Beginner RC planes

Not to get off-topic but I’m curious if those who happen to have a private pilots license have an easier time starting out with R/C models?

I’m guessing it isn’t an advantage since most of the skills are different but I’ve always been curious. I have a private pilots license (that I no longer use) and I’m not currently thinking about R/C planes but I’m still curious.

I’ve seen people flying them and it looks interesting. I can see that a lighter plane would be harder to fly with wind and I can see that a heavier plane probably does better (successfully) landing on a hard runway rather than trying to land on grass.

I was looking at some bigger models, but dont think they would be good for me right now. We live in a small house (836 square feet) with two kiddos and already too much stuff in it.

Wind could be a problem, but I am not too worried. Spare parts are cheap, and glue is even cheaper

Im sure I will crash and smash it up, but I got a plan... Low n slow to learn the controls. Do not know anyone that flies RC planes to help out, so I am on my own

Having a good understanding of aerodynamics and the basics of flight does help. When the plane is coming at you the ailerons and rudder are “reversed”, so it takes a while to get used to ingrain this in your reactions (when under pressure).

General feeling is at first being a pilot interferes. The difference between ‘seat of the pants always facing the direction you are flying’ and no feedback + control reversal when flying at yourself is extra disrupting. The little planes fly with similar dynamics but the experience is wholly different.

I helped out 1 pilot. He was worse than some, not as bad as a few, but certainly not a ‘star pupil’. I’ve flown a small plane once. It wasn’t like RC at all.

Yeah, I’m guessing the viewpoint, lack of feedback, and different controls would be a completely different experience. Maybe after one learned to fly R/C it might help but at that point you’ve probably figured it all out anyway :slight_smile:

Pulsar, take some video of your maiden voyage!

Will see what I can do. Can not guarantee that my fiance will be up for it. Maybe I can bribe her with something

You have gotten some very useful advice here. I crashed my first plastic cardboard plane so much it started to look camouflage with all the repairs. For your first plane I suggest something that will take a beating, because you will crash.
Those balsa wood planes fly into a million pieces when they hit the ground. I seen one kid at a local RC air show, that had worked on a balsa based plane for 6 months. He had a few flying lessons with a my local hobby shop trainer, he thought he was ready to fly his own plane without the trainer. The trainer warned him and tried to help, but the kid refused his help. The kid flew that thing around about a minute and gravity took over. He brought the plane back from off the air field in a box full of kindling. Six months of work shot. :stuck_out_tongue:
At that same RC air show, there was a guy that had a real replica RC jet plane with a real miniature jet engine. He would do flybys at well over 200mph. That was pretty awesome. I know it had to be tough to fly though. It was moving so fast that by the time it flew by the pilot, it only took a few seconds and he had to make a turn to come back, to keep it from getting out of site.
Find someone that knows how to fly and let them help you. He or she can give you the controls once it’s up in the air, if you start to crash, hand the control over and they can save you some repairs. It was also very helpful for me to set the plane down on the ground and use the controls as though I was flying (not with the engine running). Walking in front of the plane and turning left and right and up and down, then behind the plane. It helped in learning the controls and what they do especially when the plane is coming towards you, left doesn’t go left it goes right if the plane is moving towards you. The RC buggy will come in handy in that regard. Stay with it and don’t give up, you will crash but that’s part of what drives you to become better. Taking off the runway was easy for me but once in the air that’s where my problems began. If you learn what to do in the air first taking off will be a breeze then there’s the landing part :open_mouth: . Once you have mastered it then move up to something faster and nicer. Just my two cents. :slight_smile:

Before reading the other posts, I favor the propeller one. Models have low mach number and low Reynolds number, so they work better in the shape of propeller driven manned aircraft than in the shape of jets. That includes the propulsion unit. Pulse jets, ducted fans, etc. are less efficient than propellers, until close to the speed of sound.
My own airplane passion is for Cox 0.049 cubic inch (0.8 cc) and smaller control line and RC airplanes. After mid 20th century, those engines were perhaps the most precise of all mass produced objects. I am also big on rubber power. Rubber bands were a huge advance in aviation when Alphonse Pénaud introduced them. Former powered experiments had used steam engines that were very hard to make and easily damaged in crashes.

This is the transmitter you want. It’s pretty much awesomeness. Think of it as the SolarForce of transmitters.

I use mine almost daily on my V911, which is also awesome btw.

