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Old Jan 21, 2014, 08:40 PM
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Joined Jan 2014
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Champ as a first plane?

Hey, looking into getting a plane, I guess I'll give a bit of context on my question:
My birthday is coming up soon, and that and Christmas are the only times I can get any aircraft. So far I have an MCX2 (coaxial by blade), a 120 SR, also by blade, and a Hubsan X4. I wanted to get into planes, so the champ seemed like a nice first plane, but seeing as it will be almost a year til I could upgrade, should I go for a slightly more advanced plane, or will the champ be enough? Budget is about 120$.
Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:21 PM
What Goes Up Must Come Down
PRNDL's Avatar
United States, NJ
Joined Jan 2013
494 Posts
My answer is yes...the Champ & the Ember 2 were the planes I learned to fly with. I still have a Champ & Ember, not the original ones but I like flying them so much I think I'll always have them around. I can fly them out of my backyard when I can't get to the field and they will bind to any Spektrum transmitter. FYI, I think the Ember2 is discontinued.

I would also suggest getting the RealFlight Basic simulator before trying to fly any plane. It's fairly cheap and comes with it's own usb transmitter.

If you enjoy flying and want to move up to better (more complex) planes I would also look to get a Spektrum DX6i transmitter.....heck I would get one to fly the Champ for max range. (you can get used on ebay for not much $).
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:35 PM
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United States, NC, Charlotte
Joined Sep 2013
271 Posts
By all means YES, get a micro 3 channel like the Champ next. You'll love it, very easy to fly and forgiving to crash. Now i have to admit i've never had a Champ .. but i do have the almost identical micro J3 cub. From what i've read the Champ flies even better than my J3 but the j3 is a joy and what i reach for when the more complicated planes fail me. Or i fail them rather..

Plan on some extra batteries and maybe an extra prop\shaft..but other than that, keep it out of the trees and theres no reason it can't easily last you till your next birthday comes around. You'll get many many hours of enjoyment out of her inbetween. I'd also second the recommendation to forego a plane to be able to aquire a DX6i, it'll make a big difference to you as you progress in the hobby. Best of luck! J.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:36 PM
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Austin TEXAS area
Joined Apr 2008
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The great thing about a Champ is you do not have to go find a big place to fly and it is enough plane to teach you what you need to learn to become capable. I have planes ranging from Ultra Micros up to 7 feet of span and each has it's strong points. I enjoy the Champ size birds because they fly well, are cheap and you don't get run off from your local ball fields for flying them. The micros also do little to no damage to the things they hit.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 10:20 PM
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United States, CA, San Diego
Joined Dec 2009
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Definitely a Champ. It is a very friendly little plane, and you will enjoy it long after moving on to things that take more skill to fly. One caveat; it may make you feel more competent than you are early on, so be careful when flying the next step, especially if it is four channel. Champ is great, tk
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 11:45 PM
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Joined Feb 2013
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The champ is a great place to start.

Adding cocktail straws for wing spars is a must-do mod. Makes it strong enough to handle some hard flying once you crank up the rates, and minimizes broken wings due to beginner mistakes.

When you do wreck your champ someday, the little brick and motor-gearbox inside it can be used to,, well,,,just look at this:

Get extra batteries, a couple of props, and maybe an extra gearbox. You'll break the tail, you can make another one from Hefty plates. A replacement wing or 6 can be made from a sheet of paper covered foamboard from the dollar store. Fuselage damage and lots of other stuff can be fixed with hot glue.

Once you fix your champ a few times, you'll probably have a pretty decent idea of what it takes to scratchbuild foam micros. if you get tired of, or destroy the champ, you can build new planes all day long using the guts from the champ and a few cents worth of foam and tape. Upgrade to a Dx6 at least and you can take advantage of elevon mixing to build anything from micro slowflyers, to 3d planes and even little jets with eye-popping performance.
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Old Jan 22, 2014, 12:55 AM
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Joined Jan 2014
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Thanks all for the feedback! I'll go for the champ then, seeing as all of you told me too . I have 5 spare 150 MAH 1S batts already, and it seems those are the ones for the Champ.

If I can find the Dx6, would you guys say it is worth it? I'm obviously somewhat of a budget buyer, and I've never seemed to have a problem with the RTF controllers with my quad and helis, but if it makes a large difference in flight performance, I'll look into that as well.

Thank you all again so much, really looking forward to getting this guy
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Old Jan 22, 2014, 01:05 AM
I don't want to "Switch Now"
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Toronto (Don Mills), Canada
Joined Dec 2002
16,538 Posts
Make sure you get a DX6i, not the older DX6. Different RF setup.

