Flying Radio Controlled Planes

My dad and I have been flying remote controlled planes for a couple of years. We fly almost exclusively at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale

HobbyZone/ParkZone Planes

We started with a ParkZone Aerobird Challenger, with unfortunately disastrous results. This plane is pretty delicate, and prone to mechanical problems, which is a bad combination. Being beginners, we crashed quickly, and after that, no matter what we tried, including building an entirely new fuselage, it never worked very well again.

We moved on, not quickly enough, to a ParkZone Slo-V. (See my dad holding it up on the right.) This is a great beginner plane. Slow is great, since you have time to react to your own mistakes. Although it's definitely a bit under-powered when you get it off the shelf, and doesn't work at all in more than 5 MPH wind. To kick its power up a notch, we made the following modifications: This plane worked very well for us as a slow, tough, beginner plane. But we wanted to get something slightly faster and more responsive, and move up to "real" gear: a reusable transmitter, receiver, etc.

Multiplex EasyStar

After getting lots of good advice from the other people flying at Baylands Park, we decided to put together a Multiplex EasyStar. We're using 2100mAh 3-cell Li-Po batteries, the stock motor, and the Spektrum DX6 radio system. It works great! It has tons more power than the Slo-V, and works surprisingly well as a glider. And since we do a fair bit of gliding with it, we can fly for about 30 minutes on one battery!

On-board Video

We've also been playing around with a tiny on-board video camera that I added into the EasyStar! For info on how I put that together, and to see videos, check out our Aerial Photography page.

Mini Ultra Stick (MUS)

We're also now flying an E-Flight Mini Ultra Stick (above), which is our first 4-channel plane. In preparation we did a lot of practicing on the FMS simulator.
We have it hopped up with a speedy 480 Outrunner motor, and it would be pretty easy to accidentally fly it out of visual range in about 30 seconds. We've been mostly flying it at about 2/5ths power, with a little extra when we want to fly straight up. :) We also set it up to have flapperons (allows the ailerons to serve double-duty as flaps by working together instead of in opposition) but we haven't actually remembered to try them during a landing yet...