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Electric RC planes: attention MMike and other plane-nerds

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
i'm thinking of getting a RC plane after the debacle last year or the year before where i bought one at a local hobby store on a lark only to find it dead on arrival. i have no gear, and frankly i don't know any better so i think a ready to fly (RTF) kit would be the ticket for me. which one should i get? i imagine i should be looking for something with LiPo batteries, but is a brushed motor ok?

one that i'm particularly curious about is the Hobby Zone Super Cub LP RTF (LP = LiPo, RTF is as above). it runs $180 at hobbyzone.com with everything needed in the box.

http://secure.hobbyzone.com/search/HBZ7300.html

it has at least one very positive review: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1068138 as well as others that are nearly as positive but carp about the inexpensive radio and brushed motor.

thoughts from the peanut gallery?


(it has an optional float kit that might be fun once landings are dialed in.)
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
apparently RC plane flyers typically get insurance, and the easiest way is to join the AMA. no, not the American Medical Association: the Academy of Model Aeronautics. they have a subgroup with a limited AMA membership for Park Flyers, which seems to be the category that i'd like to fit into :D . it has lower dues, lower insurance coverages, and a magazine tailored to small, electric planes instead of the giant beasts that some dudes like to build.

http://www.theparkpilot.org/

i also found a club, which looks kind of intimidating at first glance: all sorts of dues and a graduated licensing system.

http://www.meroke.com/

i may just "wing it" (har har) and fly in a local open field…
 

splat

Nam I am
sweet jeebus.
Holy Crap.

Well I don't know anything about that But , A couple weeks ago I bought 2 Gliders at a Flea Market with Full electronics for $20. One is a 5 Foot wing span the other a 8 foot wing span( Had minor damage that was easily fixed ) . My son an I plan to take them over to the local park to slope launch them.


So I downloaded this

http://www.flying-model-simulator.com/

and using a USB Dual Stick game controller with it.

I'm sure my Son and I are going to destroy those poor things , but we will get at least $20 worth of fun out of them.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
[continuing to post for the people who look at this thread but don't reply, and because i have several identical threads on other boards that are more active]

sweet jeebus. so it looks like there are at least two distinct ways to go:

1) the cheap way: buy a RTF kit, learn to fly it yourself. total investment < $200.

2) join the AMA, maybe with its limited Park Flyer membership ($30-50). join a local club (my local club would be $60/yr + $50 initial fee + the county aerodrome park permit ($20/yr). buy a sim, such as Aerofly (~180 Euro). buy a compatible radio (i imagine ~$200). then buy a kit that just needs one to add the radio, buy batteries, put it together. this seems like a great way to spend close to a grand…

i'd love to learn without breaking off a wing but the price disparity between the "wrong" and "right" approaches is really shocking.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
Holy Crap.

Well I don't know anything about that But , A couple weeks ago I bought 2 Gliders at a Flea Market with Full electronics for $20. One is a 5 Foot wing span the other a 8 foot wing span( Had minor damage that was easily fixed ) . My son an I plan to take them over to the local park to slope launch them.


So I downloaded this

http://www.flying-model-simulator.com/

and using a USB Dual Stick game controller with it.

I'm sure my Son and I are going to destroy those poor things , but we will get at least $20 worth of fun out of them.
cool. that's a good, cheap way to go. with my Mac that sim won't work sadly and the one that's out there is a not-cheap-at-all commercial product (see my post above).
 

Quo Fan

don't make me kick your ass
When I was in Military Tech School, some of my classmates flew RC planes. I watched one of them fly inverted 3' off the deck, then forget he was inverted. Totaled the plane. I also designed a live bomb and delivery system for one friend. I don't know if he ever built the system.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
sweet jeebus yet again: so it looks like neither my nor my wife's computer is up to the task for running Aerofly (see their requirements page). furthermore, even the very nice trainer RTF kits that come with all the buzzwords*, for example the E-Flite Apprentice 15e RTF, don't have radios that are snazzy enough to be compatible with Aerofly. sheesh.

