Need Recommendations for ARF RC Model Airplane

http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fms/index_e.html


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:

The Nexstar is a nice trainer, however, my personal opinion is that it is overpriced for what you get.
1. Do not try to teach yourself how to fly. The normal 1st flight of someone trying to teach themselves how to fly is typically less than 30 seconds and usually results in damage to the plane (about 1/2 the time the plane is a total). Get an instructor. Clubs provide members an instructor at no charge.
2. Find a local club. Your local hobby shop can help you find one.
3. Talk to the people at the club AND talk to an instructor. See what the instructor suggests for a trainer.
4. Join the AMA and your local club.
Back to the plane.
You can D/L FMS for free and you can either make a cord that goes from your transmitter to the computer or buy one off of Ebay for around $20 - $25. FMS is a decent sim. It doesn't have the "bells and whistles" of G4 or Aerofly, but it will allow you to practice what your instructor teaches you.
The AFS on the Nexstar is, in my opinion, useless since it teaches you the wrong things. MOST instructors have the student turn it off and learn the CORRECT way.
The wing droops are nice, however many students remove them by the 3rd lesson (or sooner).
The Nexstar comes with a 4 channel radio. There is nothing wrong with a 4 channel radio, however most students will be wanting/needing more channels by their 3rd plane.
I suggest the following:
Since most trainers fly pretty much the same, get a basic ARF trainer such as the Hobbico SuperStar or Avistar. With an ARF you do not have the emotional involvment that normally comes if you build the plane from a kit. Remember, a trainer is to learn on. Expect it to get dings, tears and some damage. It goes along with learning.
Get a BALL BEARING 46 engine. OS, Thunder Tiger and Evolution are 3 brands I can recommend. They are "user friendly" engines. By user friendly I mean that 99%+ are going to run decently right out of the box. They will require minimal break in, have good power and not require a lot of "fiddling with" to run properly and keep running properly.
For a radio I suggest a 6 channel (or more ) COMPUTER radio. Initially, you will not be using the additional channels, however many students want flaps and/or retractable landing gear by their 3rd plane. Getting the 6 channel (or more) radio initially saves you from buying another radio later. I also suggest getting the radio in 2.4 mhz rather than 72 mhz.
With some careful shopping you can NORMALLY beat the price of a Nexstar. If you happen to catch some sales, you can beat the price by a substantial amount.
Remember, do not try to teach yourself how to fly. Get an instructor.
Hope this is of some help.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Most trainers are capable of far more than people ever use them for. My Seagull Boomerang 40 has 300hours of flying and is looking really sad, yet it will still do things most pilots would never think it capable of surviving.
I've overpowered it, dived it well beyond flutter, pulled massive 'wing breaking' G, landed it inverted, flown through trees, discovered it's absolute maximum speed (just won't go faster no matter how big an engine), hovered it etc etc.

You're wasting money and getting no benefit for it. Try a cheap trainer, assemble it well, and (once you get used to it) flog the death out of it.
About the only thing they don't like is knife edges, which some judicious modifications will solve.

