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Old Dec 02, 2010, 05:43 AM
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3 or 4 channel for a beginner

Hi everyone,

As this is my first thread( Been reading many threads though! ) on this forum, I guess I am ready for my first RC plane. Even though I have been involved in aviation for many years but never had an RC plane , so I understand it is something to be learned with patience.

I read some great tips and advices on this forum. However I have few question which I appreciate if you can help to clarify

First, Should I start from a 3 or 4 channel plane? Important thing for me is to learn it ( self-taught ) properly . So I am not sure a 3-channel ( No aileron ) plane would be a good choice ?

Although, I read few threads on here about beginner plane and majority voted for a 3-channel plane , After a bit of reading and research I came across two models which I think can be suitable for me :
Other thing is the price for a 4 channel and 3 channel is very similar here (New Zealand) so I am wondering what should I buy?! Here is a FMS Cessna 182 which is similar price (http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/List...x?id=335388017)

I have problems deciding between above. Any feedback or suggestion please?
Or if you think I should start with a 4-channel ??


Enlighten me


Ben
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 06:12 AM
222 km/hr Parkjet flyer
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Latvia, Ventspils pilsēta, Ventspils
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I am one who advocates a 4ch trainer style plane. I used to teach many to fly years ago and 3ch was not my preferred choice.

But go-it-alone ... you need a forgiving plane and that means high-wing with a touch of dihedral. Good wing area and preferably not tapered. 4ch - yes even though others will say dihedral and ailerons do not go together - that's rubbish as long as dihedral is not excessive.

Most trainers in 3ch guise tend to wallow around and will not handle wind / gusts as well as a 4ch machine.

IMHO
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 06:42 AM
Da' Cajun
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I don't think slolent's advice is wrong, at all, but I'm in the 3 ch camp.

They make for cheaper, simpler trainers. Propose designed 3ch trainers almost fly by themselves giving a rookie plenty of reaction time.
Yes they handle sluggishly. ...for a reason. To make them easy to fly. And a rookie shouldn't be flying in gusty conditions anyway.

All that said, if you have the bucks for a 4 ch radio go for it. There are many 4ch trainers that are just as forgiving.

I wouldn't recomend either of the two planes you linked to above.
Start with the HZ Super Cub and go from there.
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 07:48 AM
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If you start off with 3 ch you may have a problem transitioning to 4 ch. With 4 ch you should learn to make coordinated turns using ailerons and rudder which you cannot do with 3 ch. Also with 4 channel you learn to control the plane on the ground and take off using the rudder. If you start off with 3 ch you have to relearn using the left hand for ground control rather than the right hand when you advance to 4 ch.

So start off with 4 ch and you don't have to relearn anything. The thing is you do need a 4 ch trainer with a bit of dihedral to learn on.

I would also select a larger plane to train on. I think the micros are a bit too sensitive.

Glen
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggcrandall1 View Post
If you start off with 3 ch you may have a problem transitioning to 4 ch. With 4 ch you should learn to make coordinated turns using ailerons and rudder which you cannot do with 3 ch. Also with 4 channel you learn to control the plane on the ground and take off using the rudder. If you start off with 3 ch you have to relearn using the left hand for ground control rather than the right hand when you advance to 4 ch.

So start off with 4 ch and you don't have to relearn anything. The thing is you do need a 4 ch trainer with a bit of dihedral to learn on.

I would also select a larger plane to train on. I think the micros are a bit too sensitive.

Glen
I agree to an extent ... but I don't think the matter of co-ordinated turns is important ... honest. It's something that comes into play later with intermediate and more scale style sport models ....
For most learners they are happy to get of the ground in one piece and land again ... whether they steer straight with rudder or not.

