I am considering the hobby, and my first airplane. My research indicates that the Hobbico Nexstar is probably a good bet. Any other beginners have experience with it?
18 years ago
I am considering the hobby, and my first airplane. My research indicates that the Hobbico Nexstar is probably a good bet. Any other beginners have experience with it?
I would advise talking with your local club. I know some here have had bad experiences with clubs that treat new people as a distraction at best. However, I can say from personal experience, that they are not all that way. At least give them a chance.
I would advise going out to their field(s) and meeting a few members. If at all possible, try to talk with one or more of the club instructors, if the club has formal instructors. I have seen different people train in completely different ways. I knew after talking with a couple guys that one of them was not going to train me, no way, no how. We just didn't "mesh" in our personalities. Had I walked away right then thinking "stupid club is full of idiots", I would have missed out on meeting the guy that did train me. It turned out we got along great and I had a very good experience.
My 2 cents is that anyone CAN learn to fly on their own, but 90%+ of people will learn FASTER and BETTER with a qualified instructor. This is especially true where you are talking about starting with a greaser rather than a small foamie that won't do much damage (but are harder to fly, IMHO.)
Ok, long winded sales pitch over. ;) Just remember, not all clubs are the same, and not all people at a given club are the same.
As for a trainer plane, I would advise asking your chosen instructor for an opinion (thus the above spiel.) Many instructors have a "favorite" setup that they like to start people on because it has worked well in the past and is what they are used to. Will that setup REALLY be any better than another? Probably not, but familiarity does go a long way. Also, you don't want to rush out to LHS #1 and buy their recommendation, only to find out that the nice new Futaba radio they sold you won't connect to the trainer port on the instructors' radios because your chosen club is 75% Airtronics and 24.5% JR. (Ask me how I know. :P )
Finally, if your club is fairly organized about frequency control, your instructor may be able to stear you away from over-utilized frequencies. Nothings is more frustrating that getting to the field for your scheduled lesson, only to find that you are one of SIX people waiting for channel 40. (Again, ask me how I know.) :(
Welcome to the most exciting addiction you will ever have. :)
Hi Art, I would suggest staying away from the nextstar because: one is the price, two is the auto pilot function, it seeks the shadows so if you fly over anything on the ground that is very bright, shiny things like water surface, buildings, bright concrete etc. etc. and when it detects this bright object it will roll away from it and then if it see the sun it might roll completely over and all this time you are fighting it to stay upright. I have talked to several people who have flown the nextstar and they disable the auto pilot function. Three it uses a cheap Futaba radio, not one of their better radios.
IMHO I would suggest the Hanger 9 ALPHA trainer as it comes already built with the engine, an EVOLUTION 40 trainer system more on this motor later, and the JR QUATRO four channel radio installed. All that you need to do is slide the wing half's together and hook up the aileron servo linkage to the aileron horn then attach the horizontal and the vertical stabilizers to the aft end of the fuselage and hook up the control linkages. After this you install the landing gear and the prop on the motor and you are ready for flight, well almost, you need to charge the transmitter and the receiver batteries over night.
It takes approx.. 20-30 minutes to assemble this bird. As for the flying qualities I have one myself and I'm having a ball with it. I'm practicing my inverted flying with it and yes it will fly inverted. It has a very soft stall with a lot of warning and is very forgiving when you do an OOPS!
I have a friend who owns a hobby shop and he suggests the ALPHA trainer as the best trainer for the money. MSRP is $299.99 where as the nextstar is around $399.99
The next plane offered as a good trainer is the Goldberg EAGLE 2 but this only comes as either a kit, and a very good kit at that, and an ARF.
I hope I have not confused you to much with my description. L8R's
Former Airline Mechanic Credo:
We the willing Led by the unknowing Have been doing the impossible For so long With so little That we are now qualified To do anything With nothing at all...
As you've probably noticed by now, many people are not so fond of the Nexstar. Add me to the list recommending against it. I think it's over priced and loaded with gadgets that are just not necessary for learning. I'm actually not fond of any package deal. You almost always get mediocre components that may not transfer very well to the next plane. For example, many trainer packages come with a .40 engine. This works well for the trainer plane, but when you go to the second and third plane, you will find most people suggest using a .45 (or .46) size engine. So, you're stuck with a .40 engine that's of little use. The only time I recommend a package deal is for someone who is unwilling to spend a little time selecting the components. If you shop around a bit you'll find you can do as well, or better, buying the individual pieces.
