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Old Dec 29, 2011, 07:35 PM
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Just starting out and need some advice...

I now have time (retired) to try r/c flying for the first time. On the beginners forum there is an abundance of advice as concerns which plane, which radio for beginners but I didn't see anything disussing vendors or manufacturers.

I don't want to start a fight as I'm sure everyone has positive and negative stories and horror stories but if some guidance can be given concerning vendors that offer reasonable service, good replacement part availability at a competitive price I would appreciate it.

Also any guidance on manufacturers that offer the same services as the vendors plus COMPLETE kits. I keep seeing review of various kits that come missing vital parts or require extensive mods to make them useable.

MH-41Woodie
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 07:56 PM
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Im in the same boat except for the retired part lol
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 07:56 PM
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I would recommend your local hobby shop first, if you have one. Otherwise, towerhobbies, amainhobbies, horizon hobby, hobbyzone should all be good. Nitroplanes.com if you are looking for a cheap foamie but I have heard they don't really stock replacement parts.

Hobbypartz.com, which is nitroplanes' sister site has good deals on batteries and chargers.

What kind of plane/gear are you looking for?
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 08:09 PM
fmw
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If you are serious about the hobby, then my advice is to worry first about the radio. The planes are less important and the radio works with all of them. You will change models a lot but not radios. It is the most important decision. Stay away from RTF Ready to Fly models because they have inferior radios and inferior equipment all the way around. Pick a radio system you can live with into the future and then get yourself a good trainer (I recommend the E-Flite Apprentice.) Then go join a club and find an instructor.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 08:37 PM
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As far as planes go, I suggest to start with an EPP foamie. They can take a lot of abuse & usually worst case is a fix with welders ahesive.
I've been in it for about a year now & started with a couple different foamies.
Take a look at Twisted Hobbies & 3DHS. A few different options of EPP foamies from each company. For a beginner this makes the most sense IMO.

+1 fmw

Good Luck
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 08:39 PM
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A lot depends on your level on intent and access to outside resources. If your planning on joining an AMA sanctioned club most have folks to help you and some actually have club trainers (actual plane). Personally I think 4 CH in the only way to start but others will tell you I'm an idiot and 3CH is the best.

You can never go wrong with an E-flite apprentice. Basically turn key plane and radio package. The radio is relatively capable but you might see if your local hobby store will switch out the DX5 for a DX6i.

If your going to do it on your own I'd recommend a Skysurfer or Bixler. This is a basic 4 CH motor glider. Easy to fly and very durable, the pusher prop eliminates almost any chance of a broken prop or 2...or 12

Truthfully Woody most of this stuff is usable right out of the box. The real question is center of gravity (CoG). If the plane is in balance it will fly pretty well...if its not (especially tail heavy) it won't.

By far parkzone/E-flite is the best out of the box option. I own a Parkzone T28, an E-Flite Apprentice and a Banana Hobby SkySurfer...if I had to pick just one it would be the SkySurfer in a walk....not even close.

Regardless of what you decide to buy just realize you'll break it and fix it then rinse and repeat. While I agree about the radio comments...I also don't. I love my DX6i but just ordered a Turnigy X9. No matter what radio you buy now you'll want a different one sooner then you think possible.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 09:27 PM
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Great responses so far and much appreciated. I haven't nailed down a radio to buy yet but it seems smart to overbuy and grow into a quality unit. I really don't know what I'm talking about but I would think that just because a radio has say six channels you aren't required to use all of it's capability on a trainer/novice plane and then as my abilities improve (hopefully) the radio could be used for more and more functions.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 10:01 PM
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My futaba 6ex seems like a good radio so far and isn't that expensive. You can set it up for a trainer and it has expo for the more aerobatic planes.
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 02:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 41woodie View Post
... I would think that just because a radio has say six channels you aren't required to use all of it's capability on a trainer/novice plane and then as my abilities improve (hopefully) the radio could be used for more and more functions.
Exactly right Six channels is the least you want, if you're looking to the future; especially if you're thinking of helis too. Even with fixed-wing aircraft, you just need to add retracts and flaps, and that's six channels before you've even thought of glider-towing hook release, bomb drop, separate left and right aileron channels, etc.
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 07:30 AM
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To me the best initial investments are in the transmitter and the charger. I,ve seen too many people waste money cycling through upgrading these two items when they would have saved a bunch buying quality in the first place. They also have the advantage of a higher resale value and desirability if you decide to sell.

