How to get started as a delta wing RC plane geek...?
June 30, 2006 7:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to get into flying remote control planes. I like the look of delta wing aircraft like this one but I don't necessarily want a toy. Can anyone suggest what I should start with, and what I should aim to graduate to as I get my flying wings?
posted by unclemonty to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I work at a company that makes unmanned aerial vehicles, and as a result many of the engineers here are RC geeks. While many of them are mostly fixed wing flyers, practically all the RC pilots here own a Blade CX or Blade CP (which is more advanced). I just bought a Blade CX, and couldn't be happier with it. You can fly it indoors and it's an inherently stable design, and you can literally fly it right out of the box.

I higly reccomend trying it out, as you get to do full 3 dimensional flight, and it's quite cheap (I think the CX in $200 new).

Regardless of which plane you get, remember that you will crash it frequently (espescially if you are a n00b like me). Initial cost is unimportant compared to how much replacement parts cost. Do not buy a plane with expensive or hard to find parts. Do not buy a plane that's hard to work on. (Incidentally, the CX has very cheap widely availible parts, and the only tools needed are found in a $2 eyeglass repair kit).
posted by phrontist at 7:48 AM on June 30, 2006 [2 favorites]

It pays off to find a local R/C club in your area to flatten out the learning curve by having an experienced R/C pilot train you.

Check your local hobby shop for listings, definitely time/money well spent.
posted by nkeown at 7:51 AM on June 30, 2006

The cannonical delta wing RC plane is the Zagi. They're made of relatively sturdy foam and plastic with balsa control surfaces, and are quick and easy to assemble for flight, particularly in comparison to ARFs and kit-built models, which can take hundreds of hours to prepare.

I've flown a couple of different acrobatic and intro-level Zagis, and they have generally pleasant flight characteristics. Launching can be a bit of a pain (you'll want a friend who trusts you not to start the prop too soon, to toss it), but they're great fun.

I'm not familiar with the current models, but the beginner-level wing should get you started. Expect to spend a few hundred dollars, though, for a good radio system, servos, motor, battery, etc.
posted by Alterscape at 7:53 AM on June 30, 2006

My brother used to fly a lot of RC planes and you don't have to crash at all if you do it right. Most of the moderately priced radio units have a device which allows for two of them to be linked so a more experienced pilot can take over in the event that you get yourself into trouble. You can find a more experienced pilot at any of the thousand of local radio controlled plane groups.

I can also tell you that the most stable and simplest to fly versions have their wings mounted above their center of gravity and have them bent, when you look at the plane head on, in a wide V shape. If you do absolutely nothing to the controls of these planes, they fly stably. Something like this is going to be a lot easier to fly than an unstable delta wing.
posted by 517 at 7:59 AM on June 30, 2006

GWS Slow Stick. It's a nice, slow flyer and gives you the feel of R/C flying (especially the controls being reversed when it's coming at you). It's a workhorse too as many people use them to loft cameras into the air. And crashes are no big deal. Also is -the- place to be.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:07 AM on June 30, 2006

You need to decide if you want an electric or glow-plug engine. Gas engines have higher performance but generally can't be flown inside and though the engines are reliable, it's a whole other thing to deal with. You need to worry about fuel, starters etc. Electric engines are just a simple matter of flipping a switch and taking off.

My first RC plane was a balsa kit. Took about two months to build. If I were to do it again I'd go with a almost ready to fly foam and balsa plane. All you need to do is connect a few components and you're set to fly.

Whatever you do, find someone to train you how to fly. Don't just go out and throw the thing in the air with no help. That's a great way to crash over and over again until you quit out of frustration.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:08 AM on June 30, 2006

I would recommend, as they have pretty much the best prices out there. They're also more than willing to work with you and help you pick out the right product based on your needs.
posted by twiggy at 12:32 PM on June 30, 2006

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