• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
Pumpkin drop event

Single Dad, 3 Children, 1 Autistic, Very Low Budget, desperately needs help!

#1
My name is Shane and I live in Fletcher NC with my 3 children. My wife passed away unexpectedly about 2 years ago and we have seen very hard times since then. I have twin boys who are both 10 and a 13 year old daughter, one of my boys is autistic but highly functional regarding his motor skills and hand/eye coordination.

We have had to eliminate most luxuries from our lives in the recent past but we are getting back on our feet and I desperately would like to give the kids a chance to experience RC Flying. We have had great fun with stock and modified Guillow's balsa gliders as well as scratch built rubber powered planes we have made together from household items like foam plates and wooden skewers etc.

After watching the flight test videos (Foam swappables series), I am determined to build planes for all 3 children. I am good with my hands and can build anything if I have the basics.

My challenge is budget and I am wondering if there are any resources out there for used gear especially the radios and receivers. I have to imagine there are many old radios and receivers laying around but don't seem to find any for sale (in multiples) even on ebay. Any ideas, links, suggestions? I need to get each plane RTF for under $75 or under $250 for all 3 planes. (is this even possible? sharing equipment is not really an option for us)

If this is not a feasible idea, how can I put all 3 kids into an affordable radio and receiver that will grow with them but won't break my budget (I need all 3 at the same time).

Also, I was thinking of building 3 planes from the novice/swappable series (probably 3 different models), is there anyone out there with experience in teaching special needs kids to fly and who might have a suggestion as to what model plane might be best for my son Logan who is Autistic?

Lastly can someone please help me complete this materials list and pricing for everything we would need to get all 3 kids up in the air? There are no materials lists with the plane builds that I could find. I can order things online or buy parts and materials from my local Hobby store but everything must be the absolute lowest price without sacrificing reliability and durability.

So far I would like to get enough sheets of foam-core board to build (any suggested changes to model choices?):
1 old Speedster (#sheets required?)
1 Baby Blender (# sheets required?)
1 Simple Soarer (# sheets required)

3 motors (brand/source/price?) 24 gram 13 KV

6 nine gram servos $2.69 ea. Total $16.14

3 Radios/Receivers = ?
3 speed controllers = ?
3 Lipo Rechargable Batteries = ?
6 Propellers (2 each?)
Control rods?
Batteries for Receivers = ?
Chargers for Batteries?
Extra Lipos?
cheapest source for foamboard?


I have the following already:
Xacto knife
straight edges
CA Glue
Elmers Glue
Hot Glue Gun
Balsa sheets 1/32
Skewers
Popsicle sticks
Coffee stirrers
Scotch tape

Any help or input regarding this list and my above questions is highly appreciated. Thank you in advance for any efforts,
Shane
 

TexasTeacher

Ready to Crash
#2
Shane,

It might be best to let your son pick the plane he likes. I have found that that is sometimes easier than trying to choose for them. And if he really pings on one he will really get into it as you know. I would show him several videos of the different FT planes you feel like you are comfortable building and see which one he gets excited about, he might surprise you.

As far as foamboard goes i just went to Dollar Tree and bought a box of the stuff, was $25 plus taxes. Will give you more than enough to build with and plenty to repair things with when needed.


-Robert
 

Foam Addict

Squirrel member
#3
Hey Shane,

Welcome to the forum!

I'm sorry to hear about your rough times, but you will find that most of us here love to help. I'm fairly good at coming up with the cheapest possible good options for RC. I will see what I can come up with, and post a list of items from Hobbyking and Headsuprc. I will say, if you order from hobby king, make sure you have paypal, otherwise its a stupid hassle to even pay. BTW, learning how the equipment (motors, servos, etc) works will be your greatest ally, because some of the equipment is relatively easy to fix when it breaks.:black_eyed:
 
#4
I would love to help... I got 6 used 9gram servos laying around. I will be happy to mail them to you.(you are not that far from me) I may even have a few motors as well. Depending on what planes you plan to build. I will pm you for the info.

Also, for a charger I have one of these i leave at work as a back up and it has worked great for me over the past year.(http://www.headsuphobby.com/Emax-EC-0857-Balance-Charger-E-103.htm)I highly recommended www.headsuprc.com I use them alot and shipping is only $2 and being in NC you get it in about 2 days.
 

