RC Airplane Question

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

COSTransplant

Well-Known Member
TRF Sponsor
TRF Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2022
Messages
386
Reaction score
276
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
So, I am not an RC airplane guy, but my dad was and I could be down the road if I ever get my act together. I have the opportunity to purchase 4 RC planes for $150, and I am wondering if I should pull the trigger on the deal. Anyone here on TRF want to share their thoughts? The RC planes are:

Guillow's Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Model Kit -- New in box, never flown.
Sports Flyer Super Lightning Radio Control Airplane -- New in box, never flown.
Dynaflite Butterfly Radio Control Airplane Kit. Not sure on this one.
Model Tech Trainer 40H -- New in box, never opened.

Thanks!
 
From an investment or nostalgia perspective, I think that's a fair price; not the best deal, but decent.

As for getting into the RC plane hobby, I'd stay away from any beginner planes made out of balsa or that use gas; it's a lithium world now.

Another consideration: what sort of radio equipment do you already have?
 
I'm an avid RC flyer. My opinions are:

1. Guillows B-17 - Not a beginner's airplane. It could probably be modified for modern micro RC and micro electric power, but it will be a challenging build.

2. Sports Flyer Super Lightning - I haven't heard of this one.

3. Dynaflite Butterfly Radio - IIRC, this was designed for a .15 glow engine. OS still makes a .15 glow. Conversion to electric would be easy. It's also a fantastic first RC as it's basically a motorized sailplane.

4. Model Tech Trainer 40H - IIRC, this is a .40 glow sized trainer. This is also a good first airplane and electric conversion should be easy.

My recommendation is to go ahead with this deal.
 
Thanks for taking the time to get back to me -- I very much appreciate it. I was really only interested in the Model Tech Trainer, and I was going to sell off the other three. But in my uneducated mind, I was thinking that $150 was a steal and I could recoup my initial investment. Sounds like that may not be the case. This would have been my first foray into RC planes; I have no other RC gear at the moment. I was even thinking that I could maybe put these aside until I am REALLY retired and have some time to try something new. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. And don't laugh. While electric seems to be the way everything is going, I used to love the smell of the small gas engines when my dad flew. :)
 
If you really want to get into RC aircraft, I probably wouldn't use this offer/deal as the entry. I think you'll have the most success with a modern, purpose-built trainer (balsa or foam). Nitro or electric is your choice, but know that electric is lot less hassle. Considering investing in a quality radio from the "known" brands so you can grow, if desired.
Your absolutely best chance for success is, no matter what airplane you have, is to join a local RC flying club and get with an instructor to teach you!
 
As Rob pointed out:
What other 'bits' do you have? these 'kits' (I am assuming unbuilt, boxes of wood & sticks..) will need covering, engine / motor, and other things to finish it off (Wheels, gas tank, links, etc..) and of course radio gear. these can easy equal the kit cost..
 
As Rob pointed out:
What other 'bits' do you have? these 'kits' (I am assuming unbuilt, boxes of wood & sticks..) will need covering, engine / motor, and other things to finish it off (Wheels, gas tank, links, etc..) and of course radio gear. these can easy equal the kit cost..
Great point! I have nothing else to complete any of these kits. Now I'm thinking that maybe I should just stick to one hobby for a bit -- model rockets -- and work on some of my design / build skills there before splitting my time in something new. :)
 
I think it's a good deal because from what I recalled, the Guillows B17 kit alone at times can sell for $60 to $100+ on ebay.
Just took a look and I'm pretty spot on (I bought a bunch of Guillows kits years back on clearance to resell, so I track the prices at times).
Here are recent ended auctions.
Screenshot_20230302_082046_eBay.jpg
Also this kit is great as a display model as well, but DEFINITELY not a "beginner RC" 😆
 
Great point! I have nothing else to complete any of these kits. Now I'm thinking that maybe I should just stick to one hobby for a bit -- model rockets -- and work on some of my design / build skills there before splitting my time in something new. :)
FWIW I've been fascinated with RC aircraft since I was an early teen and crashed a few before giving it up for a while. I got into rocketry and had much more success and personally found it much more enjoyable (YMMV). However, I do plan to return to RC one day soon and was thinking that one of Frank Burke's @burkefj RBGs would be a great way (EDIT: after some other trainer RCs). Plus he's frequently on our forums and VERY supportive.
 
FWIW2 I got this micro RC trainer years ago and really enjoyed it.

Screenshot_20230302_084300_Amazon Shopping.jpg

It has the SAFE system which electronically helps with recovery from out-of-control situations, but not for windy days.

Edit: I just noticed this one doesn't include transmitter, battery nor charger. The set I got had them for around the same price, but that was several years ago before crazy inflation.
 
Last edited:
But in my uneducated mind, I was thinking that $150 was a steal and I could recoup my initial investment. Sounds like that may not be the case.
It may be the case.