I'm also against packages that try to dumb down installation to the point where a trained monkey can handle it. When you buy a plane that's already got the radio, engine, etc installed, you learn nothing about doing these tasks. What do you do when it's time for your second plane? The instructions for any good trainer ARF, and there are many out there, will cover the details of radio installation very well. The instructions on your second plane often assume you learned this on the first, so they don't provide as much detail. By learning this task on your trainer model, you have the skill to do in on the next plane(s). A trainer plane is about learning, and it's good to learn some of the steps involved in assembling one to the point where you can fly. If one is not willing or able to do this kind of assembly on the first plane, they should take a serious look at whether they want to get into this hobby, because assembling and maintaining planes is a big part of it. If you have questions about installing something on the ARF, you can go to your LHS, assuming you bought from them, your instructor, or look online.
If you don't have a local hobby shop, or they are trying to price gouge, Tower Hobbies is one good place to buy planes (if you're in the US). There are many others. For about $350 you can get the Tower Trainer .40, a decent .45 engine, a Futaba 4 channel radio, and the basic tools and field equipment you'll need to get it in the air. Go here:
I would recommend the Hanger 9 Alpha 60. The Alphas are good fliers and the evolution engines run great. A bigger plane is also easier to fly. I haven't run across anyone who likes the Nexstar. You could also look into a Sig Kadet LT40 + engine + radio. The one thing about the package deals is that you get a very basic 4-channel radio with no model memory. Fine for the first radio, however it is quickly outgrown if you stick with the hobby. It would cost more upfront to get components but would be more flexible in the end. If money is not your only consideration, check out the Hitec Optic or Eclipse transmitters.
On 1/5/2005 8:47 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
I would stay away from the NexStar. It is high priced and the AFS is a piece of junk. The AFS will have you constantly fighting the controls and you will have to relearn to fly once you pull it out of the plane.
I would also suggest staying away from the RTF packages. The engines, for the most part, are marginal - OK for the trainer, but rarely useable in a second plane due to lack of power and the radios are typically a BASE LEVEL 4 channel radio with no choice of channel.
Since MOST trainers fly pretty much the same, I suggest the following:
By doing some careful shopping you should be able to come very close in price to many RTFs.
In addition to this you will also need fuel, spare props, a battery for the glow plug, a connector from the battery to the glow plug, a "chicken stick" and some assorted screw drivers and wrenches as minimum equipment.
Before purchasing anything I would go to the local club and find out what BRAND of radio is most commonly used by the club members and also find out the LEAST used channels at the flying field (clubs also provide instructors at no charge to club members). Then get that brand of radio and on one of the lesser used channels. The manuals for the radios are good, but a live person with knowledge/experience of your brand of radio is a lot better when (not if, but when) you have questions/problems. By getting the radio on one of the least used channels you will minimize your waiting time for the channel to clear so you can fly.
I would also suggest going to RC Universe
Hope this helps.
I've seen quiet a few Nexstars come and go at our field.Mostly go...There's a lot more planes out there a lot more reasonable than the Nexstar.
The flight leveling sensor gets unplugged first.Then the humps on the wings get taken off and next is the honey comb air brake on the bottom of the wing has to go..A lot of redoing for a trainer. It's just a high dollar trainer and you don't really need all that extra stuff.Also the landing gear snaps in place and they come out too and you can bet you'll be making some hard landings.One side of the landing gear is still lost out in the pasture at the field.
Go with a Sig Kadet Sr,LT40,AeroStar,Tower trainer...There's a ton of trainers out there a lot more trouble free than the Nexstar and most of them are basically the same for a lot less dough.
