View Full Version : R/C Model Aircraft - Which Trainer?

21st Nov 2014, 12:00
Now that I'm retrired I want to get back into aeromodelling. Unfortunately my experience is from the stone age when tow line gliders and control line were the order of the day. To get me going I would like to buy a RTF high wing trainer and need some advice on what to buy. The guys at my local club were not much help, "just get a trainer and we'll teach you to fly it.".
Perhaps some modellers on this forum could help me with the following questions.
1. 3 channel or 4 channel?
2. Electric or glow?
3. Tricycle or tail dragger?
If anybody has had experience of a RTF, good or bad, I would be grateful for your comments.

21st Nov 2014, 12:19
Forum Topics - Model Flying (http://www.modelflying.co.uk/forums/) ?


21st Nov 2014, 13:45
1. Go for 4 channel. 3 may sound simpler, but since they rely on applying rudder, and banking due to yaw-roll coupling, there is a lag between the control unput and seeing the model start to bank, which can lead to over controlling.
2. Electric. Lack of noise means it is easier to find flying sites. Also, less mess and less fiddling with mixture controls and throttle linkages. Modern motors and batteries give plenty of reliable power. I switched 3 years ago and would not go back.
3. Up to you

I recently gave a friend's model its first test flight. It was an Ares 370 4 channel (also refered to as a 370 PRO), and I would certainly recommend it. Get a Mode 2. Most people fly mode 2 (throttle on left), so it is easier to find an instructor. Should cost around 100. Make sure you are buying Ready to fly (RTF), which should include model, all servos and receiver fitted, battery, charger and transmitter. You would do well to buy an additional battery and a spare prop

Other thoughts.
1. Join the local club and get them to teach you, ideally with a buddy system- costs less in repairs. They should also have access to a suitable field.
2. Join the British Model Flying Association, if only for the third party insurance cover it gives.

Before any one says anything, apologies for aviation content. He started it.

21st Nov 2014, 22:16
Join the British Model Flying Association, if only for the third party insurance cover it gives.

Young girl was killed the other day by a model aircraft out of control.

21st Nov 2014, 23:16
Like shoes, there's no such thing as the 'one size fits all' trainer.

I've taught in the region of 100 people to fly (I used to run an adult education course, teaching building and flying R/C, then did one to one instruction). Some people, usually the younger ones, can go straight on to an aileron model with a semi-symmetrical wing section, whilst others need something a bit slower with which their brains can keep up.

I taught using a 'buddy box system' which is a master & slave transmitter connected together. When I pull the switch on the master, you have control, when I let go of the switch, I've got it. A good system provided you use a disciplined hand-over procedure, and the model has been 'trimmed out' on both transmitters (setting of neutral positions on control surfaces and idle and stick position on throttle).

A lot of time can be wasted trying to fly a model which is not built or set up right, so there is a lot to be said for going to a school where you can get the undivided attention of an instructor and fly a properly set up model (you probably wouldn't try and get your PPL on the first aeroplane you built, would you?). Half a dozen lessons should be enough to learn a considerable amount about how to build and set up a model, and the instructor will be only too happy to stop endangering his own one.

Something robust enough to withstand a few cartwheel landings (wingtip,nose,wingtip,tail,wingtip) is a good idea, as well as the spiky bushes around the average flying field.

If the surface is closely cut grass, or tarmac, go for tricycle undercarriage with a steerable nosewheel and a shock absorber on the linkage to the rudder servo, otherwise tailwheel or no undercarriage.

If you are a bit of petrolhead and your local club is still mainly engine powered, go for a glowplug engine. They take some setting up and are messier but you only need to refuel in a couple of minutes and can get back in the air again. Otherwise go electric. Brushless motors and lithium polymer batteries can give the same power as just about any size of model engine depending how deep your pockets are.

A few model ideas:

Reasonably quick reactions: Ripmax Wot Trainer (Tailwheel) or Thunder Tiger Ready Trainer (Tricycle)

Medium Reactions: Seagull Boomerang/Arising Star or Irvine Trainer (neither are terribly strong though)

Slow Reactions: Can't find it now, but there was an ARTF which looked like the old KeilKraft Junior 60 for 3 channel. It would only be suitable for light winds. Edit: Turns out it was made by Flair, its not available new now, but you may get an unassembled one off a well-known auction site if you set up a search.

Unless you can see it fly, avoid anything secondhand.

As the others have said:

Join the BMFA (essential)
Visit your local club(s)
Talk to the instructors (when they have finished flying)
Ask if they have a club trainer
Ask if anyone gives buddy box instruction
Find out which equipment is most popular
Ask which Mode they fly (Mode 1 - Throttle right, Mode 2 (most common) - Throttle left)
Don't take one person's word for it (often the most loquacious and opinionated isn't the best one for good advice)
See if there is a professional instructor locally
Get a selection of current R/C magazines
Buy a copy of David Boddington's Radio Control Primer (old but loads of good stuff in it)
Don't buy any model equipment until you have done all the above
Don't rush putting your model together
Get help setting up your model and get an experienced instructor to test fly it
Buy equipment which you can grow into i.e at least 4 channels on the transmitter
Buy the biggest model you can store and transport. Small models become a speck in the sky too quickly and fly too fast
Buy good quality equipment

A similar thread here: http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/441351-rc-aircraft.html

Young girl was killed the other day by a model aircraft out of control. Funfly, can you please quote your source? Last in the UK I can find was 2003, last worldwide was 2013. Not wishing to say that either weren't tragedies for all involved though.

cockney steve
22nd Nov 2014, 00:20
Last plank I flew in my youth (well, last Iemember.) was a control-liner.
A few years ago, a close friend hada go at Helis, as Lipo's were just at the affordable stage . I got the bugand bought a Raptor 30. My kids treated me to the REALFLIGHT Sim for the computer.

