It’s a lot easier to fly RC planes now than it used to be. There’s been a revolution, thanks to the miniaturization and lower cost of tiny electronics and rechargeable batteries. These days you can buy a ready-to-fly plane, charge the battery, and be in the air within an hour. And that’s part of the problem. Now it’s so easy to get into the air, you can get there long before you’re ready.
No matter how smart they are, thousands of people every year jump into the RC plane hobby, and many repeat the same mistakes. The most common mistakes are:
Buying the wrong plane. Lots of folks get into the RC plane hobby by buying a Porsche when they should have bought a Chevy. You’ve got to buy a plane that matches your skill level – one that can fly slowly until you’ve learned to control the plane. You need a durable plane that can withstand several hard landings without cracking into pieces. Luckily, many of the inexpensive planes I’ll recommend in this book are also the most durable.
Wasting money on the wrong accessories, and not getting the right accessories. New hobbyists face a bewildering array of parts and accessories. For example, do you need extra batteries? What kind of batteries? Do you need a battery charger? Which one? What kind of transmitter do you need? Can you use your existing transmitter with your future planes?
Being impatient. In my first three months in the RC plane hobby, I lost and crashed more than a dozen planes, simply because I wasn’t properly prepared and didn’t exercise patience—like trying to fly during bad weather. I will show you how to prepare yourself for the best chance at success.
Having no plan for takeoffs, flying, and landing before you leave home. We’ll go over the basics of piloting a model plane, and how to do it safely while having fun. Don’t wait until you have a plane in the air before you start learning. Start now. I’ll give simple instructions on how to take off, fly and land while keeping your risks of accident and injury as low as possible.
Through trial and error, I’ve discovered which planes are the best for novice RC pilots. There are dozens of choices, but relatively few have earned a place in this book. I’ve purchased and flown all of the planes mentioned here (along with other planes that didn’t make it into this book). My recommendations are based solely on how the planes perform, the quality of the materials, and the manufacturer’s customer support.