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Old Oct 24, 2011, 09:06 PM
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RetiredPen's Avatar
United States, OH, Marysville
Joined Oct 2011
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Question
Newbie & Father - Son Bonding Time Assistance

Greetings. I am new here. Actually entirely new to flying. And I needed some advice and did a Google search for a forum. Ran into you guys. I registered and hoped someone could chime in and help me with some novice questions.

First, allow me to explain my plans. I have no knowledge of aircraft at all. I have owned a few RC's. Only a few and usually Sears or JC Penney stuff received as gifts. Not really requiring any 'talent' to operate. About 15 years ago I purchased a gas powered truck and really enjoyed it. Got rid of it as I grew out of it.

Now i'm a bit older and wanted to have a bonding agent for my father and I. To bond and enjoy something together. He is an ol' Marine and has about 10 acres of vacant property. I think he would really appreciate an airplane or helicopter. Something for the sky. He also has ZERO knowledge of anything flying. He can't even understand how to use a PC mouse. I'm trying to teach him. But he's always been facinated with aircraft. Especially from a military mentality. However, between the two of us,... expect crashes. LOL

With the above in mind,... if anyone can answer any of these questions i'd really appreciate it and you'd be investing into a father-son relationship that's been frayed over the years. Thank you in advance. If you can answer all of the questions. Wow. LOL


1) Considering cost as a major factor. Need something inexpensive. But need something that has readily available replacement parts. I expect we'll be crashing allot at first. What design should I be looking at? Wood? Plastic? Metal? I don't know what to look at. With wood being so brittle,... i'd assume it's crash impacts would splinter and cost allot to replace more parts. Maybe plastic or fiberglass,... heck I don't even know what they are made of to be honest.

2) What model would you suggest for a new father-son team just for fun in the back yard. No competitions or anything. Entirely for ease of fueling, starting and functioning. All by himself with or without me being there.

3) Gas or Electric? I know he's get irritated running out of electric mid-air if it's only going to last about 15 minutes. He is just outside the city limits. So, noise of gas motor is NOT going to be an issue. However, the more quiet the better for neighbor-sake. I just want to be certain he has the ability to stay up for 20 or 30 minutes or more if he wants. Or maybe due to costs fuel or electric may be a better choice. First priority is initial cost. Then it would be difficulty to acquire replacement parts.

4) Are there any really good flight simulators out there that don't cost ALLOT? He won't do the PC thing but I would so that I can get a little acclamated to help answer his questions. I'd want something with fantastic views / images. Like ability to fly over mountains or a city or an airport, etc. Something I could learn and appreciate versus just open flying in the clouds would seem boring eventually. What RC Simulator would be reasonably priced and offer fantastic views?

5) This is more of a virtual RC question but i'm putting it here to see if someone can direct me,... Are there any inexpensive 3D or surround glasses that are actually tv screens you are looking at? I heard that there are some sunglasses-looking things that when you put them on you can plug them into a video feed device and actually watch something. Was hoping to find something inexpensive but capable of challenging my pariphial vision that a TV screen or PC screen might not do.

6) What does 3CH or 4CH or 6CH on a controller? I am assuming it represents a channel and the more channels you have the move features you can control? In example,... you could make one channel open a trap door in bottom of plan and drop something? Like a dog toy or something? Not quite sure what or why you'd want so many channels if that's what it's for. Aside from UP and DOWN and LEFT and RIGHT and ACCEL and DECEL,... there really isn't much to need, right? I'm a little confused on this part.


Ok,... that's enough. Thanks for your patience. Just want ol' dad and I to build a kit and even paint it up and then fly it together. Maybe eventually we can get a 2nd air unit. I personally like helicopters but was always told to learn on planes because they are easier to get my confidence up. I want to make the best of my father's last years. This would mean allot to me and him. Thanks for your patience and understanding. I love this forum.


Most Respectfully,
RetiredPen



PS - Anything else you care to suggest or pass a link onto me i'd appreciate it.
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Old Oct 24, 2011, 10:16 PM
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ausf's Avatar
United States, NY, CENTRAL VLY
Joined May 2011
1,029 Posts
Your best shot at success is a high wing trainer. They can fly slowly and self-correct, giving you both time to get used to the sport.

