How much does it cost?
Although some of the aircraft can be expensive, a person can get started in the R/C hobby for as little as $300.00 or less. The average cost of a complete setup is around $500. This is not too expensive when you compare it to the cost of golfing or boating.
How do these miniature aircraft work?
These are miniature aircraft with the same functions as their full sized counterparts. They fly in the same way with the same controls. The big difference is that they are controlled from the ground with a radio transmitter with control sticks on it. The engines can be either 2-stroke or 4-stroke, gasoline or the high end being the jet turbine. Also gaining in popularity is the electric motor . In the aircraft is a radio receiver that runs electric motors called servos. The servos move the control surfaces of the plane causing it to react to the pilot inputs from the transmitter on the ground.
Are they dangerous?
When not treated with due respect and caution, any machine can be dangerous. You must always keep thinking " safety " . We have strict rules and regulations governing the flying of our miniature aircraft. We only fly away from populated areas, and at least five miles away from airports. We are governed by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Anyone flying models in our club is required to be an AMA member. AMA also provides us with insurance in the event an accident should occur. Visit the AMA website where you can find a great deal of information regarding the association.
How do I learn to fly these R/C planes?
We suggest that you join a club where you will be put in touch with a qualified instructor. He or she will check out your aircraft and do the initial take-off, and " trim" the plane properly. From there, you will be given the controls along with a "buddy cord" with the instructor using the second transmitter and will be coached into gentle turns, Chances are you will lose control many times and the instructor will take over and bring the aircraft back to proper flying. Don't be discouraged, this happens a lot. As you progress you will be able to hold level flight, and finally take-offs and landings with the instructor watching. There will come a point where the instructor will pass you as a qualified pilot and you will receive your "wings". Another great new tool for learning is a computer simulator where you can practice flying and to get a "feel" what it's like. One good thing about a simulator is, if you crash it won't cost you any money.
Can I learn to fly without an instructor?
A small number of lucky modelers have taught themselves how to fly remote control airplanes but they are few and far between. More often than not, a novice pilot will crash and totally destroy his airplane without the assistance of an instructor - and he won't even be able to recognize what went wrong. Many hours of work can be involved in the construction of a model and it will be lost in a moment of beginners indecision. A skilled flyer can help you get past the first critical test and trimming flights without damage to the airplane.
Are the models hard to build?
Most of the kits out today can be built with little fuss. If you are capable of following instructions, you shouldn't have any trouble at all. The instructions that come with the kit usually have pictures and diagrams showing you how the parts should go together. Modern model kits are precision cut (laser) and use the best materials. If you have questions about building a kit, there are many experienced model builders in the Aero Modelers of Perrine club who would be more than happy to lend a hand.
What kinds of tools do I need?
The basic tools include a flat building surface, (a door is good and on top of the door cork or ceiling tile so you can stick your pins in), hobby knife, pins, sandpaper and glue. CA glue (Cyanoacrylate) but watch out DON'T stick your fingers together, it's handy to have a small bottle of DEBONDER just in case, and also some epoxy. As you progress in the hobby, you will acquire other tools that help you in your endeavors.
Do I have to build my own model?
Part of the intrigue of R/C modeling is the construction of your own flying machine. Seeing your creation in the air adds to the enjoyment. There are, however, other ways of getting into the air. In the past few years, manufacturers have been selling ARF's (Almost Ready to Fly) airplanes. They come complete with everything needed to get into the air, (a few manufactures include the radio and engine also). The major structures have already been built and finished. It only takes a few hours to put it together along with running checks on the stability of the fuselage. Some entrepreneurs will build completely ready to fly models to your specifications. Although this is an easy way to start flying, it is also expensive. Some custom built models can run in the thousands of dollars.
How fast do they fly?
Their flying speeds can range from about 20 mph to over 200 mph (jet turbine). The speed of an average sport model flown in this area from 20 to 50 mph.
How big are they?
A typical sport model or trainer can have about a five foot wingspan and weigh from four to eight pounds. There are single and multi-engine models that can have twelve foot wingspans and weigh twenty pounds or more. Jet turbines have been increasing in popularity. Most models can be disassembled for transportation with the wing being detached from the fuselage.
What do I need to get started?
You will need a plane, either build one from a kit or buy a ARF. The plane should have a high wing with a flat bottom for more stable and gliding ability. Select a engine and a recommended propeller, a 2-stroke would be good to start off with. Next a transmitter [radio], (either a 4- Channel or 6- Channel ), receiver and battery, a off and on switch, and four servos, [this all comes as a kit]. You will also need a flight box, which will include a starter, igniter, 12volt [small] battery, some tools, fuel pump, and a gallon of appropriate fuel. And don't forget a few feet of silicone tubing.
Where can I purchase Radio Controlled Equipment?
You can purchase equipment from most hobby shops also if you click on the "links" page you will find some very good hobby outlets with their Web Sites. They are just a phone call away and would be happy to help you with your needs, and most of them have a 1-800 number to serve you better.
How long does it take to fly on your own?
That all depends on the student, and how much time an individual can spend with the instructor. A good guess would be three months to a year on the average. The more time (Hrs.) a student can give, the faster (he or she) can fly solo and receive their "wings".