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First Plane (Four options)

#1
Okay all, I've been watching a lot of the build videos and am very interested in building my own foam board airplane.

When thinking about which plane I should start out with, I have four different criteria in mind:

1. I live next to the Columbia River and it would be a shame to not take advantage of that, so I'd want something that can use wheels or floats or a pure float plane that can perform belly landings and be hand launched.

2. I need to have four channels. I used a simulator at my local friendly hobby shop and found, due to my playing video games, that I crashed three channel airplanes but did not crash four channel airplanes.

3. I'm a noob.

4. I live in a windy area.

4. I want something that is aesthetically pleasing to me.

With that in mind I have narrowed down the field to three (perhaps four) options. These are in no particular order the Simple Cub, The Sea Duck, the Sea Otter, and if it's released before Christmas and gets some floats added then the Legacy.

So which of these is the better choice? Is there an option that I have not considered?
 

Ketchup

4s mini mustang
#2
I would go for the cub because it is a plane that is actually built for beginners, and it is also probably easier to build than the other three. Also, you should practice flying at a local field until you get used to the plane, then you could try flying off the water. (I’m guessing that it would be fairly hard to retrieve the plane)
 

Merv

Well-known member
#3
Any of these would a great first plane. Might be best to learn to fly on land before trying to land on water. If you dork a landing on land you can walk up to it. Dork a water landing and you’ll need a boat.

Have you seen this video
 
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sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#4
Ok, let me start by asking this:

How big of a vehicle do you have to get a plane to the field where you plan to fly it? I ask this because the Sea Duck has a 60", or 5' wingspan. I can get it into my Mustang GT with the seats laid down, but just barely. That said, it is a BLAST to fly it, but if you've NEVER flown before, the differential thrust will potentially cause issues with first time flying. I love it because it's big and flies well in wind, but it can be something of a beast to transport.

The Simple Cub is smaller, and you can switch between wheels and floats; it's a lot of fun to fly but is more prone to gusts and gusty winds. When you say windy, what are you talking about? 10-12 mph is pretty windy, and your plane might not make it back to you if you head into a headwind, even at full power.

In addition, since you mentioned the Columbia River, you might have issues taking off and landing there. Last time I remember seeing the water, it was pretty choppy, some from the aforementioned wind, the rest from river traffic...I don't know if you have any calm shore stretches, but if you do, you then have to worry about trees (and river traffic)to deal with as well.
 

donalson

Active member
#5
as mentioned size matters... the cub is fun to fly... best 3ch plane I've flown... had some issues with 4ch but will get it up soon... that being said... you might also want to consider the simple scout... similar, easy to land from what I hear compared to the cub and works with the same floats... and if you scratch build it and want to make it a bit easier to build you can skip the turtle deck and could skip the scalloping of the wings... its one I've been meaning to build for a while.
 
#6
Ok, let me start by asking this:

How big of a vehicle do you have to get a plane to the field where you plan to fly it? I ask this because the Sea Duck has a 60", or 5' wingspan. I can get it into my Mustang GT with the seats laid down, but just barely. That said, it is a BLAST to fly it, but if you've NEVER flown before, the differential thrust will potentially cause issues with first time flying. I love it because it's big and flies well in wind, but it can be something of a beast to transport.
I've got a 2006 Subaru Legacy, so probably big enough.

The Simple Cub is smaller, and you can switch between wheels and floats; it's a lot of fun to fly but is more prone to gusts and gusty winds. When you say windy, what are you talking about? 10-12 mph is pretty windy, and your plane might not make it back to you if you head into a headwind, even at full power.
I live in the Tri-Cities (WA), so it's usually windy, but sometimes it's actually calm.


In addition, since you mentioned the Columbia River, you might have issues taking off and landing there. Last time I remember seeing the water, it was pretty choppy, some from the aforementioned wind, the rest from river traffic...I don't know if you have any calm shore stretches, but if you do, you then have to worry about trees (and river traffic)to deal with as well.
I actually found a sheltered boat launch harbor thing that I could use as an airport. Unless there are laws against that, the rules posted did not include anything about airplanes and only mentioned noise at 10:00 P.M.

Also, I just noticed that the FT Legacy speed build kit is available in the store, thinking about that due to the rugged landing gear.
 

d8veh

Well-known member
#7
I would say that yo need to be a proficient flyer before you go anywhere near the water, so I'd forget that idea for a while.

Learn on a plane like the Cub or Scout, then work your way through a range of planes until you're ready to fly off water.
 

SlingShot

Maneuvering With Purpose
#8
I would say that yo need to be a proficient flyer before you go anywhere near the water, so I'd forget that idea for a while.

Learn on a plane like the Cub or Scout, then work your way through a range of planes until you're ready to fly off water.
I agree 100%. You need to be able to get up and down EVERY time before you start thinking about water. Experienced pilots still manage to crash once in a while, but you should have enough experience that you expect to complete almost every mission without mishap.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#9
I would say that yo need to be a proficient flyer before you go anywhere near the water, so I'd forget that idea for a while.

