I advise you that you let a quadcopter be your first RC hovercraft. Proper setup of its electronic components guarantees its stable work, while proper soldering and correct choice of controllers/motors ensure high integrity. Quadcopters are universally controllable: resembling a helicopter on the one hand (vertical takeoff and landing, thrust braking), a quad’s movement in the air is in a way more similar to an airplane’s. Finally, quads do not require expensive maintenance and are more crash proof. Just a little background with quads enables you to easily switch to any other hovercraft type.
First, add RC equipment and a charger to cart. While you are in for a handful of replacing, spilling, losing and repairing, there are two ultimate things you cannot do without. Get the following items just for a start:
Turnigy 9X Transmitter ($69.59) and IMAX B6 Charger ($48.56). The transmitter has been available for quite a while, and there is no malfunction you can’t fix using your skilled hands and forum posts, and it takes but a schoolboy’s experience to upgrade it. It comes with mid-level stock firmware (no difficulty upgrading it!) and an 8-channel receiver. More than enough at this point. Buy an original charger.

If you feel like you can afford a better thing, buy Turnigy 9XR ($81.14) and a FrSky DjT 2.4GHz Transmitter Telemetry Module ($34.49). However, I recommend the good old Turnigy 9 just for a start. And one more crucial thing: buy a simulator cable. It is absolutely imperative that you pass a 10-15-hour simulator training before actually flying your aircraft.

Choose a Frame for Your Future Hovercraft

The choice of the following components is individual.
1. For mere training, a compact plastic frame will be ok, such as:
F330 is a very compact and brightly colored frame made of strong plastic.
Q450 is built from unbreakable plastic, which is made to last for lifetime, and it features a built-in power distribution board.
SK450 has a little more functionality (extra layers added) and a yellow foam ball that aids orientation.

2. If you are considering aerial filming, look for these:
H.A.L.585 ($11.59) features aluminium beams, a protective dome and carbon fiber landing skids. Plus configuration only.
X650F ($37.57) is a folding frame featuring aluminum beams, a multi-layer base, carbon fiber skids. X configuration only.
AQ-600 ($65.75) is a carbon plastic frame with folding arms, a protective shell and extended landing skids. Too highly priced for a novice RC hobbyist. Do not buy this one unless you are one-hundred-percent into aerial filming and are going to mount a good deal of equipment on it.
X580 ($22.39) features aluminium beams, a camera mount and high carbon landing skids. The price is quite attractive. The only minuses are the absence of a protective dome and a small number of base layers.

Choosing a motor, an ESC (electronic speed controller) and propellers.
Choose a motor according to your desired prop thrust level. The ideal flight weight/thrust ratio is 2:3 for a FPV and 1:2 for a aerobatic quadcopter. Calculate thrust based on power: 100W per 0,5 kg of thrust. Because you have four motors, the thrust will increase fourfold.

AX-2810Q 300W ($22.45) is designed for multi-rotor applications.
NTM28-26 250W ($15.58) is a well-balanced motor. It does not have an integrated adapter.
NTM35-30 350W ($19.55) is a powerful and well-balanced motor. I’ve mounted it on my FPV and I’m satisfied!
TowerPro2410 100W is a cheap and compact bell-type motor; it is great for beginners who use small quads.
hexTronik DT750 180W ($15.80) is a very popular and well-tried bell type motor. It is simple, cheap, reliable and powerful.

Choose an ESC based on your motors’ parameters, such as current draw and required voltage. For example, a motor with max current draw 20А and voltage 11.1V(3S) requires a speed controller with a 20-25% max current draw margin and an 11.1V(3S) voltage margin. I’d like to mention two ESC types, which are perfect for multi-rotor systems thanks to high processor speed. They’ve been available here for not quite so long:

• Turnigy MultiStar: 15A ($12.19), 20A ($10.88), 30A ($9.96), 45A ($18.55).
• Hobbyking Blue Series 12A ($8.93), 20A ($11.66), 30A ($12.88), 40A ($21.87).
Personally, I recommend the green category, since they were designed for multi-rotor systems.

Choosing a propeller.

