Part 1 – RC Airplanes / Gliders for Beginners

On February 5th 2012, I have seriously thought and started my research on RC planes. Actually I had interest in it since I was a kid, but it was very expensive to own or start the hobby at that time, because I wasn’t working, and if I did, it would still be an expensive hobby because those are considered rare items (especially in Malaysia) and there wasn’t much shops that sells those items. So I got stuck with Flight Simulator and such, but these are far from the real flying experience.

Well now things have changed. I think when I’m older, I will not be attracted to all these ‘toys’ anymore, but really – the child inside me is still there (with lots of money now! HA HA HA). And good thing we have the internet, because we could share stuffs, and save money by listening to others advice and experiences, and of course, save (big) money along the way by buying the right things to begin with.

And that is where my purpose is, the best is to share. But of course, all the posts here is primarily for my own reference in future (it’s a low-profile blog really).

This post is for beginners out there that love to join the world of RC planes / gliders, but have no idea where to start, what is required to start, how much money is it needed, and what to do once you have all the necessary items with you.

# The Research – RC Planes / Gliders

First thing I did was to research for the best type of plane (I haven’t know about gliders yet at that moment) to start off as a beginner. And one of the best I found is the Hover One.

Hover One

 This is considered as one of the RC Trainer planes, why you may ask? Because of the stability it carries. These planes have wings on top of the body (we actually call them fuselage). Try and avoid low/mid wing planes (although there are trainers model for these as well) because you do want to save all that extra money for upgrades and hopefully just minor crashes (yes you will eventually crash) then to wreck the entire plane on your first flight.

But of course, another reason to get the Hover One is because of it’s built material, which is EPO – Expanded PolyOlefin. It’s made of very durable foam and easy to be glued back (with hot glue gun) in case of minor crashes.

However, I don’t just recommend the Hover One for beginners, any plane that fits above criteria will do fine. If your pocket is deep, don’t rush things by going for expensive items just yet, instead, go for the cheap trainer planes first to get the hang of it. Once you are satisfied with your flying skills and able to take off and land without any issues, then you may proceed with the upgrades (and give your trainer plane to your son so the legend continues..).

But, I didn’t stop there.. In fact, I researched more about trainer planes and found another good entry level model – But this time, it’s a glider.

Sky Surfer RC Glider

Pictured above is the Sky Surfer, a glider type RC. Notice that it does not have any landing gear and you have to launch it yourself manually using your hand (although other methods are available such as discus, piggyback, bungee launching, etc.. but I prefer the hand method) by holding the fuselage (the body of the glider) and throwing it (with a firm push) into the wind – making sure it is pointed straight and not upwards (to avoid stall – which makes the glider come crashing to the ground) – some throttle speed is needed, but don’t put it on maximum.  This is done above head height of course, as pictured below.

Now this looks exciting isn’t it?

Another good trainer glider is the AXN Clouds Fly, also a glider type that is for beginners, with price tag that is almost the same as the Sky Surfer that was previously pictured above.

AXN Clouds Fly

Now both of these gliders pictured here are 4 Channels (CH) gliders, which means they have controls for
Throttle, Rudder, Elevator, and Ailerons.

There are also 3CH planes / gliders either without rudder or ailerons. I wouldn’t recommend these as with 4CH planes / gliders you can still pretend it to be a 3CH by ignoring either one of it (I recommend you forget about rudder and use ailerons first) and once you are comfortable with it, the extra control is there for your disposal.

And if you notice, both these gliders have wings located on top of their fuselage for stability. Because it is a glider, once you reach a comfortable height (we should slowly start using correct terms here which is – altitude) you may cut off the throttle and let it glide down. Gliders should (have not done much research on this yet, correct me if I’m wrong) be able to glide much longer than planes because of it’s characteristics, and you should be able to get longer airtime by gliding rather than going full throttle all the times (actually, 50% throttle is sufficient).

These planes and gliders above (Hover One, Sky Surfer, & AXN Clouds Fly) can easily be found locally (Malaysia) in most RC / Hobby shops. At time of writing, the Hover One should cost around RM220 (inclusive of kit, motor, esc) to around RM360 (inclusive of motor, esc, servo, Rx and Tx) where Sky Surfer should cost around RM370 (inclusive of motor, esc, servo, Rx and Tx, battery) and AXN Clouds Fly around RM250 (motor, esc, servo) or so. I know there are lots of jargons such as esc, servo, Rx and Tx, and stuffs that you couldn’t understand as of yet, but no worries on that yet as I will guide you through slowly to understand and digest all these terms together.

As to recommend which package to buy (either buy everything bundled or just the plane / glider, and custom match everything else to make a complete set), if you can afford – buy just the plane with stock motor, esc, and servo – then get a good Transmitter and Receiver (Tx and Rx) like the Futaba 6x or Turnigy 9x and all other accessories to complete the set (eg. battery, charger, etc), but.. and I say BUT, I would strongly recommend that you do further research or wait for Part 2 of this post to know more about Tx and Rx and all the other basic stuffs that you need to know before buying your first RC plane or glider.

For those with Android devices, I got a little something for you that relates to RC in Part 2 of this topic. So stay tuned 😉

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One Response to “Part 1 – RC Airplanes / Gliders for Beginners”

  1. rc hobby Says:

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