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Help a beginner!

#1
HI guys!

I'm totally new to the RC plane world! I have been watching Flite Test for a while now and I'm very interested in getting started with the hobby! But I really don't know where to start! It all seems very overwelming.

I have been looking at the Bixler v1.1, which seems like a good plane to begin with, but what do I need to fly it? It looks like the radio and all that stuff is included with the plane. But do I need anything that is not included with the plane? And is the standard radio good enough?

Please give all your advice on how a beginner should tackle the RC plane hobby and how to get started! What do I need to know as basics? I have played A LOT of Microsoft Flight Simulator, so flying isn't new to me, all the things about flight I know about, but not RC planes and the eletronics that come with it! :D

So if anyone would give me some advice, it would be great! THANKS!

Here is the link where I found the plane: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/...O_1400mm_RTF_Mode_2_Throttle_Left_Radio_.html

Sincerely,
Anders Hørslev
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#2
Sounds kind of like me. The Bixler 1.1 will be fine, but you should start practicing with an RC simulator as well. If you fly the simulator you are in the cockpit, but when you fly RC you are outside and the orientation of the plane changes constantly. You really want to get some practice on the simulator.

Good luck and welcome :D
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#5
For simulators:

There are a few complete packages (controller + Sim) from Pheonex or RealFlight. Both are NICE simulators, *BUT* they can cost as much as a plane+radio. Take care which package you pick, since they do sell packages with only the sim + cable -- you still have to buy a transmitter. Pheonix at least fits you with a Spektrum transmitter, and the pilot proficiency pack gets you a DX6i (good bottom line programable radio) + 2 4-channel receivers(recommended *if* you have your heart set on picking up a DX6i). Again, cost as much as a real plane+radio, but you can't break it from learning.

If you pick up a transmitter with a buddy box port(trainier port) + cable *or* pick up a USB RC controller (much cheaper but can't reuse it) you can use:

- FMS (free, but trouble on newer PCs)
- RCDeskPilot (free, but not really that good)
- ClearView ($40 and fairly good -- not as nice as Pheonix or RF)

If you want to get these make sure you order the cable to match your transmitter.

These will teach you orentation (which way do I move the stick to turn to my left -- shockingly hard to always do right) and give you a taste of what will/will not keep a plane in the air. Keep in mind, they're generally more forgiving that the real thing, but WILL help you when you fly.

For the Aircraft
I've heard noting but good things about it, but never flown one myself. If you do get the RTF kit, It comes with HK's low end radio. It does have a traininer port, and with the right cable can be plugged into the PC to run any of the sims. It isn't programmable -- it'll be nice for quite a while but a plane or 2 down the road you'll itch to replace it.

If you get the a Phenoix kit w/ a radio(or another radio like the T-SIX or Turnegy 9x + TX module), then you could pick up the ARF model and order a 20A ESC, 3s 1300mah lipo, a mathcing receiver (unless you got the AR400's w/ the Dx6i), and a lipo charger/power supply of your choice. May be more expensive, but you can pick parts you'll be happy with longer.

I'll echo Andre, don't hesitate to ask if you're puzzled/troubled by something. We've all been there and appriciate those who helped us.
 
#6
WOW! I am truly amazed by this community! It's fantastic how people want to help people out and doing it with a smile on their face! Fantastic! If you were me, what radio would you get?

I have looked at the DX6i, but it seems a bit pricey, maybe not for an experienced pilot, but for a beginner like me, that doesn't know if flying RC planes is fun (though, I can't imagine that it is anything, but fun!). What is the range on a the standard radio that comes with the Bixler? I may just buy the full package Bixler now, learn to fly with it and practice with it. Then when I stop crashing all the time, I could upgrade to something better!

Thank you so much! All the help I'm getting is very much appreciated!

Anders Hørslev
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#7
Anders - I'm really glad you find this forum welcoming! It is the most friendly and encouraging one that I have come across and why I spend most of my time here as compared to others. I think it has a lot to do with the Flite Test crew's upbeat and encouraging personalities.

As far as radios go, I fly with a Turnigy 9x from Hobbyking.com. Here's a link:
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor..._Module_8ch_Receiver_Mode_2_v2_Firmware_.html

It is an 8 channel (well, they call it 9) TX that is programmable and the cost is amazing at $53! The firmware is upgradable (which I had done). There is the "new and improved" version of this radio, the Turnigy 9XR, but the reviews on it have been less than impressive. It would work great for you, but there are some aspects that users of the original 9x aren't that happy with. Maybe that is simply because it is different. I haven't held one, myself. Link:
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__31544__Turnigy_9XR_Transmitter_Mode_2_No_Module_.html

The TX in the second link does not contain a transmitter module, so you would have to buy that separately. If you go this route, I HIGHLY recommend getting a FrSky module. I replaced my stock Turnigy module with one and am HAPPY! The antennas on the stock receivers break very easily and my poor airplanes have unexpectedly met Earth too many times due to this. Here is a link to the FrSky Module:
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__14355__FrSky_DF_2_4Ghz_Combo_Pack_for_JR_w_Module_RX.html

Of course, if you go this route to begin with you have doubled the money in your TX/RX.