AkimboGlueGuns

Biplane Guy
Mentor
#5
This seems to be the cheapest "good" radio. No computer stuff, but six channels lets you do some interesting stuff.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/..._2_4ghz_Transmitter_and_Receiver_Mode_2_.html


Props are relatively cheap, but you'll probably go through lots learning to fly. These should work great for a 24g http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__22309__8x4_5_SF_Props_4pc_Standard_Rotation_Red_.html

ESC's and motors can be pretty reasonable. I'd recommend these motors.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/...rushless_Outrunner_1300kv_USA_Warehouse_.html

And these ESC's.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=33293

These batteries are good, however you will need to change the connectors over to deans or whatever else you decide to use.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__6308__ZIPPY_Flightmax_1300mAh_3S1P_20C.html

Your supply list looks pretty complete after that. Your cheapest place for DTF (dollar tree foam) is going to be, surprise surprise, Dollar tree. Good luck! I hope you have lots of success in entering the hobby, and welcome to the forums! There are plenty others on this site who'll help you with any other problems you might have.

Edit: as for what plane would be best for your son, I'd go with the FT flyer. It'll be nearly indestructible with some mods and simple to learn on. After that, you can probably have him move up to a bloody baron, or bloody wonder.
 
Last edited:

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member
Moderator
Mentor
#6
Have you considered a tiny trainer?

It's a friendly plane and an easy build. a good place to start.

It takes a smaller motor/ESC/Prop/batteries (slower, lighter, slightly less expensive) can be built in 4 different variations, an easy build and easily takes about 1.3 sheets of DTFB (you could make 3 from 4 sheets).

Build a few of the chuck glider variant . . . get your build skills up for ~$3/plane and get them interested.

Next add on a radio, battery, ESC and servos for the controlled glider. Good for launching off hills, or get your kids to play "launch the kite" with it -- attach a hook just ahead of the CG, then with a long string with a ring on the hook, have them run, pulling it until it's almost straight over their head. dip the nose to release the ring and you're gliding . . . and be kind -- trade off with them every once in a while ;)

Finally when the glide is well controlled, move up to the motor variant for the cost of motor + props (longer flight, but slightly more dangerous) . . . and you all are flying a full RC plane :)
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#7
It might be worth going the mighty mini route. Which means the 24gram motors would be too big. (I think.) Contrary to what Josh Bixler says, underpowering a plane does not make it more noob friendly. I'm not suggesting to grossly overpower your planes. But if a 2S battery and/or a 3S battery is recommended, go with the 3S.

Hate to burst your bubble, but the Baby Blender is a horrible first plane. The Simple Soarer probably isn't a good first choice either (it isn't very crash resistant and gliders aren't good first planes).

Either go with the 24gram motor and build FT Flyers. Or go with smaller motors (I can not recommend anything because I have no personal experience with the mighty minis) and build FT Mini Scouts or FT Mini Speedsters. The Minis are built with only a single sheet of Dollar Tree Foam Board.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member
Moderator
Mentor
#8
The Simple Soarer probably isn't a good first choice either (it isn't very crash resistant and gliders aren't good first planes).
I have to agree and disagree with this -- Gliders make excellent first panes, powergliders particularly.

A good three channel power-glider is designed to fly slow and fall slower, and must self-stabilize in roll. Gives the new pilot less to think about and more time to figure it out.

. . . however, you're right, the simple soarer isn't particularly a crash-resistant glider. In that respect, not a great first.

It might be worth going the mighty mini route. Which means the 24gram motors would be too big. (I think.) Contrary to what Josh Bixler says, underpowering a plane does not make it more noob friendly. I'm not suggesting to grossly overpower your planes. But if a 2S battery and/or a 3S battery is recommended, go with the 3S.
<cringe > . . . and no, I don't agree with this either.

Right-powering a plane is always best -- completely agree -- but overpowering a plane doesn't make it noob friendly either.

On one of their larger builds, I'd agree with the 3S assessment, but not on the minis.

