What do I need?

You will need an aircraft, radio, battery charger, spare batteries, and a desire to have fun.

There are many types of aircraft that range from  Ready-To-Fly (RTF) packages that include the assembled plane, radio and charger to kits that consists of nothing but pieces of wood and other components you have to assembled. You also need to decide whether to start with an airplane or a helicopter.

Regardless if you build if yourself or purchase an RTF, you will want to start with a “trainer aircraft”. These are called trainers because they are inherently easier to fly than the more advanced aircraft. Without going into depth, we will simply say they are easier to fly because their design details make them more stable and forgiving. These planes will be labeled as trainers either on the box or in the product description. An online search for RC TRAINERS will yield a plethora of aircraft to choose from.

That said, the most common trainer over the last few years that we have been recommending is the E-flite Apprentice RTF. It comes with a radio transmitter and one battery. The plane has gyroscopic technology that helps you fly it. The radio that comes with this package is a Spektrum  DXe. This radio can only store parameters for one airplane at a time. If you are sure you will continue in the hobby and acquire additional planes, you may consider purchasing the plane without the radio and investing a little more money in a radio that will store the programming parameters for multiple airplanes. Remember however that the Apprentice has a radio receiver in it that is manufactured by Spectrum. That means you will need to purchase a Spectrum radio as well.

We do recommend you have at least two batteries since you will want to make multiple flights during the course of a training session. Our club does have solar/battery power that will enable you to charge batteries at the field.

If you do decide to purchase something other than the recommended trainer, you are welcome to contact one of our trainers to ask questions such as plane/radio compatibility, electric versus gas and glow fuel, what extra equipment would be needed for gas, etc.

Beware of the inexpensive small planes sold to fly in your backyard. The smaller the plane, the harder it is to fly. Especially in the wind that is typical in our area. Also, the radios are often unequipped for attaching to a “buddy box” (as described in our overview section).

Helicopters are more difficult to fly and present difficulties when using a buddy box. That said, we do have members who can help you if you want to start with one.

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