One of the most respected and easily found (with a plethora of replacement parts) is the Hobbyzone Champ. My sons were doing touch and goes in their first session. It's $90 ready to fly, all you need in one box.

It's bright orange, which will help at first, but you could always give it a proper Navy coat for him.

After that, with the area described, you guys would be all set for a T-28 to advance your learning. It's a great hobby for spending time between generations.

I don't use sims, but I'm sure someone will be along to help on that front. It may not be the best for him, especially if he's hesitant with PCs. No need to add to the frustration, just get out and fly/crash a bit.
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 12:51 AM
I ♥ OpenTX
H2SO4's Avatar
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney
Joined Jan 2011
2,684 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
With the above in mind,... if anyone can answer any of these questions i'd really appreciate it and you'd be investing into a father-son relationship that's been frayed over the years. Thank you in advance. If you can answer all of the questions. Wow. LOL
I'm an expert in frayed father-son relationships. Congratulations on wanting to address the issue, and on your methodology

Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
1) Considering cost as a major factor. Need something inexpensive. But need something that has readily available replacement parts. I expect we'll be crashing allot at first. What design should I be looking at? Wood? Plastic? Metal? I don't know what to look at. With wood being so brittle,... i'd assume it's crash impacts would splinter and cost allot to replace more parts. Maybe plastic or fiberglass,... heck I don't even know what they are made of to be honest.
The choice is foam or wood (balsa+ply). I suggest foam at this stage. Leave the wood for later, once you're both hooked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
2) What model would you suggest for a new father-son team just for fun in the back yard. No competitions or anything. Entirely for ease of fueling, starting and functioning. All by himself with or without me being there.
HobbyZone Champ. Less than $100 in total and an excellent and extremely popular intro to the world of RC flight.

In these father/son joint project situations, complexity is the enemy. You probably don't want anything that requires lots of assembly or tinkering - all of it potentially divisive and frustrating for one party or the other. With the Champ, you take it out of the box, charge the battery with the included charger, and throw it into the air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
3) Gas or Electric? I know he's get irritated running out of electric mid-air if it's only going to last about 15 minutes. He is just outside the city limits. So, noise of gas motor is NOT going to be an issue. However, the more quiet the better for neighbor-sake. I just want to be certain he has the ability to stay up for 20 or 30 minutes or more if he wants. Or maybe due to costs fuel or electric may be a better choice. First priority is initial cost. Then it would be difficulty to acquire replacement parts.
Electric all the way. No contest. Gas is obsolete for all but the most monstrously large aircraft, and even then it's only because of inertia. These days electric power systems have just about every advantage.

Chances are you won't be able to concentrate for 20 minutes. Even 5min is physically draining at first. Those tiny rechargeable batteries that power the Champ can be purchased online for a buck each, so if you really wanted to you could fly for hours and hours, with a landing every so often to whack in a new battery. Takeoffs and landings are very much part of the fun

Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
4) Are there any really good flight simulators out there that don't cost ALLOT? He won't do the PC thing but I would so that I can get a little acclamated to help answer his questions. I'd want something with fantastic views / images. Like ability to fly over mountains or a city or an airport, etc. Something I could learn and appreciate versus just open flying in the clouds would seem boring eventually. What RC Simulator would be reasonably priced and offer fantastic views?
FMS is "free", as in beer, and there are a couple of others in the <$100 range (ClearView and FSOne, I think). None of the sims are visually gripping. They don't need to be. What they teach is orientation - that classic situation where the plane is flying towards you and "left" is no longer "left" but "right". It sounds simple but under pressure it's not. Even a few hours in an RC sim with a proper (two stick) RC controller, as opposed to say keyboard and mouse (useless!), can and most probably will make the difference between a new and rewarding hobby for both of you, and a few minutes of disappointment, frustration, and $90 worth of foam lying in pieces.