It comes complete with a dummy Futaba TX, which has all the switches and knobs you'd expect , plus the magic red button......when you crash,the red button gives you an instant new model. It comes with a range of fixed wing and rotary, also buddy leads so you can slave a real tx throughthe dummy and, in fact, 2 models can be flown simultaneously this way. Wind, sun etc. can be altered, so can time! you can slow it down or speed it up.....there are several scenes to fly from, I prefer "rendered" scenery,as themodel really seems to fly "in" it...Photofields are craphically superior but the model looks to be superimposed,tome.

There is also the Phoenix sim which is the other market -leader.

Either will save you an absolute fortune as well as being able to get the required muscle-memory. Did I mention the full sounds, the rustling leaves and swaying branches? the ability to change to "cockpit view" and explore several hundred acres of scenery?

If you find the" Runryder" model Heli forum, there's a whole sub-forum devoted to sims,

It is without doubt the best investment you could possibly make in the model-flying world.

I have only scratched the surface of what these fantastic teaching-aids are capable of. IIRC, they are a fair bit over 100. 2 model-crashes and it's paid for itself...And, yes, the flight dynamics are very close to the real thing!

22nd Nov 2014, 12:48
Thank you so much guys.
I just knew that Pprune was the forum to get helpful and intelligent replies.
You've given me lots to think about and lots of really good advice. It's so tempting to just go out and buy a plane but I will resist the temptation until I have absorbed all the information and visited one or more clubs.
Any more comments would still be appreciated.
Thanks again

22nd Nov 2014, 13:42

Go for it. Totally agree with all said here, especially the Flightsim.
I do fly rc fixed wing but mostly rotary and the sim is the way to go.Among many things it really helps with learning to fly towards yourself as the rudder and aileron seem reversed and if you throw in a silhouette image it gets worse.Remember when its coming towards you point the stick to the low wing to save a sudden spiral into the ground !
I think these days I might opt for electric if I were you, having now after 40 years at the hobby sold all my fuel powered stuff. Fixed wing even more than rotary get covered in oil from the engines which is at about 15 % oil ratio unlike the 2% used in strimmers etc.
Also with electric it's well worth considering the now very popular foam built models which are easy to repair or cheap to replace.High wing with a bit of dihederal and definitely with ailerons as they are one quick way to pick up the wingtip at takeoff as well as better response in the air.
Look carefully at sites like Hobbyking where some of their fixed wing (not rotary)trainers are worth a look with the right advice.Generally try to buy from their UK warehouse for a better service. You will be amazed with the prices. Best radio at a keen price is Spektrum. Which can now be buddied to another controller wirelessley and with as many or few functions as required eg elevator only etc etc.
I am a bit sad when I say I flew Rotary RC for 10 years before getting my PPLH and for me I have always been fascinated watching them fly real and RC, and when I learned to fly the real ones, much as I love it, the only disappointment for me was I was now sitting in it I couldn't watch it fly.Sad I know.
Good luck you won't regret it.
And remember if you prang it at least your not sitting in it!

22nd Nov 2014, 17:42

Teenager is killed after she is hit by model plane | Daily Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-177139/Teenager-killed-hit-model-plane.html)

22nd Nov 2014, 18:13
Funfly, That accident, in which Tara Lipscombe was killed, was on 15 April 2003. Unfortunately the Daily Mail articles are undated, so are misleading.

Family floored by tragic loss of Tara (From News Shopper) (http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/296868.0/)

The accident report should be compulsory reading for all model fliers.

22nd Nov 2014, 18:22

Thank you for highlighting the bit about the BMFA wot I wrote - it cannot be overstated.
The tragic event you quoted, however, does indeed date from 2003, as Mechta said

22nd Nov 2014, 22:44

I actually only read it the other day and thought it was recent. I even emailed my club members with the reference :ugh:

However..I was soaring my third scale Salto glider way up in the North Wales mountains (Horeshoe Pass) a couple of years ago. This model was not only large but heavy - took two people to launch it although it flew lovely.

Just as I was bringing it in to land a group of cyclists walked right across the landing path, it was only a few feet above the ground but these things can float on for ever when ground effect comes into play.

Shouting got the cyclists out of the way but just in time, I'm sure they didn't realise that had it hit them it would have taken their legs off - even larege gliders look look so light in the air.

I got away with that but it was the closest I have been to hitting someone with a R./C glider and it certainly made a point.

23rd Nov 2014, 19:02

That's what comes of reading the Daily Wail..