Another option (particularly if you are considering a DX6i) is Hobbyking's Orange RX:
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor...le_Transmitter_w_10_Model_Memory_Mode_2_.html

While being about $10 more than the Turnigy and only being 6 channels, it is compatible with the Hobbyzone, Parkzone, etc bind and fly planes (which are great products). **Please someone correct me on this if I'm wrong!**

Many will argue for radios like JR and Futaba, and these are fantastic, but I'm cheap and am perfectly happy with my $50 radio system! It all depends on what you have to spend and if you really need a TX costing hundreds of dollars. If your models cost thousands of $$$, then I'd be inclined to go with a very high-end radio. That is not my situation!

Now to the Bixler. This is a GREAT first airplane! I have the same model under a different name and still love flying it. It flies gently, but can handle high winds (its REALLY fun in wind!) and is tough as nails. Repairs are easy and parts are cheap!

Consider buying the ARF version which does not come with the radio. This way, you can buy something like the Turnigy which will allow you to grow as your skills progress.
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__16544__Bixler_v1_1_EPO_1400mm_ARF_.html
You will also have to purchase an electronic speed controller (esc) with this. HK recommends a 20 amp, but I'd go with at least a 25 amp or 30 amp esc:
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__15205__Hobby_King_30A_ESC_3A_UBEC.html

You will also need a battery. HK recommends a 1300 mah, 11.1 volt battery. Personally, I like to fly a 2200 mah in mine. I can fly a LOOOONG time on this battery!
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__11951__Turnigy_nano_tech_2200mah_3S_45_90C_Lipo_Pack.html
And, the 2200 mah is sort of a workhorse of batteries that fits many models.

Hope this helps! Please ask if anything is confusing or if you have more questions.
 

CrashRecovery

I'm a care bear...Really?
Mentor
#8
A few more words from a noob.
i had bought a rtf like the bixler and had a blast flying it. Then I got started doing the scratch builds but only had the rtf components. So I was swapping them out of the big plane to fly the swappables. That lasted for a bit but I wanted to do more. I bit the bullet and ordered the frysky 9x and two extra receivers and have not looked back. I've got quite a few scratchbuilds done and love flying them. I'm going to try to build a plane for the stol challenge monkey started.
These guys in here have been extremely helpfull with answering my questions and helping when I get hung up with my builds. The one thing I have noticed about this hobby so far is that everyone wants you to succeed. There is nothing like getting your plane to fly, and even have your family involved. I can't wait till my son can really get a grip and understand the controls so he can fly. Everything is full throttle and full control on the other stick so he crashes real quick. But that's the nice thing about the foam builds. If it crashes its easy to fix and if not..... Your out a couple dollars of foam.
just take your time and have fun with it. Don't try to be a air show champ right out of the box. I would love to do that stuff but I'm finding that the old style floaters and slow fly planes are just so much fun. Plus it makes them easier for people to see when your flying
 
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Scrammy

Junior Member
#9
Well spoken!

Ive been flying for almost ten years now, and I had the tough experience of learning to fly all by my self...
There were som forums, but they were a mess, and I had soooo many questions at the same time!
So, I learned to fly trial and error...until i mastered it. Sooo many crashed....sooo much hot glue and fiber tape....so many hours mending brittle foam...:)

When I look back - how I whish someone could have helped me with all the typical start-up misstakes.
What plane should i start with? Whats CG? What kind of prop should i have etc...

Now, im dedicated to helping others join this wonderful hobby of ours...
 

tramsgar

Senior Member
#10
This "question" comes up regularly and the answer really branches depending on three things:

* How interested/confident are you towards building something yourself?
* How much money are you ready to spend?
* How interested/serious are you about the hobby (how much and long do you think you'll keep at it)?

With those three down you'll feel a lot less overwhelmed because you've reduced the answer-space by 7/8ths.
 

squishy

Pirate ParkFlyer
#11
www.rcpowers.com has been helping noobs get in the sky for a very long time, I have been there coaching noobs since 2008...Dave offers courses and plans and a great noob friendly forum and community to help you out. I highly recommend checking them out..
 
#12
My suggestion is to build an FT Flyer being careful to make sure everything is square and lined up properly. Install your electronics, servos etc. Make sure CG is right and rudder and elevator work properly. (keep referring back to Flite Test videos) Find a wide open field on a windless day. Go to 3/4 throttle and get the plane up in the air. Like Josh says, " get three mistakes high". Fly in big circles keeping your control inputs small. With each passing second that the plane is in the air, you will get more and more comfortable. Since the plane is so easy and inexpensive to build and the other parts are very durable, don't worry about crashing. If you do (and you will), fix it and get back in the air as quickly as possible. You will probably only break props, so get a couple of them.

