getting started

hello. I've been wanting to start up in rc planes and just found out we
have a nice field near by with a club.
I've read the slow stick is a good starter plane but wanted to ask here
first. Also which servos, speed controllers, etc should I get?
Do I need a fancy radio I can expand with or just something cheap enough
to run this plane? after i master this plane i could let friends
practice with it so having 2 transmitters later on might be nice.
A few other questions. should I wait for help or just give the plane a
fly with no previous experience? how difficult is it to repair a slow
stick after a crash?
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Jim, not sure where you're located, my answers are biased toward the US since that's where I live. It's also important for you to decide if you want to go electric or glow. Your questions make me think you've chosen electric. If you are doing this because you plan to stay with electric, that's cool. However, if you are thinking of starting with electric, and then moving to glow, be aware the total cost will be higher. Much of the stuff you buy for one does not apply well to the other. For example, the (really small) servos, batteries, speed control, and field chargers you need for electrics are not necessary, or don't work well for glow. The glow driver, engine, larger servos, fuel pump, glow plug wrench, starter, etc that you buy for glow is not necessary for electric. Learning on electrics and then going to glow also requires a period of transition since glow planes are usually larger, faster, and you need to learn how to make a glow engine run properly. So, be sure you know where you want to go before you start buying. Either choice, glow or electric, is good.
My first recommendation is that you check out the beginners forum on RCU,
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The questions you asked have been discussed at length. You'll find lots of good info there and a bunch of people ready to help.
Before getting into equipment, here's a few words about trying to learn on your own. I'm sure one or more people will respond saying they learned without help. Perhaps they did. Most self attempted beginner flights last 5-15 seconds. Then they take the pieces home for repair. The next attempt may be a little longer. After several rounds of takeoff, crash, repair, the person will either give up, see the light and get help, or occasionally someone actually figures it all out and is flying. In case it's not obvious yet, my answer to you is get help. You will: 1) have more fun, unless you think crashing and repairing is fun, 2) spend less money, sometimes a part is broken beyond repair so you end up buying a new part, 3) learn to fly quicker, the instructor will do his best to make sure your plane stays in one piece, which means you get more time in the air, 4) put yourself and the people and property around you at less risk of being hit by an out of control plane.
For your radio you can get a basic 4 channel setup from one of the major manufacturers, Futaba, JR, or Hitec. Any of them will work well. You should check with the club to see what's most popular there. This will make it easier to be sure they've got the right trainer cords. If you are going with electrics, you will need to buy a package with small servos and receiver. For glow, the servos and batteries that come with the standard radio package will be fine for a trainer, and most sport planes.
If you decide to stick with the hobby, you can get a radio with more functions, such as a 6 or 7 channel computer radio, later. Choose one that's compatible with the receiver from the first radio, and on the same frequency, and you'll be able to fly both planes from your new transmitter.
I'm a slimer (slang for a person who flies glow planes since the oil in the fuel ends up on the plane). If you have decided on electric, read no further, it's about glow planes.
Assuming you are considering glow, for a plane I recommend a high wing ARF trainer, such as the Tower Trainer, or similar. Unless you don't want to research the options, I say stay away from the often suggested RTF or package deals. They are ok, but often include very basic components. They also offer little to no price advantage.
A reasonably priced .45 size ball bearing engine will do well for a trainer and many more planes. Good brands include OS, Thunder Tiger, Super Tigre, and a few more I can't think of off the top of my head.
Reply to
Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
Welcome to the insanity.......I mean hobby {:-)
First of all, I STRONGLY suggest having an instructor. While people have taught themselves to fly, it is usually an expensive and very frustrating way to do it. Your local club(s) will provide instructors at no charge. Your LHS (Local Hobby Shop) should be able to provide you with the names of clubs in your area and who to contact.
You may also want to check and see if the club(s) you are interested in offer a program by the AMA. With this program, the club provides the instructor, plane, fuel, etc. at no charge to you for 30 days. The program is designed to let people find out if RC flying is really for them or not before they spend the money for equipment. Not every club offers this program though.
Two links you should definitely investigate are:
RC Universe
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Both links have excellent forums and a multitude of people that will provide (usually) excellent information and advice.
As for starting with an electric plane, there are pros and cons to electric as well as to glo powered planes. There have been several discussions on this subject at RC Universe. If you do a search in the forum section you can read up on it and perhaps be able to make a more informed decision.
In any case, I strongly recommend talking to a club (and several of the members), and join a club. I feel you will find the experience much more pleasant, less frustrating and definitely less expensive than doing it on your own.
Reply to
Ted Campanelli
I can't imagine the hobby industry getting behind such a program. In fact, I would have thought they would have fought its implementation heartily. Just imagine all of the money they would not make if such a program proved effective.
