As with starting anything for the first time it can be a little hit and miss but this page is designed to give you the basics.
The best advice we can offer is:
Join your local club.
Speak to as many people as possible ~ you can be sure that every club member has been in the same position as you and that a quick chat at the field can save you both time and money in the long run.
If you don't want to crash a plane then don't take up model flying!
That said model flying is great fun. There is always something to learn or master, whether it be a faster or more responsive plane or some difficult manoeuvre, not to mention the friendships forged down at the field.
So what do you need ?
The plane [airframe]
As you probably know already if you have been researching, there is an endless choice of planes to choose from but, for your first plane, it has to be a high wing trainer. The main reason for this is that they are very stable flyers because of the wing dihedral [angle]. This gives you the maximum time to response if and when you make a bad decision or movement on the sticks.
The cost of these trainers does vary but in general they come in at around £60.00 for the airframe.
On top of this you need to factor in transmitter, servos, fuel, receiver and battery pack ~ more on these below.
You have four choices here: 2 stroke glow, 4 stroke glow, petrol or electric.
The 2 stroke is general perceived as the standard engine for beginners as they tend to be more reliable. 4 strokes also tend to be slightly more expensive. A standard 2 stroke OS.46 engine is around £40.00 and is a great engine to start with, its 4 stroke equivalent being the OS.52 coming in at around £150.00.
Petrol engines are becoming increasingly popular but tend to come in bigger sizes designed for larger models that may not suit the experience and/or budget of a beginner.
Electric is also becoming very popular with beginners.
Barring the aerodynamics this is the main guts of the plane. These are the devices that move the flying surfaces via the transmitter, which is why as above they can be purchased together for the novice flyer.
With a trainer you will inevitably have 4 servos [one each for the ailerons, rudder, elevator and throttle]. As ever there are different qualities but a non-digital will be around £10.00 each.
Also included in the hardware is the need for a receiver, battery [£10.00] that powers it and switch harness [£5.00] that turns it on and off.
One last thought though not technically hardware for the airframe is the need for a timer of some description. More about this in the next section.