Relaxing - but ONLY if you get the equation right. A good plane is a joy. A bad one is a dog!
Recommended plane for beginner: 1.8 to 2 metre polyhedral 7 cell electric glider. Weight 1 to 1.4kg
Construction: usually balsawood with harder spars, covered in heat-shrink covering. Takes about 45 hours to build, cover and fit the electrics. Mentoring required.
Buying ARF (Almost Ready to Fly): Also available - but tend to be heavier and so climb more slowly, do not thermal as well and land faster, with more risk of damage. Around A$250-A$350
Propulsion: 540 or 600 type motor or hotter buggy motor. Standard arrangements are direct drive, but a geared motor will almost always provide a far superior performance in climb angle and flight times. Folding propeller required, to fold back when thermalling and for landing. (Plane has no landing gear and is hand-launched.) See Advanced article for more info and alternatives
Flight Times(See also Catching Thermals article)
This will depend on your propulsion unit, weight, size and setup of the plane, the conditions, the thermals and your ability to stay in them.
Expect 10 minutes minimum for a basic plane, or 20 minutes plus for a plane which has been better set up.
Radio Gear: multi-channel radio. Computer radio has advantages but is not essential.
1.8 metre (6 foot) Defender
Approximate cost of first plane and gear- from around A$1,000 including radio; plus club fees, or perhaps A$800 if you scrimp (but the performance will be considerably less, so why scrimp?).
A full table ofITEMS REQUIRED and APPROXIMATE PRICES
is contained in the ADVANCED ARTICLE on this topic.
See link at the top or bottom of this page.
Location requirements: Plenty of space for launches and landings and to safely fly above in search of thermals, few trees to crash plane into, grass to land on. Power fliers may not be enthusiastic to share airspace.
Weather: Calmer days strongly preferred. Polyhedral gliders get thrown around in the wind and are difficult to land when conditions turbulent.
Degree of difficulty: Not as docile as an unpowered glider, but good model to be trained on if not too heavy because of longer flight times, better if with a buddy box (transmitters linked together). If a heavy ARF, quite challenging to learn on.
Comments: Very relaxing - bring a folding chair. Take to slope in case winds drop. Not suitable for small areas. Not suitable for kids as spinning prop very dangerous. Wing that can dismantle is preferred for transport and storage. Do not be talked into buying a 6 cell pack.
Popular 7 cell gliding competition requires exactly 5 minute flight with a minimum motor run and spot landing.
Spoilers will help your spot landings or if landing space limited or if you get caught in a large thermal, but are not essential.
Alternatives for the beginner: A light Speed 400 glider with a span of about 1.5 metres
Moving on to other planes:
- Higher performance model of similar size (hotter motor, lighter weight)
- Aileron models
Further reading on this type of flying: Advanced and Other articles on this site, in particular -
Australian Electric Flight Association members compete in monthly 7 cell glider competitions at Doncaster - Melbourne.