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Old Oct 04, 2014, 12:16 AM
Lake's Frozen Let's Fly
Rhea's Avatar
United States, MN, Eden Prairie
Joined Oct 2008
1,340 Posts
FAQ
What Should Be My First Plane?

I am going to risk it all and step out here with both a criticism (to no one in particular) and hopefully some advice.

Being the Beginner Training Area Forum this should be a place where beginners can get good information.

Lately I have seen many recommendations, to the question “What is a good beginner plane?”, for the “Champ” or other micro-plane. Yes, this is a good beginner plane but as many beginners find it is not that good in a windy condition. I have one among all the other planes I fly and I have flown it in high winds and it was fun for me.
I don’t think it is fair to recommend something that is likely to frustrate someone more than it will help them learn to fly a plane.

I also know that a beginner is going to want something that resembles a full scale plane too. I can only say to that, “Forget it”. You aren’t going to learn how to fly with a scale plane especially not a 4 channel plane. There are great 4 channel trainers that a beginner can fly with an instructor and a buddy-box but if you want to just go to a park you would do better with a 3 channel non-scale plane.

Now that I have said what not to try as a beginner plane I suppose you expect me to tell you what you should try. Well I’m not because that would be like telling someone what beer (or for the under 21’s here what carbonated/canned beverage) you should drink. I don’t know your taste or what you would want to be seen with.

I fly all kinds of planes and I don’t apologize for any of them. I fly scale and imaginative and fast and slow and micro and large planes. Each one fits my mood at the time and I like them all.
I will say though that one of the most fun planes—and one that is great for beginners and advanced flyers alike—is the GWS Slow Stick. It’s cheap with repair parts available and nearly anyone can fly it. It is most fun in strong winds and when others won’t fly because it’s too windy I bring it out and PLAY.

Well I may have said nothing worth reading but I felt I had to write this anyway. If you have gotten this far in my rambling I apologize for taking your time for no good. I just don’t want a beginner to think your first RC plane has to be a scale plane and that you will be doing aerobatics in your first week. I know I was humbled very quickly when I began.

Good luck and Happy Flying!
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 12:54 AM
Y=C+I+G
cmdl's Avatar
United States, CA, Rosemead
Joined Jan 2012
9,101 Posts
i requested this to be a sticky. i think this is a great topic. of course, we should be careful what we put in here but this question is asked way too often to not have a sticky. very good idea, Rhea. thanks.
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 08:05 AM
buyer of the farm
United States, FL, DeLand
Joined Mar 2009
4,751 Posts
A beginner shouldn't be trying to learn to fly in wind anyway. It introduced a "fourth dimension" into the already three dimensional sky that the beginner doesn't need. Even when learning with an Apprentice S, the beginner should avoid any wind at all for first flights and then slowly increase the amount of wind he allows himself to fly in. All planes regardless of size are carried downwind at the speed of the wind. There is no way for the beginner to be ready for that.

Most common beginner "complaint?" It flew away. Solution: get used to wind gradually and for first few flights don't fly if there is ANY wind.
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 08:49 AM
Look out below
mcnowhere's Avatar
United States, OR, McMinnville
Joined Aug 2011
1,490 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhea View Post

Being the Beginner Training Area Forum this should be a place where beginners can get good information.



Good luck and Happy Flying!
I keep wondering if this section should have the actual plane thread?
Like:
Delta Ray RTF with SAFE Technology by HobbyZone
E-Flite Apprentice S 15e RTF With SAFE Technology...
Hobby Zone Super Cub S with SAFE
Or should it just be questions and each of those threads moved to the proper plane section of Rcg.
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 09:27 AM
yank and bank!!
Joined May 2013
2,507 Posts
I've come to the realization that newbies will still start their own "what kind of plane should I get?" thread without doing a search or looking at the stickies.
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Joe Perrone's Avatar
doha Qatar
Joined Jan 2004
456 Posts
Maybe this place could be used to educate not just on what planes are good but also on how to use this site. I believe the convention is to link to the appropriate thread rather than duplicating. Getting beginners used to the site convention would help in their transition towards being internet know it alls.

What also might be interesting is to have a "selection matrix". Different strokes for different folks, or horses for courses kind of thing. The answers would eliminate some recommendations. It's really just aligned with the clarifications most people ask when someone asks "what should I get?""


1) Is your location very windy; moderately windy; or not windy?
2) Do you have lots of space, moderate space, little space?
3) Do you have lots of trees, some trees, no trees at all? (what's the chances of that!)
4) Do you have some Tx equipment already?
5) Do you live in Australia, UK, Europe, US, etc?
6) Have you ever flown before if so, a) successfully b) so so c)no d) I am completely hamfisted and incapable of flying

And then, some foundational indicators of possible success:
- Have you spent time on a simulator, or have access to one?
- Do you have any friends that fly?
- Is there a club or field nearby that you know of?
- Do you have a real pilot's license, because we all know that makes you automatically the best model pilot around
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 10:45 AM
buyer of the farm
United States, FL, DeLand
Joined Mar 2009
4,751 Posts
Great list, Joe!

Yup, reality sucks, failboat! You're 200% right.
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 12:03 PM
Lake's Frozen Let's Fly
Rhea's Avatar
United States, MN, Eden Prairie
Joined Oct 2008
1,340 Posts
Thanks for the contributions to this thread, everyone. I can see that others feel it is important to enlighten new flyers and users of this forum. Anything that will help the beginner make good choices is welcome.
I wasn’t sure where this thread might go. After all it was just a concern I had that someone buying their first RC plane would be influenced by the glamour of a nicely finished scale warbird and discover that they can’t fly it. To me the enjoyment I get from RC flying is guiding a plane around without regard to what it actually looks like.

I didn’t want to make any particular recommendations for a beginner airplane but there is one that surprised me with its easy manors. A few weeks back an unskilled (not a beginner) flyer asked me to maiden his new ducted fan flying wing. I thought to myself “this is way too much plane for him”. But when I flew it I was instantly surprised at its docile and slow flight. It is the Tech One Neptune from NitroPlanes.com. It is also quite durable and parts are available making it a decent plane for new flyers.

And it looks like (if only a little) the old Northrop YB-35, YB-49 flying wings from the 1940-50s, for the Must-Have-a-Scale-Plane group.
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Old Oct 04, 2014, 12:36 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, Oceanside
Joined Apr 2011
5,015 Posts
I really think it all depends on the "type" of beginner we are talking about. There are many new, would be RC pilots who jump in knowing little, if anything, about how a plane flies. Those that know a thing or two about aerodynamics will probably be a couple of steps ahead of those who are completely in the dark about the subject. This could also affect the kind of airplane the newbie decides on. The more one knows about "flying" a plane the more "advanced" he/she is going to be in the beginning phases of this hobby.
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