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Honestly I'm Clueless

#1
This may not be a challenge in some peoples eyes but for me it is, oh and also there was no other category suitable for this question. I am very new to this hobby but over the last month i have learnt a lot a things and i am confident to say i now most of the basics to build a plane and fly a plane. I would like to ask you guys the experienced pilots wether i should buy a motorised glider of hobby king or build my own plane, remember this will be my first plane what are your thoughts sorry for wasting your time with such a stupid question (i new to this stuff)

Im thinking building the plane but considering its will be my first i don't know?

Regards Tom
 

eagle4

New member
#2
Hey Tom, welcome to the forums and the hobby. There are benefits to going both routes. If you went out and bought a plane like the bixler, you can be assured that its likely going to fly well because of its construction and design. However if you went and built yourself a plane like the FT flyer your build skills come into play. One of the benefits of building it yourself is that when you crash (everyone crashes. It's part of the fun) you know your plane inside and out, so repairing it is very easy. I like scratch building cause its cheaper, however, from watching others fly, it seems to be more reliable if they have bought a plane, or that could just be my flying skills lol.

Scratch building can be cheap, my first purchase from hobbyking was about $100 and those electronics allowed me to build a plane, crash it and then build a few more.

But it's really up to you? If you like the idea of building something yourself then give the scratch building a go, build the 3 beginner ft planes, the ft flyer, the ft netball and the ft delta. Actually maybe also build the simple soarer it looks like it could be a good beginner platform.
 
#3
Hi Tom,
IMHO,there 2 trains of thought on this issue, one that would direct you to a 3 ch trainer ready to fly and the other would be to build your first trainer. What it really boils down to is your skill level building and your budget.
If you check the beginners area you will find all kinds information that should help with your decision. One thing to remember, if you go with build your own, you will need to purchase everything up front. That includes radio, reciever, motor, ESC, battery and all the other bits you will need.
Going with a ready to fly you get it all in one package. Granted the radio will be cheap but it will do the job while your learning. Stick with a 3 ch setup at first then when your ready move up to 4 ch. I would also stick to a "name brand" like Parkzone for example. They have a good support system and spare parts to repair your plane when your make an unexpected landing.
I'm not a big fan of box airplanes because for me I enjoy building, as much if not more, than flying. But that's just me! As you know the Flite Test guys have put out some really good starter designs which build on each other. Each one is a little more challenging to build and fly than the previous one. They are inexpensive, after you make your initial investment for electronics and easy to repair or replace.
What ever route you choose to take is up to you. Getting a ready to fly you can start flying now. Then you can build something more challenging as you can afford it. Just my opinion, WJ.
 
#4
Hi eagle4,
I see you slipped in there 8 minutes before I did. Hopefully we have answered Tom's question. Hows da wedder up dar in de Montreal eh? WJ.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#5
Tom,

For a *first* plane, I advocate for buying a good inexpensive plane (RTF, BNF, PNP or TXR -- usually not ARF).

I'm a huge fan of scratch building planes (If you can build it from scratch, you can repair it!), and many folks have had good success with building the FT Flyer as a first trainer. The still have problems at times with the details of how to finish and trim the plane *while* they're still trying to learn how to fly. A good RTF doesn't have that problem. An RTF will allow you to learn how to fly, without also learning *all* the subtleties of trimming and finishing an airframe.

Of course this depends on the pre-built plane you're looking at -- what plane do you have in mind?
 

RoyBro

Senior Member
Mentor
#6
Hey Tom,
Not to dispute any of the above answers, but with winter coming (in the northern hemisphere), perhaps your first plane should be a simulator. That being said, I started out building a Nutball, but had better luck with the FT Flyer. But looking back I think I would have had better success taking Dan's advice and starting out with an RTF of some sort.

Good luck whatever you choose.
 
#7
This isn't an either or fella's. A bixler will fly great, dollar store foam board is a DOLLAR. Get a bixler RTF and buy some foamboard and start growing your building skills. By the time you can handle the Bixler you'll probably have a couple of swappables ready to smash up. Buy the right TX and multiple RX's and go to town like the rest of us.

You're NOT going to have just one plane. You're NOT going to be able to fly all the time in the winter so you'll need something to do. You DON'T have to just fly a simulator but there are plenty of free simulators that will fly off your transmitter and you can do that when you're not building.
 
#8
Tom,

For a *first* plane, I advocate for buying a good inexpensive plane (RTF, BNF, PNP or TXR -- usually not ARF).

I'm a huge fan of scratch building planes (If you can build it from scratch, you can repair it!), and many folks have had good success with building the FT Flyer as a first trainer. The still have problems at times with the details of how to finish and trim the plane *while* they're still trying to learn how to fly. A good RTF doesn't have that problem. An RTF will allow you to learn how to fly, without also learning *all* the subtleties of trimming and finishing an airframe.