That Guillow's kit could be worth $100 or so on places like eBay, but it's hard to say for sure as selling prices are directly related to how fast you want to sell an item. Some of the other kits are not very well-known and I couldn't find anything on them from a quick Google search.

My gut says that if you paid $150 for the kits and were willing to sell 3 of them (one of the kits sold will need to be the Guillow's B-17), then I think you'll probably break even or make a few bucks. But you probably won't have the best training set up.

Dollar for dollar, I'd go with an electric RTF kit, like this one: https://www.towerhobbies.com/product/sport-cub-s-2-rtf-with-safe/HBZ44000.html

Do a search on YouTube for RTF entry level park flyers and trainers and you'll get a quick grasp of what's out there and what you can expect to spend.
 
It may be the case.

That Guillow's kit could be worth $100 or so on places like eBay, but it's hard to say for sure as selling prices are directly related to how fast you want to sell an item. Some of the other kits are not very well-known and I couldn't find anything on them from a quick Google search.

My gut says that if you paid $150 for the kits and were willing to sell 3 of them (one of the kits sold will need to be the Guillow's B-17), then I think you'll probably break even or make a few bucks. But you probably won't have the best training set up.

Dollar for dollar, I'd go with an electric RTF kit, like this one: https://www.towerhobbies.com/product/sport-cub-s-2-rtf-with-safe/HBZ44000.html

Do a search on YouTube for RTF entry level park flyers and trainers and you'll get a quick grasp of what's out there and what you can expect to spend.
Yeah, selling isn't for everyone! I was providing more of a value-for-your-money perspective and if it were me, I'd jump on it since it's a great deal (assuming everything is in good/great condition).

Good to see another coincidental recommendation of the HobbyZone Sport Cub and the Tower link is great because I came back to edit my post above after seeing that the one I posted didn't include transmitter, etc.
 
The e-flite apprentice was my first plane, but it is a little large unless you're at a club flying field. It was easy to pick up and fly and land. Mine is has a 1.5m wingspan and they have a slightly smaller one too. I think the Sport Cub posted above would be an even better 1st plane.
 
All the advice in this thread is good. If you have no R/C gear, building supplies, tools, etc., budget probably $500-700 for a radio, engine, and everything else you will need to be well set up to fly a glow machine.

Lithium makes it all so much easier. If you just want to learn to fly, go electric with an ARF. A place like Tower will probably offer a combo with everything you need to fly and a radio & charger setup you can grow into. Don't go for the cheapest turn-key package, or you'll likely find yourself upgrading everything fairly soon.

However, I never imagine myself flying electric. I do from time to time imagine flying glow or gas. For me, the fire makes it good. I really just don't care that the electrics are easier. I love IC motors, and flying electric doesn't excite or even interest me, no matter how much better/equal the performance may be.
 
However, I never imagine myself flying electric. I do from time to time imagine flying glow or gas. For me, the fire makes it good. I really just don't care that the electrics are easier. I love IC motors, and flying electric doesn't excite or even interest me, no matter how much better/equal the performance may be.
I'd like to get a gas or glow engine at some point. I think it sounds fun, but I'm well set up with electric right now.
 
I agree with the previous posts. I am huge into rc planes and in my opinion, I see too many people try to do a deal like this and it doesn't turn out good in the end. I taught my daughters how to fly on my eflite apprentice. I recommend people get a good radio from the start and a bnf trainer. When I started, I used the realflight sim and practiced my landings over and over until I was comfortable landing. Now I love flying 3d. I love gas engines also. A DA35 in a 78" Extreme Flight plane is amazing! 70cc twins are awesome also.
Just remember, takoffs are optional but landings are mandatory.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_8219.JPG
    2.9 MB · Views: 0
If you are not an experienced RC flyer I would personally suggest you get one of the flight stabilisation units and add it to your RC setup. At the flick of a switch it will right the plane and get you out of trouble. Very handy when you are learning. #askmehowIknow. I have lost count of how many times it saved my training aircraft.

This is the one I had fitted:
https://www.singahobby.com/index.php/feiyu-tech-fy-31ap-autopilot-system.htmlIt seems their price has gone up unfortunately, but the one shown does include GPS receiver and waypoint functionality.