Ted Campanelli wrote:
Normally I would agree with this except for the suggestions for either Alpha trainer. The .40 size has the .46 Evolution and the .60 has their .60 sized engine. Granted, the .46 is "detuned" but it still has more than enough power for anything but the most demanding power hogs and they will buy a high performance engine anyway. Both are excellent ball bearing, ABC type engines. I have 2 of the regular .46 engines and love them. Most of the students at our field are flying the Alpha series trainers with great success. They seem to take the normal knocks of beginning flyers very well with minimal repairs. Having said that, the engines will do fine for your second plane but the radios may or may not. They are JR 4 channel radios which are very basic. They are of good quality however, and the servos can be reused with your next radio if you decide to stay in the hobby (which we all hope you do) or you can use the entire radio with another simple 4 ch airplane. Everything else that has been said is true. Alot depends on your intentions. ARF/RTFs get you in the air quick but give you minimum insights as to how the craft was put together. This may not sound like a big deal but when you crash (again, not if) knowing how the thing is put together aids in the repair process. For this reason, I prefer kits. Another consideration is that there is less emotional attachment. Kits on the other hand take longer to put together, require you to possibly learn new skills, and can cost more in the long run. However, you will have a sound understanding of how the structure is put together and have an idea of its strengths and weaknesses. You can also customize it so you have a unique finish and no one else at the field will have a plane that looks exactly like yours. That and again when you crash, since you know how it was put together, you can even manufacture replacement parts like wing ribs etc. I can't tell you how many repairable ARFs I've dug out of the trash simply because the owner didn't know how or even if it could be repaired. Once you get a couple of kits under your belt, you can even change some things like landing gear placement or even minor changes in appearance. Some "kit bashers" even go so far as to change high wing to low or make the plane more scale like. The options are really limitless.
No matter which way you go, I hope you find enjoyment in this most fascinating of hobbies.
FWIW ... do NOT get this plane. Last year i was teaching a fellow who bought one. first thing .. had to unhook the crutch.. it does strange things with bright objects/light. had a ton of problems with the motor.. would not idle, quit at full throttle, etc. the landing gear can/did fall off. the fuse is built with thin balsa. and is curved .. looks nice, but very hard to repair. learning planes are going to be dinged ..... should be built so they are easy to repair. He finally gave up and bought a plastic corrugated type.
PS - I started with the Avistar RTF. Would probably have bought the ARF and a better radio had I known what I was doing, but the Avistar is a good plane.
On 1/6/2005 9:19 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
I am very surprised about the problems with the engine. The OS FX/AX series engines are one of the most user friendly engines out there. I recommend this engine to newbies (if their budget allows ) since it is so user friendly. Was the engine broken in ? Another possibility is that is was in the "less than 1% category" that was not user friendly.
I agree with you 100%. a new guy at the field just bought one (Nexstar), and the engine on his screams,idles, and runs just great. The one i messed with was a bugger. he sent it in and they rebuilt it. Now, on the bench, it now seems to run okay. we have not tried it in the air yet.
We have had all kinds of problems with one of these at our field the auto pilot system caused more problems than it was worth the leading edge slats and fixed flaps/dive brakes are more of a gimmick than anything else weighs about 8 lbs comes with a great engine and that rounded fuse sure look good. Get a superstar if you are over 55 an avistar if you ar under 45
Art, All this controversy over this trainer should clue you into why not to buy it. The opinion of most of the instructors that I have talked to is that it is a very poor performer even without the extra gadgets, rebalancing, retuning, and using a "Y" cable to get rid of the adverse yaw. Just get an Avistar and it will serve you well from student control basics all the way into learning the basic aerobatic IMAC maneuvers.
One of my students has a Nexstar. We had LG probs that made it squirrelly on TO just as it got up to flying speed. It seems the mains wiggle around. There's a fix for this. Engine problems appeared after the first few flights. That turned out to be a loose stopper in the factory-installed fuel tank. So check out the tank before you put the engine back in the airplane.
The airplane flies well enough with the speed brakes & airfoils installed. A bit fast for a basic trainer without them.
I have been using the Hobbico NexStar Select for a couple of months now
My instructor and many at the field have commented on the planes look and it abilities. It has done well for me and I am further along i training than many who started at the same time or before without th trainer or the sim to work on.
It took me 20 minutes or so to put the plane together and an hour or s to go through and be sure that all control setting were correct. I the took it to the field and had several experience pilots check it over The only suggestion was that I wedge the battery in with foam to kee it from shifting.
There were a couple of items that I found with the plane that those wh use it should know.
Don't bother with the AFS, especially if you live in the sun belt. I does not work well in Arizona and learning without it is not difficult
Tighten down all of the screws and nuts. I had been told this b another NexStar owner and found out for myself when I found two of th motor mounts backed out after 3 or 4 flights.
Overall I would and have suggested this system to anyone who is lookin to get started
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