Hi, I do not know anything about the RC flying hobby. I would like to help a disadvantaged person become introduced into this hobby. He doesn't have the means to be extravagant so I want to help him out a little. He seems to prefer helicopters but according to what I have seen on the web they seem expensive to purchase and maintain. I figure that he would love an RC airplane almost as much. Anything to get him started in the hobby. Anyway, my local hobby shops got junk at low prices and, of course, really neat stuff at high prices. So, is there any system among hobby enthusiasts to sell old stuff they don't use anymore or a way to pick up bits and pieces to get a working craft going? I was into ham radio and attended giant swap meets where I could pick up tons of junk I could put together and use and not spend a ton of cash. You guys and gals got anything like that in S.W. PA for RC flying?
Sure. Although the suggestion of a Flight Simulator is good, it could be as much or more than a used plane. Ask for the location of local clubs at your hobby shop. Go out and ask about used equipment and instruction programs. Most clubs have instructors who will teach you to fly at no charge, although membership is usually required. You can also buy a cheap, little "park flyer", but that might be more frustration than it's worth.
You're right about helicopters probably getting pricey. They're more complex machines and they are harder to fly.
It appears that the quickest and perhaps least expensive way to get your friend started would be to look at electric park flyers. Not all of them are junk.
GWS has an interesting starter airplane in the Slow Stick. It looks awkward and ungainly, but it has taught a lot of people to fly RC, and then has also become a platform for such activities as aerial photography and aerial video.
A starter set built around the Slow Stick can be had for under $ 200. In fact, GWS Expert has a package offered online for $ 108 with a 730 mAh NiMH battery pack. It has everything except the battery charger. If you stick with NiCad or NiMH batteries, there's a charger for those available at $ 40. That has the package at $ 148.00 An extra battery pack or two is a good idea, each pack is about $ 16.00. So, with two extra battery packs it adds up to about $ 190.00 in new stuff.
The basic kit, airplane and motor, sells for $ 35. If you're willing to do the rounds of swap meets, you'll need two small servos, a receiver, an electronic speed controller ( ESC), battery pack(s) (probably not less than 750 mAh), a battery charger, and a transmitter. Ask questions and tell folks what you're looking to put together and you'll find lots of help.
GWS has a starter transmitter with 4 channels that is quite affordable. At swap meets you should be able to find something like a JR Quattro or a JR
421 EX at a moderate price. Be sure to match the transmitter channel and the receiver crystal channel.
The advantage to electric is that if there is an open area nearby where a plane can be flown safely, and where there is no prohibition in place, there's no need to drive to a club field. A Slow Stick is quite manageable, even for a beginner, on a softball field.
It's a good idea to take membership in the AMA and to observe the AMA Safety Code. Member flyers who operate within the Code can be covered by liability insurance.
It's also a good idea to find someone who can help your friend learn to fly and avoid the frustrations of breaking the plane and either having to go home to make repairs or to the hobby shop or computer looking for spares.
On 6/29/2004 8:59 AM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
Someone mentioned a flight simulator. There is a free D/L available. It is called FMS. You will need to supply the transmitter (usually your own) and an interface cable (about $20 on EBay). It is a pretty decent simulator with loads of different type planes (and helicopters) available for free - just D/L.
I would not even contempalte buying a $500 chopper till I could fly te pants offf one on et simulatr.
So far I achieve about one successful landing in 5, in calm winds on the sim.
I DIDN'T learn on a slow stik, but I wish I had, ideal trainer.
A lot depends in what way your friend is 'disdvantaged' tho. I hate that word.
If he is blind, it ain't gonna work. If he is paraplegic, no reason not to be as good as anyone else. I've got a polio paraplegic friend who used to fly RC. He gets very depressed and I keep offering to let him fly mine. He won't tho :(
If he has motor control dysfunction, its gonna be hard, but very doable.
If he's got brain damage its a hard call.
I wish you luck tho, but would say that if the guy can fly a simulator, hes 75% there. If I had a real good freind like that I'd buy him a sim. If he succeeded with that, I'd buy a slowstik.
FMS will give a total newbie a fair introduction into model aircraft as long as they know the real thing isn't going to behave exactly like its simulated counterpart. Also, the guy he's helping may be financially disadvantaged (I'll guess that's what he means) enough not to be able to afford a computer. :(
Very funny. Seriously . . . I'm laughing. On the inside where it counts. Anyway, I'd say you don't have my address for the $20. And if you did I would send it back. Minus the cost of the return postage of course ;) I am looking for a bargain, not a donation. I appreciate the information most of you have given. Thanks.