If you ask a hundred RC flyers what’s the best model to start with, you’ll probably get a hundred different answers. However, if you ask what ‘type’ of model you should start with, they’ll all say one thing; a basic high-wing model with dihedral… much like the one below.
These trainer models are designed to make learning to fly as easy as possible and , regardless of power type (i.e., electric or IC), they have the same basic characteristics which help you in your early days of RC flying.
The most obvious of these characteristics are the high wing design and noticeable dihedral, which is the term that refers to the upward angle of the wing panels when viewed from the front.
This high wing and dihedral configuration gives a trainer airplane a lot of natural stability which generally results in very forgiving flight characteristics – exactly what you need when learning to fly RC airplanes!
However, one decision you need to make before you buy your first model is, ‘electric’ or ‘IC‘ (internal combustion) power. Here at LAM, we mostly fly electric with a few flying IC, whereas at some othe clubs it may be the other way round. To help make your decision, have a word with our training officers; go to your local model shop for their advice, or here’s a good article you may want to read https://www.rc-airplane-world.com/gas-vs-electric-rc-flying.html.
Anyway, once you’ve decided on which type of power to go for, the next thing to look for is your first model… and here’s where it gets really interesting!
There are balsa kits that you build yourself from a load of bits (great for many, but it might take you some months of building before you get into the air), then there’s Ready to Fly (RTF) where, in one box, there’s everything you need to get into the air, including a transmitter. Then there’s Almost Ready to FLY (ARTF or ARF) which is almost like the one before, but you need your own transmitter and receiver… and there’s a few more besides. Over the last decade or two, the introduction of RTF and ARTF has revolutionised RC flying by making it possible to buy a big box in the morning and going flying in the afternoon!
Anyway, at the risk of being repetitive, we’ll say again… “always ask advice from your local model shop or your club before parting with any of your hard-earned cash”.