Large though is a very good idea as small models are twitchy, are trying to fly in full size air ....
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 08:32 AM
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I for one think that a 4 channel plane is the way to go. I'm fairly new to this but at our club the instructors use 4 channel. I flew one of my instructors Avistar's a couple of times then bought my own plane which is an Apprentice. I flew it with my instructor and a buddy box. Things worked out very well with it but I noticed he kept telling me to use the rudder, after all, you paid for it I soloed fairly quick with it and am very happy about everything. I also think that a bigger plane is better as it's easier to see. Good luck.

Tom
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 01:16 PM
It's just a plane.
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It Doesn't Matter

A pilot can learn to fly any plane that is available today. Some planes are just easier to learn to fly than others. I started with 3 channel (UM Champ) and transitioned into 4 channel (T-28D Trojan) pretty easily. If there's a plane you especially like and it's a 4 channel get it and go fly. You can improve your chances of success by (1) limiting the control throws on the plane when first starting out and (2) finding an experienced pilot to assist you.
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 01:37 PM
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Cedar Rapids, IA
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3 or 4 channel for a beginner?

Do both!

Champ RTF (3 channel) with 2.4 GHz transmitter ...$89
Trojan T-28 Ultra Micro UM (4 channel), BNF ...costs you another $99 (use the same radio)

You will find many folks here on RCGroups recommending the Champ as a beginner's plane (it is how I learned) and also many recommending the UM T-28 as an easy, entertaining and fun way to learn ailerons with 4 channels.

I explain more in this post:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...51&postcount=8
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennz View Post


First, Should I start from a 3 or 4 channel plane?

Although, I read few threads on here about beginner plane and majority voted for a 3-channel plane

Enlighten me
You've read threads here on RC Groups,and most recommendations are to start with a 3 channel plane. I'm confused, then, as to why you're starting a new thread if you already know what the answer is going to be? Many times, people will keep repeating a question until they finally get the answer they want...

My recommendation is that of the majority; buy a 3 channel plane. The HobbyZone Champ is the better of the two you listed.

Chuck
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions.

The main reason I asked is, with no thread there is a unity of answers. Even in this thread some suggest 4 channel and others 3 channel to start with. That is where the confusion comes along.

What is important for me is if I start learning( on my own ) with a 3 channel will it be hard to have a successful transition to 4 channel plane?

I should add that I don't have any indoor place to fly the plane, And here in Wellington city wind is something very constant. Will a 3channel trainer be able to cope with some wind ? ( 5-10Mph ) or it is better to start with a 4 channel to learn how to control it when it is a light to moderate wind?

Unfortunately I don't have access to a trainer person, so my help is going to be forums like this and reading different articles plus practicing.


Does any one know about the quality and stability of FMS Cessna 182 with brushless motor and 2.4G RX/TX?


Thanks again everyone for your input
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennz View Post
Thank you all for your suggestions.

The main reason I asked is, with no thread there is a unity of answers. Even in this thread some suggest 4 channel and others 3 channel to start with. That is where the confusion comes along.

What is important for me is if I start learning( on my own ) with a 3 channel will it be hard to have a successful transition to 4 channel plane?
The transition is not that hard. The main thing is to get used to the responsiveness of the ailerons vs rudder control. A free simulator such as FMS or RC Desk Pilot will help tremendously with learning 3-channel and 4-channel control.

Quote:
I should add that I don't have any indoor place to fly the plane, And here in Wellington city wind is something very constant. Will a 3channel trainer be able to cope with some wind ? ( 5-10Mph ) or it is better to start with a 4 channel to learn how to control it when it is a light to moderate wind?
Beginners should always start off flying with no wind if at all possible. If not, then no more than a VERY light breeze. Also, with more wind, you will need a larger area to fly in. Once you are confident controlling the plane, most planes (3 or 4 channel) can handle a moderate amount of wind.

Quote:
Unfortunately I don't have access to a trainer person, so my help is going to be forums like this and reading different articles plus practicing.

Just size wise , is HZ Champ a good size for training or too small?
The small 3-channel planes should not be a problem for training. If you are going to start with a 4-channel plane, I would recommend something a bit larger.

