Difficulty to Fly Rating System (v2.0) - Page 16 - RC Groups
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May 22, 2012, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by shahram72
I did fly my first plane last weekend. It's a Hobby King blue J-3 cub. 3 channel bird. Was very easy to fly, even in a little wind. <snip> At what point will I be ready for low wing aerobatic models (I won't be doing stunts)? I really like the Gee Bee, both the scale like the Great Planes and the R3 from Hobbyking. <snip> And where would my AXN floater and 3 channel HK piper cub rank? That cub was $50 PNF and the club members were impressed with it for the price so maybe we can add it to the list.
The HobbyKing J-3 Blue/Green/Red (same model, different colours) is a nice plane, and was my second after learning on a ParkZone UM P-51. I really enjoyed it and rated it as a '4' - a beginner can solo with flight instruction. I hesitate to recommend any lower score because it can fly reasonably fast and will easily get away from a novice flyer.

You will be ready for low-wing aerobatic craft (not 3D!) once you find yourself flying 'ahead of the plane' 100% of the time. By that I mean you are able to pick a spot and land at it every time, fly in light and moderate winds, and do aerobatics without losing coordination. You must also know your (and the models!) limits - do not try and string maneuvers together that you think might result in a crash. Here is an older video of me flying my HK J-3, I was easily ready for low-wing stuff by then:

HobbyKing J3 Aerobatics (5 min 27 sec)

The HK Piper Cub and AXN Floater Jet would rank well as an advanced second or easy third plane IMO, especially if you're not crashing and flying stunts with a plane like the one in the video.

You're spot on about the HK J-3 G/R/B being a good learners plane - it'll get you started nice and slow and also hold its ground right up to being an aerobatics trainer if you up the throws. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Cheers - boingk
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May 22, 2012, 05:35 PM
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Thanks for the into, but I don't think we have the same J-3. Mine has no ailerons and you can't do much aerobatics without them, right? Loops maybe. How about my twinjet? It's a big wing twin pusher prop. Can I fly that after I can fly my floater?
May 22, 2012, 05:52 PM
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Mine doesn't have any ailerons either - its a rudder/elevator/throttle 3ch model. I made the video with throws up a bit from what I'd call 'normal' and it had no problems doing stall turns, snap-rolls (full rudder and elevator) and the odd loop or two.

I'd take rudder over ailerons any day if I had to pick... you can have a lot more fun I reckon.

Personally I'd fly the floater before the twin pusher prop, but I'd check the ratings. Either way I'd make sure each is properly trimmed out and is using the correct battery for its centre of gravity. A well flying craft is a pleasure for anyone... a poor one is frustrating and disappointing.

CHeers - boingk
May 22, 2012, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bobly
I tend to agree. I don't have the collection that this poster has, but have a carbon z yak, mini funtana x, twist 3d, and a hacker super zoom. I'll be 69 next birthday, been flying a little over a year and find the 3d type planes the easiest to fly of all. I do not do 3d stuff, but fly them like a normal aerobatic plane with throws dumbed down. They are the most predictable, have enough response to get you out of trouble and will still respond at a lot lower speeds when compared to warbirds for instance. They don't try to do things like right themselves on their own, as the previous poster stated, they just fly where you tell them to. They are extremely well mannered. They actually are just as easy if not easier to fly than my T28 for instance. Don't let the 3d thing in the name stop you. I did for some time and wasted money on other planes I don't like nearly as well. I consider myself sort of an advanced beginner. Flying 3d is hard, but flying 3d planes is not.
bobly - let us go flying together! You and I are on the exact same page! And I'd bet we'd have fun! You did a far better job of explaining what I tried to say. A GOOD 3D plane dumbed down is a great fly. There is room to advance without having to buy more planes. I have found that I'm comfortable with a low rate takeoff and landing with mid to high rates after airborne for "playing" ! DX8 has 3 levels of rate. Anywho, I'd rather have a plane that does NOT try to self correct. It is me flying, not the dihedral wing. All are very welcome to opinions, I love to see them, but I do think that the "3D" label scares some folks away that would really LOVE the way they fly. I was so happy when I tried one, that I soon had 3 of that type. Most of my planes sit while I fly these.
So bobly, when and where?

