The choice and quality radio controlled aircraft has increased steadily over the last 10 years. The days of ‘balsa bashing’, with the array of Almost Ready To Fly (ARTF) models, are now attributed to the dedicated few.
Model helicopters have also grown in popularity recently, possibly attributed to the development of gyros to make them more user friendly.
Whatever your decided route into the hobby be sure to seek advice from your local model shop, here in Teesside we have Stockton Modeller, or approach your local club for advice.
Today’s ARTF kits are relatively simple to construct but a newcomer to the sport should resist the temptation to leap in and buy that gorgeous looking Airstar RisingSpitfire or that highly decorated aerobatic Extra. These models have the flying characteristics of their full size counterparts, the Spitfire and the Extra need to be powerful and agile but to do this they need to be inherently unstable in flight.
The recommended route for those starting out in RC is to choose a model, whether it be plane or helicopter, which is designed as a trainer. For planes this is usually an aircraft with the main wing above the fuselage, this means that the majority of the weight is under the wing making it more stable.
There are many manufacturers of ARTF aircraft and helicopters who produce specific ‘Trainers’.
The are some who are ‘naturals’ and can pick up the sport quickly but whatever your ability there should be a gradual progression towards that ‘warbird’ or ‘aerobat’.
Radio equipment has also made leaps and bounds over the years. When considering your purchase please make sure the equipment is legal in the UK. The legislation manly relates to the frequency transmitted by the equipment but you should also check that the equipment is CE approved, (this may not apply to some imported equipment).
There are two frequencies for aircraft use 35mhz and 2.4Ghz (2.4Ghz is in use for all types of RC vehicles but the lower 35mhz frequency is for aircraft use only). Anything other than these frequencies should not be used for model aircraft.
The radio equipment consists of a Transmitter (TX) a receiver (RX) and servos and separate batteries to power both the TX and the RX and Servos.
The Receiver (RX) is the bit that sits in the model and receives the signals from the TX. RX’s again are produced in many different forms depending on your needs and budget.
The servos are the motorised gadgets that are sent signals from the receiver and work the flying surfaces of the plane or helicopter. Again there are many and varied to choose from; micro, mini, standard, digital be sure to research and use correct servo for your chosen application.
The above is intended to give the beginner some insight of the basics of the hobby the key to being successful is to be careful over the choice of equipment and ask advice.
If you are local to our Club please see the ‘Training’ page, come along and have a go before you splash out