I also love my Slowstick, but have no experience with the *bird family, so i cant really compare. I can say that the *bird planes use, with the exception of the Thawk, proprietary electronics and servos - all built onto one circuitboard. The SStick uses regular ol' mini servos and radio gear, which are easily replaced, repaired, upgradeable, transferrable to another plane, and by building it yourself (easy) you will get a full understanding of how everything works. Additionally - and this is personal preference - i think the SS looks better than the Pod & Boom type planes. Not that she's pretty, but it looks more 'purpose-built', like a hang glider or Ultralight. The *birds just look goofy.
SS can fly much slower than the *birds. From a quick walking pace to a top spd of maybe
13mph (est.) MUCH more time to react for newbies.
standard radio gear.
Can accept pretty much any battery within reason
Possibly the Best aerial photography plane ever.
Easily repairable and durable to begin with.
With controls set for full travel, shes amazingly maneuverable.
within your budget.
isnt sexy, but doesnt look like a Wal-Mart toy either.
You'll break a dozen propellers to every one you break on a pod&boom plane. With the prop out front, its always the first thing to hit the ground. Props are abt each.
Parts shortage at the moment. Manufacturer setting up distribution in US at the moment.
slower top speed - not bad though, and not a bad thing either for a beginner.
If your interested, LMK. I can hook you up with the best setup & suppliers.
Check out a prop saver. GWS makes a fine one, once you figure out how to install it. I learned to fly with a Slow Stick and even though I must have nose dived my 1st plane over a dozen times, I never broke a prop using the prop saver. Also, a prop saver keeps prop shaft from bending, which is important with the 300 size gearboxes.
The Slow Stick is a great plane. It flies slow and agile enough for slow and low flying in a small field and yet is comfortable to fly at higher altitudes in a big field. My SS is almost stock except I'm running a geared 400 and it flies great in light to moderate wind with the extra weight of the larger motor and a 8 cell KAN 1050 battery pack.
For more Slow Stick info, check out
and search for "The ultimate slow stick thread" where you can find a TON of info on this plane.
I don't recommend an "everthing you need in one box" cheap outfit. They usually don't fly well and the cheap R/C gear, motor, charger, etc is not usually high enough quality to use later in a decent built up or almost ready to fly model. You really need a mentor to help you select a good radio system, motor, speed control, servos and a good flying starter kit. Plan on spending $300 and save your money until you have enough. There is probably somebody in your area that will be happy to get you started properly.