More Advanced Models give us choices
Grateful for ARF and RTF models, we also have choices of different construction methods. Some trainer and sport flying models are made from durable molded foam. More advanced airplanes usually have built-up construction using balsa wood and plywood materials. Some models have lightweight fiberglass cowlings and wheel pants, giving the model great looks.
- You will find that the new foam airplanes are probably the easiest models to assemble and they can take a beating from inadvertent mishaps. There are scale models with realistic finishes that make them good for people that want a realistic model but just don’t have the time to build one. They look great and fly with excellent performance.
- Intermediate and advanced pilots will be looking for a conventional balsa and plywood built-up ARF model. These models offer performance capabilities to challenge everyone—lightweight and higher performance. Most of these models are built the way you would want to build a model if you had the time and workspace. We are fortunate to have so many choices of ARF built-up models and it keeps getting better (or is that worse!) as more new airplanes are released.
Now this is a big problem for almost everyone. How much time do you have to work on getting a new airplane ready to fly? It used to take weeks to get a model finished. Now some are ready to fly right out of the box, some require a short assembly process and some scale models offer the opportunity for you to customize the model by adding features or trim and spending as much time as you want finishing the assembly.
- The Ready-To-Fly (RTF) models really take very little time, skills, or effort and get you to the flying field very quickly. This gives you a chance to have a model flying this weekend or even sooner. These models also have spare parts available in case you need them. The quality of some of these models is amazing and flight performance is just as surprising. As a rule of thumb, the assembly will be about 1 hour or less. Some RTF models are defined as PNP or Plug-N-Play airplanes. A PNP model has the convenience of a ready-to-fly, but the customer will have to supply his own receiver and transmitter, everything else is in the model. These airplanes can be ready to fly at the field the next morning.
- More accomplished modelers will probably select an Almost-Ready-to-Fly model because of the extremely nice features and construction they offer. Most of them will only take a little more effort on the workbench than a typical RTF. There are more advanced ARF models which will offer more performance potential than RTF models Really, these ARF models are beautiful and everyone will be amazed at your latest creation if you bring it to a club meeting. Assembly can take from 2 hours to about 20 hours, depending on the model, so you can pretty well find a model that fits the amount of building time you have available.