Special Edition Airplane Buying Guide Update 2008

5/24/2007 by Jim Booker

Copyright:© 2007 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

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Page 1: About the RC Pilot
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Jim Booker and the planes he reviews in this Buying Guide E-flite's J-3 Cub

There are so many exciting new ARF and RTF models available these days that an RC flyer will have his head spinning trying figure out which one is going to be the best project for him. Our guide is going to help you to find an airplane that is best for you if you are in this situation.

All the new models available are well designed, nicely built and attractive. They will present you with great performance and help you build your skill level while you grow in this great hobby. Following are some factors for you to consider when picking out that next model you want to fly. There are also some helpful charts to help compare model features.

RC Flying is Great Fun

Videography by: Daniel Maupin

What kind of model?

There are many different models available as well as new models becoming available constantly. Almost Ready to Fly (ARF) and Ready To Fly (RTF) models are available as trainers, sport, aerobatic, 3D and of course Scale models. The new airplanes give you the chance to show up at your flying field with models that other people have never seen or always wanted to build. It seems any new RC airplane coming to the flying field catches everyone’s attention and creates even more fun.

  • The basic airplanes that appeal to a great majority of people are the advanced trainers or Sunday sport flying planes that are just fun-to-fly models. Generally they don’t require advanced skills to build or fly. Basic 4-channel radios are all it takes to fly these airplanes, making them good choices.
  • Then there are more advanced Aerobatic or high-powered 3D models for intermediate or advanced pilots, requiring more flying experience than typical sport-type models. These airplanes are a little more involved in terms of construction features and require radios with more programmable features. As your skills advance, you will find more interest in models of this type. They present the performance potential to challenge your abilities and improve your skills every time you go out to the flying field.
  • If your interests are along the lines of Scale or realistic-looking airplanes, such as a J-3 Cub or P-47 Warbird, you are going to find you are not alone. It seems everyone wants to build a model of a P-51 Mustang with retracts and flaps just like the real one has. It is true these models may require more building skills, but they offer the modeler a chance to add realistic details such as retractable landing gear or cockpit interior features. This really adds up to fun when you fly the model in front of all your friends.

Experience Level

Hangar 9's SpitfireRealistically some of us may not be ready for a Hangar 9 Spitfire, as our experience level just is not there yet. It takes some time to gain the flying skills needed to handle these models that have higher flight speeds and performance capabilities. If you make an assessment that you are not ready for an advanced airplane, there are similar models that are easier to fly, such as the ParkZone Spitfire or E-flite J-3 Cub 25, that give you the excitement of a scale model but also give you a plane you can be assured of flying without problems.

Hangar 9's Hellcat
Hangar 9's Funtana X 100
  • Beginner and Sport flyers make up a majority of the models that casual RC enthusiasts are having fun with at flying fields and parks everywhere. Flying these models will teach you almost all the things you need to learn about RC airplanes and provide a path to more advanced flying models.
  • As you gain skill and begin looking at higher performance models in the Intermediate category, your choices will become broader. You will find that once you have these models under control you can fly just about anything and the sky becomes the limit. If anything, your problem becomes “too many airplanes to choose from!” You might start finding yourself running off to the flying field after work because you are having so much fun with RC.
  • If you are an Advanced pilot with the skills to fly any model, then your choice of airplanes will be a bit different. Quality, competition performance and Aerobatic capability of the model become important to your selection.
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