Which model to buy
Everyone will give you a different answer, but there are a few "rules"
that apply to every beginner.
DON'T buy a big scale model like a 4 metre wingspan
ASW27 or a small 1 metre span "hotrod" model...they
are just too tricky to learn on.
DO ask your local club for advice.
DO make sure you take out 3rd party insurance in case you crash
into anything or anybody. The SCSA is a BMFA affiliated club and
the BMFA has an excellent insurance scheme. See the
BMFA website for more info.
Bearing this in mind, you've now got to think about how the model is constructed.
There's basically 3 choices
EPP - Made from indestructible foam, meaning you can crash
it as many times as you like and it just bounces!
Advantages - Quick and easy to build, very difficult to damage, making
for an ideal model to learn on
Disadvantages - The models look "functional" - i.e. UGLY
ARTF (Almost Ready To Fly) - Either made from moulded
foam or with fibreglass fuselage and built up or foam wings
Advantages - Can look very attractive, pretty much pre-built, all you need
to do is some minor building work and install the radio. Wide variety available
at reasonable prices.
Disadvantages - Not a lot! Can sometimes be more difficult to
repair (especially fibreglass fuselages)
Advantages - You can build the model how you want it. You will
get a better understanding of how models work and fly.
Disadvantages - You have to build the model yourself, which can be tricky
if you've never built a model before. Will take longer to build and get flying.
So what would the SCSA recommend?
The choice is yours and yours only (bit of a cop-out!). However EPP
or moulded foam models are a particularly popular choice nowadays.
Ideally what you're looking for is a model with a polyhedral wing
(one with bent-up wingtips ) with about a 2m wingspan, just like the
one's pictured below
The white model is a Multiplex Easy Glider. This particular glider
is also available with a small electric motor at the front (as pictured).
This is perfectly acceptable and has the advantage you can fly it
in calm conditions. The red glider is a traditional balsa model, (called
a Gentle Lady).
people will recommend the "Zagi" (see photo right) as a
beginners model. Although the Zagi is made of EPP and is an excellent
model, it's only really suitable for beginners who are likely to learn
quickly and have quick reactions ( i.e. your average 10 yr old son
The problem (for beginners) is that the Zagi reacts very quickly to
control inputs, meaning you can very quickly get into trouble and
crash whilst you're learning to fly. However you are also very, very
unlikely to damage the model.
Other people will recommend the "Bullet" model. This is
a small, heavy model that only flies well in high winds, so is far
from ideal for learning to fly on. Best avoided until you have learnt