My recommendation would be this:

The easiest (and least frustrating) way to start learning on your own is with a 3-channel plane. If you feel you must start with a 4-channel plane, try to find someone to help you, or put in plenty of stick-time on a simulator before you put the plane in the air. Just keep in mind that the simulator will be easier to fly than the real plane. If you can do acrobatics on the sim, you should be able to keep control of the real plane.
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Thanks Bowieb for the great advice

Do you have any preference for a 4 channel ? I have either art-tech, Skyartec or FMS cessna 182 in my mind. Any good ? Hence they are bigger with more wingspan to cope with the wind and be more stable.
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 06:15 PM
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Bloomington, IN
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First thing is first, if you get a 4ch plane, guess what's gonna happen? your gonna crash
if you get a 3ch plane, guess what's gonna happen? your gonna crash

It doesn't matter in the end, if your really into it, and determined, you'll learn to fly no matter what (as long as you don't do something really illogical like buying a jet for a first plane)

Personally in my opinion, if your teaching yourself to fly, by yourself, 3ch is the best option, your going to do what you want to do anyway though, so I suggest being strategic about whatever you buy, remember what I said about crashing? you'll need parts, and just guessing, that Cessna you posted will have parts rather difficult to obtain, you crash it and say for example break the motor mount, that's a flight-killing problem, and it could take months to get a replacement part, get a starter-plane with readily available parts, I guess would be my point......
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennz View Post
Thanks Bowieb for the great advice

Do you have any preference for a 4 channel ? I have either art-tech, Skyartec or FMS cessna 182 in my mind. Any good ? Hence they are bigger with more wingspan to cope with the wind and be more stable.
Since I didn't take that route myself, I don't have any concrete recommendations for a 4-channel trainer. I went from an EasyStar (3-channel) to a Superfly (elevon) to a micro P-51 (4-channel). The Superfly and UM P-51 are both great planes, but I wouldn't recommend either of them for a first plane. The Easystar is a great 3-channel plane for a beginner.

I totally agree with Varmet6. Make sure that spare parts for whatever plane you pick are readily available from either a local hobby shop or a major online store because you WILL crash your first plane on a regular basis. At first the crashes will be because you are learning to fly and do not have the reflexes to recover from mistakes. Later the crashes will be because you are starting to get comfortable with normal flight and are trying to do acrobatics while the plane is too low to recover from mistakes (ask me how I know... ).

Here are two things to remember regardless of what plane you start with:

1) Height is your friend. New pilots are frequently scared to fly too high, but in reality, the higher your plane is, the safer you are. Height gives you more time to recover from mistakes.

2) Simulators are not perfect, but they are very helpful. There are endless arguments on these forums about the best simulator, but any of them are good enough for a beginner. The more time you spend flying a simulator, the less time you'll spend crashing your plane. And repairs are much easier and cheaper in the sim!
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Old Dec 02, 2010, 09:30 PM
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I certainly can't give you any expert advice. I'm just about 2-3 months into the process myself. I had lots of sim time and it was tough learning for me. It took a long time to even somewhat master the sim. I highly recommend a simulator. Then when I went to the real thing, I went with 4 channel. I just did not like the way 3 channel flies, not real to me. My first plane was a used PZ wildcat. Next I actually bought a 3 channel Champ. From there is has been several more 4 channel um planes and a regular size pz t28. When I bought the Champ, it was like learning all over again from the 4 channel, so my thoughts are why learn twice, go 4 channel. One thing about the big planes compared to the ultra micro's. When you crash a bigger one something normally breaks - from minor to major. When you crash a ultra micro, things seldom break. I would hesitate to say how many planes I would have destroyed if I had not went with the ultra micro planes as they are tough little buggers especially if you fly over grass. And if your experience is anything like mine, you WILL crash. I highly recommend simulator first, ultra micro second and then move into the bigger planes.
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