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Old Oct 17, 2005, 04:18 AM
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johndreid's Avatar
Purvis, Mississippi
Joined Sep 2005
977 Posts
2 or 3 channel for beginners?

I own and fly mostly 2 channels planes now. It was a seemingly cheap way to get started in rc planes. It seems to me that 2 channel planes are really just a big pain in the ! The ones that i own take about 350 football fields to turn. It seems to me that a plane with more control would be more suitable for a beginner. I have crashed my 2 channel elcheapo's hundreds of times due to the facts that i couldn't turn quick enough or gain altitude quick enough. I do own a cheap little 3ch plane now that i am having to order a motor for. I am hoping that an extra channel might help me out a little.....but a seriously freakin doubt it

So, what do you guys think? Which is easier to fly for a newbie? 2, 3, or 4ch aircraft.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 04:31 AM
Deletedfor proving Nauga wrong
Joined Mar 2005
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The easiest for a beginner to fly is a one channel model. Case in point is the Cox Sky Cruiser series which are all single channel models designed to be durable and easy to control. Only one control surface means you have fewer options to create problems for a plane that if left alone would fly fine.

the largest problem most beginners have is OVERCONTROL, so sluggish response is usually a good thing. (when the beginner has the sticks)

Generally, the 2-3 channel models will have the added ability for the beginner to hold in excess elevator, keeping the model in a nearly stalled condition which reduces climb rate (exactly the opposite of what the beginner is trying to do) and the design of some of these models is such that holding up elevator makes the rudder response very poor.

Let your current model build a little more speed by allowing a shallower climb angle, and it will probably gain altitude faster plus have better rudder response.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Undecided, Canada
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I totally disagree. The advantage of 2 channel planes is that they are cheap, but that's really their only advantage. I think they make fairly poor trainers for a variety of reasons, some of which johndreid has already mentioned.

A good trainer should be easy to manage and teach three basic things: turning, speed management (pitch), and altitude management (power/throttle). Really, those are the fundamental ingredients for flying. Learning these things is most straightforward when each is given its own control, as beginners have the ability to control each separately and the opportunity to discover how each interacts with another. For that reason, a 3 channel plane is ideal.
One possible advantage of a 2 channel plane though is that they get beginners used to the idea that throttle=altitude, rather than the common misconception that elevator is the altitude controller (all the elevator in the world isn't going to make you climb if you don't have enough power - elevator controls angle-of-attack and nothing more).

A 4-channel plane can make a good trainer too but maybe adds a level of complexity that isn't needed right away. A 3 channel plane is the ideal since it uses the minimum number of functions to control the 3 basic aspects of flying (direction, altitude, speed).

That's my take on it anyway. I have to admit something though - I've never flown a 2 channel plane before . I've watched many beginners fly them though and found that progress comes most rapidly when they move to a 3-channel model.

EDIT: well, as usual I've misinterpreted the question. I think 3-channel planes make the best trainers, but a 2 or 1 channel plane might be easier to fly. I'm not sure about that.
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Last edited by deSelby; Oct 17, 2005 at 06:01 AM. Reason: 3-chan best trainer, maybe not easiest
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johndreid
It seems to me that 2 channel planes are really just a big pain
Which type of 2-channel design . . Yellow Bee (differential thrust control) or AirVee (rudder control)? What is the name of the 3-channel plane?
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 07:12 AM
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Letchworth, Great Britain (UK)
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Apart from the saving in initial purchase cost, I can see no good reason to go anything less than 4-channel. And in the long run, you'll eventually want at least 4 channels when you progress, so you'll save money in the long-term if you start with 4 channel.

So far as ease of flying is concerned, my experience teaching newbies (on glow models generally) is that they have no problem handling 4 channels. As Johnreid has said, rudder/elevator/throttle models need so much space to turn that in some respects it's an impediment to learning. On the other hand, with aileron and rudder I can allow the student to straighten up the model without having to wait for the dihedral effect to kick in, and I've got more confidence because I know I can recover that much more easily if he gets into difficulties.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Purvis, Mississippi
Joined Sep 2005
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I have 2 proportional thrust controlled and one with V tail and rudders. The thrust controlled turns are easier than the V tail with rudders.

