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View Poll Results: What is the best platform for a 4yr old?
Unpowered Foam Glider 3 33.33%
Plane-On-A-String 1 11.11%
Powered Sailplane 0 0%
Other 5 55.56%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Sep 02, 2011, 06:27 PM
Obsessive Information Sponge
Joined Apr 2011
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What to get a young'un?

Ok, so I'm hoping that the community can help me out with this one. My son is 4yrs old and has just about every diecast and plastic model airplane we can find. He has loved watching airplanes fly and loving it for as long as he knew what the word "airplane" meant. Since we live near an Air Force base we regularly get to hear about the "ehpanes". He loves to watch me tinker and fly my SR-10. So the wife and i agreed that it's time for him to get an airplane he can fly and have fun with but we disagree on what platform we start him on.

So, what platform do YOU think is the best introductory method for a 4yr old?
Standard foam glider?
Plane-on-a-string?
Sailplane
Other (please include why?)
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Old Sep 02, 2011, 07:19 PM
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I have two six year old grandson's that I have started to take flying this summer. ONe of them has soloed his Champ already after only about 10 flghts on a buddy box with me. The other is almost ready to solo.

So my first suggestion is a buddy box set up, and then just let him start flying RC after you take off and get it leveled out. You want something really slow. The Champ works, but the Great Planes flylite is even better. Oher planes to consider are the PZ Night Vapor or Ember 2 - both of those fly very slowly.

Wolfe
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Old Sep 02, 2011, 07:37 PM
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You could always start with some simple dime store balsa gliders (I guess it's Michaels now), maybe even the rubber powered ones. They're sturdy, cheap and he could even get the Elhmers out for repairs.

Kids are endlessly curious, if you show him the flight differences with wing positions you'd be laying the groundwork for future interest.

My kids always responded well with 'contests': Let's see who can get it to go furthest/straightest/make a turn.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 07:02 AM
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I'd recommend a GWS slow stick with some cheap 2.4Ghz radio gear. The slow stick is very forgiving and not too small so it can be flown in light winds. I can't imagine a plane that's easier to learn to fly R/C with. Also, they are quite cheap and spares are easily available.

With a lot of supervision he could help you build it which would add to the fun.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeBee1 View Post
I'd recommend a GWS slow stick with some cheap 2.4Ghz radio gear. The slow stick is very forgiving and not too small so it can be flown in light winds. I can't imagine a plane that's easier to learn to fly R/C with. Also, they are quite cheap and spares are easily available.

With a lot of supervision he could help you build it which would add to the fun.

He's 4.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 10:35 AM
buyer of the farm
United States, FL, DeLand
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He needs a foam free-flight glider he can toss and chase. This will teach him how to handle the thing gently, how to hand launch and wear him out from chasing it.

Then he'll learn how to trim it for better flight. When he shows the concentration and interest in that it's time to move to a kit balsa free-flight glider.

But let him make the moves. He's ready when he's ready and you can't determine that. If you push him it becomes a chore and the fun's over.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ausf View Post
He's 4.
Yep - I kind of gathered that from the words that read "My son is 4yrs old"

No reason why, with enough supervision (and patience), that a 4 year old can't start to fly RC - A slow stick is hugely stable so it's just a matter of showing the lad how to gently turn etc. I don't think that supervised training from 4 is to much to ask.

I wasn't suggesting that he went solo
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 12:33 PM
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No reason a 4 year old can't learn to fly RC. Isn't their video on YouTube of a kid around that age doing basic 3D flight??

Anyway, I agree any slow flying plane on a buddy box would work.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 12:44 PM
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I have to agree that Ausf's idea of chuck gliders or those cheap rubber powered balsa planes is a good one. Those were the first flying models I had as a kid, although the idea flying an R/C model as a child in those days was completely out of the question (it was 1968 when I was 4!).
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 01:08 PM
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I also had the chuck gliders, as well as the rubber powered ones. Loved em, even though they never lasted very long. But I doubt there were any small electric RC planes when I was a kid, and my dad didn't fly RC, so that's what I could afford!
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 02:00 PM
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4 is still pre K.

I had two of them at one point.

My kids were building styrene kits and handling dual action airbrushes by 7, but at 4 they don't have the motor skills or patience to fly a RC plane. I'd hand them the Tx to a Tamiya tank and they'd get frustrated and move on. It wasn't fun for them.

I bought them RC boats, cars, dinosaurs and subs when they were very young, but they usually went unused after a few attempts. Kids that young aren't cognitively in tune enough to enjoy those things. You could just hand them a broken controller and have them stand next to you while you fly for what they'd get out of it. That's not slamming any kid's intelligence or comprehension. They want/need to have tactile interaction with what they're playing with, flight and controls are an abstract thought.

At 10, my youngest speaks about his UMP-51 in pitch, yaw and roll. At 4, his world was a bit narrower.

Give them a little parachute guy and they'd be happy for hours. Throwing a few $1.29 Guillows gliders, a blast. Showing them how the wing position affects flight, awesome. Hours of fun and learning with Dad.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 03:00 PM
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My thoughts are pretty much the same as Wolf's in post#2.

I bought my 8 and 12 year old grandsons a Clearview sim for Christmas and told them if they practice I would let them fly planes on this summer's visit.

So on their visit a couple weeks ago I first had them fly "co-pilot" with my FlyLite on a trainer port. They both did well. So I drug out my beater Champ that has been rebuilt a number of times and told them keep it away from the swamp and trees. Hand me the controller if you think you are losing it.

I was amazed. They both did real well and each one probably handed me the controller 4 or 5 times. Don't underestimate these young people. They probably already have good hand-eye cordination with all the video games they play.

That's my experience.

By the way I am the only one of the three of us that crashed in our first session!
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 03:38 PM
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I've just started my 8-year-old granddaughter on a Trainer 1, which she helped me build from plans from a thread in this site -- well, at least, she glued the plan tiles together to make the complete sheet, and she painted the finished model a bit, until her attention span ran out!

Anyway, this model is very stable, slow flying, and seems to be very robust. I haven't tried my 4-year-old grandson on it yet, mainly because he's to young to reliably respond correctly to "right" and "left" instructions from me.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 07:43 PM
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Ruthless.
....I haven't tried my 4-year-old grandson on it yet, mainly because he's to young to reliably respond correctly to "right" and "left" instructions from me.

This is my 4 1/2 yr old grandson also.
He doesn't listen to suggesting, commands or anything, just tries to do it in his heavy handed way. He is not gentle with anything.
I was going to start with a Radian sailplane, but decided to get a RealFlight similator for both of us.
Told him when he can fly a similator pretty good without crashing, then we can pick out his first plane.
Hoping this approach works.
Rich S.
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