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Very novice/newbie!

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  • Very novice/newbie!

    Last year I went to an RC airshow/competition in Muncie, Indiana. I was given a chance to fly an aircraft, definitely for newbies. "You can't crash it" "Impossible to crash", and they were right, but didn't take into account a dying battery. The plane would not go out of a defined flight box, including altitude. They told me it went off of GPS signals? Nice, easy to fly, high wing model. No 'buddy' radio like what was used last time I was around RC, 40 years ago. Does anyone know what I'm babbling on about? The pilots were telling me that those trainers weren't too expensive, but I've been out of the loop so long, that I don't know the terminology on what to look for or ask. Help!

  • #2
    Welcome to Hobby Squawk RonH. And welcome back to the hobby!

    As you've noticed, the state of our hobby has changed a great deal since you flew last. Most notably are the advances with the radio technology and the high level of completion that you can buy a plane now. We no longer have to spend months building a fragile aircraft only to have a sketchy radio signal return it to a kit like state.

    The aircraft you mentioned is most likely one of the trainer planes made by Horizon Hobby like the one in the link below. The ones with GPS use SAFE+ technology. SAFE+ is useful for keeping the aircraft in a more limited space and returning it close to it's take off point. The aircraft GPS system requires several steps to calibrate it to the flying site, but after that it's fairly straight forward.

    There are other levels of SAFE technology, offered by Horizon Hobby, that doesn't use GPS. It does, like the SAFE+, limit the control responses on the aircraft to reduced bank angles, preventing the tendency to overcontrol. SAFE Select does much the same as the others, but gives the pilot the ability to turn the features on and off from the transmitter as his or her skills develope.

    One of the most popular trainer aircraft using SAFE is the Apprentice S. It is a good sized, duarble aircraft with tricycle landing gear for more positive ground handling.

    The various levels of SAFE techology certainly help the new or returning RC pilot build skills and confidence. They don't eliminate the possibility of crashing, but do significantly reduce the likelyhood. All of the SAFE equiped aircraft will bind or link to a Spektrum brand air transmitter.

    Having said that, it is still highly recommended that a new or returning pilot get with a local club or an experienced RC pilot for help. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes check the aircraft over and make sure everything is set up and operating correctly. Maybe they will even take it up for the first flight to get it trimmed out and ready for you. You might even make a new friend. After all that's one of the great things about our hobby too.

    Feel free to ask questions here as well. The Hobby Squawk community has some of the most knowledgable and helpful folks you'll find anywhere.
    Whether you've never flown RC before or you got your first taste of flying with a multi-rotor drone, the Carbon Cub S+ is the most versatile, capable and easiest to fly RC airplane yet because it's equipped with SAFE Plus GPS-enabled drone technology.


    • #3
      RonH Welcome to Hobby Squawk, RonH! Twowingtj makes some really great points. I recommend finding an RC club nearby, and of course there is a wide variety of opinions and experiences that the members here can share. Enjoy!


      • #4
        Originally posted by RonH View Post
        RH, A very hearty Welcome to Hobby Squawk! There will be much help here, Sir. Heed the advice and remember there are no bad questions, especially when beginning. Glad you're aboard. Best, LB
        Captain: Got any ideas?
        F/O: Actually not.
        — Captain Chesley B 'Sully' Sullenberger III and F/O Jeff Skiles—


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies, advice and warm welcomes! I've got more than a RC club here, the Academy of Model Aeronautics is located here, along with the Model Aviation Museum. The have several airfields on 100's of acres. What I needed (and you gave), was the name of the technology that was used for my flight. My most RC experience came from helping a shipmate with his plane(s) in the Phillipeans (try locating a downed aircraft in elephant grass can't see someone walking 3' from you), and being the ground crew the day before I left Japan at the end of May, 1975. So yes, technology has come a long way, and the prices have really dropped. Proportional radios were just coming out. Again, thanks!


          • #6
            RonH, you are quite fortunate to be located near AMA HQ, with their multiple sites and open flying area. That will be a great place to learn and hone your flying skills.

            Once you've developed your flying abilities, what type or model of RC aircraft would you eventually like to be flying?


            • #7
              Twowingtj, that is so far in the future, I've got no idea. I know what would be neat, a pipe dream really, but it would have to wait until I hit the lottery as I am retired.