RC flying thread

I also had a thread on EF for RC planes, if anyone is interested in flying or getting into the hobby, I’m more than happy to help out.

I’ve been flying RC planes and helicopters since I was 15 and used to fly frequently in Baselland, amassing quite a collection of trainers, stunt planes and gliders.

Sold everything a few years ago since I didn’t have the space or time, but now I’m looking to start over. I prefer to fly electric planes since glow fuel is messy and the engines noisy and somewhat temperamental.

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I was just in an e-shop getting replacement parts for a brushless 1:10 that I was too excited with and now needs said parts :slight_smile:

I was always interested in flight as well, but never really tried it - any good suggestions for starter RTF trainers to get me going?

I would recommend the Eflite Apprentice without hesitation. It’s designed from the ground up to get you from beginner to advance, and even I had one in my hangar (the model next to the car) despite being fairly proficient. The latest STS version even has a gps option to prevent fly aways or keep the plane in a holding pattern if you get overwhelmed.

You can get a ready to fly kit with radio transmitter for about CHF 350 but I would personally just buy the plane and a separate Spektrum computer radio transmitter. They allow you to add more models in the future since they have memory cards for settings storage.

N.b try and have an experienced flyer check the plane out before you fly since it may need weight balancing and checking to make sure the control surfaces are trimmed and moving in the right direction. Worst case theres always YouTube :grinning:

Thanks for the suggestion!

Is there any point in getting a small/cheap RTF to be treated as semi-disposable with the expectation/risk of a not so smooth landing?

Also, to enjoy the hobby can you just get to a quiet field away from people to fly or do you need to go to specific clubs and fly there in specific events etc?

Crashes are usually not that expensive since things like motor, battery, radio gear and servos can usually be salvaged from the foam fuselage.

As for flying, I used to use a farmers field with his permission, and since it was silent electric flight he didn’t mind. If you have a flying club nearby that’s also a good option as you should get lots of support. Worth mentioning that you should check your personal insurance includes RC planes. I’m with Mobiliar and they confirmed it was and even sent me a letter at no extra charge.

Edit the insurance is in case your plane hits something, not for you :smiling_face:

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Just had another thought. You could buy a powered glider as your first model since these have simple controls and fly slowly. I had two of them which were great for lazy flying sessions. The motor is used to get you up to altitude and then switches off and the propellor folds so you can glide back down. And on warm days with good thermals you can even spend hours in the air, completely unpowered.

The Radian Pro is a good example - avoid the standard Radian since it has a shorter wing span that won’t catch thermals as well and it only has two channels (tail elevator and rudder) so controlling it won’t be as crisp as if you also had wing ailerons.

How about one of these:

You could fly it over your annoying neighbours


For those who want to see what it’s all about, the Hausen am Albis airstrip hosts a model flying show every year. This year’s is 5-6 Oktober.

Well worth a visit, especially if you have kids. Get there early or face a 20 minute walk from where you can park your car.


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Thanks Tom, also worth mentioning the Swiss Model Aviation Association which has more info on events, clubs, flying fields etc…

@ DonMolina
If you start alone, you may consider the Horizon Hobby UMX series.
They’re only good when there is no wind, so a calm evening (but before it gets dark) is ideal. The upside is that they require little space; after a little practice you can fly them in a soccer field.
The very easy one to start is UMX Radian. If you think you will buy more of their models, then find a second hand 6 channel (or more) transmitter, and buy the plane model without the transmitter. That little beauty is feather light and you can do no harm with it, and also if you fly over some grass field you will not destroy it in crash landing unless you fly it down vertically (guess how I know it…).
Another one is Sport Cub - also the ultra light. It has full stabilization, you just throw it into the air at 3/4 throttle and it flies by itself if you enable the fully stabilized, so called safe mode. https://www.horizonhobby.com/product/sport-cub-s-2-bnf-basic-with-safe/HBZ44500.html

Also, Multiplex has a free version of a model plane flight simulator. Usually there is a way to somehow get a radio transmitter connected to the PC/Mac as a joystick - either directly via USB or via some converter. FrSky transmitters can do it via USB, but they’re not compatible with Horizon Hobby receivers.
For Horizon Hobby brand Spectrum transmitters a device is needed - either wire via a jack / audio cable or wireless that pretends to be a receiver. If you can’t fly in a simulator, don’t try with a model, except maybe the UMX Radian, otherwise it will be just a frustrating exercise.

I would not recommend starting with heavier trainers (about 500-700g and more) before you get it right with the ultralights or if someone can help you with the first flights. They can be repaired, but it is tedious, a crooked fuselage will not look nice any more and may not flight straight and true.
If you’re closer to Yverdon/Lausanne, let me know.

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Great choices, I’d forgotten about the UMX series. Arguably they could even be flown in parks since they weigh so little and are flown in close proximity to you.

From the two models you mentioned I would go with the Sports Cub since you have 4 channel control (throttle, rudder, elevator and aileron) which is better for training and learning the fundamentals of flight.


Most planes that you progress to afterwards won’t have more than 4 channels (except those with flaps which would be channel 5 or with extra SAFE features like autoland which need a dedicated channel).

The Sport Cub is really nice, but may need some finesse to land it gently, while the UMX Radian is harder to damage on landing in a lawn and can be used later to get one’s kids into the play.

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