Try not to skip the simulator. It is vitally important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
5) This is more of a virtual RC question but i'm putting it here to see if someone can direct me,... Are there any inexpensive 3D or surround glasses that are actually tv screens you are looking at? I heard that there are some sunglasses-looking things that when you put them on you can plug them into a video feed device and actually watch something. Was hoping to find something inexpensive but capable of challenging my pariphial vision that a TV screen or PC screen might not do.
There are all sorts of stereoscopic and autostereoscopic devices and technologies nowadays. None of them are RC-specific AFAIK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
6) What does 3CH or 4CH or 6CH on a controller? I am assuming it represents a channel and the more channels you have the move features you can control? In example,... you could make one channel open a trap door in bottom of plan and drop something? Like a dog toy or something? Not quite sure what or why you'd want so many channels if that's what it's for. Aside from UP and DOWN and LEFT and RIGHT and ACCEL and DECEL,... there really isn't much to need, right? I'm a little confused on this part.
The Champ comes with a simple controller. Two sticks and an on/off switch. It's all you need to start off with. Highly complex transmitters which cost hundreds or thousands of dollars are in the domain of the geeky, committed hobbyist. Even dads who know their way around a PC are frequently frustrated by the complexities and jargon of a high-end RC Tx. Ask me how I know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
Ok,... that's enough. Thanks for your patience. Just want ol' dad and I to build a kit and even paint it up and then fly it together. Maybe eventually we can get a 2nd air unit. I personally like helicopters but was always told to learn on planes because they are easier to get my confidence up. I want to make the best of my father's last years. This would mean allot to me and him. Thanks for your patience and understanding. I love this forum.
A collective-pitch (CP) RC heli is notoriously difficult to fly. Even accomplished RC plane pilots with decades of experience sometimes find CP helis frustrating and next to impossible to fly, to say nothing of the high cost and continuous complex tinkering.

Once you can both fly the Champ, you'll be in a much better position to decide what "hobby grade" plane (or even heli!) to get next, based on a better understanding of the concepts and your own likes and dislikes. Then it'll be a flood of kits, ARFs, servos, paints, ESCs, BECs, motors, props, gyros...

Good on you for doing this, and for opening up about the reasons.
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 06:34 AM
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Joined Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
What model would you suggest for a new father-son team just for fun in the back yard.
Learning to fly can be a lot of fun or quite frustrating (it isn't as easy as it looks on YouTube).

Start off small and inexpensive.

1. $89 Champ (includes a nice, 4 channel transmitter)
... this is a great "backyard" flyer.
... start your flying on <5 mph wind days (often mornings or evenings when the wind is calm)
... you'll want some space at first until you learn, like the outfield of a ball diamond

2. $99 Ultra Micro (UM) T-28 BNF to move up to ailerons (use the Champ transmitter)

HobbyZone has a series of 5 introductory videos on YouTube to get you started with the Champ.

After you've learned to fly, you can have a lot of fun building airplanes.

You might consider this $12 book:

RCadvisor's ModiFly: Design and Build From Scratch Your Own Modern Flying Model Airplane In One Day for Just $5
http://www.amazon.com/RCadvisors-Mod.../dp/0982261349

It has nice photos of the step by step process of building a simple, modern RC plane from scratch; out of parts you order and a single sheet of foam you can pick up at the Dollar Store for $1.

There is also tons of information on the scratch built foamy forum on RCGroups.

I recommend separating the learning of flying from the learning of building.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPen View Post
I personally like helicopters but was always told to learn on planes because they are easier to get my confidence up.
Micro helicopters can be a lot of fun indoors when the wind or outside weather ground many RC planes. Where RC helicopters get expensive and frustrating is if you try to fly them outdoors.

You can use the same transmitter that comes with the Champ for the easy-to-fly and control mCX2 BNF (Bind-N-Fly) micro coaxial heli. You will not be able fly it outdoors in any wind at all (only dead calm). The coaxial design makes the micro heli very, very stable to fly but limits its agility and speed. Still, these micro coaxials can be a lot of fun and you get to fly indoors any time you feel like it. All three of these flying machines (Champ, UM T-28 and mCX2) can share the Champ transmitter and the same type of 1S (single cell) LiPo batteries (spares can be purchased for $2; get at least 2 spares).

If you want to "fly heli combat" against each other, indoors, you can buy the Force RC coaxial helis instead (they come in a nice combo, 2-pack) with an infrared "gun" system. Lots of fun indoors for a couple of guys (and easy to fly).