For the Champ you could consider a DX4e, they usually sell used on here for about $30 and are a big improvement over the little transmitter that comes with it.
Other options would be a DX5 for about $50 used or a DX6i for about $80-$100 used.
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Old Jan 22, 2014, 01:51 AM
Grumpy old git.. Who me?
JetPlaneFlyer's Avatar
Joined Mar 2006
11,187 Posts
The Champ has a lot going for it, not least it's inexpensive, but it also has it's limitations. Due to it's tiny size and weight you need near perfect flying conditions. Any wind worth talking about and it's going to be a handfull, if not impossible to fly. It may be different where you live but whare I am a plane that can only fly in near perfect conditions wont get flown much.

Also flight time and all round performance is limited due to the small scale. The radio gear in it is also bespoke micro gear that you cant transfer into another larger model when you want to move up.

IMHO a larger model will offer a more practical all round package for most people and one that gives you more scope to develop your skills. But each to their own, everyone's circumstances are different.
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Old Jan 22, 2014, 04:06 AM
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Joined Dec 2013
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Flight time seems to be more proportional to weight than battery capacity (environmental factors forgiven). I can have fun for ~10 minutes with the champ on a 150 without endangering the lipo, which is fair for an electric of any size. The tiny 1S batteries charge very quickly too, so with a small handful you can log some serious flight-time quickly.

Wind is certainly the enemy though, the poor little champ has barely any penetration. I've flown it in over 10mph winds, and it's not so much fun to tire the thing out just surfing. Still a bit of fun to fly stationary though.

Ultimately, other constraints will decide what to go with. I like the champ because i have a tiny apartment and a car with no carrying capacity. I have some sheltered flying spots so i can fly it almost every day, and it's superbly relaxing to buzz around doing rudder rolls with this little floater as a nice break from my more intense models. For such a simple, tiny plane, it actually has an enjoyable skill ceiling:

Hobbyzone Champ crazy flying (5 min 6 sec)

That link needs to be in every champ thread, it's great!
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Old Jan 22, 2014, 06:18 AM
Grumpy old git.. Who me?
JetPlaneFlyer's Avatar
Joined Mar 2006
11,187 Posts
Originally Posted by Cubits1 View Post
That link needs to be in every champ thread, it's great!
I've got to admit, that looked like he was having a ball...
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Old Jan 22, 2014, 10:46 AM
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United States, TN, Murfreesboro
Joined Apr 2013
625 Posts
The Champ is a great back yard flyer and lots of fun. It belongs in the beginner section of the forums all the time. RTF yes but many many people started and still fly this plane. If there is a plane in this rc world that is a beginner plane its the champ. Easy to fly, easy to fix, cheap to repair. And for the price its a well built plane. Just get it from a good place that stands behind it. There are so many sold got to be a bad one sometimes.
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Old Jan 22, 2014, 11:22 AM
Sure, I can fly after sunset!?
United States, MI, Novi
Joined Jan 2011
511 Posts
Duet or Super Cub

The Champ is a great plane, but you might also consider the DUET.

(Be sure to see the video and watch out for hungry birds!)

It runs about $60 RTF and it has electronics that correct for the effects of the wind. Rather than a rudder, it has two motors and turns using thrust differential. So, it "kind of" turns like a rudder plane. This is one of my 10+ planes and I do enjoy flying it.

One drawback is that it can ONLY be flown with the dedicated transmitter. But, you can put the money you save toward Dx6i in the future.

Another suggestion is to find a used Super Cub RTF. Just make sure it comes with at least one battery and a charger. This is also a great plane and is also a ball on floats ($20 more).
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 04:52 PM
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United States, KS, Lawrence
Joined Dec 2013
94 Posts
just to set some context, I used to fly helis many moons ago but recently got into planes. I have plenty of stick time just not recent and not with planes. I got a Champ for christmas.

I would say it is a good plane to start, crashes on grass without a scratch and is very easy to fly.

But there are a couple of BIG caveats.

1. It is VERY light. Like paper-airplane-light.

As others have mentioned, you need a near perfect day. There is no such thing as a day with no wind where I live and the champ is not just a handful in the wind but a moderate gust can throw it really far.

2. It is VERY small. Like magnifying-glass-to-repair small.

Repair is cheap and easy, but I would say only if you have repair experience. Not many people getting their first plane fall into that category. The parts are very delicate. If you do buy spare parts make templates from them first so you can hand-make the rest of your spare parts (except the props of course). When you do crash, have a buddy to help you run down the parts because they blow away easily.

Also if no one tells you, the champ comes out-of-the-box with the rates on HIGH. Push and hold the right stick to change. Google for the video or it's in the manual.

The champ was recommended to me as a "first" but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else, especially anyone with skills enough to build something like the FT Old Fogey.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 05:36 PM
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Joined Sep 2005
986 Posts
Hobbyzone Champ How to Fix Motor Mount (Step-by-step Guide) (3 min 30 sec)

There seems to be an inability for most RC enthusiasts to differentiate between "this is how I started" from "this is how I should have started".
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