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Author Topic: Selecting a Training Airplane  (Read 12514 times)

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Offline thehaze

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Selecting a Training Airplane
« on: April 18, 2013, 01:12:10 pm »
Here are some suggestions for new members on selecting their first model. This is by no means a comprehensive list but should be enough to get you started.

There are couple of considerations that one needs to look at when selecting a model. But I'll get the most important one out of the way first..

Do not buy a Warbird as your first model!!! Spitfires and Mustangs are cool, but they are not well suited for new or inexperienced pilots.

Ok moving on...

1/ Wing type. Look for something with a high wing placement (i.e. the wing rests above the fuselage). Additionally the wing should be non-symmetrical, or simply the bottom needs to be flatter than the top, the flatter, the better. Avoid symmetrical or semi-symmetrical airfoils. Lastly, the model should have some dihedral  (when looking at the model from the front or back the wing should have a V shape to it). These types of wings, generate more lift, and are more stable. The trade off is that they are less suited to aerobatics or speed, however those are not what a trainer is for.

2/ Construction. Balsa or Foam? This is a question that many people ask. The reality both have their strengths and weaknesses. Balsa trainers tend to be more rigid in the air and in my experience are more precise flyers. They also tend to be larger and heavier, this helps when flying in windy conditions. However, balsa models are more expensive, they usually take more time to set up, and they are more difficult to repair in the event of a crash or hard landing.

3/ Controls. Models are described by the number of channels (independent control surfaces) they employ. A good trainer should have 4 channels of control (Throttle, Rudder, Elevator, and Aileron). Some models have only 3 channels (no Aileron) and while they are good models in their own right, they will limit the amount of learning you can do.

4/ Radio System. Buy the best radio system you can afford. Unlike the trainer model itself, this piece of gear will stay with you as you progress from one model to another and the investment you put into the radio system will pay dividends in time. There's a lot to choose from, and a trip to the hobby shop will help you tremendously in selecting a radio system. Some models come with a radio, generally they aren't the best, but in some cases, they will suffice. Minimally, you should look for a radio that offers features such as dual rates, exponential, a multiple model memory, and most importantly for students a buddy box or trainer port. A buddy box system allows the instructor to hold the master controller while the student uses a slave that is connected to it via a cable. This allows the instructor to take control of the model when needed to correct any mistakes and avoid any unscheduled off field landings. Without a buddy box, it is very difficult for us to provide instruction so do not overlook this feature. Given the variety of radio systems in the market. Students are required to provide their own buddy box and trainer cord.  At TEMAC, the most popular radio for the beginner is the Spektrum DX6i (http://www.spektrumrc.com/Air/Radios.aspx) however there are many other worthy selections.

5/ Batteries and Charger. You should have at least 2 batteries for your model. This will allow you to fly and charge and get the most use out of your time at the field. If you aren't capable of charging at the field, but a few more batteries. Some RTF (Ready to fly) models come with at least one battery and a basic charger. While the included charger is adequate, you will eventually find that you will need a better charger. Your local hobby shop can help you select one that is suitable for your needs. Always follow the instructions provided with your batteries/ charger and use caution when charging.

6/ Landing Gear. While not essential for Park Flyers, anyone interested in obtaining their MAAC Wings will need a model that can Taxi, Take-off, and Land at Rogo Field. The surface at Rogo is grass. And while it is cut and well maintained, small models with small wheels have some difficulty with this surface.  Additionally the configuration of the gear will make a difference. Tricycle setups (planes with a nose gear and two trailing wheels on the wing or fuselage) are the best for students.

The next post will include some examples of training airplanes that have been used at TEMAC...




Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.

Offline thehaze

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 01:42:30 pm »
Here are some models that have been used by many new pilots at TEMAC

Park Flyers: (Use these models to get your Park Flyer Wings)

Hobby King Bixler (https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__24474__Hobbyking_Bixler_2_EPO_1500mm_w_Brushless_Motor_Servos_and_Optional_Flaps_ARF_.html) Just the basics. But it's a good stable flyer and it's lots of fun.

Hobbyzone Super Cub (http://www.hobbyzonerc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=HBZ7100): A very basic model. It flies well and lots and lots of people started with this one. The downsides.. it's small and sensitive to wind, it only employs 3 channels, and the radio system would need to be replaced to used on a buddy box.