May 22, 2012, 10:53 PM
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We're probably not over 10-12 hours apart, we could meet in the middle if we had a place to fly all set up. I used to get to Mobile every few years, but haven't been there in 3 or 4 now. If you're ever in Missouri - bring some planes and look me up. And you couldn't be more right on the 3d planes. I get mad at myself every time I think of how long I resisted these things. I had the Carbon Z yak about half of last summer, but was scared to fly it. Now realize that it is the most docile, predictable and stable plane I own. And I have recommended the Hacker super zoom to many for a trainer now that I know how well it works. I have learned more with it than any plane that I have owned. It will do most any trick you want, but do it slow enough that this fumble thumbed old man can keep up and learn rather than fighting to keep up with it. Add to that that it's pretty well indestructable.
May 31, 2012, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by boingk
Righteo guys, most of the recommendations have been updated.

One thing though... I'm seeing a few things in the '5' category (good 2nd plane after sim/tuition) that I wouldn't put there. Stuff like the ParkZone Corsair, P-47 and P-51 and Stryker.

The warbirds are fastish aileron-equipped low-wingers and the Stryker is a speedy delta... personally I'd be inclined to put them all as a 6 or 7 (3rd plane). What do you guys reckon?

Cheers - boingk
My $0.02. PZ warbirds (tail draggers specifically) are not good 2nd planes.
I started this year and have a decent perspective.

Keep in mind that 2nd planes are frequently the first exposure to 4ch planes. I used a micro T-28 for a 2nd plane. Crashed frequently, but I also flew aggressively. Glad for the light weight and easy to fix. My P-47 is bigger and takes more effort to fix, but would have been destroyed.

Tail draggers take a little practice to learn takeoffs since they pull left when you use too much throttle. You also need to give elevator, let off and then use it again to take off. All of this is a lot for someone who hasn't used a 4ch plane.

Landings are a little challenging. Coming from a HZ Champ, there is no way I was ready land a PZ P-47.

A few things that get forgotten for beginners that result in crashes. Beginners are testing wind, flying space, runways and learning orientation. These things get re-tested as you move to bigger and faster planes. I just tried a grass field for the first time and came home with a little damage.

-1st plane was a HZ Champ.
-2nd plane PZ micro T-28. Followed by a PZ Micro Mosquitto (actual 3rd plane, but not really the next step).
-3rd plane PZ P-47.

Maybe with more guidance it would be different, but I'm completely self taught. The PZ T-28 would be a good 2nd plane due to the front nose gear, but not the tail draggers.
Last edited by gradus; Jun 01, 2012 at 08:25 AM.
Jun 01, 2012, 04:20 AM
Balsa Builder. With some foam.
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PZ Micro T-28 is a very good second plane, in calm conditions.
Jun 24, 2012, 03:32 AM
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I'm very new to hobby(few months), but learning fast! I do think these numbers are too optimistic. Here's my two cents.

I started (sans flight sim) with an UM P-51 cause it looked cool and was relatively cheap - I destroyed the cowl + prop on the maiden flight one a late afternoon. All these parkflyers leap up in difficulty with even the mildest breeez (in Florida, I have to fly in the early morning or never)

Next, I bought an Ember 2 which I thought would be super-easy to fly. Wrong. I broke the gear shaft + prop (in PZ planes they break together) in seconds. Again, the wind was my nemesis. Even a gentle breeze pushes this plane around and it's very brittle. After hours of flight sim time with simulated gusts and various planes, I find this plane is easy to fly - though I would not give this a 2 because of it's fragility/sensitivity.

Next, I moved onto a PZ T28D (the big one). I thought the sim time turned me into a competent flyer. Hahaha. I just wasn't used to the power and I nosed dived after panicking. Too fast, too numble in real life for noob like me. The cowl broke and the wing shattered but nothing glue/tape couldn't fix thankfully - whew.