I don't know about the scout or mini speedster, but I have built a tiny trainer and flown it both 2S and 3S -- go 2S. you get gobs more power under 3S, but you dramatically increase the airframe weight as well, and the speed it *must* fly at. on a 1806 motor at 2300kv with a 6x3 prop, a 2S pack provides the *right* amount of power.
 
#11
Autistic Pilot Build

Shane,

It might be best to let your son pick the plane he likes. I have found that that is sometimes easier than trying to choose for them. And if he really pings on one he will really get into it as you know. I would show him several videos of the different FT planes you feel like you are comfortable building and see which one he gets excited about, he might surprise you.

As far as foamboard goes i just went to Dollar Tree and bought a box of the stuff, was $25 plus taxes. Will give you more than enough to build with and plenty to repair things with when needed.


-Robert
Thank you Robert, I did as you said and showed Logan several videos, he seemed to like all of them (usually he is obsessive over choosing between any two or more things). I don't think he is processing the details of each design and is more intrigued with the fact that they are really flying. I also don't think he understands that the person in the video is controlling the aircraft and may not process this concept until we get to the field with a plane that flies. This is a good thing as I can build any of the models and choose according to the suggestions here. My other two agreed to help me get Logan flying first and each said they would love to build any of the planes in the videos (pressure is off to build/learn to fly w/a particular plane model, god bless'em) - Shane
 
#12
Hey Shane,

Welcome to the forum!

I'm sorry to hear about your rough times, but you will find that most of us here love to help. I'm fairly good at coming up with the cheapest possible good options for RC. I will see what I can come up with, and post a list of items from Hobbyking and Headsuprc. I will say, if you order from hobby king, make sure you have paypal, otherwise its a stupid hassle to even pay. BTW, learning how the equipment (motors, servos, etc) works will be your greatest ally, because some of the equipment is relatively easy to fix when it breaks.:black_eyed:
Foam Addict thank you for your suggestions, I have not heard of Heads up RC and will check them out now. Can you pay with a credit card on HobbyKing through Paypal? I do have a PayPal account, but would have to fund it which is not an issue I guess...What's the deal with the sketchy payment system there? BTW - learning the components of the RC equipment by watching videos for each component, I can already solder and I build a lot of electronics for guitars that I make (www.sugarboxguitars.com ). I wind my own magnetic pickups, use all kinds of switches, potentiometers, low voltage LED lighting etc, so I should be a quick learner. I also ran some cars back in the 90s - think I had a grasshopper 2wd which was state of the art back then. Thanks again!
 
#13
I would love to help... I got 6 used 9gram servos laying around. I will be happy to mail them to you.(you are not that far from me) I may even have a few motors as well. Depending on what planes you plan to build. I will pm you for the info.

Also, for a charger I have one of these i leave at work as a back up and it has worked great for me over the past year.(http://www.headsuphobby.com/Emax-EC-0857-Balance-Charger-E-103.htm)I highly recommended www.headsuprc.com I use them alot and shipping is only $2 and being in NC you get it in about 2 days.
Mr Stamp,
Thank you for your reply, I will take you up on your offer for the servos if still available and am glad to pay you for them as well as any shipping, any packaging costs etc. just let me know how we could arrange such a transaction (is there a PM feature here?). I am checking out the charger on Heads up RC next - seems like many people recommend headsuprc.com maybe they are a good source for an affordable 3 or 4 channel receiver & esc's? Thanks again for your efforts! - Shane
 
#14
This seems to be the cheapest "good" radio. No computer stuff, but six channels lets you do some interesting stuff.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/..._2_4ghz_Transmitter_and_Receiver_Mode_2_.html


Props are relatively cheap, but you'll probably go through lots learning to fly. These should work great for a 24g http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__22309__8x4_5_SF_Props_4pc_Standard_Rotation_Red_.html

ESC's and motors can be pretty reasonable. I'd recommend these motors.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/...rushless_Outrunner_1300kv_USA_Warehouse_.html

And these ESC's.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=33293

These batteries are good, however you will need to change the connectors over to deans or whatever else you decide to use.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__6308__ZIPPY_Flightmax_1300mAh_3S1P_20C.html

Your supply list looks pretty complete after that. Your cheapest place for DTF (dollar tree foam) is going to be, surprise surprise, Dollar tree. Good luck! I hope you have lots of success in entering the hobby, and welcome to the forums! There are plenty others on this site who'll help you with any other problems you might have.