:mad:

* buzzwords in this case: 5 channels, DSM2, 2.4 GHz, brushless, LiPoly
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
When I was in Military Tech School, some of my classmates flew RC planes. I watched one of them fly inverted 3' off the deck, then forget he was inverted. Totaled the plane. I also designed a live bomb and delivery system for one friend. I don't know if he ever built the system.
do tell more.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
ione that i'm particularly curious about is the Hobby Zone Super Cub LP RTF (LP = LiPo, RTF is as above). it runs $180 at hobbyzone.com with everything needed in the box.

http://secure.hobbyzone.com/search/HBZ7300.html

it has at least one very positive review: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1068138 as well as others that are nearly as positive but carp about the inexpensive radio and brushed motor.

thoughts from the peanut gallery?
and, now, after reading about this stuff for several hours i think something like the above will be a bit too fast and big without simulator time, and setting up a good sim is non-trivial. so maybe small is the way to go, just like the dead-on-arrival one that i flirted with last year:

ParkZone Ember 2 review

hmm.
 

MMike

A fowl peckerwood.
Sep 5, 2001
18,222
85
just sittin' here drinkin' scotch
I still boggles my mind that you have time for all of this stuff. Gran Turismo, you e-bike, school....

That said....well I have nothing further to offer. My RC career has sort of stalled out. Once I got good enough at it to stop breaking stuff, I fizzled out. Maybe I'll play around with the heli tonight.

And I really don't want to get myself caught up in another hobby.

I do feel though that "RTF" is the way to go if you don't really know what you're doing.

And I did find lots of helpful advice on RC Universe. This guy in the uk called "pgroom 68" was a fountain of RC knowledge. Also claims to be married with kids. Whodda thunk?
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
Just stepped out of the hobby store after 45 beguiling minutes. Things I learned: flying the sim isn't easy! (Realflight, in the store.)

The Vapor and Ember are gymnasium-only beasts.

The Apprentice 15e and the Super Cub LP are both carried by the store but they had 2 Apprentices (one BNF, one RTF) as compared to about 8 Super Cubs. Parts are stocked for the Super Cub but must be ordered for the Apprentice. The sales guy made the good points that 27 MHz isn't a problem if everyone else is running 2.4 GHz, and that radios can be upgraded in the future if need be.

Finally, Realflight includes a faux controller, which apparently saves wear and tear on your real controller's gimbals. It runs $200 but is Windows-only.

Replying to the above: I could use Bootcamp but my Mac mini has integrated graphics and merely a 1.66 GHz Intel Core (non-2) Duo so isn't stout enough for the pretty 3D models and such.

I walked out of the store empty-handed since I try to avoid impulse purchases and wouldn't have daylight hours during which to play with anything until at least the weekend but I think a Super Cub LP and a sim, somehow, will be in the near-term cards.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
I still boggles my mind that you have time for all of this stuff. Gran Turismo, you e-bike, school....

That said....well I have nothing further to offer. My RC career has sort of stalled out. Once I got good enough at it to stop breaking stuff, I fizzled out. Maybe I'll play around with the heli tonight.

And I really don't want to get myself caught up in another hobby.
that's the thing: i _do_ want to get myself caught up in another hobby. most of what you list i don't do any more. i beat Gran Turismo 4 then felt no more need to play it and indeed sold my whole PS2/wheel/pedals/GT4 setup. the e-bike was just to get me around last year and now that i walk to work i sold it to my parents, who will use it to tool around their neighborhood in Wyoming. i'm done with school as of june 2008 :D but residency, my job, is actually reasonably light hours this year. i think i average 55-60 hrs/wk, like a real job!

all i really have to do outside of medicine and hanging out with my wife is playing music and riding my goofy scooter around… and now that the scooter has been stolen (not to mention that it's really cold out!) i'm at a loss. i could read books or something, i suppose. :D
 
Just buy a good plane/radio go to a club and get on a buddy box. RC plane dudes are old and are willing to help. If your so concerned with price and crash replacement cost just stick with the simi-hobby grade stuff. Hell even AS Jr. has video's of him destroying high dollar helis.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,290
313
chez moi
Buy a model World Trade Center and give RenegadeRick a call.
 

MMike

A fowl peckerwood.
Sep 5, 2001
18,222
85
just sittin' here drinkin' scotch
that's the thing: i _do_ want to get myself caught up in another hobby. most of what you list i don't do any more. i beat Gran Turismo 4 then felt no more need to play it and indeed sold my whole PS2/wheel/pedals/GT4 setup. the e-bike was just to get me around last year and now that i walk to work i sold it to my parents, who will use it to tool around their neighborhood in Wyoming. i'm done with school as of june 2008 :D but residency, my job, is actually reasonably light hours this year. i think i average 55-60 hrs/wk, like a real job!

all i really have to do outside of medicine and hanging out with my wife is playing music and riding my goofy scooter around… and now that the scooter has been stolen (not to mention that it's really cold out!) i'm at a loss. i could read books or something, i suppose. :D
Ah you non-kid having types........

