Wayne and KC--
Thanks, guys, for the thoughtful replies, which are exactly what I needed. I'll give them all a look. In fact, I suspect I'll be in for two when I make the decision.
My father-in-law was once in the hobby, maybe twenty-five years ago, and recently retired. I want to send him a kit now that he's retired and get him BACK into the hobby. I, on the other hand, built balsa and tissue rubber-band-powered models as a kid and loved it, but for some reason never got into the RC side of the hobby. After going to Joe Nall this year I realized what I'd been missing, and can't wait to get going on it.
As I mentioned, I'll learn on a foam RTF or ARF (and lots of time on the RealFlight sim, already), then do a simultaneous build so my FIL and I can get together to fly them. So the choice of plane is doubly important
Thanks again for the help.