By Paul Below

One of the good things about ORCA is that newcomers are made to feel welcome. This is true whether the person is a complete newbie, or comes with fuel or electric, fixed wing or copter.

That initial welcome is an important feature of any organization that wants to survive, and it is especially important with an activity like ours that has a steep learning curve. A support network of people to learn from is very important for the new (or intermediate!) flyer.

When a long time friend or a new acquaintance expresses an interest in learning to fly, what do you do? A buddy box, if you have one, can be used for that first time in the air. But what if the person asks for recommendations on a first plane? Or, unfortunately, is thinking about getting that fast little scale warbird with the nice details?

There are probably as many opinions on how to get started with R/C as there are experienced flyers. I recognize that there is no one path that is best for everyone, but I would like to offer for your consideration the thoughts that worked for me.

The basic purpose of the first model is to allow the new pilot to get the plane safely into the air, practice making turns and circuits of the field, and learn to land the plane on the runway right side up and in one piece.

Here is my list of nice features to have in a first plane in order to meet that basic purpose:

Remember, the above bullets are my opinions. You may not agree with all of them. However, please consider them when talking to the newcomer who wants to get a first plane.

So, what models would I recommend the meet most of the above criteria?

Another possible direction is the small indoor flyers, which can be used outdoors when there is no wind. The Hobbyzone Champ and the Parkzone Vapor are good RTF examples. These planes are extremely small and light, can be flown in small areas, and generally cause no damage when they strike something.

I hope that above suggestions are helpful. Once again, they are things to consider and certainly not hard and fast rules.