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RC Plane
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Posted 10/10/2022 10:27 (#9880624 - in reply to #9878579)
Subject: RE: RC Plane

Middlesex County, Ontario
I was kind of into RC planes for a year or two maybe 8 years ago. What I was actually into was ardupilot, an open source arduino type board that can use GPS and gyros to turn anything RC into an autonomous drone, and I was using that board on planes. Before that I was into RC cars. I've been out of RC for 8 years or so and more into hobby robotics which uses a lot of the same hardware, so I've been somewhat informed on the current state of technology.

I was never a very accomplished pilot, but I did manage to fly enough to launch them and land them and fly them around in big circles while tuning the ardupilot boards. Just basic beginner model planes.

For your first plane you'll want to buy a foam trainer plane. Foam planes are fairly robust and are easy to tape/glue. Trainer planes are made to be beginner friendly. I don't know what your local rc hobby store scene is like, but Hobbyking and Horizon hobby are popular online retailers. I liked the Bixler from hobbyking.

You'll see different planes have different amounts of "channels." Channels are the amount of separate control circuits on the plane. One channel might be throttle, another channel rudder, another channel elevator, etc. The very most basic and cheapest plane might only have 2 channels. Really beginner friendly planes will have 3 channels. If you've played some video games you'll probably be able to fly a 3 channel plane right out of the box and you'll quickly grow bored of it. I would recommend getting a 4 channel plane, which will have aileron control. Most 4 channel trainer planes are able to fly with the ailerons disabled if you want to learn in steps.

When you look for trainer planes you'll see that for the most part they fall into 2 categories. Some look like a Cub, a high wing and a propeller at the forward tip, and others look like a glider with a rearward facing propeller behind the cabin. The high wings are really good at levelling out when you let go of the control sticks. The glider type don't really get propeller damage when you have poor landings (they'll still level out due to the bent wingtips, just not as well). Either is fine. I liked the glider type without wheels, just land in grass on the belly, the belly will have a plastic pop bottle skid plate or tape.

You'll see that many trainer planes come with a radio and battery and charger included. The charger and radio will be low quality and you'll want to replace them eventually. I have a good radio and a good charger, a 3S 2200 lipo battery pack will fit many different planes. You'll want at least a 6 channel radio, and you'll want a charger that can charge up to 6s lipo and balance them.

I've never flown in a simulator (unless you count grand theft auto video games). Before you fly, make sure the plane is balanced as best as you can. Once you get the plane in the air for the first time, focus on getting the plane high up in the air and keeping it high up. You will lose altitude every mistake that you make. You want to keep that plane at least 2 mistakes high. Don't worry about losing the plane, worry about keeping it high up. Once you get the plane 2 mistakes high, then you can focus on trimming the controller so that the plane flies straight and level. That same advice is all over the internet, but it took me a long time to overcome the fear of flying high and possibly losing the plane.

Foam planes keep flying until they get heavy from all the glue and tape. At some point you get a new air frame and transfer over all your electronics, or you buy a new plane and keep the electronics as spares.

I looked on hobbyking, Canadian prices
$188 FrSky Taranis radio (a very nice radio)
$30 FrSky compatible rc receiver (you'll want one per plane)
$130 Bixler 1.1 RTF (with all servos, ESC, motor, a basic starter plane that I have used and liked. It is on the very inexpensive side)
$4 replacement wing spar
$4 replacement propeller
$22 3S 2200mah 30C lipo (will want a couple probably)
$55 2s-6s lipo balancing charger with 12v input
$455 CAD, $330 USD
Throw in another $50 for some spare servos and other random accessories and you'd have a decent start pack.

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