Edit: as for what plane would be best for your son, I'd go with the FT flyer. It'll be nearly indestructible with some mods and simple to learn on. After that, you can probably have him move up to a bloody baron, or bloody wonder.
AkimboGG, Thank you for the great suggestions, $27.99 for the radio and receiver seems like an incredible deal. I assume I can use any servos and motors with this setup as long as I have the proper plugs to match the receiver - correct? That said, the picture of the HexTronic motor also just has just 2 wire leads, do all motors come like this? How is the connection made between the motor and esc? I may get some used servos from MrStamp80, can these be converted if necessary to plug in to the Turnigy 4X FHSS receiver? Thanks again for your suggestions, very much appreciated! - Shane
 
#15
Have you considered a tiny trainer?

It's a friendly plane and an easy build. a good place to start.

It takes a smaller motor/ESC/Prop/batteries (slower, lighter, slightly less expensive) can be built in 4 different variations, an easy build and easily takes about 1.3 sheets of DTFB (you could make 3 from 4 sheets).

Build a few of the chuck glider variant . . . get your build skills up for ~$3/plane and get them interested.

Next add on a radio, battery, ESC and servos for the controlled glider. Good for launching off hills, or get your kids to play "launch the kite" with it -- attach a hook just ahead of the CG, then with a long string with a ring on the hook, have them run, pulling it until it's almost straight over their head. dip the nose to release the ring and you're gliding . . . and be kind -- trade off with them every once in a while ;)

Finally when the glide is well controlled, move up to the motor variant for the cost of motor + props (longer flight, but slightly more dangerous) . . . and you all are flying a full RC plane :)
Wow, CraftyDan himself! I am honored and thank you for taking the time to reply. I absolutely have considered a trainer Dan, and only thought I would avoid the most basic of trainer designs for the sake of keeping the kids interested but that is not to say it isn't the way to go. I saw a RTF Trainer at my hobby store for about $90 and wondered if I could build something a bit cooler (and still easy to fly) for the same money.

The model they had at the store (HobbyZone?), aside from the wings and tail sections, did not really resemble a plane at all - more like an ultra light aircraft I guess. this is fine by me but you lose some of the creative aspects of first plane ownership, like decals and paint, colors etc - the things that would distinguish on child's plane from another. It also seemed a bit delicate for Logan, due to his autism, he will often mis-judge his own strength (at first) when it comes to very delicate items, for instance he may try to throw the little trainer flyer to see if it flies itself - maybe a glider would be ideal in this case!

The decorative (cosmetic) parts of the hobby will be a big part of their participation in the beginning until I get comfortable with understanding the construction, engineering part etc. Another reason I discounted the trainer in the store - nothing for them to paint or put decals on.

Can you possibly post a link to the trainer model you mentioned in your post that can built in 4 different configurations? I will search for the chuck (? - did you mean chuck as in throw or chuck as in the pilot) Glider as well.

I really like the idea of the powerless launch. Would you recommend we do a traditional hi-launch with elastic cord or should we just do kite string? Also, would you do an actual glider tow cord release hook (I saw glider tow cord release hook on HobbyKing for cheap like $2.40 but don't know if it works by itself or needs a servo).

Perhaps there is a hook config that I could bend from wire and will release when I dip the nose as you mentioned? Your feedback is appreciated Dan, thank you - Shane
 
#16
It might be worth going the mighty mini route. Which means the 24gram motors would be too big. (I think.) Contrary to what Josh Bixler says, underpowering a plane does not make it more noob friendly. I'm not suggesting to grossly overpower your planes. But if a 2S battery and/or a 3S battery is recommended, go with the 3S.

Hate to burst your bubble, but the Baby Blender is a horrible first plane. The Simple Soarer probably isn't a good first choice either (it isn't very crash resistant and gliders aren't good first planes).

