Information on RC flight
If you are here then I guess you are interested in the wonderful world of flying model aircraft. (also know as aeromodeling.) Aeromodeling is a wonderful way to learn a new hobby, do something that you've always wanted to do, annoy your neighbors, get out of the house on weekends, or you might just want to spend some money. What ever the reason, aeromodeling offers challenge and excitement for people of all ages. Some people get into the sport to fly, others to build models, and others (read most) have no idea what they are doing.
Just as a full scale pilot does not learn to fly a combat-ready jet fighter plane, (Unless he is training for a Kamizaze mission.) A RC pilot shouldn't try to learn basic skills with a "hot" model that is far beyond his/her capabilities. So forget about that scale model F-15 with a real turbofan engine.that runs at 150 mph, there's time for that later on. A trainer will be much easier to deal with as you keep your trials, accomplishments (and crashes) on an even level. You should get a trainer within the .20 to .40 engine displacment range. This way, you should still be able to reuse your engine if you want on your next plane(and delay the time it takes for you to get into debt from your RC expenses)
One more thing befoe we start. Don't try fly by yourself. It is way too dangerous and you will not be able to land it by your self (Trust me, you always overestimate your skills)Unless you want your $300 plane to become a pile of toothpicks.
You might be wondering how much this is going to cost. This sport lies somewhere in the intermediate cost range. However, this is one of the most expensive hobbies to start out in. In the first month, you'll spend a lot of money, and then the costs level out a bit. In order to fly, you will need a few things.
An airplane (duh!). I recommend you purchase a ARF (a dumb dog.) Actually ARF's stand for Almost Ready to Fly. ARF kits are aimed for someone who has never built models before. Some are 99% complete and that means you won't have to work on it for five weeks. There are some good ARF's out there with the radio and engine preinstalled. Two outstandeing 99.9% built ARF's are the Thunder Tiger - Tiger Trainer 40 and the Hobbico Superstar 40 Select. Both only require around an hour of assembly. However, if you want to do it right, like I did on thee Thunder Tiger, you will need about three hours assembly time The Tiger Trainer is less expensive than the Superstar Select, yet the Superstar has better components. The reason for the 40 is not becaue of size, (Both of them have around a 60" wingspan2.) But because the have a .40 cubic inch engine.
One thing that I want to share is that you will crash, no matter what, you will crash. Crashing a plane that you've worked on for an hour beats crashing a plane that you've worked on for two months. BEFORE YOU VENTURE ANY FURTHER, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THE THOUGHT OF CRASHING YOUR AIRPLANE.
You will need a radio to fly the thing. The radio is the vital link between your plane and you. It is the lifeline, the invisible string thingy...Well, anyways. A good quality radio system is a must if you plan to enjoy the time and money you spend in the sport. (by the way, although it looks like it, your antennae is NOT a fencing sword, and if you decide it is and use it to fight giant windmills, thats your problem) Your club or hobby shop will give you a good idea of what to get. Buy a radio with at least four channels (a channel is a function - UP/DOWN being one function, LEFT/RIGHT being another, and f(x)=3(x+6)is another function (This joke is only effective if you have passed Algebra).etc.).
You will need fuel. model fuel has castor oil in it, so it is rather greasy. You need a pump to get the fuel to your airplane. You can start out with a hand pump.
You will need something to start the engine and something to carry everything in. Talk to your local hobby shop that carrys aeromodeling accesories about those.
Join the AMA (or A lot of Moronic Alligators.) Actually it is the Acadamy of Model Aeronautics. You get a $1,000,000 insurance coverage, just in case you crash into some old lady's garden, you won't have to call a cheap lawyer to represent you in court.
You will need somebody to teach you the ways of the Jedi. Actually, you will need somebody to teach you how to fly (same thing). This person is called an instructor. It is strongly recommended that the beginner get the help of a qualified R/C instructor/pilot who will help him/her learn to fly. You can feel sure there are almost no body in this sport who are self-taught. (and if you want to be able to tell if there is a person that was self taught at your local flying field, there will be about half a dozen planes or parts of planes stuck in the ground and in structures surrounding the field). A qualified instructor can save you time, money and heartaches. In order to find Yoda or an instructor, you need to find where they are. More likely then not, you will have a flying club in your city or town. If you don't know where one is, go to a hobby shop where they sell model aircraft and ask where one is. Go to the flying field and talk to people, most people will teach you for free. First check the Daigoba system in your X-Wing with R2, then go to your local flying field. Watch them fly a little bit, and make sure that you are interested. Learn the details involving the sport before you make the investment. Because buying all of the above will cost somewhere around $500 dollars. Then it will be about $60 to $90 a year for fuel. (depending on how much you fly). So go for it, learn something, break something, and if it comes down to it, make it rain wood splinters. But above all, have fun while you are doing it!