To me, beginner planes are durable (not Ember) and have gentle flight characteristics (not really true of these warbirds). So there are two metrics and this rating system is focused on the flying part.
Jun 24, 2012, 08:01 AM
Well... I don't think the rating system is the problem...

The UM P-51 is rated at an 8, "good 3rd plane". Not a good choice for one's first steps in RC flying. In fairness... it's the first one I got too, but then I found this rating list... and put it away unflown.

While the Ember is rated as a 2.25 (beginner can solo), there are two other factors here: first, the Ember really is not an outdoor plane, except on dead-calm days. Secondly, when first learning to fly RC, it should be in calm conditions (unless you're buddy-boxing). Trust me, I had read that many times, but still had to learn it the hard way.

Finally, the T-28 is a 4.5 (Beginner can solo with flight instruction/Easy 2nd plane). That means buddy-boxing, or you've already "mastered" an easier plane like the HZ Super Cub.

The ratings work, at least they did for me. Started with a Hobby Zone Super Cub (2.25), moved on to the T-28 and Wildcat (both 4.5, but for different reasons!). Now I'm working on an E-Flite T-34 Mentor, which it a 6 is a "good 2nd plane", but being much larger than the foamies has a learning curve of its own.
Jun 25, 2012, 11:35 AM
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FMS/Airfield Warbird Ratings?

The FMS or Airfield brand (same planes?) of foam warbirds appear to be very popular, but I could not find any of them on the ratings list. Is there a reason they are ommitted?

The list is very helpful and a good guide for us newbies.

My son and I started with the HZ super mini cub and we have had no problems flying that plane. He has "graduated" to first flights with a PZ T28 - I am still getting more comfortable with the MSC. It is quite a big step up to the T28, but we have not had any major "problems" so far.

We are thinking about some of the FMS warbirds of the future and thus were checking the list for ratings.

Thanks RvE
Jun 25, 2012, 01:06 PM
I think anything not listed, simply hasn't been submitted. Would be nice to get some added!

The FMS/Airfield birds come with more bells & whistles (retracts, flaps) that theoretically make them more difficult or less durable (no personal experience yet, just going on what I've read on the forums).
Jun 26, 2012, 01:09 PM
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For me the list seems accurate. I started with HZ Super Cub, now I'm on the T-28 with no problems. I'm going to use this as my guide as I purchase more planes.

Thanks to everyone for working on this and keeping it updated.
Jun 26, 2012, 08:33 PM
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voxel, and others - please remember that a lot of the folks (me too) that "rate" a plane are not the new folks that are looking at these numbers. I've progressed at a decent rate and what I say is easy to fly may be a hand-full for someone a few months behind me. Take ALL of these ratings with a grain of salt ... or two! NO MATTER HOW THEY PROTEST ME SAYING THIS, they are probably not a new flyer. I'm telling you from experience that what is said here may not paint you a really good picture. I assure you, not one of us can place ourselves "back" in time and give a perfect recommendation.
Having said that, and making someone angry, please do read all of this .... it will help you. Just don't think of it as Gospel.
Jun 27, 2012, 10:30 PM
Valid points. Especially the "don't take it as gospel" one. There's definitely some subjectivity in the ratings. Where I've found them most helpful is in choosing a new plane by comparing its rating to what I'm already flying. For example, if you're fairly comfortable flying the HZ Super Cub, and want to jump up to the T-28... expect to have your hands full. Try jumping from that SC to the micro T-28... you're likely in well over your head.
Jul 03, 2012, 01:15 AM
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Bingo guys:

Do not take this as Gospel... I'll be the first to say that. Its a guide only.

Do compare planes you're already flying to planes you're looking at buying.

If you're still crashing that 3-rated plane, then don't go out and get a 7! If you're flying aerobatics with a 4 then a good bet would be a 6 or 7 for sure. The best thing is to take it easy and remember that everyone is different - some are slow to learn, other fast, and some may never be able to master basic flight let alone aerobatics or 3D.

Go at your own pace and buy what you think you'll be able to safely fly.

Cheers - boingk

EDIT: Airfield/FMS 'Mini' warbirds (800mm/32") are around the 4~5 ratings I think.

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