I put off getting into RC for years until I saw the Flite Test videos and just decided to dive in. This is the way I started flying. It would have been great to have someone to help me on a buddy box, but learning on your own is not difficult. Don't be afraid to crash. It happens to everyone. Build,enjoy,fly,enjoy,crash,laugh and repeat .
 
#13
I've seen quite a few people recommend 'Clearview' as a flight simulator, because it's fairly good and quite cheap. There is actually a n even cheaper version of it about. It's called 'Clearview SE'. http://bestflightsim.com/index.php It's exactly the same simulator as Clearview, but only comes with 1 plane (plus 1 free copter + 1 free car). But you can currently get 5 other planes of your choice for $10 (or copters if that's your thing).

So a full simulator, with 6 planes (5 paid + 1 free) for $10 ..... for that, you've got to give it a try!

Just remember, you need a transmitter with a regular port on the back (most have these days) and a transmitter to USB cable (about $6 from ebay I think). Example cable here:- http://www.ebay.com/itm/Flight-Simu...Control_Parts_Accessories&hash=item53e302a03d

Andy
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#14
Just remember, you need a transmitter with a regular port on the back (most have these days) and a transmitter to USB cable (about $6 from ebay I think).
Actually, If you have a Spektrum/JR trainer port, all you need is a mono audio cable with 1/8" plugs (pick up at radioshack or other electronics store) and a PC w/ an available microphone port. Will work with other trainer ports, but you'll have to buy/build the cable -- only hard finding the parts.

check out www.smartpropoplus.com/‎ for the software and installation instructions.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#15
All I want to add is that with Microsoft Flight Sim, at least with the version I have (which is X), you can change the camera to either "Fly By" or set it at a control tower. You can basically use it as an RC sim, except without the Tx as a controller.

I like to set my camera at Fly By and then try to fly straight into the camera. It's just a stupid little 'game' to help with orientation.

Or you can set the camera at a control tower. Fly a small aircraft and pick an area that doesn't have trees. Take off and keep the plane close. It's just like an RC sim, but again with the wrong style controller. It'll still help with orientation. If you want, you could always zoom the camera in so you can see the plane better.

Since you already have everything for that, it's free. So I thought I'd suggest it. It still might be good to get an RC sim and practice that way. But this'll give you something to do while you wait for parts to arrive, or for you get save enough money.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#16
All I want to add is that with Microsoft Flight Sim, at least with the version I have (which is X), you can change the camera to either "Fly By" or set it at a control tower. You can basically use it as an RC sim, except without the Tx as a controller.

I like to set my camera at Fly By and then try to fly straight into the camera. It's just a stupid little 'game' to help with orientation.

Or you can set the camera at a control tower. Fly a small aircraft and pick an area that doesn't have trees. Take off and keep the plane close. It's just like an RC sim, but again with the wrong style controller. It'll still help with orientation. If you want, you could always zoom the camera in so you can see the plane better.

Since you already have everything for that, it's free. So I thought I'd suggest it. It still might be good to get an RC sim and practice that way. But this'll give you something to do while you wait for parts to arrive, or for you get save enough money.
I don't think that a full size flight sim would help with very much besides orientation due to the fact that a full size planes physics are completely different. As much as I hate recommending specialized equipment, in this case, an R/C sim really is the best bet for learning not only orientation, but finesse on the sticks and reaction speed. Work on orientation with the full size sim if that is all you have, but expect a different type of flying altogether once you go R/C.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#17
I don't think that a full size flight sim would help with very much besides orientation due to the fact that a full size planes physics are completely different. As much as I hate recommending specialized equipment, in this case, an R/C sim really is the best bet for learning not only orientation, but finesse on the sticks and reaction speed. Work on orientation with the full size sim if that is all you have, but expect a different type of flying altogether once you go R/C.
Well, I was just saying that it's free. Orientation can be one of the biggest hurdles.

But I agree. An RC Sim would be best. I'm even considering getting one even though I learned to fly without it. Oh, and Anders H, don't do that. A Sim is a very good idea. At least fly the Sim for a few minutes right before you take your plane out. You'll be in the right frame of mind for your first flight that way.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#18
Maybe I should have worded my post differently as I was agreeing with you but warning if only using a full size plane sim that when you go to fly R/C, things happen MUCH faster, and usually over-controlling is also an issue.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#19
Maybe I should have worded my post differently as I was agreeing with you but warning if only using a full size plane sim that when you go to fly R/C, things happen MUCH faster, and usually over-controlling is also an issue.
No worries. I word stuff horribly all the time. Well, I mostly say stupid stuff that I probably shouldn't have said. Kind of like what I'm saying now.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#20
Maybe I should have worded my post differently as I was agreeing with you but warning if only using a full size plane sim that when you go to fly R/C, things happen MUCH faster, and usually over-controlling is also an issue.
No worries. I word stuff horribly all the time. Well, I mostly say stupid stuff that I probably shouldn't have said. Kind of like what I'm saying now.