A Guide For the Beginning Flier
RC Airplanes - A Guide For the Beginning Flier
Choosing Your First RC Airplane. When deciding on your first airplane, it's easy to become confused by the sheer number of choices available. There are so many different types planes, and dozens or more models offered within the various categories; let's see if we can help clear away some of the confusion.
First, know that how easy (or difficult) it will be to learn to fly, is largely determined by the kind of plane you choose to learn on, so make that choice carefully. Ask yourself how much time and expense you want to incur to get started. If your heart is set on an RC airplane powered by gas, because it sounds, smells, even looks, more like the real thing, go for it. There are good gas trainers that don't cost much more than electric models but, because of their relative complexity, the need for maintenance and basic accessories (spare plugs, igniter, charger, etc.), they do require more effort on your part and will cost more to maintain and operate.
For their first RC airplane, many beginners opt for an electric model. Electric park or slow flyers are both good trainer planes. About the only difference between them is that the term slow flyer can be used in reference to both indoor and outdoor planes, while park flyers are strictly for outdoors.
As the term suggests, park flyers are designed to be flown in area parks, large parking lots (after business hours!) or very large backyards. Of course, before you use any public facility, you should always check to see if local regulations permit flying an RC airplane in public areas. Park flyers, particularly the basic 1 or 3 channel models, are a great way to get started-they are inexpensive, easy to learn on and plenty of fun. And if you're not the type who enjoys spending time building things, go with a Ready to Fly (RTF) model and within minutes of opening the box you can be ready to take to the airways. The RTF Megatech Freedom Flyer and Multiplex Easy Star Kit are just two of the RTF's and model kits designed for beginning RC airplane pilots.
If you want something a bit more advanced, or plan on taking advantage of club instruction or training on an RC flight simulator, then you can move up to a 3-channel park flyer or a slightly larger, 4-channel trainer. With 4-channels, your plane will have more capabilities and you'll be able to enjoy a more realistic flying experience. Remember, the greater the plane's flight abilities, the less easy it will be for a beginner to fly. So if you plan to learn on your own, you're probably better off with a 1 or 3-channel RC airplane. If you've already decided to join a club and participate in their training program, go ahead and take the 4-channel leap!
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Joe Bennett is a musician, film buff, avid reader and business owner. Seeking a new, fun way to spend more time with family, he came upon RC aviation and found a great new hobby.
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