Learn on a plane like the Cub or Scout, then work your way through a range of planes until you're ready to fly off water.
I'll agree on this. Grass is pretty much the same every time you land on it; same with a runway or a dirt field. But water is constantly changing, especially if there's wind. You get waves, choppiness that comes up...It's not like you might think.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#10
I actually found a sheltered boat launch harbor thing that I could use as an airport.
If you are going the water route. Make sure you have a way to get you plane back. It's not a matter of if you will need it, it's a matter of when. When will you need immediate access to some kind of boat. The current on the river could float your plane away while your looking for a boat.
 
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kdobson83

Well-known member
#11
I personally think the seaduck is a great option, but not as your first plane. And first build for that matter. I'd start with something simple that is quick and easy to build that is also 4 channel. Get used to fly real planes, not simulators. Like the tiny trainer or the storch. Both are good trainers with 4 channels and are easy to build/repair. Will get your experiencing both building and flying before you take on the seaduck. I don't personally suggest the cub as I've seen it's kind of sketchy on water and my cub had bad torque issues. Just not a huge fan of the cub.
The FT Legacy is available now for pre-order and I thought I saw they were shipping soon, and this set up as a twin would be very similar to the seaduck but I don't know about the float situation for it. Plus, the legacy twin uses the same electronics as the seaduck.
Anyway, I suggest building/learning to build and learning to fly on an easier model, something with great flying characteristics (just not a fan of the cub, needs to be bigger in my opinion). The legacy and the storch would both be good picks for windier weather as well.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#12
I personally think the seaduck is a great option, but not as your first plane. And first build for that matter.
I kinda have to agree. It was my first build, because I was super nostalgic about it, but in retrospect? I should've started with something like a Nutball or Simple Cub for my first build. There were a lot of things within the build video that had me referencing other builds, so I was having to leave and come back to view it later on.

Now, my build was successful, but I made a lot of mistakes and had to go back and rewatch the videos again and again before I got it right, especially on the 45 degree bevel cuts for the wings (there's a LOT of tape on that leading edge patching spots where I was a little overzealous). My nose, though, is a mess of hot glue and tape...I got it to hold, but I feel like i could've done a MUCH better job on it. Oh well, 2nd build!!!
 

Arcfyre

Well-known member
#13
Start with something disposable first, like the cub. If you crash it and lose it, even in water, it's one RX, battery, motor, ESC, and 2-4 servos sacrificed to the RC gods. If you crash and lose a Sea Duck it's a considerably more expensive sacrifice.

Scratch building a Sea duck is a pretty involved task. I think the speed build kit has something like 14 pages of parts to punch out and assemble. Compare that to the 9 pieces for an entire cub and you get the idea. Build a 4 channel cub to smash and when you get better at building and flying, get a Sea duck.
 

Ketchup

4s mini mustang
#14
Start with something disposable first, like the cub. If you crash it and lose it, even in water, it's one RX, battery, motor, ESC, and 2-4 servos sacrificed to the RC gods. If you crash and lose a Sea Duck it's a considerably more expensive sacrifice.
I would have to agree with this, but it’s not just the expense. If you crash a plane in the water and can’t get it back, the lipo could light on fire and create some serious issues, and the problems would get worse if the plane gets washed up on shore and then lights on fire because it could light off something that is on shore.
 
#15
Start with something disposable first, like the cub. If you crash it and lose it, even in water, it's one RX, battery, motor, ESC, and 2-4 servos sacrificed to the RC gods. If you crash and lose a Sea Duck it's a considerably more expensive sacrifice.

Scratch building a Sea duck is a pretty involved task. I think the speed build kit has something like 14 pages of parts to punch out and assemble. Compare that to the 9 pieces for an entire cub and you get the idea. Build a 4 channel cub to smash and when you get better at building and flying, get a Sea duck.
So how does the Simple Cub handle windy weather?

@Ketchup 8D oh wow, flaming batteries never crossed my mind.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#17
So how does the Simple Cub handle windy weather?
The Cub will handle the wind as good as any plane of its size. Bigger planes are easier to fly and handle the wind better than smaller planes. Those who comapair the Cub and the Storch are accurate. But the Cub is smaller than the Storch so the comparison of the two is a bit unfair. IMHO if you made the two planes similar in size, the differences would be minimal.
 
#18
Any more votes for the Storch?

Also would the Guinea Pig work as a beginner airplane? I like the idea of a replaceable nose, but it seems like the Explorer has wing bending problems even though I like the looks of that airplane better.
 
#19
Any more votes for the Storch?

Also would the Guinea Pig work as a beginner airplane? I like the idea of a replaceable nose, but it seems like the Explorer has wing bending problems even though I like the looks of that airplane better.
The Explorer was the first FT plane I built. I had the same problem that many others do, the wings folded on me during flight. I was turning the plane back around and as soon as I pulled back on the stick I knew it wasn't going to end well...the wings folded and the plane went down like a dart.

I've since built more Explorers and now make flats wings with a wooden dowel spar. I reduce the foam spars width by 3/8" and stick a 48" x 3/8" wooden dowel in the front of the spars towards the leading edge. (I can take a picture later if you'd like). I lose the polyhedral in the wing but the Explorer is so stable that a flat wing doesn't change the flight characteristics much; the plane just won't level itself out without a little help from the controls.

As for a beginner plane, I'd still recommend the Tiny Trainer. It's fast to build and a lot of fun. Just my two cents.