I also occasionally use it on my Pulse XT 40, which is great, but not the best starter airplane. Balsa doesn’t hold up well to crashes. Styrofoam is what you want. (and electric)

That controller does seem to have a lot of features for under $50. How much are the modules for it?

This thread will be helpful.

The Turnigy 9X is the original version, and comes with a built in module. (This is actually what I have)

The 9XR is an upgraded version, but doesn’t come with a module, because a lot of people use different types, so they figure you’ll just get your own.

Will that bind with the Spektrum receivers used in the ultra micros?

I bought a a Spektrum Dx6i (for 79.99) and it works fine with my UM. But it won’t bind to my V911 or other WL Toys.

I flew control line 049s quite a lot at one time, sometimes by myself and sometimes with children and sometimes in a club, and have tried with only a little success to fly 049 and micro RC airplanes. Getting started is hard. The hard thing about CL 049s is that they are limited to a small arc and need to be heavy enough not to be blown away by the wind, so you have to develop reflexes before you respond fast enough to keep them in the air. Flying early in the morning when there is the least wind helps. I like solid balsa wood for beginners, because it is easy to make, very rugged and easy to repair. Flat slab wings work well if you have enough power to weight to overcome their high drag. They are always a bit stalled and can transition smoothly into a helicopter-like mode. Don’t even think about how it looks until you can fly reliably. Balsa wood and paper can be made very beautiful, but not five times a day.
About ready made versus home made, Keith Laumer said that there are perfectly good models that you can buy, but that way you lose exactly half the fun. Of course it also depends on the budget available. Having made it yourself increases your confidence in your ability to repair it.
With free flight, my problem was I had a fuel tank that didn’t leak and fuel left in it from the last time the engine was run. With RC, my main problem was not being able to see what it was doing, so next time I painted the right wing green and the left one red.

Where do most of you fly your airplanes? I live in Seattle and I can’t recall seeing people flying at any of the parks. I’m guessing it’s not allowed.

Fiance is at school so I could not get a video. Clipped a branch and broke the flapper thingie on the back that makes it turn. Taped it back up with some yellow electrical tape and back in flight.

I did OK. longest flight was maybe one min before loosing control and crashing. Did a few controlled loops and lost control once up pretty high, cut power and was able to get it back into control into a glide and gracefully brought it down for a lighter crash landing LOL.

It is way too windy today for it though.

And its broke. Needs a new complete tail. Was not even my bad flying skills that did it. My fiances brother drove by and saw me flying it and stopped in and got to talking. My son decided to throw it around like a paper airplane. After he bounced it off the truck a few times I told him to stop because it is just stryrofoam and it will break easily. He said no it wont, and kept doing it.... He came back with the tail end flopping in the wind and said you can just tape it... LOL.

Can you glue it?

Just get some foam safe CA glue and glue it back together. You might be able to tape it too. That is one of the reasons I didn’t like micros as the foam is fairly brittle and hard to fix. The Park Zone Sukhoi I had was like that. The tail was made out of foam that was like a styrofoam cup, very think and some what brittle. I broke the tail and then it went down hill from there. I mean I crashed it a few times before it became completely broken. I could fly it in 5-10 mph winds, but any thing above that it and couldn’t even move upwind. It would just sit there trying to go forward lol. It has to be a really calm day to fly micros. I think a park flyer size would be best and the foam they use for those is fairly easy to repair. I think they are made from EPO, but I am not positive. The T-28 form Park Zone is supposedly a really nice plane. I really liked my P-51D. The Vapor would be a really nice one to fly. It is super small and flies so slow.

Night Vapor

There is also the micro vapor that is small enough to fly in your house.

Micro Vapor

Here is a video of someone flying it in there house.

But like I said, I think a park flyer size plane would be the best size. They can handle some wind and are easier to repair than the micros. If worse comes to worse, you can buy a whole new body kit and swap the electronics over. With the micros, it’s not so easy. Once I trashed the Sukhoi, I just threw it all away. The micro servos and everything were just too small and got damaged anyways. The super cub would be a great one.

Super Cub

One last thing. Don’t get discouraged. It’s never if you will crash, it is WHEN lol. Everybody does it. The only way to get better is getting out there and flying. But a simulator will help a lot. I suggest this one from Hobby King. Or if you get a radio, you can buy one of the kits that has the cables that allows you to use your radio. This will save you from having to spend more money repairing/fixing your plane.

Flight Simulator Kit

What do you think of this one?

From this review, it looks like a nice plane.