Foam vs Balsa / Plywood Trainer - RC Groups
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Aug 20, 2012, 09:09 PM
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Foam vs Balsa / Plywood Trainer

My 12-year old son has gotten extremely good at his flight simulator, including several advanced 3D tricks. A friend has let him fly his 4 channel foamies a couple of times, and we've got a basic 2-channel trainer that he's flown several times. So, he's gotten some decent, real stick time and hasn't made any major mistakes or crashes, takeoffs and landings. So I'd like to get him his first trainer, as we move towards getting our AMA membership and start heading over to our local RC field for more flight time.

He's flown and likes the E-flite Apprentice 15e foamie. As an alternative, the E-flite Alpha 450 Sprt ARF seems to be a really nice balsa / ply traininer.

Should we go with the foamie, since it probably is considered a little more rugged / forgiving when it comes to minor crashes? My bias is towards the balsa / ply side.

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Aug 20, 2012, 09:33 PM
I think I'm inverted. Maybe.
acetech09's Avatar
When it comes to trainers these days, the majority is overwhelmingly foam. Balsa always has a special place in the hearts of many people (including me... an avid foamy scratch builder), but the durability of some of these modern foamies is just amazing compared to their balsa counterparts.

A disappointingly small amount of companies make good durable foamy trainers. CrashTestHobbies does make a line, but they are rather expensive (overpriced in my opinion). I'd recommend building your own. The Trainer Two is a very easy to make foam scratchbuild trainer that can take a relative beating.

Oh, and foam isn't just rugged/forgiving when it comes to minor crashes. Build a good durable plane and it will be just as forgiving on those heavy lawndart crashes too
Aug 21, 2012, 02:09 PM
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mike_o's Avatar

your first post! Welcome to the forum

I agree with acetech09 - there are so many nice foamies on the market today and while you like balsa, a lengthy crash repair may be a show stopper for a 12 year old.

He does sound as if he is ready for something a bit more exiting than just another basic trainer. So I won't suggest the Bixler/SkyHawk/EasyStar, but the similar, more agile AXN FloaterJet, aka CloudsFly. It can be fast and partly aerobatic, but its still sufficiently forgiving to be a trainer. Just don't apply full throttle on launch

There is an extensive and lively AXN FloaterJet thread elsewhere in this subforum.

Good luck!
Aug 21, 2012, 03:51 PM
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The Apprentice is a great trainer plane provided you seek out a club and find an instructor to "buddy box" with. For a first foamie trainer I would suggest the Hobbyzone Super Cub. It is a 3 channel trainer that many, many would be RC pilots have used as their first high wing trainer; myself included. With the help of my simulator and the HZ Super Cub (plus a couple of other beginner type planes) I am now flying 5-6 channel warbird planes..............all in about 5 and a half months. I believe I could have just used the Super Cub without the other planes though.

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