Total "noob" looking for advice on first plane - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Mar 03, 2002, 10:17 PM
Part Time Auger Operator
djv's Avatar

Total "noob" looking for advice on first plane

Hello, all! I'm thinking of getting into RC planes, and I've been eyeballing some of the slow/park flier models. Right now I'm seriously considering the Graupner Tipsy , due to the fact that hobby-lobby has a full setup (radio and all) for $255 USD, and they're claiming flight times as long as 30 minutes. (From the review I've read @ e-zone, it's more like 10-20, but still, that's pretty good from what I've read) I had also been eyeballing the "Chubby Lady" , since H-L is offering "Crash insurance" for a buck. (You get a replacement kit for 50% off if you auger it in.) I had given the "*-Stick" models a glance, but I'm not sure they'd be tough enough for the wind around here. What did anyone else here break in on? Any suggestions for different planes?

One other question is, with a pretty tame parkflyer, is it possible to learn to fly solo or do you still suggest a more experienced pilot be around to tell the noob when he's about to turn his craft into a crater?

Thanks in advance!
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Mar 03, 2002, 10:27 PM
He wasn't always evil
AirVenture's Avatar
Hey! Welcome to the EZONE. I'm sure many will agree that the Nipsy would be just a fine trainer. From its looks, it should handle fairly decent winds too. It's a classic setup for a trainer plane. Foam, use of carbon rods, and a pusher prop. The pusher prop helps ALOT! Since the prop is in back, it's nearly impossible to break it. But I'm sure it can be done! As for instructors...I would recommend getting one if there is one available. If you are R/C guys in the area, just a big open playground and a could probably learn to fly yourself. I learned myself on a Megatech Merlin. Broke about 5 props, and a few propshafts, but thats it. Good Luck, and let us know if ya need any more help!

Mar 03, 2002, 10:27 PM
Our Daddy and Heli Junkie
Fred Bronk's Avatar

DJV, Welcome to the Zone!!!!!!

Well, you sond like you have an idea of what you want. Which is a good start.

Foam planes are great for beginers, but I know little of the Tipsy except for the article.

If it flys like the Terry, it should handle some wind OK. My Terry does fine in the wind. Is there anyone in the area who can help you fly and with the setup? As easy as it seems, very few can fly without help.

Package deals are OK, but will you need to buy more in the future to keep going with different plane?
Mar 03, 2002, 11:04 PM
Part Time Auger Operator
djv's Avatar

Re: DJV, Welcome to the Zone!!!!!!

Originally posted by Fred Bronk
Package deals are OK, but will you need to buy more in the future to keep going with different plane?
I had thought about that, and had considered getting a 4-chan radio setup so I could "graduate" to bigger, badder planes later without having to buy a truckload of new gear, but I figure 1) I've gotta get the purchase price past the wife, 2) I want to keep the initial investment low just in case I auger it in and totaly nuke it and 3) I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be flying the low-n-slow stuff for a while, and even if I do move up to a more complex setup, I'll probably want to keep a simple slowflyer or parkflyer type plane around to play with.

On an unrelated note, I was reading one of the other threads, and I see everyone going on about the Tiger Moth. How durable is it? Someone said they could get 45 mins on Li-ion batteries? Is that for real?!
Mar 04, 2002, 07:10 AM
Crash Master
Gene Bond's Avatar
I wouldn't sweat the radio too much. That one is actually more flexible than the Focus 4, in that it will do Vtail. If you want to upgrade, go all the way to the Flash 4 or 5, so you will have Vtail capability later. You never know when you may want a Zagi, or similar.

The Tipsy looks like a better trainer than the Tiger Moth. The Tiger Moth probably can't be beat as a second plane, once you've finished a 'no repairs' flight day.... It's not as sturdy and repairable as some of the simpler models, like the Lite/PicoSik, but much better looking and apparently handles better.