Don't get cocky or push it too quick. Seen plenty of 'Top Gun' learners who simply rush things too much and end up getting nowhere but frustrated and/or broke.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXWH71&P=0 This is one of the best planes ever. I built the smaller version of this from scratch a few years ago and put hundreds of hours on it.
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXMU53 **&P=0 This is another one of the greats. Comes with everything, and it saves a hundred bucks off the price of the Nexstar, which would be wasted money if you ask me. Just get a plane and learn to fly it, and don't fool with the fancy gizmos on the Nexstar.
Incidentally, neither of these planes has a flat bottom airfoil, in case you're interested. But they both will fly slow so you can learn to handle an airplane, like you do in a full scale Cessna 150.
Some other really good ARF trainers:
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXCXF4 **&P=0
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXGHD4 **&P=0 Comes with 6 channel radio and ball bearing servos. I knew a guy who had one of these, (after I had been a competent pilot for several years) and we used to have a ball flying it. It's a really good trainer.
You could also get any of these planes with no engine and buy a 4 stroke instead if you want to. It's just a matter of budget.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind. Most guys who don't quit right away end up with lots of different planes, radios and engines after a few years. If you stick with it you'll have extras of everything, so don't think you have to get exactly the right gear the first time out. Keep in mind that you may already be planning your next three planes, but three planes from now your plans will likely have changed.
I've been doing this for almost 20 years and taught about a dozen people to fly. It's really not as hard as some people would like you to believe. If you want to do it, you can. Regarding equipment, I have a collection of cheap radios, a box of servos and receivers of various sizes, and dozens of engines that get installed on different planes as they come and go. The basic four channel airplane is what most people fly 90% of the time, and it doesn't hurt my feelings a bit to install cheap four channel radios in them. Maybe you'll build some really cool scale project some day with flaps and retracts and use a six channel radio. While you're building it you'll probably be flying various four channel airplanes that don't require anything more than a cheap four channel radio. I noticed that you mentioned biplanes, which is something that I've always loved, too. I guarantee you don't need anything fancy for a biplane, and unless it's a high speed precision aerobatics type, you won't be able to tell the difference between plastic bushings and ball bearings in your servos.
I'm not trying to twist your arm or anything. You don't have to do things my way, but remember that you don't have to go out and spend $850 for all the best gear your first time out either. Have fun.
Robbie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I like Robert's answer a bunch and wholeheartedly second his opinions. I think any of the planes he points out are good choices for someone who wants to get into the hobby. I especially like the Hobbistar 60, because its bigger an easier to see. It also will allow you to "play" with its capabilities a bunch, but the Avistar will allow that, too.
Harlan

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

------------
My mission is accomplished. I got some folks to write that probably wouldn't have responded to this article. That was my goal. You have to be a little controversial in order to drag some of these folks out of their dark closets.
No, you don't need a fancy radio to begin flight training. But you would save money in the long run if you bought a nice computer radio to begin with. After all, the transmitter stays on the ground, so regardless of the number of crashes that your model experiences, your TX is going to remain in good condition, barring any hanger rash type of accidents.
Do you have to have ball bearing servos? Of course not. But if you spent the extra money and bought the cheapest ball bearing servos, I guarantee that you would enjoy your model more than if you had bought the plastic bushing servos that are bottom of the line.
An excellent transmitter, coupled with an adequate flight pack is a good way to go. I'd buy a used 72 MHz transmitter that is computer based and with at least eight or nine channel capability. Then I would buy a cheap flight pack that matches the transmitter's frequency and shift. Most computer transmitters can be converted to 2.4 GHz with the replacement of the Tx module at a later date. I run 72 MHz, 50 MHz and 2.4 MHz with my old JR X347 Tx, my JR 8103 and my JR 9303 transmitters. You have that capability when you get a computer based transmitter because they use Tx modules to determine the band and frequency.
It's been fun.
Ed Cregger
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yeah, Ed, I think your logic is sound. Its just that if a guy is in the position where he HAS to save a few bucks on his initial equipment, a four channel Tx and cheaper servos aren't all that bad. I try to have that kind of stuff on hand for those just starting out in the hobby. If I see a good used outfit that I can pick up for a good price and pass along the saving to a person who is interested in entry level equipment, I can usually get him into the plane, Tx, Rx and servos for less than $200 and sometimes less. Of course some of the other stuff is extra, but I usually have those things available fairly inexpensively, too. I probably have too much stuff at the moment, but I just love it when a new person shows up at the field with equipment that I sold him for a very good price. Usually its a new flyer, a new club member and another smiling face.
As for the modules, I find that its a great way to get into 2.4 GHz equipment. I bought my 9CAP and Hitec Eclipse fairly cheaply when their previous owners decided to go dedicated 2.4GHz rather than go with the module. I have the capability to fly on any channel that is open or 2.4Ghz with the 9CAP and any channel with the Eclipse. I'll shortly be getting a 2.4 GHz module for that one, too. Then my other radios will be sold. (I got those modules from all those Priority Club points I accumulated over 20 years of traveling on business, so they really didn't cost me anything.)
Harlan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I wonder if my never used 25 or 30 year old K&B R/C .61 engine w/ muffler is still usable?
a four

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Great I'll try to get the motor mount out of the P47
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

-----------
Of course it is. I've been buying up just those engines on eBay for use in my classic pattern models. They run as sweet as ever and parts are available from MECOA.
Ed Cregger
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tom wrote:

That's a very usable engine. My brother in law had one about 15 years ago and it was really easy to handle.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

tHANks, decided to keep it.
Tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Cregger wrote:

