tips about other parts needed for a plane
Since this article is focused on selecting a 1st
plane, we won't dig into each of these sections, but just provide general
points as you will be
facing them, while purchasing your first plane.
Lipo, Nimh or Nicd ?
Lipoly are much lighter than Nimh which are lighter than Nicd
Lipoly batteries are without any doubt, a revolution. Their
downside is that they cost more than Nimh or Nicd, and require special
knowledge and attention for uses and charges. It is also said that they
handle less well, crashes, compared to the other 2.
Now, the Nimh batteries do offer for a little extra money, less weight than
Nicd. They also have advantages like no memory problems like you'll find on
Recommendation: Get Nimh Batteries, and actually, and if possible, 2
sets of batteries as while flying 1, you could recharge the second one.
Brushed or Brushless ?
You will crash your plane. That is a given for anyone starting
into the hobby (and not starting...).
A brushed motor is pretty cheap, can be controlled by a relatively cheap
speed controller. It won't be optimized, and many of the energy will be lost
in various manners and a brushed motor has a limited lifetime depending on
how you use or abuse it. A Brushless motor is expensive, compared to
brushed, but more powerful for the same size. It is more efficient, should
work a lifetime (a little less, maybe...) but requires a special, and more
Recommendation: Unless money is really not an issue for you, get a
brushed motor. For most initial planes, they deliver more than enough power needed
ESC BEC or ESC OPTO ?
ESC BEC means that the ESC is the motor controller and the BEC is
the Servo/Receiver alimentation source, all in 1 piece of hardware and 1 single battery for
all. An OPTO version means that you need an extra battery to provide energy
servos and receiver.
Recommendation: OPTO will be necessary later, maybe, but
to start, ESC BEC is the choice as simpler to use. If you get a plane that
the seller tells you, you must use an ESC OPTO, that is not a good sign that
the plane is intended for a beginner. I would even recommend to not purchase
the plane then.
Standard servos or smaller ones ?
Servos react according to your radio inputs, in order to move the
surfaces they control. So if a Servo is not strong enough to move a surface,
while flying, you will have serious trouble to fly the plane.
Still, lighter is in general better. Standard servos maybe look better as it may
feel that bigger is stronger. Sometimes true but in cases of our Electric
planes, most smaller servos deliver more than enough power to control what
is needed. Just make sure you select adapted servos, with enough strength,
for your plane. Just don't over do, as it will be on the expense of weight
and size and select a servo, able to handle small crashes as well.
One of the sensitive device in the Electric Plane: this device
received, decodes and re-assign the information send by the Transmitter to
the plane servos, and motor.
FM or AM, Dual conversion or single one ? FM delivers longer
control range, than AM. Dual conversion works on the signal twice to filter
Recommendation: Get a FM receiver, and it does not matter if it is
dual or single conversion. What matters is how well the signal is treated.
Some single conversion receivers are at least as good as Dual Conversion receivers.
You could decide to purchase only what you need to charge the
batteries, for the plane you chose. It will work. It is usually a charger
that you can plug on your car battery, and has a peak detection system for
the number of batteries you plan to use.
Recommendation: Buy a charger that will either serve you well, if you
decide to remain in the hobby or that you will be able to sell easily to
other hobbyist, if you decide to quit. What is this beast ? Something that
can accept up to 8 cells, with automatic peak detection and up to 3 or 5 Amp
charge would be a good choice
FM or AM, computerized or not ?
We won't be getting into much details here as it would be a complete article
by itself. FM has a longer control range and computerized offer wider
Recommendation: Get a cheap FM Radio. AM is also harder to resell. No
need for a computer radio initially. You only have 1 plane, so just go for a
good, cheap, reliable 1st radio. Just make sure it has enough channels for
the model you intend to fly. If you decide to remain in the hobby, you'll
have plenty of time to decide which advanced radio you'll need.
Minimum tools to buy, to facilitate your
successful entry into the hobby
It is scary to hear what some people bought, when they start in
the hobby, and this is due mainly to few bad sellers but mainly due to
people who feel safer by purchasing more than needed, in the case if .... (I
know, I was like that)
With time, you discover how much money was wasted, when you understand
better how things work.
Get the glue needed for your first model only
Set of 3 to 4 screwdrivers max.
Soldering iron (40 W is good enough) and related
Plugs to connect the components. So many different plugs
around. I recommend the ULTRA DEAN or SERMOS. 3 males and 3 females
should get you going for your first plane then 1 more female for each
battery you plan to get. If your plane All Up Weight is below 700gr
(24.7 Oz), these plugs will be a little too big and heavy for your
plane, so you may look in some alternatives or maybe connect the ESC to
the Motor, without plugs (soldered) and only use these plugs between the
battery and ESC. Most important, get plugs that can handle the Current
you intend to have. Deans and Sermos will take anything.
Transparent Hobby Tape for little surfaces, and if you
intend to get a big plane, then a wider one as well, to eventually
protect the bottom of the fuselage, if there is no landing gear.
That should do it, unless your model has specific
requirements, which will then be written in the manual.
What is needed to solder