Don't be tempted to "move up" from the coaxials unless you are prepared to spend a lot more money and endure some real frustration learning.
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 12:04 PM
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United States, VA, Williamsburg
Joined Jul 2011
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The Champ is an excellent first plane - I learned to fly with one as well. However, it's quite small with a wingspan of only about 20".

Another option that might be easier for your dad (and you) to see in the air is the Hobbyzone Super Cub LP. It's a very similar high-wing trainer but with a 47" wingspan. It's also available RTF, though it costs a bit more than the Champ. It's also easier to upgrade if you'd like to add floats, ailerons, larger motor, etc. in the future.
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 12:23 PM
buyer of the farm
United States, FL, DeLand
Joined Mar 2009
4,166 Posts
First, the poll. The answer is "none of the above." You shouldn't even be considering a kit in the beginner phase. Even the simplest kit demands knowledge you don't have yet. What you need is an RTF (ready to fly) plane that will fly right out of the box.

That way you just charge the battery and you have complete confidence that the plane will fly as designed. Now different airplanes are designed for different purposes. Purchasing a World War II fighter, which is designed to go fast and maneuver very quickly is a quick ticket to a smoking hole in the ground for a beginner.

You need a plane that is self-stabilizing, so that if your plane is in a bank and you let go of the control stick, the plane will reestablish level flight by itself. You need a plane that flies slowly enough that you can put in the wrong control input, say your favorite profanity, correct your mistake and not crater the aircraft in the process. The function of this plane is to turn OH @#$OO#)!!! into Oh Wow!

So you need a high quality plane that you can trust to fly right out of the box with no modifications, a plane that has successfully taught hundreds of unassisted newbies to fly, and is ready to fly (RTF).

And it's mondo helpful if that plane has a major help thread on RC Groups or similar major modeler's forum that is directed toward helping newbies learning to fly unaided.

There are only about four planes that meet that list, the Hobby Zone Champ, Hobby Zone Super Cub, Multiplex Easy Star and the Parkzone Radian. Unless you have a consuming interest in soaring, I'd eliminate the Radian for now. It will addict you later....

Take your pick. Or buy one at a time as you want more planes. Once you understand clevis adjustment, CG position and how it affects flight, some repair procedures and are comfortable with the whole flight system, THEN it's time to consider some of the kits available.

The GWS Slow Stick is a favorite, not just with newer pilots, but with very experienced ones as well. The Parkzone T-28 park size version is probably the finest low wing 4 channel trainer there is. If you want to build a high wing 4 channel trainer the Telemaster series is just amazing.

3 channel planes use wing dihedral and a larger rudder surface to use the rudder to induce bank. This turns the plane. The dihedral produces a self-stabilizing plane, so most beginners start with 3 channel planes. We hook up the rudder on the aileron circuit, so it will be controlled exactly like a 4-channel plane. It's not like you have to unlearn something bad to learn 4-channel. It feels like a natural progression when you hook up the 3-channel plane right.

Gas or electric? Well it's a bit of a no brainer for me. I need quiet as I fly in city areas. And with electric you KNOW that when you advance the throttle, the prop will turn. I've had enough fussing with cantankerous IC motors that don't want to start, idle, maintain their mixture, burn out glow plugs......... And I love to take a plane to altitude, cut the throttle and glide. You can do that with a gas motor but that's the end of the flight. You're landing. But with an electric plane, I just advance the throttle, the motor restarts and I'm back up again. To me that's the clincher that eliminates IC motors from consideration. That and fuel costs.
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 01:39 PM
Stick, roger ball.
United States, TX, Rockwall
Joined Oct 2011
344 Posts
All great advice. If for some reason you decide to go helis instead of planes. start with a micro coaxial 4ch like the Blade MCX or MCX2. They're relatively cheap, ready-to-fly and light enough to not break except under the hardest of crashes. They will teach you orientation and how to fly a heli as cheaply as possible, but only indoors. Once that heli get's booring you can move up to a single rotor, fixed pitch, 45 deg flybar heli, then finally a CP heli. Skipping any of those steps is almost a sure-fire path to failure in R/C helis.
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 07:01 PM
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United States, OH, Marysville
Joined Oct 2011
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Wow! You guys are amazing! It is so refreshing to have a forum that doesn't talk down or snide to the newest of new people. This information will be VERY well used in my situation with my father. I am so thankful for the time each of you took.

