R/C flying is a really great hobby.
It's not as popular as some of the other forms of the R/C Hobby, however. But since you are here reading this, I'll assume that you want to fly Jets, R/C Parkjets to be specific.
READ THESE FIRST:
Read Tower Hobbies R/C Dictionary to become acquainted with General R/C Terminology
A really good Tutorial for Electric R/C flying
First, let’s take a look at you, and your experience. Do you feel that you are physically capable of grabbing a jet that is anywhere from 2-Ft. to 5-Ft. long and weighing several pounds, and giving that jet a mighty toss, like Brett Farve throwing a bullet pass for the winning touchdown, and then having enough wit's about you to grab the TX control sticks, and fly that jet out of what ever problem it has gotten itself into?
I hope you answered "Hell Yes!!" If not, then you may want to consider flying a more "Conventional" Airplane," one of those slow flying type's with the prop up front, and leave the ParkJets for when your older, and/or when you have more experience.
Things You Need to Do
You need to start reading all about the Electric R/C Hobby at the RC Groups E-Zone discussion boards. I HIGHLY Suggest you join the RC Group's and participate in the thread discussions. The owners of the ParkJet plans found on this website deeply appreciate knowing there plans are being built, and they will gladly answer any questions you have about the construction, and flying of their creations. Everything I know, I have learned from the great people at the E-zone :)
BECOME AN AMA MEMBER
I've been an AMA Member for the last few years now, and I consider this organization to be essential to the R/C Flying Hobby. No matter WHERE or WHAT you fly. You WILL need an AMA card to fly at any sanctioned event, and the accident insurance they offer can really save you a ton of money, if you ever hurt someone, or damage any property while flying. See more information on my Sensible Safety Rules webpage.
Your First RTF ParkJet
Your first ParkJet should be a Ready To Fly (RTF) 3 Channel (motor, aileron, elevator OR motor, elevator, rudder) kit, with , a pre-built jet with a transmitter (TX) receiver (RX), servo's, and speed controller (ESC) already installed, with flight and transmitter battery packs, and a appropriate battery charger.
NEVER fly a 2 Channel RTF jet!! These jets are the imported "Kids Toy Store" variety with controls for the motor and rudder only! You will learn BAD HABITS flying one of these jets, that you will have to un-learn to fly a proper Parkjet.
This is not to say that a 2 channel parkjet won't fly, your altitude is controlled by the motor, and steering is controlled by the rudder. It's your money, if you want to waste it, and then go right ahead. These toys are not my choice of plane to fly, the only thing there designed to do is separate your money from your wallet.
A Room to Build and Store Your Aircraft!!!
Find a space, and call it your own. Don't let anyone in there (especially Animals and Children) These ParkJets take time to assemble (although I have read of one modeler building a jet in One day) glue and paint have to dry; epoxy has to set, and so on.
YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PURCHASE
Is going to be your Battery Charger!! I know what your thinking, your Transmitter is more important, but this is not necessarily true.
You may buy several transmitters, but most likely you will only purchase a single Battery Charger. Of course, how you fly, and the number of planes you fly at one time, may have a bearing on your "Need" for additional charger.
Charging takes time, and the only way to charge multiple packs of batteries quickly, is to use multiple battery chargers.
Your battery charger is the life blood to your flying hobby. Once you get to the point of building and flying your own ParkJets, you will most likely be using Lithium Polymer (Lipo) batteries. So, it only makes sense to buy a changer that can handle Lipo batteries, and charge them SAFELY.
A lot of changers will charge Lipo batteries. The only "Problem" with many battery charges is that they require a 12 VDC Power Source.
One good way around this "Problem" is to use a Portable Power System, commonly used for roadside emergency Battery Jumping. J.C. Whitney sells several models.
You can recharge your batteries away from your car, and you can even take the unit right out to the flight line with you to charge your battery packs all day long!!
Another "Must Have" tool is a Power Meter. You can use these meters in a variety of ways. Use it to monitor your battery charger, to see how much "Juice" your battery is taking.
Use it to test and monitor power set-up's, check the Voltage, Amperage, power (in Watts), Amps-per-hour, and Watt's-per-hour.
The Hyperion E-Meter (Left Side) and the Medusa Power Analyzer Plus (Right Side) can connect to your PC and download the information collected so you can produce graph's and record a "History" of your batteries and equipment (an easy way to spot potential problems)
The Hyperion E-Meter will also function as a tachometer, and It can also program the Hyperion Tital Brand of Brushless ESC's. You can read a discussion in the RC Groups about the Hyperion E-Meter here. You can also view a 20 Meg Video about the Hyperion E-Meter.
Special Thanks to RCParkFlyer for this article