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Old Jan 19, 2011, 06:54 PM
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Vancouver, BC
Joined Jan 2011
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Question
Want to Build A Trainer, And More...

Hello folks,

I've never flown RC but have some modelling experience from years gone by. Have flown control line and free flight gliders launched off a tow line, and all but one aircraft was entirely built on the kitchen table when I was a teenager mostly kits but also some simple scratch built planes too. Reading the threads here has certainly reminded me just how much fun I had working on these flying models with my dad and on my own.

This was quite some time ago and I see that much has changed both in technology and in the range of craft one can get airborne with. The tech stuff I get and appreciate, but although I'm a techno geek by trade I know bits and bytes aren't everything. I'm feeling nostalgic for balsa and glue but even the glue has changed it seems.

I've been looking at the numerous recommendations for RTF trainers and am duly impressed at what can be accomplished with some of these RTF packages. It's hard to escape a HobbyZone Champ or SuperCub recommendation or video.

But... I'd like to go another route and hopefully am not crazy in doing so. I'd like to build every craft, from a starter trainer on up. At least one of my two boys if not both will also be interested in one aspect or another of this hobby.

So, I'm looking for recommendations for nice looking, even nicer flying, fun to build craft. Most everything at this point should be park flyer in scale as I'd rather not hit the road for a long drive just to fly. There are plenty of spaces in this urban area within walking, riding or short drive distance.

I'd like to leave fuel powered craft behind in my past and go electric as I'm well acquainted with lithium ion technology. It'd be nice if an electric glider is a possible option if not for plane 1, not too far down the road, as I really enjoyed building gliders although that was partly because I couldn't afford RC back as young adult then powered or not.

I'd also like to avoid throwaway technology so I don't mind buying a transmitter and other components up a step or two from what I need at the outset provided it'll still be usable for model 4 and model 10 in the months ahead. This might also be why I'm shy of entertaining some of the RTF packages.

More than anything, I'm looking forward to building. Would like to start simple at first but not too simple and hopefully simple doesn't have to mean ugly or poor performing. Maybe a better word than simple is that I'm guessing it is best to have an easy early success, get in the air and gain experience, while working on the next one.

I'm open to your thoughts on aircraft / good kit makers to look at / style of craft best suited for starting with and even thoughts on what a good grouping of technology (tx, rx etc) to buy into that would serve us well for any number of years.

Mike
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:03 PM
God of Gravity Poisoning
Arkansas Travelr's Avatar
Joined Nov 2010
336 Posts
Try the STC

Build Guide

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showa...8&d=1249217254

Overview

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showa...7&d=1249217254

Tiled plans

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showa...6&d=1249217254

Here's the original build thread note the links found there are old.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ight=stc+flyer


Good Luck
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Last edited by Arkansas Travelr; Jan 19, 2011 at 07:10 PM. Reason: dead link
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:31 PM
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Vancouver, BC
Joined Jan 2011
189 Posts
AT, thanks for that link. While it isn't balsa I won't say that I'm not interested in putting something together like this. I found the plans link here.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 09:23 PM
IWC
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http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...J7FuMJc4-EwcPA

Balsa
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 09:23 PM
IWC
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http://www.stevensaero.com/Trainers-p-1-c-37.html
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 09:32 PM
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Joined Mar 2009
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there are plenty of balsa kits to choose from, just make sure you go with a high wing 3 channel design to start and you should be fine.

just dont skimp on the transmitter or charger.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 01:38 AM
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Vancouver, BC
Joined Jan 2011
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I've noted that Stevens and Mountain Model were often recommended here. Being somewhat partial to gliders while reading more today I ran across Sky Bench Aerotech; most of their models I ought to pass on at present but it sure is fun to look. In addition to wherever else we may go initially I can see an electric sailplane in our future for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djacobox372 View Post
just dont skimp on the transmitter or charger.
Roger that. I like to buy good quality stuff that lasts both from a durability perspective but also from a future-proofing functionality perspective. We won't skimp but also won't blindly purchase gold plated models. We'll spend what is necessary.

What would you suggest for transmitter - some thing that is current, will remain useful for some years even as our needs grow some, that is made and supported well?
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 06:09 AM
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Ken Myers's Avatar
Commerce Township, MI
Joined Aug 2001
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You'll find a couple of good trainers on this page

http://www.radicalrc.com/category/Radical-RC-E-Kits-190

as well as some planes to advance with.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 08:26 AM
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USA, FL, Fort Walton Beach
Joined May 2010
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2.4 Spektrum, DX-6i, an advanced beginner 6ch radio, will be around for a while. Though it's mostly associated with Hobbyzone or Parkzone RTF's, the spektrum gear is readily adaptable to custom build aircraft. The very popular,Spektrum 2.4's w/dtsm are compatible with a broad range of recivers, ultra micro through 2m sailplane capable. They by default are a standard, though not the only.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 10:48 AM
Lost but making good time
Joined Nov 2008
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Zapadoo,

I was where you are at two years ago although I didn't have kids that I wanted to get involved in this great hobby. I'll give you my thoughts...there are many others out there that will disagree with me...but here goes.

I feel Balsa building and flying is at of the top of the food chain in Electric RC. Well built balsa planes are beautiful to look at but if you don't have the flying experience to keep them in the air, they usually end up in a lot of parts when they hit the ground.

