After purchasing my RQ-1 Predator done, which is built of balsa, ply and heat shrink, I decided I had better get some actual flying experience with another plane before I try to fly this one. A “foamie” plane would be much more forgiving when repairing after crashes.
After extensive research and reviewing, helped immensely by the easy to understand articles on http://plawner.net/ I finally decided on the Multiplex EasyStar, which I had managed to pick up from my local hobby shop in kit form for only $80. Add in the electronics and a transmitter, this makes the perfect beginner plane for around the $200 mark.
The Multiplex Easystar is an electric pusher prop glider made from special crash resistant foam. I can’t think of a better plane for a beginner to learn on. It practically floats on the air and whereas the only time I ever landed the Cessna (by accident), the Easystar just doesn’t want to come down. Plus, since it is a “pusher prop” design, the engine and propeller is reasonably well protected. Coupled with my “special black box” Fyetech FY-30a flight stabilisation system which auto-levels the plane when I am in trouble, I was able to fly this with ease, even if the trim was off. Since it is a glider flight times are longer than with a Cessna, as you can turn off the engine and float around for a while.
In stock form the EasyStar would not be very interesting for the more advanced flyer. The engine and prop is under powered (do loops at full power once you dive to get a “run up”) and the rudder quite small. And of course it is a 3 channel – no ailerons unless you modify the plane yourself. Despite being a glider, this plane is not suitable for windy conditions.
The EasyStar is one of the most commonly used planes for FPV – First Person View. FPV is when people put a CCTV camera on the plane, complete with transmitter so they can get a live video feed while they fly. Coupled with GPS and an OSD (On Screen Display) for flight data such as speed, height, distance from home, FPV is becoming an increasingly popular hobby.