This was my third plane and first non-micro. I purchased it in June 2011 from Hobbyzone’s online store. I learned to fly it without an instructor. In fact, during my 14 month RC fixed-wing career, I have never had an instructor. While this approach has had favorable outcomes, it is not an approach I would recommend to everyone.
As of July 2012, I have 51 flights on airframe in venues ranging from small school yards to open desert, including one severe crash (discussed below). It is my go-to airplane to warm up on, to explore new flying fields, to take on road trips and to fly in challenging conditions (small fields, windy conditions). It is currently unmodified, but mods are coming in the near future.
Equipment notes, as purchased
It arrived undamaged and equipped with an AR600 receiver (I had read somewhere that earlier versions had been equipped with AR500, a receiver with a somewhat troubled reputation). The lipo battery charger for the two Parkzone 1300 mAh batteries is designed for use in a cigarette lighter. I purchased a wall charger adapter for home and office battery charging. The charger charges the battery through the balance ports. This is a slow way to charge the battery, but works fine.
Easy and no alterations or special tools were needed. I balanced the prop after I had the plane for a while. This did not make any difference in the experience of flying the plane.