Hobbyzone Glasair Sportsman (http://www.hobbyzonerc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdId=HBZ7600#quickSpecs) It's similar to the Supercub, except the radio is better and it has ailerons. A better choice.

Flyzone Switch (http://www.flyzoneplanes.com/airplanes/flza3300/index.html) A good starting kit. Includes everything you need.

Hobbico Nexstar Mini EP (http://www.hobbiconexstar.com/nexstar-mini/) A good small balsa choice.


MAAC Wings Trainers (i.e. Club trainers)

Eflite Apprentice S (). The most widely used trainer at TEMAC. The wheels are a little small but can be swapped out with a slightly larger set to make taxiing and field ops easier.

Hobbico Nexstar ([url=http://www.hobbiconexstar.com/nexstar-ep/index.html]http://www.hobbiconexstar.com/nexstar-ep/index.html
) The cadillac of electric trainers. It's size and flight characteristics make this a serious flying machine.

Flyzone Sensei (http://www.flyzoneplanes.com/airplanes/flza3010/index.html) Similar to the Apprentice. A good solid choice in the foam category

Multiplex Mentor (http://www.multiplexusa.com/model-kits/mentor.html) A great flying model. Requires more assembly than some of the other choices.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 09:43:13 pm by thehaze »
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Offline imran1042

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 05:55:16 pm »
Can I use the Hobbyzone firebird stratos to get park flyer wings?
Any day at the field is a good day :)

Offline imran13

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 06:53:07 pm »
I have an Art-Tech Cessna 182, is that alright?

Thanks, Imran L
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Offline thehaze

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 08:23:53 pm »
Can I use the Hobbyzone firebird stratos to get park flyer wings?

Yes. But it won't accept a buddy box so you will lose the insurance that this gives you. Although I hear the stratos is very forgiving when flown in the right conditions.
Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.

Offline thehaze

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 08:27:25 pm »
I have an Art-Tech Cessna 182, is that alright?

Thanks, Imran L

I have flown that model and it's a little fast for a trainer. But it's manageable. If i recall, the radio it comes with is also unable to accept a buddy box.
Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.

Offline imran1042

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2013, 08:56:19 pm »
I have an Art-Tech Cessna 182, is that alright?

Thanks, Imran L

I have flown that model and it's a little fast for a trainer. But it's manageable. If i recall, the radio it comes with is also unable to accept a buddy box.

He put a spectrum reciever in it
Any day at the field is a good day :)

Offline imran13

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2013, 09:25:52 pm »
Last year when I first came to the club, I flew that plane as my trainer with Greg Hazelton. I think it was fine, but then again I'm still new at this.

Imran
Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills.

Offline thehaze

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2013, 09:44:32 pm »
Last year when I first came to the club, I flew that plane as my trainer with Greg Hazelton. I think it was fine, but then again I'm still new at this.

Imran

Then carry on.

Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.

Offline imran13

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2013, 10:12:41 pm »
Aye, Chief!
Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills.

Offline Candu

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2013, 08:24:22 am »
I got my hands on a preowned HobbyKing EPP FPV. Would that serve as a trainer?

Offline thehaze

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2013, 12:14:13 pm »
I got my hands on a preowned HobbyKing EPP FPV. Would that serve as a trainer?

FPV models are generally very stable platforms. Without knowing much about the model I would say it would be suitable for Park Flyer Wings.

Mike
Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.

Offline frajolex

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2013, 01:18:25 pm »
Hey folks, so, after joining TEMAC, how much does it cost to get instruction?

I have a HobbyKing Cessna 182 + Spektrum DX6i, but I have never flew RC planes before!   ;D
Andre Albuquerque

Be careful... it's always too close, no matter how far...

Offline thehaze

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2013, 01:25:39 pm »
Instruction is included in the membership cost. So there is no extra cost.

The Cessna sounds good.

We train on Wednesdays. Hope to see you at the field.

Mike
Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.

Offline frajolex

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Re: Selecting a Training Airplane
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2013, 02:19:45 pm »
Instruction is included in the membership cost. So there is no extra cost.

The Cessna sounds good.

We train on Wednesdays. Hope to see you at the field.

Mike

Hi Mike,

Like today???  what time? can I pay the membership @ the field?  Ahm, I don't have the buddy cable neither the other controller.. but as I said.. I have a dx6i... what are the chances of someone with the same to help me?
Andre Albuquerque

Be careful... it's always too close, no matter how far...