If you can find help, use it. If not, go for it. Just make sure you have 5 minut epoxy and package tape handy!
Mar 04, 2002, 07:42 AM
Registered User
if you can't get an instructor, may I suggest FMS ( although it is only windows only (given your avatar that may be an issue ;-)

It's not %100 accurate but the price (free) is good and it'll definitely help. A friend of mine has a tiger moth that he flew for the first time last week and apart from the odd broken prop, he was able to fly it fine. His only experiance before that was 1 minute on my lite stick and a few hours on FMS.

If you do go this route, have a look at the interface cables you can build/buy for FMS. They allow you to use your transmitter and ths makes things a lot more realistic

Mar 04, 2002, 11:02 AM
Registered User
If you can find one, an instructor could really be worthwhile. WHere are you located? It's possible someone on this list can help you. I have had people tell me that the RC simulators are helpful. There's a sophisticated but free one at: but yahoo groups seems to be down now. A quick look seems to indicate that it's written in Linux. Not sure there are other simulators where you can fly your airplane into the outhouse! If you ever show up at our field you will feel right at home. However, I can't tell you much as I've only seen screenshots. Simulators don't appeal to me that much as I don't think they'd help with the (fortunately few!) boneheaded mistakes I make these days, which have more to do with stupidity than flying skills.

I have 830mah lithium ion batteries which will fly my GWS J3 stick for about 40 minutes if pushed, even at fairly high throttle settings. THe TM has the same or a very similar power system. However, when the power cuts on a lithium ion battery with safety circuit, it goes all at once. That usually means no radio.

THe TM handles a bit nicer, but the J3 Stick would make an acceptable trainer with a little dihedral added, and maybe with covering on the bottom of the wing to handle the wind. Before I diagnosed my servo problem it smacked into the ground vigorously a number of times with little apparent damage. I've seen the TM survive hard falls to the floor as well. If it's pretty windy where you are, though, these might be a problem. However, to have a plane which is easy to fly but can handle the wind you may need to go larger than you want to. Fast, small planes can handle wind, but everything happens more quickly.
Mar 04, 2002, 11:21 AM
Registered User
The Tipsy makes a good first plane, so does the Sky Scooter Pro, and the SSPro is only $180 for the complete package. Re. TigerMoth, they aren't very durable but are great fliers. With a hacked Qualcomm Li-Ion pack you can expect flights of 25 minuites in a Tiger Moth. In a more efficient setup, like the <a href="">Mountain Models</a> DuskStik you can get 45 minuites or more in the summer due to thermals.
Mar 04, 2002, 08:50 PM
Part Time Auger Operator
djv's Avatar
Originally posted by ybanrab
...may I suggest FMS ( although it is only windows only (given your avatar that may be an issue ;-)...
Thankfully I keep a second computer around for The wife and kids that has that *other* OS on it. :P

Just spent the last 2 (or was it 3?) hours playing with FMS.

I've discovered a few things in the process:
1) I should *really* not buy a helicopter.
2) Little bitty stunt planes like grass, or so it would seem since they seem to keep running (in) to it...
3) Old (circa 1989) quirky joysticks seem to simulate gusty winds pretty well.
4) Gusty winds suck.
5) A parkflyer can do a great "hammerhead"
6) They only do them 6 feet off the ground, and only when you don't want them to.

Aside from that, I've found that I don't like the idea of a slowflier quite as much (they're *too* slow). The parkflyer model in FMS (SilkyWind400) looks like a rough approximation of the Tipsy, only with a front prop. If its behavior is any indication of the real thing, I like it. I managed to fly it for 15 minues with no crashes, and do half a dozen touch and go's in the sim. Real life is a different story of course, but I think I might be able to pull off learning it w/o an instructor.

Originaly Posted by lincon
I have 830mah lithium ion batteries which will fly my GWS J3 stick for about 40 minutes if pushed, even at fairly high throttle settings... ...However, when the power cuts on a lithium ion battery with safety circuit, it goes all at once. That usually means no radio.

Maybe I'll just learn to be happy with whatever those NiMH batteries can provide.

