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Duet or the Champ RTF for first plane?

Hey I am new to the forums and am really wanting to get into RC planes. I am trying to get a decent priced starter plane. I am looking at getting either the Champ or the Duet RTF for my first plane. I noticed that Horizon Hobby carries both planes for under $100. I was wondering which plane you guys would suggest. I am open to suggestions and am not against getting a Plug n Fly or a scratch build like one of the Flight Test planes. Thank you for all of the help.
Hi, and welcome to the hobby. The two HH planes you mention are indoor models really, maybe on a dead calm day you could take them out? But they are good aircraft all the same.

Where is it you want to fly? If you are really serious you need to turn up to your local RC flying field/club. I will guarantee that if you hang out with your local RC club for a weekend day, someone will hand you the controls of something at some point! You will be surprised at what second hand kit is for sale too. HH also make the Delta Ray and the Apprentice, those are more equipped to learning at a flying field.

If you are just wanting something to fly in your back yard, then the smaller two options are worth considering as if it all goes wrong you wont cause too much damage.

If you build something rather than buy RTF I would invest most of your money into the radio gear as I have never crashed my radio (yet), as for all the other bits, get the cheapest you can, it's surprising how easy it is to ruin everything else!

I hope all this helps.


Ron B

Posted a thousand or more times
I second speed torque on a flying club if possible, a friend who CAN fly already to help you learn or if none of the above is available get a simulator and get some stick time on it before trying to do your first maiden.


Senior Member
I started with the Champ and it was ok, but in hindsight I would have preferred picking up some scratchbuild materials and going with the FT Flyer. I had to replace the tail and wing a couple of times and the cost of a set of tail feathers for the champ can rebuild the entire Flyer several times over.

You can go the scratchbuilding route for close to the cost of the Champ by buying the cheap HK TX which is still better than the PS controller that Hobbyzone gives you, but if you have enough interest to be here talking about the hobby and can afford it, you are probably already hooked enough to drop money on a DX6i or Turnigy 9X.

Whatever you decide, welcome to the hobby and the forums, happy flying.
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Thank you for all of the replies. I will definitely look to see if there is a club here I live in a small town. I am looking to fly outside so it sounds like a bigger plane will be better I would like to do one of the Flite Test kits like the three pack. Would any of those planes be good for starting into RC. I was looking at the Turnigy 9x for a transmitter your opinions are welcomed.
From the looks of things, both of those options looks good. However, that's quite a challenge and a lot of reading and learning for you. The X9 is the hacker's favourite radio and you need to know what you're getting in terms of the latest flash update, then choose your module correctly. If that seems complicated, I would advise a DSM orange radio from Hobby King, it's cheap and I know that DSM has worked for me with no problems. But there are others that are just as good...

As for building airframes, I don't have the room to at the moment, but if you have the room, the skills and the tools, go for it, they look like a fun bunch of airframes (though not great in wind).

_ _ _

It's just an opinion and it's not meant to sound patronising, so you can take this or leave it:

When starting out in this hobby, the initial cost can seem high. It is easy to look at the cheap stuff that is available, but it might not be the best tool for you. Remember your goal right now is flying solo, after that, you have the skills to do whatever you want in the hobby, but until then you are restricted. Simply put: Building is a skill, setting up is a skill, flying is a skill. That's three skills between you and your goal.

Getting an RTF of reasonable proportions will get you to your goal with the least amount of hassle for you and the VOLUNTEER that teaches you how to fly. Both the Eflite Apprentice and the Hobby King Bixler 2 offer this at a good price. Once again there are others out there.

I really hope you make a go of this and start this hobby, It's great fun and there are endless possibilities. I just pray that you set off on the right foot and don't stall because of setting your self too many challenges initially.

Let us know how you get on though!

- John
I did look into a RC club and found one. The Bixler 2 RTF does fit into my price range. With the Bixler do you know if I can use the radio for other planes? If I were to get the swappables I would get the speed build kit. Thank you for the information on the X9 radio I will probably not go with it for my first radio because that does make it more complicated. Room and tools for building is no issue. Thank you so much for your help.
Im not fimilar with the duet (it looks quite good)...but...

Me & a friend both learnt how to fly with the champ, after disasters with bigger planes. Its a very very good small plane to learn on. It doesnt need much room to fly outdoors, a football feild or 2 is a good size feild for this plane.

- its very light, so it wont get damaged in minor crashes
- it can fly itself, get into trouble?? let go of the control sticks & it will self correct. there is even a youtube vid of it landing itself, hands off sticks
- it to big/fast to be flown inside inside in our small local school gyms, unless you have some real flyin skills. Can be done, but not recommended
- when you are done, you can remove the electronics & make yourself a true indoor flier

Like most small planes, it cant cope with much wind. I did fly mine in some wind, but not recommended
My friend even put LED's on his & flew it at night

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Thank you for the information SteveRoby. I was wondering which one is better the Bixler 2 or the Champ since price is only $30 in difference.
In answer to your question about the Bixler Radio: It seems a conventional radio as far as I can see, and the receiver is normal too. Further more you can buy other receivers from Hobby King. Basically, you just pull the guts out of the Bixler airframe and you have what you need to build another similar sized airframe. Unfortunately much of the Horizon Hobby budget stuff is not like this anymore as it uses integrated circuit boards that can't be easily used in other airframes.

