Learning to Fly Rc Airplanes Succesfully

By: Matt Brown

Learning to fly RC airplanes is the beginning of a life long passion! Avoid the mistakes that discourage many from this hobby by taking the time to learn the basics before spending your money. Familiarize yourself with the key points outlined below to save yourself time and money by doing things right the first time!


Choosing Your First Airplane
Choosing your first airplane is critical for learning to fly RC airplanes successfully. I know it's tempting, but do NOT go out and buy the best looking airplane. Those are usually the hardest to fly. Learning to fly RC airplanes requires a stable, forgiving, and durable airplane. But don't worry, it won't take long at all before you are ready to fly that airplane you really want!

Trainers are generally larger airplanes constructed with balsa wood. These airplanes require a lot of space to fly. Trainers can be powered with either an electric motor or nitro-powered engine. These are NOT toys and can be very dangerous. It is absolutely crucial that you have assistance from an experienced pilot when learning to fly with a trainer.

Park fyers are smaller electric airplanes that can be flown at most parks or backyards. They are generally more durable than trainers. Park flyers require less equipment and accessories than trainers. When learning to fly RC airplanes it is always best to get help from an experienced flyer no matter what type of airplane you have. However, it is possible for a beginner to learn to fly with a park flyer without the assistance of an experienced pilot.

Academy of Model Aeronautics(AMA)
If you choose to fly a nitro-powered airplane you should join the AMA. In fact, most every flying club requires you to join the AMA. The Acadomy of Model Aeronautics is the governing body for radio controlled aircraft in the United States. By joining the AMA you will be insured for up to $2,500,000 for any damage or harm caused by your airplane as long as you were following the AMA safety code when the accident occurred.

The cost for joining the AMA is $58.

This is money well spent even if you don't plan to join a club. Nitro powered airplanes are tons of fun, but they are not toys. Anything could happen, whether it be pilot error or equipment malfunction, that could seriously harm someone. While it would be awful for anyone to be hurt by one of our airplanes, at least you would be covered financially if such an incident did occur and you were sued.

Joining a Club
If your first airplane is any thing more powerful than a park flyer(either a glow-powered or large electric powered airplane), then you really have little choice but to get help from an experienced pilot. If you don't, you will regret it. Trust me on this one! Whether it be a friend or member of the local club, you should let him take off and trim the airplane before handing it over to you. It may even be a good idea to let him land it for the first time.
If you join a club you will have access to a trainer system called a buddy box. You will hold a "dummy" transmitter that is connected to the instructor's transmitter. He will hold down a switch which will give you control of the airplane. If at any time you get in trouble he will simply let off the switch and resume control over your airplane! This is absolutely the best method for learning to fly RC airplanes! The chances of crashing your airplane with the buddy system is very slim.

Another great reason to join a club is to meet tons of people that share your passion for flying. Half the fun of making a trip to the field is to hang out with fellow club members. You also get to see all kinds of awesome RC airplanes fly!

Flight Simulators
RC flight simulators will help you learn much quicker while greatly minimizing your chances of crashing your real airplane. Just like most modern video games, RC simulators look and feel like the real thing! Simulators come with a controller that looks and feels identical to a typical RC airplane transmitter. Some packages allow you to use the same transmitter that you use at the field!

Learning to move the sticks correctly when the airplane is coming towards you is one of the most challenging aspects of learning to fly RC airplanes. The best part about an RC flight simulator is that when you crash all you have to do is hit the space bar and your airplane is miraculously repaired! Why not use a simulator until control reversal is second nature before putting your model at risk?

It is important to realize that a simulator is not a substitute for an instructor! But an RC flight simulator in conjunction with the help of an experienced pilot will definitely shorten the learning curve while increasing the chances of keeping your airplane in one piece!


Words to live by!

I want to help you experience this hobby to its fullest. Most every thing you need to know for learning to fly RC airplanes can be found on these pages. Flying an RC airplane takes more than knowledge, it takes experience. These models fly fast. You don't have time to think about what to do. You have to just do it. It has to be instinct. All it takes is one wrong move to reduce your airplane into toothpicks. Trust me, this can happen in the blink of an eye. Be wise. Get help from an experienced pilot if at all possible! Can't find a club? Go visit your local hobby store. I'm sure it's listed in the phone book. The owner will be glad to answer any questions you might have. He will also give you directions to the local club. I haven't met an RC pilot yet that wouldn't go out of their way to help a fellow flyer. That is what makes this hobby so great!

I wish you the best with your first flight! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, as long as you don't hold me accountable when you become addicted beyond belief!

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