Definitely, two-blade SF propellers are the best for low-budget multi-rotor applications. Two-blade props show higher efficiency level and a better weight-lift at low motor RPM than three-blade ones. Also, they break when they hit a surface and therefore keep the frame and the motors safe. Besides, they are much cheaper than other prop types. Well, what is the best diameter? The more powerful your motor is, the bigger the diameter. Propellers are consumables, so it is advisable to buy at least 20-24 props beforehand.

• 100-150W 8x4.5 right-hand (green and black) and left-hand (green and black) propeller or a kit of 2R+2L red, yellow and blue propellers.
• 150-200W 10x4.5 right-hand (green and black) and left-hand (green and black) propeller or a kit of 2R+2L red, black, yellow and blue propellers.
• 200-350W 12x4.5 right-hand (green and black) and left-hand (green and black) propeller or a kit of 2R+2L red, black, yellow and blue propellers.

If you are not sure, which of the prop types is better for you, use the rule of thumb and buy two sets of props (say, 8 props in each set) of slightly different diameters, for example 12х4.5 and 10х4.5.

Choosing a flight controller.

HK3.0(Atmega328PA) ($15.07) is a very cheap and small board with a standard ‘plus type’ configuration, which you can adjust on the spot using a screwdriver. Quality and stability levels differ from shipment to shipment. It is good for training only.
• One of the biggest pluses of HK KK2.1.5 LCD ($23.19) is a screen, which eases field tuning, and regular firmware updates (current version 1.5). Here is a video about what this PID controller can do:

• Featuring a GPS module, a barometer, the RTH (Return to Home) and Hold functions, MultiWii PRO has gained popularity in less than no time. Ideal for FPVs.
• Here are the jokers in the MultiWii pack: NanoWii ($23.19), MicroWii, SE V2.0 ($50.68). Although prices seem less than extortionate for feature-rich products such as these, they are less popular and therefore less predictable in terms of possible downsides. In this case, buying an excellent controller at an alluring price is fraught with hitting on a faulty one and feeling disappointed.

Components for a multi-rotor system

• Choose a battery, which can hold at least 10 minutes. For example, with 5A current draw per motor (we have four motors), the total draw (20A) divided by !6! gives the capacity enough for a 10-minute flight. We use the Turnigy 3300mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack. Here is the 3S 20C line: Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack ($11.59), Turnigy 3300mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack ($23.14), Turnigy 4000mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack ($23.40), Turnigy 5000mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack ($23.55). As you can see, the price/capacity ratio does not seem fair, so it is more advisable to buy a couple of Turnigy 2200mAh and a Nylon XT60 Connector ($2.77) than to buy a high-capacity battery. Besides, going out in the field for the sake of just one flight does not sound like an appropriate decision, so buy 2 or 3 and have a decent training session.
30mm Servo Lead (JR) Female to Female(!) Extension 26AWG ($4.85) that goes from the receiver to the flight controller, and a 150mm Servo ($1.86) that goes from the flight controller to the ESC.
• ESC-to-battery connectors: Nylon XT60 Male/Female ($4.40) or HXT4mm ($4.78); choose a connector according to the type of your battery or power distribution board ($4.40).

To sum it up, here is an outline of what I think is the best quad for a beginner:
• Frame Q450 ($14.09)
Turnigy 9X Transmitter and a simulator cable ($69.59 + $10.43 = $80.02)
IMAX B6 Charger ($48.56)
hexTronik DT750 motors ($15.80 x 4 = $63.2)
Multistar 20 A speed controllers ($10.88 х 4 = $43.52)
red and black 10x4.5 SF propellers, 2 packs per color ($3.17 х 4 = $12.68)
HK KK2.1.5 LCD flight controller ($23.19)
• Battery Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack ($11.59 x 3 = $34.77)
• Servo cables 30mm and 150mm ($4.85 + $1.86 = $6.71)
Total value: $ 326.74, shipping not included.

Thank you for reading my post! You’re welcome to submit comments, ask questions, make critical remarks and corrections and share all sorts of information concerning the subject. Good luck and great flying!

This is the translated version. You can read the original Russian article here.