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Old Aug 18, 2012, 01:56 AM
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Questions about RTF kits for a beginner

Hello everyone, I'm new here and new to the RC world. I've been wanting to get into flying for a while and am able to get my first plane. As such, I have a few questions. I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong section or has been asked before, but tbh I find this place a little overwhelming right now lol

So to begin with, I have narrowed it down to I think three different planes: Hobby Zone Champ, Hobby Zone Mini Super Cub, and Hobby Zone Super Cub. From what I've read these all seem to be good choices for a beginner.

I was wondering though, which of these planes would be the best 'long-term' investment. By that I mean, the radios and components that come with these kits, are they able to be used in the future with other planes? My concern was that if I spend the money on a kit and then start wanting something bigger/faster/more complex etc, I would be stuck having to basically re-buy everything all over again. The Super Cub looks like it comes with a much nicer transmitter, but is this something that is usable with many other planes? And if it is, is it a decent one to have? Or would it be a better investment to purchase a bind-n-fly plane and a better transmitter from the start? I get the idea this hobby can be very expensive and just want to try and save some money if I can help it.

Aside from general flying, I am interested in eventually maybe getting into aerial photography and having some sort of drop mechanism on the plane for toy paratroopers and so on. This has me leaning towards the Super Cub but if its not a very versatile plane for something like that, would I be better off buying one of the cheaper ones for now to learn with and getting something different altogether later on?
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Old Aug 18, 2012, 06:20 AM
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If you want to avoid ending up with a pile of radios that are more or less 'single plane' radios, I'd buy a Spektrum DX6i, which will allow you to use it easily with up to ten different planes.
The Dx4 that comes with the supercub is not easily used with multiple planes.

I think you can find the DX6i transmittler for around $160, with no servos, no rcvr, just the transmitter and the charger. It's more money to start with, but by the time you have moved on to the next plane or two, you break even.
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Old Aug 18, 2012, 10:48 AM
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The problem with RTF planes is that they often are kitted with nonstandard components that can't be transferred to anything else. I don't generally buy RTFs for that reason. So-called PnP pr BnF planes (plug 'n play, bind 'n fly) will at least bind to a standard Spektrum or JR transmitter, so that's the first step against obsolescence. Dx6i is a good safe bet. They're not the sturdiest radios in the world but they mostly do what they should, and the next step up is a lot of $$.

I'd suggest the full-sized Super Cub over the Mini, by the way. The full sized version is one of the best starter planes ever made. The Mini, not so much.
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Old Aug 18, 2012, 01:19 PM
"Landing" in a tree somewhere
Rochester, NY
Joined Sep 2009
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In the future you may want to try asking in the Beginners section.

The champ is small and lightweight making it a little less prone to damage and easier to fix than the two bigger planes. It can be flown in smaller areas and is the cheapest. It comes with a spektrum receiver built-in allowing you to upgrade to a nicer spektrum or JR DSM2/DSMX transmitter later on and get some practice flying your new transmitter with the easy to fly champ. The downsides to it are it can't handle much wind, anything over 8mph is usually trouble (but as a beginner you shouldn't be flying in much wind anyway). The other issue is the stock transmitter included is low power. I'd avoid flying it much farther than 400ft (not usually a problem since the plane is small). The giant Champ thread. Use the "Search this Thread" function to find the answer to just about any question you might have on this plane (same with the other threads).

The mini super cub was my first plane and it is a nice trainer. It can handle wind a bit better than the champ while still being relatively cheap. The problem is that it uses a cheap 27Mhz radio system (the same frequency used by r/c toys) so you have to watch out for possible interference from nearby toys. If you get this one be sure to disable A.C.T. before flying (it tends to hurt more than it helps). Mini Super Cub thread.

The super cub being the biggest and heaviest will handle wind the best and has a lot of modding possibilities. It also includes a spektrum receiver. The downside is it's more expensive and more likely to get banged up pretty good in a crash. It also requires a bit more space to fly (600ft diameter of clear area according to the manual). Remember to disable A.C.T. before flying it. Giant Super Cub thread.

All three RTF kits include transmitters that will be generally useless to you in the long run (the only possible exception being the DX4e that comes with the super cub as you could use it as a buddy box for teaching others later on). Also hobbyzone is known for using proprietary electronics. The champ and mini super cub have the esc, receiver and servos all integrated into one brick and the super cub has the receiver and esc integrated. That means that if you want to later upgrade one of those components you'll have to replace the other ones as well. They also all use brushed motors which most people don't use anymore. If you leave them in stock form they're still good trainers but if you're looking to swap the components into something else you may want to look elsewhere. Of the three planes you've picked out I'd definitely get the Super Cub BNF with a nice transmitter.

