Few 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 Nicd.
    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 expensive ESC.
    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 to learn.

    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 to the 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.

  • Receiver ?
    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 it.
    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.

  • Charger ?
    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


  • Radio ?
    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 options
    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 equipment

    • 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.

    • Cutter

    • Scissors

    • 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