As mentioned in the last post, I wanted to discuss why I think the RC Powers Mig-29 V1 is such a good choice for your first park jet regardless of your skill level and experience, but especially if you are brand new to the RC hobby. This way, hopefully if you are pretty new to the RC hobby or new to park jets, you can get started after doing a bit of research and collecting a few bits of gear and get a plane in the air before worrying too much about the other details I will write about in subsequent posts.
As you read more through this thread, you will realize that this plane is not in what I consider the "ideal" size range of a 27" wingspan with the Mig-29 V1 being 24", but it just works in my experience and besides that, the plans are free as of the writing of this post, so hard to go wrong there.
Even though relatively small and light, the Mig-29 V1 can handle a bit of wind, say up to about 10 mph and keep flying quite well, so if you are starting off, you don't always have to wait for a dead calm day. Beyond about 10 mph winds, however, probably best not to try flying the Mig-29 V1 unless you have built up quite a bit of confidence as it can get bounced around a bit erratically in stronger winds.
There is one important file that I would encourage you to open, look at and even print off on your computer that come with the Mig-29 V1 plans. The file is called "planview" and is filled with a lot of details about the recommended setup and three diagrams showing the plane side on, head on and from a "God's eye view". This is a great reference page when getting ready to build the plane and to have on hand during the build.
- Extremely easy build, with all your gear gathered, you can build and fly the same day;
- Very beginner friendly, flies well elevons only, with the most basic power system, even if you get "glue happy" in your build;
- All the weight sits below the wing plate, giving it natural "self righting" tendencies and amazing stability, both crucial characteristics in a beginner plane;
- Very easy to repair, everything is a flat surface, most repairs can be done at the field or quite easily at home, meaning you can get back in the air quickly, keep learning and having fun :).
The Mig-29 V1 is a profile plane, in other words, it doesn't have a three dimensional type fuselage, rather a flat wing plate that is perpendicular to a flat fuselage, essentially a "+" design when you look at it head on.
Simple control and power setup
It flies amazingly well with elevons only, so only two servos needed, even if you get a little "slap happy" with the hot glue, it will fly just great with the basic 2826/6 2200 Kv motor setup and away you go. The first one I built shown in red, white and blue above weighed 19 oz with a 2200 battery which is pretty heavy for a profile plane, but it still flew incredibly well and I put hundreds of flights on it before it was retired. In this old picture below, you can see I ran elevons only, and was using the Turnigy D2826/6 2200 Kv motor, one of the most popular park jet motors around. I added quite a bit of extra reinforcement as you can see, the plane was built with Depron, this probably wasn't needed, but this plane was tough and took a lot of punishment.
Throughout this thread, you will hear me use terms like "neutral vertical balance", "top heavy" or "bottom heavy". This relates to where the majority of the weight is located in relation to the wing plate of the plane. For overall best performance and agility, neutral is the best. Top heavy is not horrible, but can cause the plane to want to flip on it's back prematurely in turns, loops, etc and can make for some really tricky flying, so not a great setup for beginners. Fortunately, the Mig-29 V1 is "bottom heavy". This gives it much better stability and "self righting" characteristics as it always has a tendency to want to roll upright, which is a great characteristic for beginners or those who want a more relaxing flight experience. Think of it like the heavy keel on a sail boat, always wanting to right the boat as it gets pushed over by wind or waves, this "bottom heavy" tendency does the same for park jets. Here you can see a picture of the electronics bay of my current Mig-29 V1 which I modified to have extra controls, all the weight is on the bottom and with the battery dead center, it makes it very stable.
My current Mig-29 V1 is the 4th that I have built, they have all taken some pretty serious punishment and all were repaired after any "mishaps". I never once had a situation in hundreds and hundreds of flights where I couldn't quickly repair the plane at the field or within an hour when I got back home. My progression of Mig-29 V1s.
So even if you already have considerable RC experience, I don't think you can go wrong with the Mig-29 V1. Unfortunately, I did a lot of "smashing" and "crashing" of bigger, nicer score and fold planes, wasn't getting anywhere with my skills before being convinced to try the Mig-29 V1. It immediately changed my RC experience for the better as I could focus more on flying without fear of smashing up a plane that took me hours to build and might take hours to repair if I crashed. I could relax much more and simply fly.
It gets you used to building with foam, setting up elevons which you will need for almost every park jet you build and gives you the experience of flying a unique mid motor mounted "prop in slot" plane. Besides, even for a very simple profile plane, it looks pretty cool, which is always an important consideration in a plane :)