The reason I responded to this thread is that I'm expressing a point of view that doesn't get a lot of play for some reason. It seems that a disproportionate number of people on this group assume that everybody wants the fanciest gear on the market and that we will all end up there by choice some day. This is not true. Not only do I not have a computer radio, but in 20 years of flying models I have never wanted one. I have never built a plane with 6 channels. I've built several with 5, but not more than half a dozen or so. Sometimes the extra channel is flaps and sometimes it's a bomb door.
Some of us are just simple and don't like all the fancy electronic crap. The only reason I find that fact worth mentioning is that in spite of the "you'll want it later" advice seen here so frequently, most of the guys I've ever seen at the flying field were flying basic 4 channel sport planes and using basic 4 channel radios. Only about 20% have had computer radios of any kind, and this was at a very popular public field. Apparently the 2.4 GHz stuff is getting more popular now, but I've been out of the loop since I moved to the country a year ago...

I hate to come across as disagreeable, but I disagree with that statement. Until just a few years ago I never owned a ball bearing servo, and I enjoyed my planes just as much as the next guy. Now that I have a few of them I sometimes can tell the difference, but sometimes I can't. And I guarantee that I don't enjoy the cheap stuff less.
I don't want to argue, I'm just pointing out that it is a fallacy to assume that everybody else will follow the same path that you took. This is a very common fallacy, probably the most common in the human experience.
Tom, whatever you buy, may you learn to fly before you learn the fine art of crash repair.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

----------
Each of us judges the world and others by our own experiences. I don't argue with folks. I just state my viewpoint and then move on.
I've been flying R/C and model airplanes in general for a long, long time. I have decades of experiences. Does that make me correct? Not at all. I've seen some real goof balls that had decades of experience and I've had to argue with them back when I was in club politics and either club president or on the board of directors. Their reasoning was often flawed, costing their student pilots money that truly did not need to be spent. Many times their suggestions for rules were absolutely ridiculous to most folks. But they had the right to be heard and their suggestions taken seriously. Others dismissed such folks out of hand. They never had their say, which I thought was wrong.
Ever run into folks that will only fly plain bearing engines? I have. Or folks that will not own a computer radio? I have. How about folks that will never buy anything that is new? If they could find a way to buy used fuel, they would! <G>
It takes all kinds to make a world. I have always fought for folks to have the right to be different, as long as they were reasonably safe. I'm not putting anyone down now for their behavior of choice. I kind of visit different areas of interest and different modeling philosophies quite often. One side of me loves classic pattern. Another side of me is an ardent Telemaster fan. I even own a few helicopters and RTF electric models. I'm on a giant scale kick at the moment. Who knows what I'll be into next week? I don't.
The fact that you disagree with me is fine. I do appreciate you presenting your point of view, even when it disagrees with mine. We put the info, our opinions, out there for the readers to evaluate. That is as it should be.
Ed Cregger
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
.

Good one Robert. In another life I had a Stunt airplane that was almost unrecognizable due to all of the repairs. I suspect I'll have to learn the latest repair techniques.
tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This thread is a wealth of knowledge for me, and I assume some others, I wondering what a computewr based raido is and why it's desirable?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Thanks for clear explanation.
I'm adding up the expense of radio, servos, FS, plane, motor, etc. And frankly it's looking like used equipment from a club member or an ARF kit w/ the works. It may cost a few more bucks more but it'll save the hassle of putting everything together. I work with computers but gave up building them when I realized I can buy good one cheaper than I can build one w/o the hassle.
tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload


-----------
Regarding your last sentence - me too.
I buy refurbed computers from Tiger Direct. Yep, the technology is a couple of years old sometimes, but I'm just an ordinary end user. I don't need a super screaming state-of-the-art machine any longer, but I do like fast machines.
The thing about refurbs is you have to put it through a rigorous testing regime when you get it, because you only have a short while in which to exchange it. Nope, no returns for refund. I've paid as little as $250 for 2.8 GHz P4 processor equipped machines. Or $350 for a Pentium D dual channel 2.8 GHz machine. Or $260 each for several 3.06 GHz P4 machines. Why so many? I frequently give them to family and friends that need a computer.
I'd rather build models anyway.
Ed Cregger
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I hear you I'm a dell guy myself.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree. I'll check w/ my brother because I just realized he wants me to buy the same thing he's buying. \ To0m
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.