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Old Dec 07, 2007, 10:56 AM
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I'm thinking of getting my girlfriend a Wing Dragon for Christmas

I've never even touched an RC plane, but my girlfriend has been making noise about wanting one. I didn't think she was that serious and I ordered her one of those little micro helicopters to give her as a gag gift, but I've since decided that she wants something real. My inclination was to get her an Air Hogs Stormlauncher, because I've always thought they looked cool, but google has told me they're not all they claim to be - especially since what she's said she wants is "a remote control airplane".

Someone on another forum told me to check out the Multiplex Easy Star - that's a little outside my price range. Looking around this forum has led me to the Wing Dragon, which may be a little more affordable. However, another idea is to split the cost of the gift with one of her family members, in which case the Easy Star would be affordable.

I guess I have narrowed this down to two choices pretty quickly, and sort of needlessly - are there other options I should consider? Is there a huge advantage to the Easy Star over the Wing Dragon?

Also, I'm not going to be very useful to her in trying to fly the thing. I've looked around for a local (Buffalo, NY) RC Plane club, haven't really found one. Is there a video or something I could get her that will make her less likely to crash the thing into a lake of lava the first time she has it out?
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Old Dec 07, 2007, 12:40 PM
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I'm also looking at the Parkflyer - we may not often have access to a football-arena sized field.
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Old Dec 07, 2007, 04:58 PM
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The Wing Dragon is a very popular starter. It maybe doesn't have quite as large or rabid a following as the Easy Star does, but it's plenty adequate and way cheaper. It's what I started with, and just lookit me now.

Er... Well, don't. But look at some of those OTHER guys who started with Wing Dragons!!

A football field will be plenty to fly a WD, and if you're careful and get plenty of advice here, you should be able to teach yourselves to fly it without any hands-on help.
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Old Dec 07, 2007, 11:05 PM
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Hey gettin a wing dragon is a good idea. I just started flying this spring with a dragon. And I also had some coaching from a good RC pilot that really helped alot. The other thing I just got that is really great was a Real Flight RC Simulator G3.5 . You can learn to fly and crash planes and start over and over again. It is one of the best learning tools and would be a nice xmas gift. You would enjoy flying on it to.
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 02:18 AM
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If you want to get her started then get a flight sim like FMS and a controller http://www.bphobbies.com/view.asp?id...25&pid=W022984
This and the plane shouldn't break the bank and will help you guys learn to fly without and instructor. I do recommend finding an instuctor to help you. It will save you time, money and frustration.

I learned to fly without one with the FMS program and my own radio. I got a GWS Pico Stick for my first plane but the one you want is a good start since it comes with everything. The sim will save you a lot of trouble and get her thumbs smart very quickly.
Dak
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 02:45 AM
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I know that many folks have successfully taught themselves to fly with the wing dragon, but I'd suggest looking elsewhere...

It has a heavy motor, ESC (electronic speed control), and battery and because of the extra weight, the stall speed is faster than what I'd suggest for a true beginner.

The easy star for an extra $80.00 RTF is definitely an upgrade, but also consider the Hobbyzone Super Cub - it has something called 'ACT' which stands for anti-crash technology. If you get into trouble, the plane rights itself so you can take control again and learn what you can and can't (should and shouldn't) do. Once you get the feel for things, you can turn off ACT and rely on your skill alone $159.99 ready to fly...

Good luck...
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 07:36 AM
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I did something similar as you. I bought my wife a table saw for Xmas swearing that somewhere in the back of my mind that we were at Sears one time and I thought I heard her say "Now that would make a great Christmas gift". She hasn't touched it since she opened it up on Christmas day. Now you would think that it was a total and complete waist of money, but Nope I use it almost every day. and my son in law thinks it's the bomb.
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 08:59 AM
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I notice that the Aero Ace is pretty well regarded on here, at least as a sort of toy RC plane. I'm starting to think about that, too - not just because of the price, but because it looks like it can be flown in a pretty small area? I wasn't clear above; in general we would not have access to anything as large as a football field. There are parks around with some open air, but nothing that's hundreds of yards long. Also, since I don't know how seriously she's really going to take this - it sort of seems like, if the Aero Ace really is fun to mess around with, that maybe I should start there and get her an Easy Star or something for her birthday?
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfcspengler
I've looked around for a local (Buffalo, NY) RC Plane club, haven't really found one.
There is a club that flys at Reservoir Park in Niagara Falls:
http://www.wingandrotor.org/

