Model Aircraft Info

So, you want to fly radio control aircraft!

Flying a radio controlled plane can be tricky. Some simple steps will help you figure out the basics of RC flying. Have a look further down the page for more information, including video, to assist with learning to fly RC model aircraft. Also, reference to the AMAS Inc Flight Instruction web page for more detailed information can be of help:

http://www.amas.org.au/wspFlightTraining.aspx

 


Decide on ready-built versus build-your-own.

Do you want an aircraft pre-built, or want to assemble your own? RTF stands for Ready To Fly and includes everything including controller and battery, while ARF is Almost Ready to Fly, which assembly and the purchase of all necessary electronics (servos, ESC, receiver, battery, etc.) separately. PNF stands for Plug-n-Fly, often requiring you to buy your own battery, receiver, and transmitter separately. Do you want electric or glow (gas)? If you want to build the entire plane yourself, kits are also available.  Have a look here for example: https://hobbyking.com/

 

Purchase a radio control aeroplane.

Beginner planes are typically electric RTF trainers in the $50-$300 price range including battery and controller. A good Internet search is "RTF trainer. If you have a brick-and-mortar hobby shop in your area, be sure to visit it. The employees there will be extremely helpful and knowledgeable, especially if it's a reputable store. On the internet, have a look here: https://hobbyking.com/en_us/planes/ready-to-fly-rtf/beginner-trainer.html

 


Build the aircraft (if assembly is required).

Most RC planes, even RTF ones, require a bit of assembly. For example: https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbykingr-tm-club-trainer-pnf-epo-1265mm.html 

Need some help with some building tips? Have a look here.


Learn about Centre of Gravity here.

 

RC Flight Simulators

Just in case anyone doesn’t know what an RC Flight Simulator is. It's a program that is loaded onto a personal computer that replicates the flight of RC helicopters, Multirotors, Gliders and Aeroplanes. It may come with a simple RC radio (controller) or come with a USB adapter so you can plug your existing RC radio into the computer by way of the trainer port on the radio (if your radio has a trainer port) https://hobbyking.com/en_us/radios-receivers-1/flight-simulator.html


Pre-flight the plane.

Turn on the transmitter, then the airplane. Check the direction of flight surfaces (have someone experienced check you).

 

Check which control stick operates which surfaces.

There are different conventions about which stick does what. These are called "modes," and there are 4 main ones - Mode 1, Mode 2 etc. It is best to use a mode which is used by any instructor or the most common to other flyers in your area. Mode 2 is the most commonly used mode in the US

 


Do a range check.

Follow OEM instructions regarding  the transmitter/receiver range check procedure, and check that your control surfaces still respond without chattering or unwanted movements.

 

Determine approximate wind speed.

Don't fly if the wind is too strong!

 

Determine wind direction by throwing some grass clippings or other light material into the air.

Always launch INTO the wind. If you are taking off from a runway and the wind is perpendicular to the runway, it is possible to take off, but not advisable for a beginner.

 


Slowly advance the power on your aircraft and wait for it to gain sufficient speed on the ground.

Once the plane is almost floating above the ground, bring the elevators (usually up-down on the right side) up about 30% and let the plane get off the ground. If you're hand launching, advance the power to full and give the plane a straight level and firm (not too hard) toss into the air and quickly grab the controls. If you are still learning, have someone else launch your airplane for you so you can keep your hands on the sticks.

 


Keep the throttle at 100% until the plane reaches a sufficient altitude for the size plane you're flying.

Usually fly what we call 3 mistakes high, which is 150–200 feet (45–61m) up, then reduce the throttle to half power.

 


Use a very light touch.

Just push the stick over for a split second and release. Simulator training will make you better at this.

 

Turn to the left or right by moving the appropriate control stick left or right.

This will roll the plane slightly to the side. You will also need to pull back on the appropriate control stick slightly to pull the plane through the turn. To complete the turn, roll the plane parallel to the ground. Remember to always keep the plane upwind, this way it won’t blow away from you.(this only applies if you turn with ailerons.

 

Keep the plane as level as possible; if you raise the nose too much, it may cause a stall.

If you do stall, recover by pushing the nose down until the aircraft is flying fast enough to generate lift again. This may seem counterintuitive, but pulling back on the stick further will only make your situation worse in a stall.

 

Practice an oval shaped flight pattern, keeping all turns in the same direction.

When you find yourself comfortable with this pattern, try flying an oval in the opposite direction (let other pilots around know what you are doing so they know to avoid you if you are flying an opposite pattern). When comfortable with both directions try a figure 8 pattern.

 


Land the airplane by first making note of the wind direction to land into the wind.

Reduce power slowly don’t touch the elevator stick - to descend, simply reduce the throttle. You want the plane to almost glide on its own. When the plane is about 5 feet (1.5 m) from the ground, cut the throttle.

 


Flare just before the plane comes in contact with the ground by raising the nose at the last second so all three wheels touch at the same time.

Note that this only applies to aircraft with a tail wheel, tricycle-gear airplanes should touch down on the back two wheels first and then let the nose settle down onto the runway.


Here's some more information on learning to fly RC model aircraft:

 

Some advice:

 

·         A Flight Simulator might help. Train with a RC-flight-simulator at home. This is a safe way and a crash wouldn't be so expensive.  http://rcdeskpilot.com/ is a free flight simulator that can be found on the internet and a lot of people program models for free that work with the program. There is even a way to attach your transmitter to the computer so that you can fly a plane with your transmitter (if it has a buddy connector).

·         Go easy on the sticks. When you're just learning how to fly, never push a control stick (except for the throttle) too far in one direction, especially in emergencies. Just keep calm, and get yourself out of the situation. Again, try a flight simulation.

·         Refer to the instructions for your exact model setup and other procedures..

·         FMS (http://modelsimulator.com/) is another way to train, because more than likely, you can download your plane for FMS (also good for those rainy days.)

·         Find an instructor, experienced flyer, or consider joining a flying club. Crashing on your first flight isn't a good way to start your flying experience.

·         IF you're not sure if R/C flight is for you, Check out HobbyKing. I am an experienced flyer, and find the HobbyKing product range just perfect.

·         When flying an IC (glow/petrol) aeroplane, bring all the necessary things, like fuel, glow plugs, tools, etc

·         Check out sites like http://www.hobbynews.com/  www.rcgroups.com -- For beginners, research the latest "RTF trainers" (Ready-To-Fly) that have high review and durability ratings.

·         Fly into the wind for optimal performance.