I still like helicopters better...
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
sanity check on this starter setup before i order (tomorrow), please:

1. Wing Dragon HL.

2. 2 or 3 Zippy Flightmax 3s1p 20C rated 1500 mAh batteries. (the plane only comes with a single NiMH pack.)

3. a cheap Turnigy TGY-3 balancing LiPo charger that can handle 2s and 3s packs.

i figure i'll have to make a trip to the local hobby store to standardize connectors between this gear&#8230; i used Anderson Powerpoles on my electric bike, and might go with those if everything isn't Deans already.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
sanity check on this starter setup before i order (tomorrow), please:

1. Wing Dragon HL.

2. 2 or 3 Zippy Flightmax 3s1p 20C rated 1500 mAh batteries. (the plane only comes with a single NiMH pack.)

3. a cheap Turnigy TGY-3 balancing LiPo charger that can handle 2s and 3s packs.

i figure i'll have to make a trip to the local hobby store to standardize connectors between this gear… i used Anderson Powerpoles on my electric bike, and might go with those if everything isn't Deans already.
just ordered the above (Wing Dragon HL, 3 Zippy 3sp1 1500 mAh LiPos, some CA glue, and that dinky little 2s/3s charger) after endless dithering. the only change i made was to order the "Always Flying" option: $10 extra gets you free* replacement parts for a year for the plane for when you crash.

* free means you pay shipping provided you take a photo of the crash aftermath. if you have a video of the crash then even shipping is waived!

 

killsdeer4fun

Monkey
Jan 25, 2009
102
0
Clemson, SC
I have flow the Hobby Zone Super Cub and it is severely under powered due to the brushed motor. In general, don't get anything made by Hobby Zone. Go for the Park Zone J-3 Cub or Super Decathlon. I have the Decathlon and it is a far superior plane to the Super Cub, runs on a Li-Po battery, has a brushless motor (read better) and is much more nimble. The glide ratio is better anyway and the material its made out of wont break like the foam that the Super Cub is made of. Trust me on this one, they are the same price. Go for the J-3 Cub or Decathlon and you won't be disappointed.

http://www.parkzone.com/
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
What you NEED to do is gather all kinds of info from your local hobby shop, walk out without spending a penny....and then buy everything online for way cheaper.
see post #17. the prices were equivalent btw
 

dan-o

Turbo Monkey
Jun 30, 2004
5,503
1,674
Now's when you need Rick's model of the WTC.
RR will only be happy when there are remote control Feds planting thermite in the model towers. Everything else is just a smoke screen.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,789
2,302
I finally made it back outside with the plane yesterday after several intervening episodes of crashing it, methylacrylating/taping it up, and repeating...

... and I finally did it, it being able to fly the thing! (Still can't land reliably :think: ) I flew it for two solid batteries-worth of time, probably 25-30 minutes, right turns, left turns, figure eights, fast, slow, upwind, downwind, high, low.

Then I augered it in at when the second battery ran out abruptly, cracking the fuselage's midsection at the level of the battery box clean through and cracking the motor mount again circumferentially in a different place. Oh, and the servo came loose and something in the electronics went awry sufficiently that the plane didn't respond to anything even after putting in a fresh battery.

Thus the plane has now been retired to the dumpster after pulling out the servo, rubber bands, and spare propeller for possible future use. I figured that it had served its purpose and was certainly the worse for wear after yesterday's outing.

In a month or three I plan on getting another plane, both to help me learn how to land and for my wife to continue to crash and learn on. Should I just go with the cheapest WingDragon or is there something more durable yet? Ability to accept 3s Lipo is a big plus as I have 4 Lipos of that size now.
 
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primo661

Monkey
Jun 16, 2008
412
0
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Well done. In the mean time, What radio do you have? Does it have buddy capability? I know I used to hook up my JR2610 up to my PC with a simple aux cable and after downloading FMS and some ingenious software(I forget its name), I had a simulator that teaches you the very basics(gliding, the inverse controls when its flying toward you, flairing on landing, etc.) Let me know and I'll try dig up the software for you.