Pat MacKenzie
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith
It has a heavy motor, ESC (electronic speed control), and battery and because of the extra weight, the stall speed is faster than what I'd suggest for a true beginner.
Hunh! I've never heard that complaint about the WD before. Have you ever flown one? Mine would basically hover motionless under no power into a light breeze, if I feather the elevator just right. Its stall is slow, mushy, and predictable, and it doesn't lose a lot of altitude when it stalls--and I was completely unable to get it to stall any way other than dead ahead. No tip stalls or spirals at all. Very VERY beginner-friendly.

I'm anti-ACT. I've never had my hands on it personally, but what I've heard is that it causes more wrecks than it saves. What you want isn't a plane that tries to rescue itself. What you want is an airframe that's designed for stability and crashworthiness that lets you actually learn what works and what doesn't. Look, I dorked in my WD more times than I care to admit. ACT might have spared me some of that, but in the process it would have robbed me of a lot of learning opportunities. And I'm also not convinced ACT wouldn't have caused its own share of troubles.
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratb
Hunh! I've never heard that complaint about the WD before. Have you ever flown one? Mine would basically hover motionless under no power into a light breeze, if I feather the elevator just right. Its stall is slow, mushy, and predictable, and it doesn't lose a lot of altitude when it stalls--and I was completely unable to get it to stall any way other than dead ahead. No tip stalls or spirals at all. Very VERY beginner-friendly.
I concur ...never had a stall issue with my WD4.
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 11:42 AM
Use whatcha got!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratb
Hunh! I've never heard that complaint about the WD before. Have you ever flown one? Mine would basically hover motionless under no power into a light breeze, if I feather the elevator just right. Its stall is slow, mushy, and predictable, and it doesn't lose a lot of altitude when it stalls--and I was completely unable to get it to stall any way other than dead ahead. No tip stalls or spirals at all. Very VERY beginner-friendly.

I'm anti-ACT. I've never had my hands on it personally, but what I've heard is that it causes more wrecks than it saves. What you want isn't a plane that tries to rescue itself. What you want is an airframe that's designed for stability and crashworthiness that lets you actually learn what works and what doesn't. Look, I dorked in my WD more times than I care to admit. ACT might have spared me some of that, but in the process it would have robbed me of a lot of learning opportunities. And I'm also not convinced ACT wouldn't have caused its own share of troubles.
I've flown the wing dragon on a few different occasions. My brother-in-law bought one as a first plane and it discouraged him from the hobby for quite some time. It was MUCH too fast for the area he tried to fly it in, and the slightest bump dislodged the servo tray which needed to be repaired multiple times. The wing is fragile and 'beginner' landings cause it to break clean in half... Skotman, a member on this forum received one from his girlfriend as a gift when he began flying RC and he had nothing but trouble with it in the original form. He eventually wound up putting a 'BP21' motor on it which was MUCH lighter, and used micro servos and lipo packs was able to get it to fly somewhat as you describe, but I 'NEVER' saw that plane "hover motionless under no power into a light breeze". I did see tip stalls under low power situations where the resulting 'landing' caused the wing to regain it's original two piece form on more than one occasion though. You stated "What you want is an airframe that's designed for stability and crashworthiness that lets you actually learn what works and what doesn't." and I just don't see it... That wing is not what I'd call durable... EPS foam with a simple wood spar just doesn't hold up. After a few rough landings I've actually seen one simply fold while in flight.

As far as the ACT system is concerned, I also have not personally used that system, but I have used Futaba's autopilot system and it was described to me as very similar. I also talked with at least two different 'newbies' at my LHS that bought the Super Cub and they have stuck with the hobby and they really felt more comfortable knowing that the ACT system was there. They felt it added to their learning experience. Still... With the super cub, if you don't like ACT, simply turn it off...

