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    Tuesday nights 4 PM till sunset reserved for training at Northampton Field (May - September)    
Get yourself a good flight simulator
Here's a great one from Great Planes- RealFlight  RealFlght
Sample of how RealFlight Simulator Works  Demonstration
Information on Basic and RealFlight Version G5  RF G5 and Basic
 Improve your skills through simulated combat!  RF Simulated Combat

Join the AMA and a Club, Attend meetings, Train for Free
AMA Join the AMA, fly legally, safely and with insurance 
RCCR Train for free at Radio Control Club of Rochester 

Map to Northampton field
Show and Tell Attend Meetings, ask questions, and learn from others experiences

Visitors Welcome! Instructions to meeting locations:
May-September; Hasman field, W.Ridge Rd., Spencerport, NY.
October-April; Our Mother of Sorrows Mt. Read Blvd. near Latta
RCCR Application RCCR Application form 
Club Search Not from around here?  Find a club here


Read free instructional material
MA Sport Aviator's Sure-Start Guide for the New RC Pilot


An E-Book by Ed Anderson, President, Long Island Silent Flyers.


Best Model Plane for Beginners


There is ten tons of internet information about R/C, and in particular about model aviation.  Seems the latest information contains information about the Electric RC airplanes, and especially for beginners.  Here's an example of a site called ELECTRON or, or whatever page you happen upon.  It is a site with "too much information" but, on the other hand, what do we old guys know?  Give it a chance, you may even discover your first airplane, and, who knows, it may even be an Easy Star, or not.

New in Hobby ?

What's a Good First Plane?

Attention - Educators

from AMA: The work of the Education Committee represents the "Academy" in our name. Our mission is to promote model aviation as an educational tool, in formal classroom and non-formal, after-school settings.

AMA's magazine MODEL AVIATION has some articles for newcomers entitled FROM THE GROUND UP.
These are being collected and are posted on-line at
From the Ground Up


From Sport Aviation, Feb. 1999
How Airplanes Fly: A Physical Description of Lift

David Anderson
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Scott Eberhardt
Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
University of Washington

Many ask the simple question "what makes an airplane fly"? The answer one frequently gets is misleading and often just plain wrong. We hope that the answers provided here will clarify many misconceptions about lift and that you will adopt our explanation when explaining lift to others. We are going to show you that lift is easier to understand if one starts with Newton rather than Bernoulli. We will also show you that the popular explanation that most of us were taught is misleading at best and that lift is due to the wing diverting air down.

c'mon, get physical 

Animated Engines
There's some really good stuff for kids and educators:
The K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook


and welcome to the exciting world of Radio Control (RC) model aviation. Included in this brochure is information and a few simple tips that will help you to have hundreds of hours of fun and enjoyment with your new model.

Safety First!
Your new model aircraft is not a toy. Use caution and follow these few simple tips each time you fly your airplane.

  • Inspect your model before flight to make sure it’s “airworthy.”

  • Choose an area clear of obstacles and large enough to safely operate your aircraft. 

  • Make sure this area is clear of friends and spectators before you launch. 

  • Be aware of activities taking place in the vicinity in which you are flying and plan your flight to avoid these areas. 

  • 2004 OfficialAMA National Model Aircraft Safety Code

What Is Radio Interference?
The control system in your model works on specific frequencies or channels just like radio and TV stations, only much less powerful. 
There are several frequencies
that have been assigned by the Federal Communications Commission to be used strictly for flying Radio Control model aircraft. You should remember that there might be other fliers near you who have models on the same frequency. 
When two models on the same frequency fly close enough to each other, there’s a potential for radio interference. When this happens, the receiver in your airplane becomes confused as to which command it should follow. This causes you to lose control of your model and may cause it to crash, or worse yet, crash into something or someone. 
For this reason it’s important that you know if there is any other RC activity taking place in the vicinity when you are flying. A safe guideline to follow would be to assume that anyone flying a model on the same frequency as you within a three-mile radius may have the potential to cause interference. 

