Academy of Model Aeronautics (A.M.A) Your first stop in getting started in R/C. You will need an AMA membership in order to become a club member. No club will let you fly at their field without an AMA card.
Airplanes : We recommend that new flyers learn with a .40 or .60 size trainer. The larger planes are easier to fly than smaller ones. We prefer an ARF (almost ready to fly), or a RTF (ready to fly) plane. The latest ARFs are as cheap or cheaper than most kits. A big plus with the ARFs is that you don't have a lot of mental investment to worry about. If you spend a lot of time building a plane and crash it, then you may get discouraged and quit. If you crash an ARF, no big deal. You get another one. There are excellent ARFs, and even RTF combinations including radio and engine available from the Hobby Shop in Stockbridge, Georgia, or one of the mail order suppliers.
Radio Equipment : Most, if not all, modern radio systems are of excellent quality. The difference is in features. There are a wide variety of features available with the latest radios. The basic rule is: more features, higher price. There are two ways to proceed in buying a radio system. You can start with a simple, cheap radio, and then upgrade later, or you can buy a better system from the beginning. If you think that you will eventually move up to more advanced planes, then you should probably buy a more advanced system. How advanced depends on your finances, and what other people tell you. I will try to describe some of the newer features, their benefits, and their cost.
Engines : Engines vary widely depending mainly on price. O.S. and Supertigre are club favorites, but there are many other fine engines available. See our links section if you are looking to research or get prices on various engines.
Glossary of terms
ARF (almost ready to fly) - Just like the name implies. These planes come with most if not everything that you will need except the engine and radio. Some are more complete than others, so READ THE DOCUMENTATION.
RTF (ready to fly) - Complete plane, engine and radio system. Requires very little preparation to fly.
Multi-plane transmitter - Can use the same transmitter for more than one plane. Requires extra flight system for each plane.
Computer radio - Transmitter contains computer for managing control functions. Allows easier and more advanced control configuration including control mixing.
Control mixing - Mixing two or more controls such as elevator/aileron or flap/elevator. Also used for elevons(elevator/ailerons combined into one control output). Requires computer radio.
PCM (pulse code modulation) - Encoding technique for radio signals. Promises better control and elimination of signal interference. Found only in upper tier systems. ie Expensive.