Consider that you have likely helped salvage a father-son relationship and time well spent. Wow,... I am really impressed and thankful. Usually (most noteably) on technical computer forums,... elder members often talk down to you or even are eager to badger how unintelligent someone is as a newbie. I was dreading going thru this with learning RC. Finally found a forum and so happy I chose this one. Thanks so much everyone. Very thankful.


Most Respectfully,
RetiredPen
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 08:07 PM
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United States, OR, McMinnville
Joined Aug 2011
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If you are willing to wait Ebay has many rc shops that will sell the Champ at same price $90 but come with 2 or 3 batteries and free shipping.

Ebay or Amazon can get you the usb controller ($15-$30 E-Sky 4CH USB Flight Simulator) not a joystick and it comes with a basic simulator
Clearview is download from their site only $40. clearviewrc.com
You can download it free for a trial period also.

This forum and youtube will help with repairs, even a foam wing that is torn all the way thru can be glued to fly the next day

And don't forget the wind will be brutal to a beginner, try for morning or evening at first.
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 10:57 PM
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United States, CO, Centennial
Joined May 2011
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I'll echo the Champ -- they're cheap enough that you can get two I started learning on one and it was quite a positive experience. As long as you stay the heck out of any wind whatsoever on the first several flights, it'll be good. Wind will blow 'em away to the next county. As you get better you'll be able to somewhat control it in a slight breeze.

Before long you two may be stepping up to ultra micro T28's (I'm working at mine) and flying formation or dogfighting or something.

Best wishes with you and your dad. I know how the dad/son thing can go (I guess many men & boys do). Patching it up is priceless and I'm extremely thankful to have had the chance to do so (Mine passed a couple months ago).
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Old Oct 26, 2011, 09:29 AM
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United States, AZ, Mesa
Joined Jul 2007
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I can't answer this poll because Electric Foamy isn't an option???

Check it out... this is THE trainer if you want the larger size. If one of you knew how to fly, or you could go to a club (which may be a good idea) then this plane is great for buddy-box training. It's also OK for solo training, but not ideal. I suggest it because it's not wussy little butterfly - it's a solid airplane with good performance and it's big enough to see at reasonable altitudes, which is where you need to be when learning.
http://www.e-fliterc.com/Products/De...ProdID=EFL2725

Fly, crash, fly again...
E-Flite Apprentice (6 min 38 sec)
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 06:43 AM
So I'M meant to be in control?
Colonel Blink's Avatar
Ilkley, West Yorkshire, UK
Joined Nov 2008
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Originally Posted by jasmine2501 View Post
I can't answer this poll because Electric Foamy isn't an option???]
Well said! Foam is the way forward for this chap and his old man.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasmine2501 View Post
Check it out... this is THE trainer if you want the larger size.....
Well, its one of THE trainers if you want the larger size!!!
The EasyStar and it's clones or similars are always worth a look - being 'powered gliders' they tend to fly slow and smooth.
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 03:05 PM
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United States, AZ, Mesa
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Well, its one of THE trainers if you want the larger size!!!
The EasyStar and it's clones or similars are always worth a look - being 'powered gliders' they tend to fly slow and smooth.
For buddy box training, a nice balsa kit works great, but you need a proficient pilot to run the buddy box. I do lots of training with this Piper PA-12 - even put a 3-year-old on the sticks one day!

1/6 Scale Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser Maiden Flight (5 min 14 sec)


But you know, it's still a trainer-style airplane. Problem is, it won't survive a crash, where the Apprentice and Super Cub type airplanes can be crashed a bunch of times and fixed easily.
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 03:30 PM
Fly Safe !!
Cape Town
Joined Jul 2007
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My suggestion is that you find a group or club that fly RC in your area and have a look arround.
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 03:31 PM
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United States, IL, Glenview
Joined Sep 2011
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Welcome to the hobby and forum! Like most have said already, start with the Champ and the free FMS sim and in no time you and your father will have the confidence to fly a larger high wing trainer on your own.

Check out the Six Key Steps for a New Pilot thread found here http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355208
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