One thing I need to mention: as for Mode 1 or 2, just fly the same as what most people at the club fly. It's not worth looking into what's best.
Thank you Speed Torque. Hobby king is the only place that sells the Bixler right? I will check in on what mode the club around me uses. If I'm right it sounds like the Bixler is one of the best trainer or starter planes.
The Original Bixler is a copy of a more expensive Muliplex plane. There alot of Bixler type planes from different brands,all just copies of the Multiplex. So no biggie if you cant get the Bix, just get one of the other similar brands.

The bixler is a far far better plane than the Champ, but its less forgiving & can smash itself to bits on a hard crash.
I would rather learn on a champ, but I would rather own a Bixler . Some guys do learn to fly on Bixlers, just get some practice on a flight sim first.

I pretty sure the Bix & similar planes dont usually come with radio etc (could be wrong)


Dedicated foam bender
The Original Bixler is a copy of a more expensive Muliplex plane. There alot of Bixler type planes from different brands,all just copies of the Multiplex. So no biggie if you cant get the Bix, just get one of the other similar brands.

The bixler is a far far better plane than the Champ, but its less forgiving & can smash itself to bits on a hard crash.
I would rather learn on a champ, but I would rather own a Bixler . Some guys do learn to fly on Bixlers, just get some practice on a flight sim first.

I pretty sure the Bix & similar planes dont usually come with radio etc (could be wrong)
I think there is an RTF version, but you're probably better off getting a plug-n-fly version anyway...
So for a total beginner the Champ is probably going to be the best. The Bixler would work though if I clocked some time on a flight simulator. Speaking of flight simulators which one would you recommend. Thank you all for the replies.


Dedicated foam bender
There are a few good free ones, like RC desk pilot. There are also some pretty high dollar ones that are very realistic, like Real flight.
Not sure if you've already bought a plane yet, but I have to say I have the Duet and I love it. It is very easy to fly as long as there is no wind. Even a light breeze will push it around. While I fly it in a little wind I would not recommend it to learn how to fly. If you have days where it is completely calm I think it would be a great first plane. I let my 4-year-old fly it the other day and he was able to keep it from crashing (I was controlling the throttle). It is so light that even when you do crash it, it doesn't do much damage. The differential thrust is great for him because he can't roll the plane (which he thinks is fun to do and also how he crashed his FT Flyer). I learned on an AXN Floater which is similar to the Bixler and I would say the Duet is easier to fly, though probably not as much fun as the Bixler would be. You can get the RTF version for about 60 bucks if you don't already have a TX. Whichever you choose, don't let the inevitable crashes discourage you. Good luck!


Professional noob
I may have missed it in earlier posts, but do you know if you are going to get into the hobby and stay with the hobby?

I learned to fly using the Champ in the empty lot across the street from my house. The only problem is that if you wreck the tail it is a bit difficult to get a replacement back in there perfectly.

If you don't know if you are going to stick with the hobby, than get the Champ. The best times to fly it are at dawn or dusk in a VERY light breeze. If you decided to just throw the hobby away and never come back to it, then that's that. If you decide to stick with the hobby, then I recommend that you buy a 6-8 channel programmable radio (Spektrum DX6i or maybe the new Nuremburg DX6 would be my recommendation) and get into scratch building or the Horizon Hobby BNFs and PNPs(bind and fly/plug and play). Also, the Bixler ARF would fit into this category.

If you know that you are going to stick with the hobby, then you should probably get the programmable transmitter right away. I can't recommend the FT Flyer, Nutball, Delta, and HobbyKing Bixler to you because I have never flown them, but they all seem like great training aircraft, and the Bixler or Bixler 2 can be expanded into glider training or FPV training, and also have the benefit of being able to dig out the electronics and use it in a different plane.

Those are the best recommendations that I can give you. I am currently entering the intermediate stages of RC and looking toward going along the scratch build line. I wish you luck in your choice and in the future.
Thank you for your opinions. I think I am going to go with the FT Flyer because the frame is very cheap to replace. I also live in a small town with no rc hobby shops so getting replacements for planes is not going to be as easy. I already built a FT Flyer with no electronics and really enjoyed it so I think the scratch building is the way I want to go. I am really undecided on the transmitter yet because I would like to get one for around $50 but am not sure which one. Thank you all for the help.

Ron B

Posted a thousand or more times
I have a hk 6s that was $28 plus shipping but they have a spectrum mini (I think it is a 5 channel) that would be better for a beginer as it has dual rates where as mine doesn't and it is in your price range.