Of course this depends on the pre-built plane you're looking at -- what plane do you have in mind?
Craftydan if i was going to purchase a plane i was going to get a Bixler v1.1 EPO 1400mm - (ARF) is that a bad decision? I like this plane first of all because you can glide it, fly normally and all you need to buy is a esc and a lippo battery i think
 

RoyBro

Senior Member
Mentor
#9
Craftydan if i was going to purchase a plane i was going to get a Bixler v1.1 EPO 1400mm - (ARF) is that a bad decision? I like this plane first of all because you can glide it, fly normally and all you need to buy is a esc and a lippo battery i think
Excuse me for jumping in. If I'm not mistaken, with the ARF, you'll have to supply your own TX/RX and battery/charger, but everything else is included. The thing I don't like about RTF bundles is that you don't get to choose your transmitter. To keep costs down, they usually include a transmitter that is JUST capable of flying the plane. That's not to say that you can't use it with other planes, but as you advance, don't expect it to keep up with you. You'll soon be buying a better radio. So in my opinion, the Bixler ARF version would be a good choice. But spend some time choosing your radio and receivers.

You'll see a lot of support for FrSky Taranis (difficult to find), and Turnigy 9x and 9xr, which are low cost radios, but are upgradable. But you may already have a system in mind, so I'll stop here.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#10
As Dan said, it depends on the ARF. I thought it would be a good idea to start with not only an existing airframe, but one built by someone else so I had something that I knew would fly and any issues would be my piloting skills. However, I ended up buying a plane that needed servos, an Tx/Rx, battery, ESC, and a motor. That was a lot for me to figure out on my own as a newbie. Not only did I accidentally order the wrong size servos, but I got a motor that was completely wrong. I didn't follow the horrible directions and gave the plane too much throw and I had a terrible experience. Which is why Dan said that an ARF can be a bad idea. But it really depends on what you have to add to it. If you really just need a battery, ESC, and a Tx/Rx, then the ARF Bixler is a great way to start. (It's the motor and setting up the servos/throws that can be tricky.)

As the others said, there are perks to buying a RTF plane, and perks to scratch building. As Mr Clean said, you don't have to pick just one. You can buy a plane and build a plane. It's a mistake to think that one plane will last you a very long time. Mostly because it's nice to have options and try different planes to see what type you like the best and so on.

As far as 3ch vs. 4ch, I've heard people say that they wished they'd just started with 4ch and that the 3ch are just a waste of time. I had problems with the 3channels I tried to start with because I kept putting too much throw on them and over-correcting. Without ailerons you can't properly correct turning too sharp and you end up crashing. But a 3channel is fine, you just have to be more careful about your throws and not turning too sharp.

Lastly, a simulator is a great investment. Some Txs can be hooked up straight to a computer and I have RC Desk Pilot (http://rcdeskpilot.com/) which is a free sim (for Windows only). It's not the best sim in the world, but it still greatly helps with orientation. Which is the biggest thing to learn. The sim basically does two things, it takes the "oh crap, what does this stick do again" and the "oops, I turned the wrong way" out of flying. Which are the two biggest things to learn. (If your Tx can't be hooked directly to a computer, you can get this: www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=43335 I plan on buying one.)
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#11
As Dan said, it depends on the ARF. I thought it would be a good idea to start with not only an existing airframe, but one built by someone else so I had something that I knew would fly and any issues would be my piloting skills. However, I ended up buying a plane that needed servos, an Tx/Rx, battery, ESC, and a motor. That was a lot for me to figure out on my own as a newbie. Not only did I accidentally order the wrong size servos, but I got a motor that was completely wrong. I didn't follow the horrible directions and gave the plane too much throw and I had a terrible experience. Which is why Dan said that an ARF can be a bad idea. But it really depends on what you have to add to it. If you really just need a battery, ESC, and a Tx/Rx, then the ARF Bixler is a great way to start. (It's the motor and setting up the servos/throws that can be tricky.)

As the others said, there are perks to buying a RTF plane, and perks to scratch building. As Mr Clean said, you don't have to pick just one. You can buy a plane and build a plane. It's a mistake to think that one plane will last you a very long time. Mostly because it's nice to have options and try different planes to see what type you like the best and so on.

As far as 3ch vs. 4ch, I've heard people say that they wished they'd just started with 4ch and that the 3ch are just a waste of time. I had problems with the 3channels I tried to start with because I kept putting too much throw on them and over-correcting. Without ailerons you can't properly correct turning too sharp and you end up crashing. But a 3channel is fine, you just have to be more careful about your throws and not turning too sharp.

Lastly, a simulator is a great investment. Some Txs can be hooked up straight to a computer and I have RC Desk Pilot (http://rcdeskpilot.com/) which is a free sim (for Windows only). It's not the best sim in the world, but it still greatly helps with orientation. Which is the biggest thing to learn. The sim basically does two things, it takes the "oh crap, what does this stick do again" and the "oops, I turned the wrong way" out of flying. Which are the two biggest things to learn. (If your Tx can't be hooked directly to a computer, you can get this: www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=43335 I plan on buying one.)