The 3ch plane is a cheap chinese toy called "mini pearl harbor."
Here is a link to a thread of mine talking about the plane (pictures also)
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=428673
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abenn
As Johnreid has said, rudder/elevator/throttle models need so much space to turn that in some respects it's an impediment to learning. On the other hand, with aileron and rudder I can allow the student to straighten up the model without having to wait for the dihedral effect to kick in, and I've got more confidence because I know I can recover that much more easily if he gets into difficulties.
I don't think johnreid said that, he was referring to 2-channel planes. A properly set up R/E/T plane does not require "so much space to turn that... it's an impediment to learning." A Slow Stick, for example, can turn on a dime if it needs to (well, maybe a quarter).
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your conclusion though - I just think that a 3 function plane is the minimum required to teach proper flying, and the roll control offered by ailerons might not be worth the added complexity that it presents to a beginner. An R/E/T model seems to be a nice balance between function and simplicity. 2 channels is too little function, 4 too little simplicity. Maybe I"m wrong.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 08:55 AM
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I would have to say three channel, the two channel planes are fun and they can turn well if setup right since we are creatures of habit why not start by forming habits that will help you move on in the hobby instead of moving up and having to re-learn. Even if it's a RTF like a t-hawk, or a slow-stick or easystar build you get the basics down after that moving to an aileron RTF or ARF trainer is a snap for most, you don't really have to think that much you just do it. Remember your here to have fun..
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Taipei Shek, Taiwan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raynet11
I would have to say three channel, the two channel planes are fun and they can turn well if setup right since we are creatures of habit why not start by forming habits that will help you move on in the hobby instead of moving up and having to re-learn. Even if it's a RTF like a t-hawk, or a slow-stick or easystar build you get the basics down after that moving to an aileron RTF or ARF trainer is a snap for most, you don't really have to think that much you just do it. Remember your here to have fun..
Afraid of forming bad habits? Like releasing the stick in panic and expecting the plane to fly itself? Go 4-ch right from the start! The glow pilots do it, the full-size pilots do it, the flight-sim pilots do it, and the vast majority of RC planes are 4-ch anyway. Why should the electric RC beginners miss the right way to fly?
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 10:02 AM
Master of 1 point landing
Naperville, IL
Joined Jul 2005
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Three channel for a beginner is my vote. The two channel planes, or worse, one channel are neat toys - but they will do little to help you progress your RC skills. Get a flight sim, play for a couple of hours on a PC to help you will the control orientation of the plane - then go fly a real one.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 10:04 AM
Master of 1 point landing
Naperville, IL
Joined Jul 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deSelby
A Slow Stick, for example, can turn on a dime if it needs to (well, maybe a quarter).
Darn, mine turns on a 50cent piece - I knew I had it set up wrong!!
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 10:13 AM
Modeller Dilettante
Vancouver
Joined Sep 2005
422 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImaBiggles
Get a flight sim, play for a couple of hours on a PC to help you will the control orientation of the plane - then go fly a real one.
I'm still working on flying R/C planes, nevermind a real one!
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Letchworth, Great Britain (UK)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deSelby
I don't think johnreid said that, he was referring to 2-channel planes. A properly set up R/E/T plane does not require "so much space to turn that... it's an impediment to learning." A Slow Stick, for example, can turn on a dime if it needs to (well, maybe a quarter).
You're right; I was thinking too much of the larger (5lb and up) electric and glow models I'm more familiar with. I don't doubt that Slow Stick and others can turn in much less space than mine can, though maybe not on a sixpence

But my limited experience of slow or park flyers still leaves me recommending that new flyers go to 4-channel as quickly as they can, and buy 4-channel gear if their model doesn't come with radio installed
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 10:38 AM
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Montgomery, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoyoML
Afraid of forming bad habits? Like releasing the stick in panic and expecting the plane to fly itself? Go 4-ch right from the start! The glow pilots do it, the full-size pilots do it, the flight-sim pilots do it, and the vast majority of RC planes are 4-ch anyway. Why should the electric RC beginners miss the right way to fly?
My $.02 from personal experiance is such , my wife's uncle and cousin built a 4ch gasser some years back and never managed to get it flying more then twice. The plane busted into a million pieces and they never thought about RC planes again until they hear I was doing. The first comment was man how do you do that, we crashed ours and never looked back , what a waste of money.. So the next weekend for Sunday dinner I kicked around bringing something easy like my Estarter or Easystar but instead I bring my little 3-ch vortex extreme over, after 5 min her uncle has the stick in hand and he is flying, having fun, I left him with the plane and a wall charger, he has since picked up his interest again in the hobby. I have beef with 2-channel but leave the 3-ch alone, I have just as much flying my easystar as I do my formosa.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 11:32 AM
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We started on a 2 channel Firebird and if I was doing it again I'd start with a three channel. Alas, there are very few inexpensive decent three channel planes in RTF.
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