Furthermore, I know of several perpetual beginners that obtain all of their flying gear from beginners that have dropped out. These folks would be forced to actually buy something new, if such a program caught on.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
| | | >You may also want to check and see if the club(s) you are interested in | >offer a program by the AMA. With this program, the club provides the | >instructor, plane, fuel, etc. at no charge to you for 30 days. ... | When did AMA start this program? There has been no publicity given | it. Sounds like a major expansion of the Intro Pilot program, for | which AMA only provides liability insurance (as mandated by AMA) for a | 30 day period, and the club pays AMA to have an instructor designated | an Instructor Pilot. The plane, fuel and equipment are provided by | the trainee.
I think you two are talking about the same program, but have some details wrong.
It was publicized a little bit in the MA magazine, not sure about anywhere else. (I knew about it, and I don't watch the AMA that carefully.)
Ultimately, a person is designated as an `Intro Pilot' and they pay a bit extra to the AMA ($5/year) and do some extra paperwork. In exchange, they can train people to fly who are not AMA members (but only for 30 days), and they get the benefits of AMA insurance (which is what this is all *really* about -- insurance.)
More details here --
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It sounds like a good idea to me. Especially if the club or instructor can provide planes for the people to fly, though the idea of a `club trainer' is another can of worms with good aspects and bad aspects.
Reply to
Doug McLaren
| I think you two are talking about the same program, but have some | details wrong.
Correction: Abel didn't have any details wrong. And neither did Ted, really. But I don't think the AMA has expanded this program.
Ideally, the club will provide a plane for this, and that's probably what Ted was thinking of. That way, people can get a feel for R/C flying without spending hundreds of dollars.
Ultimately though, the `Intro Pilot' program (at least the AMA part of it) is really about insurance. The club (or instructor) is what makes it really work, by helping out and providng the place to fly and ideally providing some hardware too.
Reply to
Doug McLaren
If the program proves effective, there will be more poeple in the hobby. That's good for the industry that supplies the hobby.
Who provides more profit to the industry: the beginner who buys one set of entry-level stuff and then crashes and gives up, or the beginner who learns using borrowed gear and spends the next 30 years buying ever more stuff?
Giving away a free taste of something addictive has always worked for other industries.
That again sounds like it would be good for the industry.
Reply to
Grant Edwards
"Grant Edwards" wrote
There are two views toward R/C recruitment. There is your view, the one that says we should entice folks to join. Your type will invariably get on the phone and coax someone that tried it once and didn't like it into coming back out to the field. Of course, lots of guys of your persuasion, not you necessarily, usually find another instructor's time to waste with the trivial details of teaching someone to fly. Someone that would be better off somewhere else. PR guys are too busy running the PR deal to be bothered with instructing. BTDT.
Then there is my point of view. I say make it hard for folks to join. Prove that you have what it takes, or be turned away.
I am not the local weekend babysitter for every parent that is too busy to raise their children. I won't build your model for you. I won't do the modifications that I have suggested that YOU do to your trainer. In my book, you pay as you go and you don't get any free rides. I'm not into coddling newbies, nor am I an R/C evangelist.
With all of that said, I will do my best to help anyone that has a burning desire to fly. I don't have time for the others. My life is going to be too short as it is. I have an agenda.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
I _never_ said that. I said that in my opinion such a progam would be good for the industry. I exressed _no_ opinion on whether I wanted more people "to join" or not.
I've no idea where you're getting that from. I've never tried to talk anybody into flying RC.
You don't even know what my persuasion is -- you seem to be just pulling an opinion from thin air and ascribing it to me.
Reply to
Grant Edwards
Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
I am not sure of the exact name of this program. I belong to the RC Propbusters in Waterford. CT. I know we have this program. There are designated instructors to do this and the club provides the trainer, fuel, etc. The program allows the person to fly for 30 days without having to join the AMA or the club. Unfortunately, our club does not promote/advertise this program as much as I feel it should be promoted.
On a personal level, I think it not only is an excellent idea/program, but in our club's present situation it could be a big plus.
The flying field the club has leased for over 20 years, now has $500,000 homes going up within easy viewing distance of the field. We have been STRICTLY enforcing the 96 db rule and are telling the people not to fly in the direction of the new homes. The club also hopes to be able to put in a line/screen of fast growing trees this spring to not only block the houses view of the field, but to act as a sound barrier.
So far, there have been no complaints, BUT, I don't expect that to last too long. Unfortunately, when people buy homes that expensive (average home in the area is $250,000 - $275,000), they don't want to hear or see some "working slob's toy" on the weekends.
Reply to
Ted Campanelli

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