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Old 05-20-2004, 12:17 PM   #1
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What do I buy to start

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I have never flown a plane before and would like to try it out. I don't want the expense of a glow plug plane right now and have been looking at Hobby Zone's Commander. I was speaking with a R/C pilot who told me electric planes will not help me when I switch to gas. Is this true? What do people think of the Commander as a first plane? Are they worth the little money they charge or are they a "toy"? Thank you for your help
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Old 05-20-2004, 12:33 PM   #2
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I have no experience with the Commander but I find the blanket statement about electric planes to be very uninformed. My first RC aircraft was neither electric or gas, it was a sailplane (glider) and was, in my opinion, the best trainer I could have chosen.

I suggest you find a club near you, many clubs will have a training program and even equipment they will let you try.

If I can be of any further help, feel free to contact me.

MAAC# 12719
Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere - (If it ain't broke, don't fix it).
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Old 05-20-2004, 01:42 PM   #3
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I wasn't aware it was a rule that you had to switch to gas! If you want to eventually fly with glow power though there would be a certain advantage moneywise to starting in that direction.

As Jim says, sometimes your first and best plane isn't your average .40 size glow trainer. I started with an Electra (electric powered glider) in '91 and to this day I think it was the aircraft that I got the most benefit from. I certainly had the most fun with it.

What you will find though is this aircraft comes with a "non-standard" radio and will require you to replace more equipment as you progress. It is also only suitable for light winds.

The best electric trainer I have ever seen (perhaps the best trainer, period) is an LT-25 converted to electric. It would be MUCH better than the Commander for many reasons, but, alas, it would cost more too.

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Old 05-20-2004, 10:40 PM   #4
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A good bank for the buck as trainer

A quick to assemble GWS Beaver or GWS FUll fueselage Pico Stick would get in the air a slower easy to handle pace (Albeit in light to now winds) The GWS flight pac and Transmitter give you REAL equipment to move on to other smaller Electric planes, or Glow for that matter. The ACE Simple series adapt well to both types of Power, I've just made my formerly Glow powered Ace Simple series P51 (Norvel .061) into an Electric test bed for my collection of smaller brushless and brushed motors. Its an easy to fly warbird that gives you some experience at the building aspect of the hobby. It is a very easy build, that covers the fundamental area's of plane construction. Its a good second or third plane.
Definately join a local club, listen to what others say, filter out the stuff that you don't think will apply to your situation due to economics or tastes and take the rest to heart for the sake of safety and fun!

We're all here to help.

Salutations from the Pacific North WET!

S.P.A.D.s, Fibreglas & Balsa EDF's, Foamies, Brushless powered and nitro balsa planes, they're all in my hanger, just don't explain what it all means to the mrs, eh?
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Old 05-20-2004, 11:28 PM   #5
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I agree....

Go with the Beaver...

If you want all the info you could ever ask for on the GWS Beaver...

Click Here...

Canada's Latest Beaver I


Canada's Latest Beaver II


Canada's Latest Beaver III


I started these threads and there's three linking chapters and over hundred pages of info and critical modifications
Speed is Life, Altitude is Insurance...
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Old 05-21-2004, 09:09 AM   #6
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For my two cents.

Get something that will take some abuse. A foamy or GWS light stick.

If your teaching yourself to fly it's gunna crash. So don't build something fancy for the first one.

The light stick is not a bad deal. It can be flown rudder and elevator. A good starting point. Then add ailerons after.

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Old 05-21-2004, 09:16 PM   #7
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My vote is the Beaver. My buddy has over 400 flights on his, it has survived his training errors, been dug out of trees, flying inverted, combat(!), all the worst-possible scenarios. Best of all, replacement parts are usually readily available.

As far as converting to glow is concerned, the only problem is getting used to the smell, the row, the pile of equipment, the travel, the expense, etc, other than that, the conversion is quite simple...

Also, try flying slimer in a gymnasium in the winter, something that the Beaver/J3/Pico etc will do handily

If we knew where you are, we could probably make recommendations even better suited to your surroundings...
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:55 PM   #8
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I have personal experience with the Hobbyzone Commander. I have been flying for 20 years. I started when I was 11 and I now have a number of different aircraft in my hanger. My first exposure to model airplanes was when I was 3 years old and my father brought home a completely built and ready to fly Sig Kadet. He bought it from a guy at his work that also never flew the plane. I was hooked, however my father never joined a club and never flew the plane for fear of destroying it. I was lucky enough to find a pilot at a hobby show when I was 11 that said he would teach my to fly using his equipment until I could afford some of my own. The rest is history.

Three weeks ago my father bought a Firebird Commander without my knowledge. He has never flown an aircraft before, ever. He took this thing out of the box and charged the battery, went to a local farmers field and asked permission to fly. Permission was granted and he has been flying this plane without any instruction except for what the manual told him for a little over 3 weeks. He finally got it stuck about 100' up a tree and could not get it down. Thats when I found out about this plane. We fished it out of the tree after 5 days of scattered showers and charged the battery. He flew this plane for the first time in front of me and I was amazed. This plane will teach a brand new person how to fly without instruction. You will crash, most definitely. But the plane is capable of quite a bit of abuse and still keep working.

Yes there are draw backs such as the radio is not transferrable and you will not have 3 channel control.. But if you only fly this plane in LIGHT BREEZES you will be successful.

If you are going to join a model flying club and have the money to buy a glow powered trainer and can commit to completing the flight school offered at the club then that is the better way to go, but if you can't do those things then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Commander.

A couple of suggestions:

Don't fly where you will attract children or kids, they create more stress then a new pilot needs to deal with

Don't fly nears trees, poles, houses, all these objects have strange magnetic properties for model aircraft...lol

There are probably lots of other suggestions but this post is already long enough.

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Old 05-22-2004, 02:58 PM   #9
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Thank you to all for your help. I am looking into a Beaver to start off just so I can get the feel of the build. I think I am also going to try out a commander to start just to make sure I want to spend the cash on the rest of the needed items. All of you have been very informative and helpful. Thank you!!
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Old 05-23-2004, 02:05 AM   #10
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I have a Beaver and think it's great...

You may want to take a look at this as well:


MAAC 71580
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