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A Beginner’s Guide to Flying RC Airplanes

3 min read
A Beginner’s Guide to Flying RC Airplanes

The hobby of Radio Control Airplane flying is one which is constantly seeing excited beginners. When the beginner experiences a good beginning, then he/she is hooked for life. So, here’s a beginner’s guide to hopefully improve your first experience and cause you to get hooked by this hobby, just like thousands of RC hobby enthusiasts before you!

First, you will want to take your time and pick the best and most cost effective model RC airplane. When I say “the best”, I’m really talking about what’s best for you. Generally, you want an RC airplane that you can control, as a beginner, well enough to learn how to turn right when you are thinking “turn right” and to turn left when you are thinking “turn left”. This is the challenge when the RC airplane is actually coming toward you. Your brain has a tendency to react as if you are looking in a mirror, but this is the opposite case when you are flying your model. You actually want the model to react as if you were sitting in the cockpit yourself. So, to start with, you will want to buy a slow, and very stable RC model.

Your slow flying, yet stable airplane should very likely need to be either a park flyer or a glider. The park flyer should come with the propeller located behind the cockpit to push the RC airplane like the Megatech Cosmic Flyer 2-channel model. As a beginner, you will crash often, and the propeller would be the first to break if it were on the front. The exception to the push prop plane is one with a propeller that folds back. Some powered gliders come with a folding propeller on the front like the Megatech Prowler Electric 4-Channel Glider. Then for stability, a V-shape main wing profile is a must. That is, the wing tips are higher than the wing roots. This profile allows gravity to work more in your favor toward stabilizing the craft.

With the advances in micro-sized electronics within the last ten years, it is highly recommended that the beginner stick with electric powered planes rather than nitro-fuel powered because of the simplicity of preparation and of actual flight. Then launching can be done by hand, and landing can be done on soft grass. Concerning landing the plane, if your model comes with landing gear, you will want to remove it, because the landing gear will jam in the grass and flip your plane over and risk damage, whereas landing without wheels on grass will allow your craft to slide to a smoother stop.

Finally, once you get your RC airplane, put it together and charge the batteries, try to find an RC club nearby. Simply walk up to someone and ask for help with your first flight. They are extremely friendly and very eager to help the new-comer get started. An experienced flyer can drastically reduce the length of your learning curve and thereby decrease the number of your crashes. However, if you can’t find someone with experience, then head on over to your nearby open field and give it a whirl yourself, but be sure to take your plane to an altitude equal to “2 mistakes high” to give yourself room to recover if your plane starts dropping fast after a maneuver.

If you find that you are too nervous to fly, then the other alternative toward getting flight training is to invest in an RC flight simulator for your home computer. Prices for simulators range from $50 to $200 and can also save you lots of money in the long run because the practice you gain on the simulator can greatly reduce the number of crashes you will experience when flying the real thing.

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