Star". In looking for it on the internet, it looks like the maker is no longer in business in the USA. I'm a bit leary of purchasing a plane that isn't supported. Is this a problem? One thing I liked about this plane was if I bought it RTF, then it looks like I get a standard 3 channel radio that can be used for other planes. Maybe I'm wrong about that.
Lastly, I'm currently looking at the Aerobird Challenger or something like the Easy Star (or the Easy Star itself). Any other suggestions, in the $200 range for an entire package, for an electric park flyer?
Thanks,
Sean. s l g i l l e y a t y a h o o d o t c o m
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Look at the GWS line of planes! Their Slow Stick is a good choice.

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I second that, but it doesnt have ailerons. I saw a recent thread on ezone about adding them - it looks simple enough so i ordered some servos. Note: the SS is my first plane, ive had it about 2 months i guess. maybe a dozen flights, and over 20 crashes (yeah, i suck - i know) Shes held up well, but you break a prop almost every time you crash. Whatever plane you select, order a handful of spare props. I get the 6-pack of gws props for about $18. I also mounted the prop on a break-away rubber band mount, it helps, but ya still break a few.
Since you already have some flight time with a 3ch, i would look around for an aileron trainer. You dont 'have to' use them, you could fly rudder/elevator and gradually begin to play with the ailerons when you feel bold.

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| I'm about to purchase a second rc rtf plane. I have a Firebird Outlaw, | and I'm trying to figure out what a good next step would be.
Firebird Outlaw? Is that one of those with two channels -- throttle and rudder? Oh, it's worse -- no rudder, just control over the two motors.
This is the sort of plane we'd normally suggest you skip entirely. :)
| I'm most interested in electric park fliers -- I might move up to bigger | stuff later, but just now I'm not interested in fuel motors or anything | so big I need to belong to a club to fly it. | | The first question I have is V-tail vs. elevator/rudder planes. | Is controlling a v-tail that has movable surfaces (elevons?) similar to | controlling a plane with an elevator and rudder?
Assuming that you're talking about a plane where you have three channels -- throttle, elevator and rudder (or throttle, and two channels that control your two halves of the V-tail) they will fly just about identically with a V-tail as with a traditional rudder and elevator.
(If you're talking about one of those two channel planes where you control throttle and then the other stick pulls up one one half of the V-tail, then no, these don't fly the same -- they fly similar to what you already have.)
| Similar enough that someone familier with the v-tail could fly the | other easily?
Absolutely. If set up properly, you won't even really notice the difference. | Next, am I doing a disservice to myself by not purchasing a plane | with 4 channels and ailerons as opposed to going with one with just | a v-tail or elevator and rudder?
Not too much, no. For an electric powered plane (as opposed to a glider) three channels is where things start becoming fun. One channel is throttle, but it doesn't really matter if those other two channels control an elevator and rudder, or two halfs of a V-tail, or two elevons ...
| That's something I want to learn, but right now I'm happy with just | flying, and everything I've read seems to indicate that if I go with | something with ailerons, I'll need an instructor for a while.
Not neccesarily, but planes without aileron controls are usually easier to fly, yes.
Whatever you get, a few minutes with an instructor is not a bad idea. It doesn't have to be anything fancy -- if you have a friend who knows how to fly (better than you), having him give it's first flight and then help you do it, that may save you many crashes.
| If it's not going to be giving me bad habits, I'm okay with | just tail controls.
No, it'll be fine. It's just somewhat different -- more self correcting. The skills you learn with a rudder/elevator plane will translate pretty well to a aileron/elevator plane.
| Lastly, I'm currently looking at the Aerobird Challenger or something | like the Easy Star (or the Easy Star itself). Any other suggestions, | in the $200 range for an entire package, for an electric park flyer?
Dunno, but make sure whatever you get has at least three channels. (A two channel glider is ok, but I don't think you want a glider.)
The Aerobird looks like one of the low end `toys', but it does have 3 channels, so obviously it's a bit better than most of them. No personal experience with it, however.
I'm fond of planes like the Tubby Cubby, Pico Moth or GWS Slow-Stick, but they could easily get outside of your price range, and they may be too fragile for you. An electric flying wing like a Zagi is a good choice too for many people -- harder to fly, but hard to break too -- but you'd almost certainly go out of your price range unless you got a glider (which are often the most fun of all, but you need a slope.)
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzy.com
Those that love sausage and respect the law should never see either being made.
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I got my SS from this guy: http://www.4mht.com / $175 complete, and hes flexible with components

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Sean,
Going from a V to a conventional tail should be no problem for you. The controls on the TX do the same thing. The difference is how it translates to the tail feathers. Rather than have two control surfaces that work together to do two jobs (elevator and rudder), you now have two control surfaces that are independent and each dedicated to one of the previous jobs.
The Firebird series is a fun way to get started. I've seen a lot of them come to the field following Christmas. The LHS sold a bunch and a lot of new blood is entering the hobby thanks to these planes. A lot of clubs are really missing a golden opportunity here.
Chuck

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