I’m living in a small Taiwanese town and considering buying a remote control airplane so I have a few questions: What is a good remote control airplane brandwise and modelwise to buy? And what is a good price for one? How often do they break down? How often do you need to buy new batteries?
For learning I would get a simple / cheap one where spare parts are readily available because most likely you are going to crash it a few times.
My advise would be to invest in a separate remote control (as opposed to a set containing plane and remote control) so that you can use it for other models, too. As well this allows you to be more flexible in your choice, rather than having a “toy remote” that is limited in functions and tied in with the plane.
As often as you crash them.
If the plane uses an electric motor you would use re-chargable batteries, so they should last a few years. Flying would be limited to a few minutes, 10-15 perhaps (depending on how many cells, type of motor etc.).
Interesting that you should bring this up as I have been thinking about getting back into it here.
In NZ I did a fair bit of ‘Slope Soaring’ with cheap sail planes (gliders) and really enjoyed it. Basically a ‘Slope Soarer’ is a Foam based Glider (EPP foam, plasticky version of polystyrene) that uses a fairly cheap 2 channel RC unit and servos.
The concept is to find a steep hill, structure or cliff that has an oncoming wind. The wind tends to ride up and over the hill or cliff at an upwards angle, meaning it is possible to launch a RC glider into it and maintain height. You see Seagulls doing it all the time at sand dunes without flapping their wings.
It really is an awesome way of RC flying because it is so quiet and graceful.
I bought mine in self-build kits similar to this: foamworks.co.nz/product_info … ucts_id=28
(not the price is NZD not USD, so about $3000NT)
And a cheap 2 channel Radio unit with servers. (around $2000+NT)
The advantages of these things is they are really durable regarding crashes. I lost count of the horrendous crashes I had when learning, but usually it was ok, or nothing a bit of tape wouldn’t fix on the spot.
Another advantage is the battery life. Because they have no motor, the only batter consumption is the servos, so you easily get several hours flying on one set of AAs or similar. So running costs are cheap.
The main disadvantage is that you need a hill with the right sort of wind, so you can’t just go down to the local park to do it. In Taiwan it would mean driving or scootering.
If that is not an issue, then you might want to have a think about that option anyway.
I have been flying gliders back home, too. Ours were typically made from a composite material (body) and wood (wings), involving some time for construction / assembly etc. which was all part of the fun.
Due to the lack of hills in my area we used to pull them up with a winch, giving a flying time between 5 seconds (immediate crash) and several minutes. Since we were a club we would hold competitions every now and then, getting points for the longest flight (max. 3 minutes) and being close to the marked landing area. Hours searching for the planes in the near-by forest didn’t count though.
That said I am more into models like boats and trucks, with added functions (light & sound etc.) but all my stuff is back home.
Still dreaming of getting a helicopter one day …
in the right conditions, I had some foam gliders flying for maybe 3 hrs, and at over 1000+ ft straight up! (but at that altitude it gets hard to see which way it is up)
No launch required apart from a shove into the breeze.
I’d love to give it a go here if I can find a decent cliff nearby that has a constant breeze. Also be interesting with the warmer temps here in summer.
Sure beats flying a kite!
Good brand to look at is Thunder Tiger, manufactured here in Taiwan, so parts easily available and cheap.
As far as a plane, I learned to fly using the Thunder Tiger Sport. It is a very stable underwing plane. The best thing is that being underwing it is also very manouverable, so as long as you don’t crash you can progress quite far and have a lot of fun. It is gas powered so most flights would last 10~15mins, a refill and you are off again.
If you go to one of the model shops you can get them offer a kit with everything you need to get started, they will build it, and even provide lessons. If i remember correctly it cost about NT$10K all up including a 6 ch Futaba radio (enough for a copter later).
As Rascal said its not so much the breaking down but rather the crashing you gotta worry about. A crash usually means new engine, plane, receiver & servos…