Why not start with 3 channel EPP, get flying time under your belts, when you can keep a three channel plane in the air, move to 4 channel, learn it, then think about balsa. You can buy a nice transmitter, receiver, motor, esc etc, and put it on the plane below, then move it all to the 4 channel plane.

Check out this site for a fine 3 channel plane to build with the kids
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1174874

If you don't want to buy the materials, you can buy everything you need from "motorhead" at www.e-foamy.com.

I've also included a set of plans for a fine highwing 4 channel plane designed by one of the best...Gene Bond. Also made of EPP.

Regards,

Hankg

Post Script...If you take your time, your kids will learn to fly and look forward to the next build. If you push it to fast, they will get frustrated...I've raise three of them.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 03:24 PM
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Vancouver, BC
Joined Jan 2011
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I suppose I should mention my kids are 11 and 13; the eldest is gadget boy and I'm trying to see if his interest in electronics goes beyond simply using things. I've been a ham radio operator since the 80's and have created some electronics projects for him in the past that he enjoyed but we've not done much of this over the past few years. The youngest loves building models. I've no doubt that the eldest will be interested in operating a craft but want to see if he has the interest and patience for building something nice, starting out simple of course. Myself I'd like to work together on a high quality balsa kit - we'll just resolve not to power it up until we are ready. Call it a carrot.

I do know what it feels like to watch a nice plane be smashed into the ground -- flown before the pilot was ready. My dad did that to my first control line craft, maiden flight. Two revolutions, then way up and straight down, ending up in a zillion pieces. That one was plastic of some sort if I recall correctly. After a suitable period of mourning I scooped up the pieces, visited the library, found a book, got some balsa together and built my own control line craft with the scavenged engine and other parts. It was only somewhat ugly but to me it was a beautiful yellow flying machine and it flew just fine. I built a very nice looking hand and tow line launched free flight glider, balsa and tissue - whatever was current 35 years ago - after that and had a fantastic time at it.

Knowing my boys one or both of them will like some or all of this hobby. While it wouldn't be ideal if they don't take to it, the consolation prize is I like it. For now plan A is all about them though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hankg View Post
I feel Balsa building and flying is at of the top of the food chain in Electric RC. Well built balsa planes are beautiful to look at but if you don't have the flying experience to keep them in the air, they usually end up in a lot of parts when they hit the ground.

Why not start with 3 channel EPP, get flying time under your belts, when you can keep a three channel plane in the air, move to 4 channel, learn it, then think about balsa. You can buy a nice transmitter, receiver, motor, esc etc, and put it on the plane below, then move it all to the 4 channel plane.
Thanks Hank for your thoughts on this. I'm not wholly stuck on a balsa kit-build for a first plane. Whether a solid hard to kill trainer is made from balsa (a stick build or whatever is considered most robust in that format) or foam I suppose doesn't matter all that much to me aside from I know nothing about foam building. Am guessing building with foam is straightforward and relatively inexpensive - will do some reading.

Regardless of which direction we turn to for a first simple trainer I would like to work on a more interesting (to me) aircraft to indulge or rekindle that fun I had with balsa way back when. For that first wood project I think we'll probably start out with a really good quality kit from a trusted name so we can look forward to good results without too much hair pulling.

I like your thoughts about buying nice parts such that they can be moved on to future craft. We'll probably do that times 2 by trying to think a little down the road and work on a second craft for when we ready. Chances are we'll keep the trainer equipped for the foreseeable future until everyone in the family has had an opportunity to see this is for them.

Mike
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 06:34 PM
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United States, FL, The Villages
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Zapadoo - I am a 1:1 pilot, rusty, and I fly RC helos. I bought a fairly large "trainer" for my 1st RC. 1st flight, maybe 10 seconds with a broken wing. Why!??? Dunno. Bought a HZ Champ and did 5, great, damage free flights today! Even if you have great thoughts of flying, start small and easy. I have been around aviation for a loooong time, maybe longer than some of you have been alive (45+ years) and I was not prepared for this adventure. And, factor in "kids"?
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 07:25 PM
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Vancouver, BC
Joined Jan 2011
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Message received. Small, a forgiving design, tough, simple control system on the aircraft - 3 channels, inexpensive and quick to repair - KISS - these should be the attributes we seek for our first.

Mike
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zapadoo View Post

What would you suggest for transmitter - some thing that is current, will remain useful for some years even as our needs grow some, that is made and supported well?
Just make sure you research the price of receivers when buying a tx.

Spectrum is the most popular choice these days. I would also recommend looking for a used futaba 9c tx, which u can add a asan 2.4ghz module from hobby king. With the Chinese module your receiver cost is dirt cheap ($20 vs. $100 for the futaba).
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Old Jan 21, 2011, 12:46 AM
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USA, ID, Niter
Joined Jul 2008
4,479 Posts
Zapadoo Stevens aero makes some great kits they go together like a big 3d jigsaw puzzle. The squirt is their trainer model they fly well and are fairly durable for balsa. They make a 2 meter glider called the Helium that would be a good choice where you want a balsa kit and a glider. I have built a few stevens planes I can't say enough good things about them. The precision of the laser cutting has to be seen to be believed. Www.stevensaero.com This is the Stevens aero groove 480 my first real kit build. It turned out pretty well I think.
DSCN2177 by Hance1976, on Flickr
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