Simprop Spad13: Should I get one as a first? - RC Groups
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Mar 03, 2001, 06:13 PM
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Simprop Spad13: Should I get one as a first?

Being new to these forums, I should first make clear that my one and only hangup is that I like my RCs to look like a miniature of a "the real thing". This is why I am not now in the market for something like a Bleriot, Lite Stick, or even a Razor 400.

No, my soft spot is for warplanes, and the Spad13 is sort of an old friend.

Thing is, it will be my first and I want to know what I need to look out for, what problems will arise, how to deal with them, etc.

Even if what you post is a frantic warning against whatever it is I might be about to do, no, especially if that is so, please tell me!

Keep in mind that I am making the transition into RC planes from scale models and know nothing.

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Mar 03, 2001, 08:49 PM
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From your post I am guessing that you are not currently an RC flyer. While certainly not the hardest thing in the world, it does have a learning curve that can be steep in the beginning. That said, there aren't any warbird/scale models that make good trainers. As a second model I think that the Spad or perhaps the Albatross would be a fine choice, but start out with something like a Wingo. I know, not scale at all, but it flies beautifully and is durable enough that you can learn on one plane. Having a model that will recover, by simply letting go of the sticks, is a big plus in the beginning.
I don't want to rain on your parade, its just that I would like to see that you have the success that will inspire you to stay and enjoy this great hobby.

Best of luck,

Mike Hines
Mar 03, 2001, 08:58 PM
Rhinebeck CD-99,00,01,02
Tom Smith's Avatar
The Spad is a good flyer but those foan planes with their balsa landing gear are not very forgiving. The foam planes are fine, I have several of them well over 1 1/2 years old and they are still in good shape, but the landing gear, forget it. It will crunch on your first bad landing, and we all have them. My suggestion would be the Stearman PT 17 from Hobby Lobby. I just finished mine, yes it is foam, but the landing gear is wire and fits into two sandwiched pieces of wood that slip into one of the main formers. Nice and solid. Mine uses a speed 300 motor with a 5:1 reduction and an APC 10-4.7 slow fly prop, all sold by Hobby Lobby, and of course micro radio gear. Mine came out beautiful and last night I took it to our club meeting and everyone loved it. No flights yet but if this hugh snow storm that is looming on the horizon holds off till tomorrow evening, I may be able to get in a couple of flights tomorrow afternoon. Tom
Mar 05, 2001, 11:28 AM
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Hiflyer, can you define "learning curve?" The more I know, the better.

I was planning on getting it with three or four extra props anyway.

As for the landing gear, if I were to make it out of, say, ABS plastic, that would hold up better, I think...
Mar 05, 2001, 12:56 PM
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Ralph Weaver's Avatar
You need to start with a cheap, simple plane. You will probably destroy your first plane, no reason to destroy a Spad. Those who insist on starting with a scale plane normally don't ever learn to fly. It would be like telling a full scale flight instructor that you only like jets and don't want to start in a Cessna.

If possible, you need to get an intructor to help. Some have learned on their own, but it's rare.

My favorite trainer is the Push-E-Cat, but if you want to get the Spad eventually, then maybe starting with a Lite Stick would be better.
Mar 05, 2001, 05:00 PM
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MdDgDRVR's Avatar

These are my own personal experiences, you results may vary. I'm 35, my first and only other R/C airplane was a cox sportavia when I was 13.

I bought a Chubby Lady from Hobby Lobby and learned on it. I basically flew and crashed it until it got to heavy with epoxy to fly.

I then purchased a second airframe and that was when things started to click. I basically flew the thing until the wings folded up on it doing loops <hee hee heeeee>
It was an awesome sight corkscrewing into the ground from around 75 feet. Smoking hole-

The wife felt sorry for me I think,so later that week a Kavan Sopwith Pup showed up on the doorstep- <nice early b-day present>
That was the same day I came home from the local hobby shop with a Bleriot III<nice early B-day present to myself> I ended finishing the Bleriot and pup about the same time, I flew the pup first, and after getting a pretty tricky CG problem sorted out, enjoyed the model quite well, over many weeks, UNTIL I tried a dead stick power off landing and stalled it in from about three feet, gear shattered and foam was everywhere. I was pretty pssd at myself and sought solace with the Bleriot that evening!