Although i hardly ever use more than 5 channels, I wouldn't consider less than a 7 channel radio. The number of channels isn't the driving force for me though. The higher end radios are feature rich, have more model memory and the bells and whistles tend to make setup, mixing, etc much easier.

As for the vendors, we all have our favorites but initially I would stick with the top two, tower hobbies and horizon hobbies, both have good warranty and return policy's and repair facilities. There are a bunch of other really good vendors, but some of them require some familiarity with their products.

Azarr
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 11:58 AM
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Radio is first priority

I would suggest either a Spektrum DX6i or the new DX7s. Look those up on the Horizon website. One of the big advantages for these is that down the road you can use "Orange" receivers from Hobby Kings for 6 bucks as opposed to only brand name receivers for 60 bucks. You will save the cost of the radio soon enough if you get into multiple airplanes. Radio will be 200 to 300 depending on which one you get

AS someone else said, the charger is next. Get a balancing charger that can charge 4 batteries at once. Check out Hobby King for those - around 100 bucks probably.

Now you are ready for an airplane. The easiest an safest way to get started is to get a BNP version of a high wing trainer from Hobbyzone, Horizon Hobbies or Tower Hobbies. All reputable dealers. Order a couple of extra batteries right off.

If there is anyone around that can help you get started - friends, informal club or formal club, that will help your learning curve immensely

Good luck

Wolfe
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Parkzone makes good planes for people who just want to try it out, get their feet wet and see if they like it. You can get a RTF kit with everything you need in it for a couple hundred bucks. There's no sense buying a $300 radio and $200 worth of charging equipment before you even have your plane, if once you get flying you find it's not all you thought it would be or decide it's not for you.
Parts are readily available as pretty much every hobby shop carries their lineup. Or you can order direct from horizonhobby.com, their distributor.
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 07:51 PM
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union township clermont county Ohio, United States
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So far, the discussion has been radio gear and chargers. Properly trimmed the GWS slow stick will fly by itself, making the learning process a lot easier. You can get a slow stick with a brushless motor for about $40 from Tower Hobby, or Advantage Hobby, or go to Headsup RC and buy all your components ala cart. Your best bet is to find someone locally to help you.
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmw View Post
If you are serious about the hobby, then my advice is to worry first about the radio. The planes are less important and the radio works with all of them. You will change models a lot but not radios. It is the most important decision. Stay away from RTF Ready to Fly models because they have inferior radios and inferior equipment all the way around. Pick a radio system you can live with into the future and then get yourself a good trainer (I recommend the E-Flite Apprentice.) Then go join a club and find an instructor.
Take this advice. I have two rtfs hanging in my garage useless because of crappy electronics. By a good basic radio and receiver ( 6 channel for the future) and go from there. Also buy systems that your local hobby store can support because you will need it. I recommend a slow stick in original orientation. Get good with it then start modifying it as you like.
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 09:15 PM
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Hey now,
My best advice; check out the local crowd you'll prolly end up flying with them even if you start out solo ( a bad idea going it alone. Get with a friendly group). See the radio gear they use that'll be you're best bet. That way folks can help with set up and even "buddy box" training systems.

Also; buying a radio. Whatever brand you get (if it's any good) you'll prolly stick with so figure how much you can spend on a radio and try to double that. You won't be disappinted.
On the brands thing. I'm old fasioned and think there's gotta be something a bit off with cheap gear new or used. So I like Horizion great fast service, lots of fun planes to choose from and nice radios. Tower is ok but their planes are generall a bit chunky and not as smooth as they could be. Motors, electronic, and all the expensive bits have so many choices it gets hard to say. Still; escs and that. Castle creations are US made have an amazing and fast service/repair system and (something not often though about in these days of monster batteries) effiecent. All the other brands fail on that issue. Motors? Horizion motors run in the mid eighty percent range effienceny wise and are cheaper than Axi another good name. Kontronic and Hacker (inrunners) run in the high eighties to low ninties (amazing!). Sadly alot of the cheap brands and non brands run in the low fifties to upper sixties range.

Other things like servos, chargers, and even batteries are the same way.
Does this matter? Sometimes it does. For my self I want to use the lightest parts I can and high effiency help me do that also if I sell something off the name brand with good support sells faster and higher.
Cheap or high end you'll have a blast. Enjoy.
RobII
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