A beginners best choice would be a 3 channel trainer, a nice slow flyer with a bit of dihedral in the wing witch will help
it fall back to level flight. Try and start off cheap because you will crash....join a club if you can.
As for simulators they are a great way to learn the feel of a transmitter and the physics of flight. http://www.throttlestore.com/Downloads/FMSInstaller.msi ......try this it is free and legal....you can spend a lot more on a
simulator than you can a plane!!!!! but nothing beats the real thing so get out there try it and enjoy
I have seen/heard many people who give up this awesome hobby because they start off with the wrong plane. They get something that stands out for it's awesomeness, such as a scale model or an Electric Ducted Fan Jet. Both these types of planes are not good beginner planes. Scale models are usually expensive and hard to fly, and EDF's are very fast and need more experience to control.
You should also consider things like wing position, dihedral, prop position, etc. As for wing position, a high wing relative to the body is easier to fly, it tends to be self-stabilizing. As for dihedral, (which means the wings are tilted upwards like a shallow "V") it makes the plane self-righting, if your plane is tilted, it will return to a neutral position by itself. The prop position is also important, If you have a prop on the front, you might break it every time you land on your nose. A prop mounted on the top of the plane has less chance to break.
As for type of airplane, it should be a foamie. Balsa models mean Fly-crash-repair-repair-repair-repair while foam planes mean fly-crash-pick up-fly.
Oh, and as Brian said above, get a simulator. It'll help you with the orientation issues!
Take your pick...The two traditional de facto best beginner planes are the GWS Slow Stick and the Hobbyzone Super Cub LP. I first purchased the RealFlight Simulator, flew it for a few weeks then got a Slow Stick...it's a perfect first plane.
The Supercub is not only a great first plane. It's a great plane period.
The Slow Stick can be a good first plane if you are committed to learning and have a local resource for parts.
If you decide to go the Slow Stick route, buy the nps kit and get some spare parts. They are fragile. Do some of that research to put your power system together.
There are lots of other trainer options out there. www.crashtesthobby.com has a couple of all EPP trainers on their site now. I have a couple of these and I love 'em
FMS is a good enough simulator to help you out with the orientation issues that most newbies have.
Buy a plane and get flying
As long as you have a flying friend who can help you the first flights with a buddy-TX until you can crasch the plane yourself.
Scale models, as the CUB and many others, are normally not as well flying and (crasch)resistant as the not so good looking motor gliders with the motor protected behind the wing. But with a little help the first time then any lightwight plane will be a good start.
Yeah, the Turnigy 9X is great, I can only say good things about it. For the first plane though, stick with a three ch. plane, rudder/elevator/throttle..keep it simple and learn the basics first, you'll be glad you did.
My recommendation would be Get a plane with the motor in the back (What I mean is, something like the bixler/hawk sky/axn floater jet) unless it's an ultra-micro like the Parkzone Micro T-28(my first plane--it was awesome!). Oh, and another which is eaqually important--Get a sim, like FMS. I learned on FMS.
I learned to fly on an E-Flite Apprentice without having any simulator experience. It is a great plane and doesn’t have any bad flight characteristics. I would however recommend that you have some simulator experience before you fly this plane by yourself. It is possible though to teach yourself on this plane without a simulator or buddy box type system. The apprentice is a very capable plane that you can learn to fly on and then also learn to perform aerobatics, due to the fact that it is a 4 channel plane. It also has a decent amount of power.
Overall, I would recommend a plane with a high wing or a decent amount of dihedral (wings angled up) as this will make the planes more stable. Also, know your limits. Take your time and don’t try to do aerobatics right off the bat. Take small steps and expand your flying capabilities slowly. This has worked very well for me in helping me not to crash.
In my humble opinion, the Tuff Trainer is a very good plane to learn on. It's a front engine plane, but is made from EPP, which tears instead of squashing/disintegrating, making it very easy to fix. The motor is also very good and it comes with a prop saver. My Tuff has bounced back from hitting trees, the ground and even a metal light post! Being a high wing craft with plenty of dihedral, it floats and self corrects nicely. Although it has ailerons, they don't do a hell of a lot, but aerobatics wise you can do loops and (not very tight) rolls. The wing loading is very light (lots of wing area for a lightweight plane) so you can load it up with gear like night lights, cameras, streamers etc. The prop that comes with it doesn't get the best from the motor, and with the prop saver it'd likely last forever, so change that to a 8x3.8 slow fly prop and you've got a winner!
I like the Bixler, and it has good flight characteristics for beginners, but EPO foam does warp relatively easily. Also the elevator does too much, which is not a good channel for lively behaviour for a beginner! I've also seen the little cutout foam pieces around the spar come loose in midair after being firmly glued with epoxy...
In terms of your radio, can't recommend the 9x enough. You won't grow out of it in a hurry. There are better radios, but they're three times the price. Order one of the mode 2s that's on backorder on HK atm, as it's only 39.99. I doubt they'll be that cheap when they come back in stock. If you prefer mode 1, it's a very simple job to switch the sticks.
I've taught a number of people how to fly RC with my Great Planes Electrifly Flylite ( high shoulder - mounted , under - cambered dihedral wing ) . It is excellent for beginners because it can fly SLOWLY when properly set up . That's the secret to successful beginner flight - have someone who knows how - set the plane up to climb gently with increased throttle , turn gradually with rudder input ( low rates and expo ) , and descend slowly with decreased throttle . No need for elevator at first ( again VERY low rates and LOTS of expo ) , it's easier for a beginner to fly with just throttle and rudder , then add elevator in later . And of course it helps if you have a LARGE flying area and little or no wind. Good luck!
If you're inclined to build your own, check out mikey's trainer from www.mikeysrc.com The plans are free and the plane is made from dollar tree foam board. A very nice plane to fly. It's the first one I ever built but I modified it to be a bi-plane.
Another very easy one to fly and build is the Cheap N Easy. It's a delta wing type pusher. Look for the free plans on rcgroups.com
Defintely the HZ Super Cub. Mine was (still is) brilliant. I added much bigger wheels for rough grass
landings. I've had a eSport Phoenix and Multiplex EasyStar (Same as Bixler) and I reckon they are waaayyyy over rated. They bounce around in he wind flapping their wings, roll like a beached whale and are generally not nearly as much fun to fly as the super cub.