There are as many different planes to chose from as there are cars to chose from. Like shopping for a car, being informed
about the different options available will help you to make a good solid decision and may even save you money.
Though many want to start with a war like P51-D Mustang or a Hot aerobatic Extra 330, these are not the planes for beginners.
Though most of use have dreams of a low flyby bombing run or extreme aerobatics, these planes are made for experienced pilots.
Once you learn to fly solo and get some experience under your belt, by all means let your dreams fly free!! (pun
intended ) Almost any plane you can imagine is being made as a kit or an ARF.
The Typical Trainer plane has the wing located on top of the fuselage known as a high
wing plane. The high wing trainer having the fuselage weight under the wing adds greatly to stability and adds to it’s
self righting tendencies. While a low or mid-wing design has a much faster roll rate and will not self right from a turn.
The Three Types of Wings to chose form on a typical trainer are flat, semi-symmetrical
or fully symmetrical. What we’re talking about hear is the bottom of the wing, it will be ether totally flat for a flat
bottom wing, slightly curved surface for a semi-symmetrical wing and equally curved top and bottom. I’ll give a little
more detail as we cover each wing type and some of the benefits of each
A Flat Bottom Wing is usually more stable and has a higher amount of lift. This helps
a new flyer as the plane tends to self right themselves from a turn better then semi-symmetrical or symmetrical wings.
If you build your plane from a kit or plans rather then choosing an ARF, they are a little easier to build and cover. Because
of the inherent stability of the flat bottom plane, they aren’t very maneuverable. After a bit of practice and you learn
how to fly, you will sooner or latter want to try some acrobatics. Flat bottom planes do not do acrobatics well. For this
reason most will have to purchases a second plane known as a sports trainer. These planes are the next step up from a flat
bottom trainer and can do many different acrobatics.
A Semi-Symmetrical Wing is a wing that has a slight curve to the bottom of the wing.
They aren’t as stable as a flat bottom wing, but have better wind penetration with less of a ballooning
effect that the flat bottom wing will have during windy conditions. Once you learn how to fly, you can do moderate
acrobatics with them. With a lot of practice on a semi-symmetrical trainer, many have moved to a fully acrobatic plane with
the control throws set on the conservative side. This saves money in buying a sport trainer and extends the value of your
Fully Symmetrical Wing is a wing that if viewed from the side has the same curvature
on top and bottom. These planes are much more acrobatic and have great wind penetration. If the planes controls are kept on
the lower side they can make a good trainer. I do have mixed emotions about these type of trainers though. I would say that
a lot has to do with the individual that is going to fly them. Someone who is fast of mind, eye and heart ( I think of fast
paced video game players) shouldn’t have a problem when coupled with a good instructor. These trainers being the lest
stable of all the trainers can be a handful especially when it comes to landing.
Which is best for you?
Now comes the other question. Which is best for you? This can be a difficult question to answer to yourself, but yet the
ultimate decision is yours to make. Lets cover a few thoughts that might help you decide which is truly better for you.
What Type of Person are You ? this question may not sound R/C related, but it has a great
impact on what type of plane you chose. Some people like a nice easy pace wanting to absorb what they learn slowly, while
others learn quickly and find a faster pace suitable and more interesting. Lets take a look at some of
these trates and how they might influence your final decision.
Slow and Easy. If you are the type of person that likes to take things slow and easy,
your not in a great rush, and the thought of being grounded on windy days doesn’t bother you. Then a flat bottom wing
might be the perfect choice. A flat bottom plane is a much simpler flying airplane, and offers a more relaxed flying experience.
The flat bottom wing having more lift can be flown much slower, with less chance of a stall when learning to land.
Moderate Yet Fun. If you tend to pick things up quickly, work well with pressure and
don’t mind a faster pace, consider a semi-symmetrical wing. Also consider that if the area you live in tends to be windy,
semi-symmetrical wings have better wind penetration.
Fast and Furious. Some flyers after they learn how to fly are not happy unless they are
doing mach 2 and burning a hole through a cloud. Though they realize they need to have patience and that safety is always
the number one goal when learning how to fly, their experience will be much better if they have a little more pressure on
their shoulders then the next guy. This type of person may excel at video games that require quick movements and great hand
to eye coordination. If you do have patience and are safety minded, but also willing to listen to every word the instructor
tells you. You might be one of the few who can learn to fly on a fully symmetrical winged trainer. They have the best wind
penetration and can be used to learn quite a few acrobatics with after the training has ended, and you become a competent
Always keep in mind one thing. Safety and enjoyment is what R/C is all about. Your instructor though a very patient individual
will not teach in an unsafe environment. Much is at stack for him and the club and R/C aircraft can be very dangerous if handled
improperly!! If the instructor seems to want to slow your advancement in training in any way, there is probably a great reason
for this. He is a veteran pilot and knows what to look for before going to the next step. If you trust him, he’ll trust
you back and you’ll earn the respect of him and other pilots at the field.