My friend, let me tell you, the Bleriot is the model I should have learned on, it is a BLAST flying that thing, doing touch and go's in the driveway, buzzing the dog, and chasing buzzards. I can fly that thing and jog along at the same speed as it, or if I put in the 10 cell AAA batt pack and do loops and stall turns! If you want enjoyment and NOT frustration, get the Bleriot! Scale issues be darned, learn to fly first, THEN move on to the foamies, they ARE cool, but a little fragile for a beginner.

Trust me------buy the bleriot, build it carefully, pay attention to the CG and you will be richly rewarded

Mar 05, 2001, 08:57 PM
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Pat Daily's Avatar
I have built the SPAD, Pfalz and Sopwith Pup. On all three I strengthened the landing gear and cabane struts with carbon and they have held up very well. Have approximately 400 flights on the SPAD. I paint the nose with alcohol thinned 30 min epoxy for a little extra strength and also put a strip of carbon fiber spanwise on the lower side of the wings. Balsa leading edges sanded to a nice rounded curve also help. See some photos of my planes at the DC Maxecuter website at

Pat Daily
Richmond, VA
Mar 05, 2001, 09:01 PM
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Isn't a Bleriot3 too slow? 4mph, so its advertised. I supose it could afford to have scratchbuilt bracings on it, yes? Some rigging will add to strenght. I'd post a url of a guy's site were on he's posted a pic of doing this, but its down right now. Darn.

Or is 4mph preferable because its more forgiving?

And there's this damn nusance of a thing: most of these buggers have got no roll. Just seems kinda unnatural to me but wut do I know? I'm just a newbie.

So its either Bleriot3, Lite Stick, or something else w/o roll. Just feels so odd, a plane without roll. I'm not keen of flying wings, I'll just say that now...
Mar 05, 2001, 09:06 PM
Flying slowly along..
Here's what I'd do if I had to start over. I'd buy and fly a $25 Lightstick first. You can make them faster if you really want to.

If you crash it or don't like the hobby, you're not out a bunch of $$$. You can always use the gear on other planes. No roll? I've heard of people adding ailerons, to a LS but never have seen it in person.

Maybe check out NY Blimps Lightstick page. It might give you some cool ideas--Rob
Mar 05, 2001, 09:56 PM
Registered User
First, before we can help you, you have to make it clear: Have you flown anything before? In your post, you mentioned that you like your RCs to look like the real thing-Spad will be a piece of cake for you if you've flown before! If not, I'd say stick to "litestik" because you'll have more chance of getting it airborne and practice, practice, practice!!!
Mar 05, 2001, 10:29 PM
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Oh, and I just remembered this: as for durability, the Nora from Hobby-Lobby reportedly is endowed with a fiberglass fusalage. Sounds good to me. And its ultimatly no more expensive than a bleriot, more or less.

What of that?
Mar 08, 2001, 01:16 AM
Registered User
My First Slowflyer was the Rumpler Taube from RC Direct. It is light and forgiving and has wire landing gear. I only ripped out the landing gear once, and I fly at my house where I land in a rough feild, I stalled it on landing many times. It does touch and Goes like you wouldn't believe, that and its a semi-scale model, that looks birdlike too. I had the stock Geared Speed 280, but when my gearbox fell off in the middle of the field I put a direct drive speed 400 in it, then later a geared speed 400, and it flew really good. I love that plane. I put around 500 flights on mine before I totaled it while flying inverted too low. (which is really hard to do with its severely undercambered wing.

go to
use micro or sub micro servo, and a standard reciever is fine, and a 350 mah nicad and you can get 9 minutes of flight time. Replace the large styrofoam wheels with just some normal lite flite wheels. prop clearance isn't quite as good, but is still completely adequate. Just make sure and flare on landing or you'll pop the gearbox out of the plane.

[This message has been edited by Pietenpolflyer (edited 03-08-2001).]
May 12, 2001, 09:37 AM
Registered User
Nora is a nice plane but a tad fast an squirrly for a first. I felt the same way, wanted a scale looking plane. Hey, I'm smart and good looking, I can learn to fly in one. The guy at my local hobby shop talked me into the dorky looking Soarstar. It was the last bit of good advice I got from him. I drilled it into the ground from 20ft three times before I realized it was tail heavy. That figured out I was able to fly. Wobbly and all over the sky tring to avoid the ground, but flying. The Soarstar is still my favorite flier. Smooth and docile I can fly it in the street in fron of my house (well above the roof tops). The important thing is I was able to epoxy three 20th nose dives back together and still fly it. I'd look at the Soarstar as a first plane.