Either go with the 24gram motor and build FT Flyers. Or go with smaller motors (I can not recommend anything because I have no personal experience with the mighty minis) and build FT Mini Scouts or FT Mini Speedsters. The Minis are built with only a single sheet of Dollar Tree Foam Board.
Thanks RCSpaceflight, are the minis swappable? I am glad you told me about the Baby Blender, it is harder to build and I am not married to any of these designs. I will do some more research on the minis and if they are swappable it would be great, if not I bet I could make them swappable... Thanks again friend! - Shane
 
#17
The minis are swappable, but IMO not as easy to swap around as the bigger ones. I would strongly suggest the ft flyer and/or mini trainer. I just built the mini trainer last week for 5 year old son and it is an amazing trainer plan. He can fly it with no help at all from me. I commend you for taking the time to spend with your kids and this is a great hobby for it. I also have three kiddos, two boys and a special needs girl. Unfortunately, I'll never be able to enjoy flying with her but my oldest son loves it and I'm sure my youngest son will too once he's a little older. Good luck, this is best place on the internet for help and advice.
 
#18
Simple Soarer and Crash Resistance

I have to agree and disagree with this -- Gliders make excellent first panes, powergliders particularly.

A good three channel power-glider is designed to fly slow and fall slower, and must self-stabilize in roll. Gives the new pilot less to think about and more time to figure it out.

. . . however, you're right, the simple soarer isn't particularly a crash-resistant glider. In that respect, not a great first.



<cringe > . . . and no, I don't agree with this either.

Right-powering a plane is always best -- completely agree -- but overpowering a plane doesn't make it noob friendly either.

On one of their larger builds, I'd agree with the 3S assessment, but not on the minis.

I don't know about the scout or mini speedster, but I have built a tiny trainer and flown it both 2S and 3S -- go 2S. you get gobs more power under 3S, but you dramatically increase the airframe weight as well, and the speed it *must* fly at. on a 1806 motor at 2300kv with a 6x3 prop, a 2S pack provides the *right* amount of power.
Dan, I too love power gliders and they are one of the reasons for me finding flitetest and these forums etc, because I was researching power gliders and Discus Launch Gliders. My question to you: is there a power glider design we can make from foam board? Maybe give the Simple Soarer some more stability or more surface area, then just add a applicable motor and electronics? A power glider would allow me to bring the plane up to altitude and then let the kids fly it down without power. This seems like a good way for me to get some piloting time in while they are learning too. If not, I am really considering at least one glider to hand launch (w/string or cord) as we discussed in the earlier post, I think it adds so much more value to the whole learning process of flying. Thanks again for your input Dan!
 
#19
I am new as well or I'd offer spare parts. I did just want to add my well wishes and wish you the best of luck.
Thank you DharanFlyer! Are you building a plane as well? Please keep us updated on any new experiences, successes and failures! Appreciate your thoughts/wishes and Glad to have you here on the forums - Shane
 
#20
Young and special needs pilots - tips on first builds/plane models (foam-core)

The minis are swappable, but IMO not as easy to swap around as the bigger ones. I would strongly suggest the ft flyer and/or mini trainer. I just built the mini trainer last week for 5 year old son and it is an amazing trainer plan. He can fly it with no help at all from me. I commend you for taking the time to spend with your kids and this is a great hobby for it. I also have three kiddos, two boys and a special needs girl. Unfortunately, I'll never be able to enjoy flying with her but my oldest son loves it and I'm sure my youngest son will too once he's a little older. Good luck, this is best place on the internet for help and advice.
Brett, thanks for the info on the minis and your experience with the tiny or mini trainer. I am truly sorry you can't fly with your little girl, but I can relate to these types of compromises (we/they make up for it in other ways best we can). Your story about your 5 yr old and his progress flying is inspiring, I assume the mini-trainer is one of the flitetest.com builds?

I will check...

Hey Brett, thanks again for sharing your personal experiences, it is very helpful and in more ways than some might think - sometimes we don't mention what we are really up against because we know most people will not relate - your honesty is commendable and very much appreciated my friend! - Shane

PS - I am truly amazed at the level of participation, friendliness, and high quality support offered here. I participate in quite a few different forums spanning all sorts of subject matter and this is by far the most helpful and most friendly. This makes for a much less stressful experience all the way around and I am grateful for it and for all of you!