If you're looking to stick with this hobby there are two things that are absolutely worth the investment, longterm. One is a good transmitter as you've already figured out, the second is a good battery charger. Planes may come and go but a good transmitter and battery charger can stick with you throughout the hobby. For a transmitter I'd get something that has multiple model memory and programming capability (if you're looking at Spektrum then get a DX6i or better).
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Old Aug 18, 2012, 01:39 PM
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Looks like you already set up a long term goal, in this case you amy want to take the advise of getting a quality radio and PNP plane to avoid pile up of just radio and electronics. RTF mircos are great for budget beginner which just flying for fun or expereniced pilot which will never crash a mirco plane to break them.

Edmond
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Old Aug 18, 2012, 02:15 PM
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Horsham, PA
Joined Aug 2007
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I have owned all three. If I was doing it all over again, the only one I would buy would be the Champ. Inexpensive, tough, fly anywhere and still fun. The Super Cub and the Mini Super Cub collect dust.
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Last edited by impmotor; Aug 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM. Reason: missing word
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Old Aug 18, 2012, 09:34 PM
BGR
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United States, CA, Oceanside
Joined Dec 2003
1,656 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayne View Post
If you're looking to stick with this hobby there are two things that are absolutely worth the investment, longterm. One is a good transmitter as you've already figured out, the second is a good battery charger. Planes may come and go but a good transmitter and battery charger can stick with you throughout the hobby. For a transmitter I'd get something that has multiple model memory and programming capability (if you're looking at Spektrum then get a DX6i or better).
If you ignore everything else, do not ignore this statement by Rayne. It is the best advice that can be given to a beginner. I can add one thing to this, decide on a connector type that you will use on the Battery, Speed Controller and Charger cables or Parallel Charging Boards. I chose the XT60 connector because I buy most of my batteries from Hobby King. Many use Deans connectors and they are just fine but decide on something and stick with it, it will make things easier.

As for a first airplane the winner is the Hobby Zone Champ. It is cheap and comes with everything you need to start flying. The transmitter is weak but it will do for a small park. Then if you like the hobby the Champ can be paired with a Spektrum DX6i for way out there range and that Transmitter will take you a long way before you will need something more capable.
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 02:25 AM
Mark Harrison
USA, CA, Piedmont
Joined Jun 2010
2,260 Posts
+1 DX6i... it was the first transmitter I bought, and I still have it, and still fly my Champ!
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 04:18 AM
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Thank you for all the responses, everyone. Based on the suggestions I think starting off with a good transmitter and BNF plane sounds like the way I want to go, but I have a question about that too. Is there a real difference between brands? As far as I can tell Spektrum seems to be popular, do they have the most common or readily available components? Anyone have recommendations for others?

Also for those of you who have been at this a while, do you mind if I ask how much your planes cost on average, including components like servos and receiver, etc? A lot of the planes I've been looking at are understandably not very expensive but I'm curious what I can expect to pay for new models down the line.
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 07:05 AM
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United States, MI, Honor
Joined Dec 2005
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It seems to me that Horizon has the most popular line of BNF and RTF planes, which means you would have to have a JR or Spectrum radio.

BNF means bind and fly, RTF means ready to fly

Now Futaba has their new anylink system, which I know nothing about. So others who may know can comment on that.

You can get many of the Horizon products in Plug and Play versions, where you can add your own receivers.

Early on I was told, spend all the money you can on a quality transmitter, one that will be more than you ever think you will need, mostly they said, in the future you may want an airplane that will require all those channels. While I know it sounds a bit nuts to buy a transmitter far better than you may think you will need, in the end you will be glad you did. I wish they had the DX-8 when I started, I have the DX-7 and there are occasions that the new DX-18 would be nice. More for the ease or programing now than the channels. Same with the DX-8. The DX-7 that I have is clunky in it's programing in my opinion.

You have been given lots of good advise, wish I had some of the comments here when I started.

The micros from Horizon vary from about $100 to $200. Some of the newer airframes are going about $240 to $300, depending on what you want. Many airplanes, by the time you get the rec, motor, (electric) escapment, servos, battery, you are or can be close to $300 each. Depending on the components you put into them.

