Newbie to R/C airplanes (SPAD) questions
November 26, 2007 1:46 PM   Subscribe

R/C Airplane (SPAD) beginner question(s)

An acquaintance introduced me to and the cool and relatively cheap way of making relatively durable SPAD planes. I'm interested in building a trainer. Most sites out there assume that you already know about R/C when you build your first SPAD plane, whereas I know nothing about it. Mostly interested in what I need besides the plane: engine, radio, receiver, servos etc. Electric vs Fuel? Keep in mind that I need to do this cheaply if I'm going to do it at all. What do you recommend?
posted by spock to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't R/C myself, but acquaintences who do often start out with gliders (no engine). I suppose things happen more slowly and the damage is less severe when crashing a non-powered plane. Then they eventually "graduate" to powered planes. I would suggest googling "remote control plan forum" to see if you can find a good online community for this sort of thing... and maybe they can hook you up with a local group.
posted by Doohickie at 2:42 PM on November 26, 2007

Stay with electric (or gliders): internal combustion engines are noisy, smelly, dirty, and expensive. Most cities/towns have ordinances against them, so you can't fly an airplane with an IC engine in city parks etc.

There are many web sites that have helpful tips for RC beginners.

A word of warning: learning to fly an RC airplane is harder than flying a full-size airplane. (I fly both.) If you can't find someone to teach you to fly you will crash a lot at first. Make it easy on yourself and buy a slow-flying trainer first. If you have a joystick, you can use any flight simulator on your PC to learn and to stay current. (However, a flight simulator with a mouse will not be much help.)

I fly gliders, so of course I second Doohickie's suggestion.
posted by phliar at 4:14 PM on November 26, 2007

Also, is probably the best discussion site for R/C.
posted by phliar at 4:18 PM on November 26, 2007

From personal experience, try a glider first. I bought a highly recommend low-speed trainer (electric), gently crash landed it at the end of its first short flight, and wasn't able to get it to stay airborne again in an hour of trying. Been in the basement ever since. Goddamn liars.
posted by intermod at 7:08 PM on November 26, 2007

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