Model Radio Control Equipment
Radio Control is all about YOU making YOUR plane go where YOU want it to go and perform the manoeuvres that YOU want it to perform. To this end you need model radio control equipment that is totally reliable, has a good range of readily available accessories and can be easily repaired and serviced should this be necessary.
The choice of manufacturers of model radio control systems is vast but many of them are remote from your locality and distribution is often difficult to locate. There are, however a few manufacturers that provide global distribution via many recognised and responsible outlets. I strongly suggest you look no further than these well known names.
If you intend to go down the club membership route, then a good indicator for you will be the types favoured by existing club members. Another factor to consider is to match the radio gear used by your tutor, especially if the two of you intend to use the very popular “Buddy Box” system. You can guarantee that, if your tutor is happy with his or her gear, you should have no problem with this choice.
I make no apology for the fact that I have included a picture of the extreemly popular Spektrum DX6 as this is my personal current favourite economy gear. This is not to say that other brands are not equally as suitable. Some of the most popular makes are:-
Spektrum, Futaba, Hitec, Graupner & JR.
All of these manufacturers have suitable gear for the beginner. If you search the internet you will find more obscure makes generally from far eastern manufacturers. Once again, although they are probably reliable, they may be more difficult to source, especially if you eventually need replacement parts or service and repair facilities.
Why do I favour Spektrum gear? Well, I particularly like the safety aspect of “Model Match” selection from the tansmitter. This means that once you have programmed your model into the transmitter memory, no matter what you do, you cannot fly this model unless the digital display tells you that you have selected the correct model. Even though you have both transmitter and receiver powered up, you will get no reponse from you plane if the selection does not match.
This is not the case with some other brands. The transmitter and receiver will communicate with each other and allow you to control your plane irrespective of the model settings you have programmed. As these could be wrong for the model you want to fly, the outcome could be difficult if not catastrophic.
How Many Channels Do I Need?
You will notice that I have selected SIX channel gear in each case and there is a good reason for this. Once you have mastered your trainer and are ready to move on to a more ambitious project, you may need more than the four channels used for the trainer. The marginally higher price of the six channel gear compared to a four or five channel set will save you having to spend on a six or more channel outfit in order to progress.
The Spektrum DX6i allows you to programme at least ten different models into the memory. Most rookies will take a considerable period of time to accumulate a squadron of 10 planes. The six control functions will provide the standard four channels required for most fixed wing planes plus two more channels for retractable undercarriage, flaps or other controllable functions.
Interestingly Spektrum have just released a new version of the DX6 transmitter, albeit considerably more expensive, with an astonishing 250 model memories, built in advanced telemetry facilities for plane to transmitter status feedback along with their standard “Model Match”.
Why No Servos?
If you visit the product pages below you will notice that most of the sets DO NOT include servos. There are many independent servo manufacturers and the choices are even more extensive than for the transmitter/receiver options. Many people prefer to buy their servos separately and gear manufacturers have recognised this fact. Consequently they have opted to supply transmitters and receivers along with the appropriate accessories for maintaining these two items. There is a separate page on servos in the Options section.
So, please consider your choice carefully, taking account of information and advice from experienced fliers and especially your tutor. Below are links to suppliers of the brands of model radio control equipment discussed where you can make your purchase online securely.