There may be others available:
https://hobbyking.com/en_us/orangerx-rx3s-3-axis-flight-stabilizer-v2-v-tail-delta-aux.html
 
Last edited:
I second the opinion that you find a good local club if you can. Find someone willing to teach you with a buddy radio. Don't know the tech term, that's what I call it. They can control the plane from their transmitter, and with the flip of a switch take over if you get into trouble. That's how I learned, but even with that, it can still be a bear. Remember when the plane is flying towards you left becomes right and vice versa. This would screw me up every time. It's like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, lol.

https://www.radicalrc.com/category/Buddy-Cords-77
 
I started flying (and crashing) RC airplanes a couple of years ago. A friend loaned me his Spektrum DX6i. When I decided to buy my own transmitter I bought a Radiomaster TX16S which has a lot of nice features and is not to spendy. One of the reasons (other than great reviews) is that it uses multiple radio protocols so it can be used with multiple receivers like Spektrum, FrSky, Futuba, and many others so if I do buy a used plane I should be able to bind to it no matter what receiver it has.

https://www.amazon.com/RadioMaster-...mzn1.fos.18ed3cb5-28d5-4975-8bc7-93deae8f9840
 
Pass…

Not worth the storage space they’ll take up. As pointed out in other post, they are just like the foundation of a house…you have to acquire all the rest of the materials to make it livable…then build it!
 
Pass…

Not worth the storage space they’ll take up. As pointed out in other post, they are just like the foundation of a house…you have to acquire all the rest of the materials to make it livable…then build it!

Ummmm...ok? OP asked a question and everyone else provided great advice, but thanks for your unsolicited opinion about the merits of RC aircraft :rolleyes:
 
Those all look like great vintage planes to build but I do not recommend them for learning to fly. I personally would buy them and flip them for a profit.

I've been an RC Car guy since I was 11 yrs old when I bought my first Tamiya Grasshopper. I raced for years and had a lot of fun with it. About 10 yrs ago I got the bug up my butt to get into planes. I have always had a fascination with aviation so It seemed like a normal progression.

Learning to fly is / was expensive. When I learned there wasn't any of the self stabilization or return to home features. If you didn't know what you were doing it cost you money. I went through three planes before finding a friend with a buddy box that could take over before I crashed. I've gone through a total of 6 planes in the last 10 yrs but it is fun.

If you are just getting into flying now, look for one with the auto stabilization and home features. You bank account will thank you.
 
Ummmm...ok? OP asked a question and everyone else provided great advice, but thanks for your unsolicited opinion about the merits of RC aircraft :rolleyes:
Don't be silly. He said he would likely get into it "down the road". These are not what you should start with in today's RC environment. The advice I provided is to his acquisition of these planes/kits is to "pass". It has nothing to do with the generic "merits of RC aircraft"...just these RC aircraft and the implication of getting started with them. But I guess that's just your unsolicited opinion... 😆
 
Back in the day, when I started to get some landing skills was when I got a hand launch glider built. (Not the high-tech DLG stuff, just a conventional sticks-and-covering small Gentle Lady-like thing). Until you know how to fly well enough to catch some thermals, it's coming down really soon. So you get LOTS of practice landing a nice, slow airplane that makes everything easy. Landing is probably the most important part, and a simple HLG teaches you that first. If you are going to try slope soaring, it's still the way to go in that it makes it easier to stay up in less than awesome lift. A beginner probably doesn't want to fly in awesome lift anyway. If I ever pick it back up, another HLG will probably be how I start.
 
I bought the Apprentice STS with safe and the Cub with safe. I also purchased an extra prop for the apprentice along with an extra battery, land assist and GPS. I haven’t flown any of them yet. They are still in the box but thinking of getting the simulator to learn to fly. With that I can crash all I want without destroying the plane. I talked with the guy at the hobby shop and he told me a lot of guys are going this way now using battery powered. He said the mess of air plane fuel, the smell and the cost of the fuel going up that battery power is the best way to go for a beginner.
 
Thanks everyone for your thoughts -- I really do very much appreciate them. I race cars, and I love the smell of race fuel. I launch model rockets, and I love the smell of the engines. If I get into flying model airplanes, I suspect I will go the gas route, as I just like the smell of the gas! Same reason I'm holding off on buying an electric car -- I love the grumble of the engine! Yes, yes, old school it is! :)
 
I would love to get into an RC plane with fuel but I have to learn how to fly first. The guy at the hobby store told me in 2018 when I purchased the apprentice that fuel was $45 a gallon. I don’t know how true that was, I just went by what he told me. Some of the kits you can buy and build are so cool. I would love to have a jet but your talking $2000 just for the jet engine and you need a license to fly them. I have seen them fly and you want to talk about fast and loud!
 
I would love to get into an RC plane with fuel but I have to learn how to fly first. The guy at the hobby store told me in 2018 when I purchased the apprentice that fuel was $45 a gallon. I don’t know how true that was, I just went by what he told me. Some of the kits you can buy and build are so cool. I would love to have a jet but your talking $2000 just for the jet engine and you need a license to fly them. I have seen them fly and you want to talk about fast and loud!

Saw a guy flying an electric ducted fan "jet" last weekend. Nobody else at the field. He did have an enclosed trailer towed behind his pickup.
 
Back
Top