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Basic Equipment Investments for the Beginning RC Pilot

Posted by Motion RC on |

  • Category: Beginner Help
  • As you grow in this hobby, you'll likely learn quickly that aircraft themselves come and go. The equipment RC pilots use to operate those aircraft, however, are investments in the hobby that can stay with you for years. Accordingly, here is a brief list of basic equipment we recommend to get started. Consider these expenditures an investment in the hobby, so it is wise to purchase the best quality and most versatile equipment up front, to maximize their service life and value to your flying experience over the long run.

    1) Radio Transmitter - New pilots often purchase an RTF (Ready-To-Fly) bundle which includes a basic radio to get them started with that specific beginner plane. Once a pilot decides to move forward in the hobby, his/her first purchase is usually a proper computer radio transmitter. Modern computer radios can store many different models in their memory, from 20-250+ depending on the radio. This allows pilots to grow their aircraft fleet to 5, 10, 20, or more aircraft, and still use only one radio to control them all. Don't be the person at your flying field with ten different aircraft and ten different radios!

    Beyond their ability to control multiple aircraft, computer radios also expand the features available to pilots. Setting a flight timer, programming different control throws ("Rates") or control sensitivity ("Expo"), or setting up different wing types like Delta wings or flaperons or canards, are just a handful of the features accessible to pilots with a modern computer radio.

    MotionRC carries the top brands in the RC business which are the most suitable for the class of aircraft we sell. Futaba, Spektrum, Hitec, and Tactic are among the world's most respected, utilized, and supported radio transmitter brands. Generally, with the exception of using a device called AnyLink in specific situations, most brands of radio are only compatible with their same brand of receiver. So think of the radio/receiver as a combo. The choice of which brand to go with is a significant choice, because once you choose a brand, you will likely never change to another brand. 

    A helpful tip when deciding which brand of radio/receiver to choose for your RC hobby experience is to look at what other pilots at your local flying field are using. If your friends are flying a Spektrum radio and enjoy it, for example, then it would be advised that you consider a Spektrum radio because your friends will be able to help you navigate its menus more easily. This is important because learning how to operate all of a radio's functions can be one of the most time consuming tasks in this hobby, and menu navigation is specific to each brand/model.

    2) Charger --A good charger can last for years. Try to purchase a computerized "smart" charger with an LCD screen and programmable buttons. These chargers can be programmed to charge 2s batteries up to 6s, and from 100mAh up to 6,000mAh. Aside from little 1s batteries, these chargers can literally charge any battery we sell, for any aircraft. 

    3) Charging Equipment -- A Lipo-Safe charging bag is highly, highly recommended. In fact we consider it essential for every RC user, charging any RC battery, ever. Lipo-Safe charging bags are made of glass fibers and other materials, which help to dramatically suppress flames in the event your battery catches fire during an improper charge cycle. These bags cost $15-$20, and can literally prevent your house from burning down.

    4) Tool box -- While most aircraft arrive with a small tool set necessary to complete the aircraft's construction, it is always helpful to gradually amass a set of tools to help maintain and service your RC possessions. Most aircraft are produced in Asia, so a metric allen wrench set in 1.5mm-5mm sizes is an indispensable asset. For example, a 1.5mm allen wrench can be used to service retracts in all major brands sold here at MotionRC, from Freewing and FMS to Dynam and Parkzone. Larger planes use 2.5mm allen screws also. As your RC fleet grows, you'll notice patterns of which tools are used most often, and earn their place among the tool box you carry to the field at all times.

    5) Glues and Epoxies --See our Glues and Epoxies section to identify your preferred choice of adhesive. Different adhesives are better suited to different tasks.

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