Help a RC noob out!
February 6, 2008 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I received a generic version of on of those air, land, water remote controlled (styrofoam?) boatplanes... lol if you have seen or used one you know what I am talking about. What I would like to know is if there are any nicer and sturdier versions of this plane. Looking for recommendations, thanks!

Right now I'm looking at the Hydrofoam version I have the Storm launcher shown here but the flight time is kinda low and it does not seem to have the power and crazy vertical lift that I have seen with some of the videos on youtube etc.
posted by Mardigan to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
I don't have an answer for you - but this thing looks really cool - I would suggest, however, that you add the tag "RC" to your list of tags though - making this post easier for an rc fan to find...
posted by soplerfo at 12:51 PM on February 6, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks updated.
posted by Mardigan at 1:18 PM on February 6, 2008

There are many, many RC airplanes out there with both air and land takeoff abilities (think floats + landing gear). I don't have specific recommendations, as I don't fly airplanes, but I promise that perusing will yield at least a couple of airplanes you might like.

However, you should keep in mind that once you move into "nicer and sturdier" planes, you will be spending some serious cash. I've seen the Storm Launcher on sale for around $100. The cheapest setup for a hobbiest-style airplane is going to run you closer to $1000. This including all of the field gear and tools you'll need to fly and build your plane.

I just went through something similar with RC helicopters (which are individually more expensive than planes, in my understanding). I bought a $90 RadioShack chopper, then a $200 one, then $500, then $1200. In the last four weeks, I've blown something like $2500 on helicopters and tools.
posted by Netzapper at 1:49 PM on February 6, 2008

There are lots of companies out there trying to hit a home run with a cool toy, and there are lots of companies catering to serious hobbyists, but there won't be many choices at intermediate price points. Or, what Netzapper said :P
posted by Chuckles at 2:26 PM on February 6, 2008

Oh, I just thought of this. You might find some electric planes to your spec if you concentrate on search terms like "electric", "park flier", and "foamie". As a novice, you'll want to stay away from the highly aerobatic ones, and stick to high-winged trainers. But, I imagine that you can find a fair number of electrically-powered small airplanes for around the $200 mark.

You mentioned battery time. In general, electric RC aircraft get drastically less flight time than a similar fuel-powered one. My electric helicopter runs for 4.5 minutes; my nitro-powered one, about 10. However, you need a much larger and heavier plane for gas, and cannot usually fly them in populated locations.

Since you'll most likely be looking at hobbiest gear, you should realize that the $200 figure I mentioned above is for an airplane kit. You'll probably get the airframe, and perhaps a motor and speed controller. You probably won't get servos or a radio receiver. You certainly won't get a radio transmitter. You'll need batteries and a charger. The cheapest 4-channel radio transmitter I've seen was $60--and I wouldn't trust it. Leading-brand transmitters are on the $200 mark for a model that'll last you several years, all the way up to $1000 for absolute top-notch gear. You're looking at around $500-600 on top of your plane kit's cost.

Sounds like a lot of cash, but it's super easy to get hooked. And a fair amount of your outlay will get you durable equipment that works with your next plane. If you don't think you'll want more planes (be honest), then you can probably find a cheap RTF (ready-to-fly) package that includes everything for a few hundred bucks. But, the gear you usually get with cheapo RTF packs is of only marginal quality... and the aircraft generally aren't too awesome either.
posted by Netzapper at 4:49 PM on February 6, 2008

I have a storm launcher I got on ebay. It works...ish, but to get the crazy verticals you've gotta seriously build up a head of steam to get it in the air. I'll sell it to you crazy cheap, I've used it like...3 times.
posted by TomMelee at 5:32 PM on February 6, 2008

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