Be Kind to Noobs (You Were One, Once)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in RC, it’s that there isn’t a defined entry point to the hobby. Some start with a cheap RC plane they got as a gift, some are guided through the hobby by a friend or family member. More recently, many are drawn in by all of the YouTube videos of drone racing and crazy tricks. Me? i started with a cheap toy quadcopter, moved into foam-board planes via FliteTest, then into bigger quadcopters, and now I’m scaling down again to foam-board and ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) kits.
My point is, there is no right or wrong way to get into this hobby. You wouldn’t guess that from being online however…
At my local AMA club I see interest and support. I see the generation of men and women who had no choice but to build everything from scratch, using balsa and glue and Monokote, getting excited because they can buy something and “just fly”. I see Heli pilots surprised and excited to see younger kids interested in collective pitch.
Every day I see posts from the “ELITE” pilots that trash talk cheap, accessible aircraft just because it isn’t what they fly. I see people bashing other pilots’ skills. I see kits like the excellent Eachine Racer 250 destroyed by comments because only a NOOB would buy that. If you’re not flying TBS or Lumineer, GTFO because you suck.
Know where else I’ve seen that sort of attitude? Online gaming. It sucks there, and it sucks here. That attitude will kill this hobby faster than the FAA.
So what do you do when you’re a noob and want to try your hand at drone racing? Ignore them. Don’t feed the trolls. Find a decent kit if you like to solder (or want to learn – trust me, you’ll need the skills), or buy RTF. Doesn’t need to be fancy, you’re going to crash. A lot. This will not be your last frame purchase. This is an expensive hobby, and the recurring costs never stop.
Try something like the Eachine Racer 250 I mentioned above, or if you have the budget and want GPS capabilities consider the Walkera Runner 250 Advance. Read reviews, be informed, but if someone starts yapping about how a certain kit “sucks” but can’t really tell you why, or they can tell you why but it’s something along the lines of “I can’t tilt the camera to 45 degrees”, “it’s ugly”, or “I don’t like X” where X is a part of the design that has no bearing on flight, ignore them.
Try to find yourself a better community. Try the folks over at FliteTest.com. Even if you have no intention at flying fixed-wing planes, the community is very supportive and kind. It’s a different breed of people over there. Not only do they love flying, they love to share that feeling and get other people into the air. They teach good habits, and they pass on that friendly attitude to the pilots they help.
A lot of help can also be found at RCGroups.com, though you may have to filter through a few trolls as well. It is an online forum after all, but they police themselves rather well.
Be wary of YouTube commenters. Be wary of Facebook groups. I’m not saying not to join any, just take everything you read with a grain of salt and do your own research. Don’t be ashamed to be a noob. Ask questions, ask for help.
As for everyone else, step up your game. This hobby improves with each new pilot, so stop competing and start building a better community. Hold yourself to a higher standard. In other words, stop being dicks and try to remember the time where YOU were a noob. I can guarantee it wasn’t that long ago.