Getting Started in Radio Control Flying
Introduction – So you have chosen to fly. It is definitely a very exciting hobby to be into speaking from first hand experience. We here at rcmodelcentre are always asked about being a beginner to radio control flying so we have decided to put a quick guide together.
There are far better options in electric flight nowadays. When we re-started modelling again quite a few years ago, I have been surprised at the development of electric flight with brushless motors and Li-Po batteries. There are more planes available then ever before and much greater choice of materials, with balsa, foam and fibreglass.
Why Electric? – We choose electric because it was easy to go flying in a night not nearly as much noise so everyone is kept happy as we are in the lakes and the amount of versatility from electric motors. With very tiny indoor planes to very fast sports planes and pylon racing. Plus IC can be a lot more expensive and the fuel is starting to cost allot. In our opinion it's far easier to go flying with electric planes. They can also be just as fast as and even more nimble than IC planes.
That said sometimes people really want the noise and smell and we understand this and is why we will always have both types of planes in stock and will be happy to help for both types.
Quick Guide to Radio Control Flying
Depending on your budget the quickest way into the hobby is through a starter package (also called “ready to fly” or “RTF”) or alternatively if you fancy testing your building skills get a kit and all the necessary parts for the plane, we have a checklist here to help you remember what to buy like glues and connectors etc. It’s always different for every plane though.
I would always suggest before you take to the skies, having a good few hours of practice with a flight simulator
. These help with both orientation of the plane, coping with odd situation and learning to land without breaking anything.
These also help when you decide its time to try a more advanced plane and some of the aerobatic manoeuvres that you might want to see if you can do. Then when you feel more confident to go out and fly in a open space on a very calm day (No Wind or Very Little)
If you are on a tight budget, just fancy giving it ago, or short of time to build:
Try one of the cheap starter packages and preferably a high wing trainer such as the
Top Gun ParkFlite Cessna or Top Gun Super Cub or Art-Tech Cessna all made from hard foam, all and easy to glue back together after a bump, and also easy to get cheap spares for them if it’s a bit more than a small bump.
These will give you a taster into the hobby. And will also help find out if you want to go further with the hobby.
For those still on a budget and have had a go with a mate’s plane and are confident you could try something like a Top Gun Parkflite TB20 or Top Gun Park Flite BAE Hawk or any other of the Ready to Fly setups. They are all meant for the beginner to intermediate and if you do have a bump then spares are readily available and not that expensive.
For those of you who think that you want to have a go and perhaps do this quite often then as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for! Our first recommendation would be the Multiplex EasyStar in; kit form, the RR (Receiver ready) version or the Ready to Fly version.
We sell two setups for this plane the brushed one is less powerful but is still very good fun, or a brushless spec version which is faster and a bit more advanced, but you don’t have to fly on full power to start with.
With its prop sticking out the back there is no need for spare props and with its very strong elapor foam construction its both hard to damage and easy to repair (within reason obviously).
Again parts all available and is reasonably easy to upgrade and make it faster and more manuverable.
If you are after a Glider then the Multiplex EasyGliderPro is the best option and then a powered glider would be the Multiplex EasyGlider Electric or EasygliderPro with Power Set all made from strong Elapor foam. Also something like a ST Models DG-1000e or ST Models Fox as they are built from light weight and strong foam.
For those of you who fancy having a go at building up a kit and putting one together yourselves:
Powered version: Multiplex EasyStar, Multiplex EasyCub, GWS E-Starter is a good and popular alternative.
Gliding: Multiplex EasyGliderPro, FlyFly DG-1000e or un-powered version FlyFly DG-1000 has a built up wing and a fibreglass fuselage.
IC trainers (Nitro powered): Best plane to start with either the excellent deal at the moment is the Thunder Tiger Combo, WOT Trainer or the JP J3 Piper Cub
What do I get for a second model?
Jesus, that a hard one!
Second plane, it depends on what you fancy and what you have done as to where you go I suppose. Most of the electric models I have mentioned, you can take the parts from these and then match them to the new plane you fancy having a go with GWS planes have improved and for both Scale, Aerobatic( Formosa ), they have certainly got better foam. They are cheap and if you don’t mind building then these could be the ones for you. We have a Flight Pack for the GWS Models which can be used with most of the GWS Models. Once you get into the hang of these they are great fun to build and fly.
Direction to take and good second models – This is just for a basic idea we have many models on the website under the same categories that would be great second models.
A great second plane that is almost trainer and intermediate at the same time is the WOT 4 Foam-e which is a fantastic plane to fly and very easy to get ready.
If you want to fly scale models either GWS Model, Flying legends Mustang or Flying legends Spitfire, Seagull PC-9 Pilatus, Art-Tech P-51D, Parkzone Mustang and Spitfire
If you want to go for a Sport Plane(Flying fast and doing most stunts) then Seagull Edge 540 or X-Ray, Cermark Katana or Edge 540, Cap 232. Multiplex Acromaster.
There are many in this section on our website.
If you want to try 3D (this is more of an advanced area of flying and will require patients, completing stunts like prop hang etc) then Multiplex ParkMaster 3D, Profile plane like the Extra 300S, Reflection and Champion Kit and the E-Flite CAP 232.
Jets EDF or Pusher
If you want to go very quick or just fancy a Jet Plane then we have Ducted Fan Models which give a great sound or pusher planes, The Ducted fan models have come so much and are very quick, for a second model you need something like a Funjet, Top Gun BAE Hawk, FA-18 or Phantom, Mirage 2000, Jetiger, Phase 3 also have the EF-16, Fantom and Squall! Which has an optional vectoring unit.
Or if you want to a bit more of a build then a GWS model either the A4 or the J-10. For a further model perhaps 3rd or 4th then an Ultrafly Spear of a Funjet Ultra Kit+ with a very quick setup or a Windrider BD-5J
We Have more available here
Flying wings are great fun and can be very quick, they are one of the most popular planes as they are so handy to put in the back of the car. The best known are the Zagi-SI or the 480-SI the 480 is includes a motor and pod for all electric’s, also there is the Irvine X-IT or X-ITE and then Great planes Slinger in the style of the B2 Bomber and Multiplex Xeno.
We have made up a brushless setup which is very quick. And can be used with most of the electric wings. The un-powered wings are very good for Slope Soaring and gliding.
Flying wings and some jets
If you want to do gliding in more advanced then some thing like a Discus or a FlyFly Model they have Fibreglass Fuselages and Built-up Wings. Multiplex Cularis also is a very nice plane that is made out of Elapor again is very strong and a 2.6M wingspan. Also you can use a GWS models un-powered for Slope Soaring.
if you want a powered glider that is quick (check out the video section for our Multiplex Blizzard) then the Multiplex Blizzard will take a lot of power and a large power set up will also go into the Multiplex Cularis.
IC Planes either for conversion or IC power we have CMP Extra 330L or Edge 540 , Seagull Edge 540, WOT 4.
When starting, even with a wheeled version it’s sometimes better to start with a hand launch this way you already have airspeed. Ducted fan models definitively need more of a throw to get them going. Also flying with very little wind at the early stage of flying and with new models is needed. You will also need to have a fairly heavy and powerful model to fly in wind. Something like a Multiplex TwinStar
If you need more info and help the email me at email@example.com and I will try to help as best as I can.
All the best and happy flying