I've been trying to get to that site too, but the "Yahoo Groups Plumber" keeps telling me that their servers are DOA.

Originaly Posted by VWtechie
...the SSPro is only $180 for the complete package...
I'll have to look into that, thanks for the tip!
Mar 04, 2002, 10:11 PM
Registered User

Welcome to the ezone. The plane I think
would be a very good trainer is the T-IFO
It's a great flying plane and after you get
good you can convert it to a regular IFO
for no cost. I don't own any stock in the
company but I do own the mini ifo and
the reg. ifo. Very pleased with both. You
just can't break them. Check them out
at No matter what you buy
let us know how things work out. Maybe
we can give you some pointer.
Once you learn to fly you will do it the
rest of you life. Stick with it you will be
glad you did.

Break a prop

Terry W
Mar 05, 2002, 12:57 AM
Part Time Auger Operator
djv's Avatar
Found a place that has the Sky Scooter Pro for $165. The plane looks kinda doofy out of the box, I can tell I'd have to have to get some of that foam-safe spraypaint and do something with it. The price is nice though. I do have one question about it: it says it comes w/ the AM version of the Hitec Focus 3, versus the Tipsy which comes in that package w/ a *FM* Hitec Focus 3... What's the difference? I seem to remember hearing something once in reference to radio, the kind you listen to, about AM having better range, but FM being less suseptible to interefernce. Is that true, or was I misled?

As far as the IFO goes, I had thought about it. It's the same price as the Tipsy ($255) and does look pretty unbreakable. The gear it comes with sounds pretty nice too, looks like a nicer charger, and looks like the radio comes with a charger for nicads in the TX too. (no mention of that at hobby-lobby) What kind of duration does it get? How long do the batteries take to charge?

Bah! I thought I knew what I wanted, but now I'm all confused!
Mar 05, 2002, 08:24 AM
Part Time Auger Operator
djv's Avatar
After researching the T-IFO, I've also discovered the Braun Mouse. :P

TerryW: How does that TIFO handle outdoors?
Mar 05, 2002, 08:48 AM
DAve caNDI,& 5#'s of fury
Dandi6065's Avatar
Welcome to the EZONE. I am a self-taught flier, thanks to the people here at the EZONE. I started tossing around a hand launch glider that I built. I had no luck, on my own, so I put it away, then a couple months later I asked for help, on the Ezone, and a was coached along step by step, every time I flew I posted my progress. I then moved to Parkfliers, still love gliders but cant catch that magic thermal.
You are in the right place.
This is an invaluable resource of information; I still have a hard time believing it is free.
I should have told you that as a self-taught R/C'er, agree completely if you can find anyone at all, to help it will be easier to learn. I am seflt taught due to thefact that the local club was against, gliders, and electrics.
Last edited by Dandi6065; Mar 05, 2002 at 09:15 AM.
Mar 05, 2002, 09:08 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Dear DJV:
I have seen others on this site with Topeka as their location. I stongly recommend that you see if you can find local fliers for help at the beginning. Posts from your area have indicated it is often windy. If you have calm times in the morning I would recommend you consider the Dragonfly for your first plane. I trained a bunch of people to fly with one as it flies so slowly they have time to think. As you probably learned on the simulator a turn starts with a push of the stick to the side then some up elevator. Don't over control the plane and try to be smooth. If you really don't have any calm air forget the Dragonfly as it doesn't penetrate well in wind. Mike Heer
Mar 05, 2002, 09:22 AM
Registered User
mattk17's Avatar
I'll agree that getting an experienced person to help with the initial setup is handy. If that isn't an option, don't be afraid to try it solo. With a little planning and a good place to fly, it isn't too bad. Just make sure to range check and flight check the plane carefully before taking the plunge. Two common mistakes are to have the CG wrong which would almost certainly end in a crash or reversing one or more of the controls (elevator or rudder) which also ends in crash.

Final thought, the ideal place to fly would be a large field (at least 2 football field size) with short cut grass. Good luck!