Have fun, that is what it is all about.
Conehead
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 11:22 AM
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United States, CA, Rosemead
Joined Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotherbee View Post
Aside from general flying, I am interested in eventually maybe getting into aerial photography and having some sort of drop mechanism on the plane for toy paratroopers and so on. This has me leaning towards the Super Cub but if its not a very versatile plane for something like that, would I be better off buying one of the cheaper ones for now to learn with and getting something different altogether later on?
i've taken videos with my cub - its great for it. it is a very versatile plane and very good at handling wind. also check out this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1338787
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 01:54 AM
BGR
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United States, CA, Oceanside
Joined Dec 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotherbee View Post
Also for those of you who have been at this a while, do you mind if I ask how much your planes cost on average, including components like servos and receiver, etc? A lot of the planes I've been looking at are understandably not very expensive but I'm curious what I can expect to pay for new models down the line.

The average price of my airplanes including several batteries is around $100.00 each. They range in size from ultra micro to medium size airplanes. I tend to buy cheap but decent airplanes. I also like buying and fixing up gently used airplanes.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 07:56 AM
CA...gimme the CA...
United States, GA, Savannah
Joined Jun 2005
493 Posts
Another nice feature of investing in a decent radio: You can buy a cable, plug the radio into a computer, and download a free simulator. The practice you get from a sim is invaluable in developing the reactions that must be purely instinctive.

Trying to develop those instincts on your own can be difficult and expensive.

Oh, and I won't recommend any planes....lotsa good ones already mentioned. But I'll offer this, get a plane that can handle some wind, and one that can be repaired with minimum effort (for me that's foam). You'll be doing both if you fly regularly.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 11:46 AM
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United States, CA, Oceanside
Joined Apr 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayne View Post
In the future you may want to try asking in the Beginners section.

The champ is small and lightweight making it a little less prone to damage and easier to fix than the two bigger planes. It can be flown in smaller areas and is the cheapest. It comes with a spektrum receiver built-in allowing you to upgrade to a nicer spektrum or JR DSM2/DSMX transmitter later on and get some practice flying your new transmitter with the easy to fly champ. The downsides to it are it can't handle much wind, anything over 8mph is usually trouble (but as a beginner you shouldn't be flying in much wind anyway). The other issue is the stock transmitter included is low power. I'd avoid flying it much farther than 400ft (not usually a problem since the plane is small). The giant Champ thread. Use the "Search this Thread" function to find the answer to just about any question you might have on this plane (same with the other threads).

The mini super cub was my first plane and it is a nice trainer. It can handle wind a bit better than the champ while still being relatively cheap. The problem is that it uses a cheap 27Mhz radio system (the same frequency used by r/c toys) so you have to watch out for possible interference from nearby toys. If you get this one be sure to disable A.C.T. before flying (it tends to hurt more than it helps). Mini Super Cub thread.

The super cub being the biggest and heaviest will handle wind the best and has a lot of modding possibilities. It also includes a spektrum receiver. The downside is it's more expensive and more likely to get banged up pretty good in a crash. It also requires a bit more space to fly (600ft diameter of clear area according to the manual). Remember to disable A.C.T. before flying it. Giant Super Cub thread.

All three RTF kits include transmitters that will be generally useless to you in the long run (the only possible exception being the DX4e that comes with the super cub as you could use it as a buddy box for teaching others later on). Also hobbyzone is known for using proprietary electronics. The champ and mini super cub have the esc, receiver and servos all integrated into one brick and the super cub has the receiver and esc integrated. That means that if you want to later upgrade one of those components you'll have to replace the other ones as well. They also all use brushed motors which most people don't use anymore. If you leave them in stock form they're still good trainers but if you're looking to swap the components into something else you may want to look elsewhere. Of the three planes you've picked out I'd definitely get the Super Cub BNF with a nice transmitter.

If you're looking to stick with this hobby there are two things that are absolutely worth the investment, longterm. One is a good transmitter as you've already figured out, the second is a good battery charger. Planes may come and go but a good transmitter and battery charger can stick with you throughout the hobby. For a transmitter I'd get something that has multiple model memory and programming capability (if you're looking at Spektrum then get a DX6i or better).
Hmmmmmm..............................if the HZ Super Cub has the ESC and RX integrated, how come my PNP Super Cub just needed the AR6115e I installed in it to get it ready to fly? The ESC and RX on my PNP Super Cub are NOT integrated. I don't know about the RTF version since I tend not to buy RTF planes if I don't have to.

Anyway, to the OP, I would definately heed the advice of the others and say to get the Spektrum DX6i and a Spektrum RX with the Plug n' Play Hobbzone Super Cub. That's what I did and it is a great combo. Right now you can get the DX6i with 3 receivers for about $200.00 or the DX6i for $160.00 and a AR400 RX for about $30.00.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Joined Apr 2011
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I tend to buy planes that interest me. I have planes ranging from $80.00 to $200.00, but not more than that usually. I always buy the PNP versions and install my own RX as I like to use my DX6i with all my planes.
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