Alternatively, one of the field flying buddies bought the Super Cub without the electronics and absolutely loves it... Its a bit overpowered, but its a great flyer, durable, and looks good in the air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldCraft

I concur ...never had a stall issue with my WD4.
I understand that the WD4 is a different beast all together. I have not flown one, and have not even seen one in person so I can't comment on it. I was only referring to the original WD with the SPD400 motor, heavy 50amp esc, and 7cell nimh/nicad packs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pfcspengler
I notice that the Aero Ace is pretty well regarded on here, at least as a sort of toy RC plane. I'm starting to think about that, too - not just because of the price, but because it looks like it can be flown in a pretty small area? I wasn't clear above; in general we would not have access to anything as large as a football field. There are parks around with some open air, but nothing that's hundreds of yards long. Also, since I don't know how seriously she's really going to take this - it sort of seems like, if the Aero Ace really is fun to mess around with, that maybe I should start there and get her an Easy Star or something for her birthday?
We've gone through the Aero Ace's here and they really are fun. The original biplane version flew best, the jet was fun, but a bit faster. Stay away from the plane that looks like an F14 though... Flies good? Not so much...

Also, not 'all' of the aero aces fly great right out of the box. I'd say one out of 10 is a 'GREAT' flyer, and 1 to 2 out of that ten won't fly at all.
The trick is to return any that didn't make the cut right away before its damaged and explain that you simply want to trade it in for one that works better.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 08, 2007, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith
I've flown the wing dragon on a few different occasions. My brother-in-law bought one as a first plane and it discouraged him from the hobby for quite some time. It was MUCH too fast for the area he tried to fly it in, and the slightest bump dislodged the servo tray which needed to be repaired multiple times. The wing is fragile and 'beginner' landings cause it to break clean in half... Skotman, a member on this forum received one from his girlfriend as a gift when he began flying RC and he had nothing but trouble with it in the original form. He eventually wound up putting a 'BP21' motor on it which was MUCH lighter, and used micro servos and lipo packs was able to get it to fly somewhat as you describe, but I 'NEVER' saw that plane "hover motionless under no power into a light breeze". I did see tip stalls under low power situations where the resulting 'landing' caused the wing to regain it's original two piece form on more than one occasion though. You stated "What you want is an airframe that's designed for stability and crashworthiness that lets you actually learn what works and what doesn't." and I just don't see it... That wing is not what I'd call durable... EPS foam with a simple wood spar just doesn't hold up. After a few rough landings I've actually seen one simply fold while in flight.
Wow, well that's not my experience at all. Mind you, I did fold my wing in flight at about 150 feet, and it was the end of my WD, but I was asking it to do something I had no business asking it to do (neither my end of the sticks nor its end of the sticks had the capacity for what I was trying), and that was after a LOT of punishment from me. Until then it was a really solid plane that stood up to the worst I could dish out.
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 08:46 AM
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I have it narrowed down to the Aero Ace or the Firebird Phantom.

Any thoughts?
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfcspengler
I have it narrowed down to the Aero Ace or the Firebird Phantom.

Any thoughts?
pfc - the aero ace is more of a toy than a hobby grade rc airplane... the fascination with the AA is the fact that it was one of the first 'toys' that really flew well enough to stay airborne, controllable, and produce ear to ear grins throughout the entire flight (even on some seasoned RC veterans).

The phantom is more of a hobby grade plane but still 'borderline' toy-esque airplane. It has 3 channel control w/ throttle and a V-tail which means you'll learn more flying it than an AA. The price tag is attractive too. You will need a large area to fly the phantom, but you should also be able to find replacement parts at your LHS (local hobby store) should you break something.

If you can find a baseball field, you can probably fly the phantom... Once you get the hang of it, you might be alright in some larger parking lots (just mind the light poles ).

Firebird Phantom Search - I read through a few threads here and apparently the early version of the Phantom had major issues with the tail-boom breaking where the pushrods exit. 'Supposedly' this was fixed, or is going to be fixed but if you get one that still has the poorly designed tail section it could be discouraging if you're not able to continue flying after just a few rough landings. Also, most folks agreed that it flies too fast for a newbie to handle in a confined space and that 'jerky' stick movements really throw it around. Maybe get both? (if your budget will allow) and that way you'd be able to fly one while the other charges... Also have a 'backup plan' in case the tail boom does get busted up.
Read up on a few of those threads though to help with your decision...

Good luck!
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