Thursday, May 04, 2006

How to get started flying RC airplanes

For thousands of years man has dreamed of flight. Nothing has amazed people as much as flying machines have in the past century and there is still more to come. What is even more amazing though, is the progress in personal flight toys. You can fly everything from a miniature helicopter, to a one 20th scale Cessna, which you can build at home yourself.

The more amazing thing about today's RC airplanes is the fact that anyone can fly them, and some airplanes are very easy to fly. For example, I bought a $50 Hobby Zone airplane and the controller had two controls, one that could steer the plane left or right and then the second was throttle (speed) control. How can you get any simpler then that!

As easy as it can be, it still can be difficult for beginners to get started in this hobby. Since I now have the knowledge that every beginner should know, since I was a beginner once, I wanted to share it with other people so everyone can enjoy the RC airplane hobby.

The first thing a beginner needs to know is their power sources. RC airplanes can be powered either electrically or by an engine that runs on fuel called nitro methane. This is very important when deciding on purchasing your first radio controlled airplane. You need some knowledge of both power sources, as they both have their pros and con's. First I would like to state that for all beginners' I recommend an electric RC airplane over a gas RC airplane. Why? Because an electric airplane is cheaper, like under $100 cheap, and much easier to operate. In fact, all you have to do is plug in the battery and flick the ON switch. They are also much quieter and produce no fumes in the air. Plus not much maintenance is required besides keeping it in a cool, dry place.

A gas powered RC airplane has its advantages to of course. If you are a realist and what an authentic looking and sounding remote control airplane, then an airplane with a gas engine is what you want. An RC airplane with a gas engine is bigger and bulkier then an electric R/C airplane, so it is more to scale and realistic. It also sounds like a real airplane does, and is kind of like a real little miniature airplane since the engine requires fuel, tuning, and other adjustments. These types of airplanes cost a little more and take longer to assemble. Plus, they require much more maintenance and you have to continue to spend more money since you need special fuel, oil and some other small accessories.

Now that you pretty much know what type of airplane you want to purchase, let me help you get it running and teach you some tips and tricks that you will find handy out on the flying field.
If you have never flown a model airplane or a real airplane before, then you might have some trouble taking off, flying and landing. The first thing to remember is that you need a good open field to fly at, unless of course you have a slow flyer or park flyer, which can be flown in small areas like indoors or parks. A good local flying field can be located online by searching through a search engine, like Google, for a local club. Flying fields always have a club, and they are usually full of friendly people who are willing to help you learn.

Most of these clubs have flying instructors that will either help you for free, or charge you a little money. Either way you will have a guide that can teach you a lot. You also can be sure that if something goes wrong with your airplane, people will be there that have the knowledge to fix it.
Another way you can learn to fly is of course teaching yourself, but that can be costly if you crash a lot. If you are going to teach yourself, I suggest you start off with a cheap $50 electric RC airplane that has only left and right steering control and throttle control. These types of airplanes can take off from a flat surface or can be easily hand launched into the air by applying full throttle.

After you get started, there will be no stopping you and the rest will come naturally. There still is some other much needed accessories that I suggest no beginner go with out. Like a good RC airplane book, a field box, a car charger for an electric plane, and extra batteries for your transmitter. With all these tips in mind, start your flying experience right and keep the wind at your back.

Michael Cottier has been flying RC airplanes most of his life and can help you get started in the hobby with his website, no matter what age the pilot is. Just check out his RC airplane website.

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