Do You Need Help Flying Your Model?
Flying Radio Control model airplanes requires practice to achieve a level of skill to operate successfully. If you’re having trouble getting your new model to fly correctly, there are several options available for you to get help. 
A good place to start is your local hobby shop. They may have a member of their staff help you or they may suggest you contact a local modeling club that specializes in flying Radio Control models. Chances are this club will be a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics
(AMA), and generally AMA clubs have programs to teach new modelers how to fly safely and successfully. 

What Is the Academy of Model Aeronautics?
he Academy of Model Aeronautics is a national aeromodeling organization with more than 2,500 organized clubs and greater than 160,000 members. It is the largest sport aviation organization in the world. 
AMA’s purpose is to promote model aviation as a recognized sport and worthwhile recreational activity and is open to anyone. AMA provides insurance to its members to cover modeling activities, assistance in finding and keeping local flying sites, and is the voice of its membership, providing liaison with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other government agencies through our national headquarters in Muncie, Indiana

Would You Like To Know More?
For more information about the Academy of Model Aeronautics visit:
or call 1-800-I-FLY-AMA (435-9262), then press 5.
To find a local hobby shop in your area visit:

AMA Would Like to Help
If you would like to know more about this exciting hobby, we’d like to help. Contact AMA's Programs Department
and we’ll send you a copy of our pamphlet, How to Get the Most Out of Your New Radio Control Model. It’s filled with tips, ideas, and other useful information that will help you get maximum enjoyment from your new model aircraft.
Good luck, and welcome!

This information is provided by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, 5161 E. Memorial Dr., Muncie IN 47302. Tel.: 1-800-I-FLY-AMA (435-9262),

Hey, this hobby even has a web site named :


Learning how to fly

Learning to fly is a very exhilarating, challenging, rewarding, and fun activity! I highly recommend it to anybody who is interested.

During my first couple of inaugural flights, I was both nervous and excited, kind of like riding a giant roller coaster at an amusement park for the first time. As you prepare to embark on the ride, you are filled with excitement for what is yet to come, but a part of you is nervous and can’t help but wonder what you are getting into. After the ride is over, you realize it was better than you thought it would be! That is what those first couple of flights were like.

During my training sessions, my transmitter was wired to my instructor’s transmitter via a standard interface cable provided by the club. This allows the instructor to take immediate control of the airplane without me having to do or say anything. Flying tandem like this (the buddy box system) is like a dual cockpit in a real airplane with the instructor sitting right next to you at all times. The instructor performs the takeoff for you using his transmitter. After the airplane has climbed to a safe operating altitude, the instructor levels it out and turns the electronic control over to you. My instructor always tells me that altitude is your best friend when learning to fly. The reason being if you do make a mistake, you or the instructor has enough altitude (thus time) to correct the problem.

Next, the trainer provides verbal commands of what flying actions to execute and how to physically perform them on your transmitter. If the instructor senses your airplane is in trouble, he or she electronically takes control of the airplane. The trainer also lands the airplane for you at the end of the lesson. Each lesson usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes, and you usually get two to four flights in per session.

During the first few flights, I would estimate I had control of the airplane three to four minutes. The remainder of the time, my instructor had control while bailing me out of whatever mess I had gotten into. I worked with two different instructors, and both were extremely patient, knowledgeable, and friendly. You can tell their love of the sport by their willingness to help others learn, and it was obvious that they enjoyed these training sessions as well. Instructors are a real asset to the club, and I can’t say enough good things about them.

It may seem hard to believe, but I was absolutely mentally and physically exhausted from the adrenaline rush after those first flights. It is a lot to keep up with. You are listening very intently to every word your instructor says while moving two unfamiliar control sticks in different directions. And you aren’t able to look at the controls because your eyes are glued to your airplane at all times so you know where it is and how it is responding to your control actions. I asked my new training friends about this, and they all said they felt the same way.

For those first couple of flights, even though I was connected to my trainer’s buddy box, I was still afraid I was going to crash the airplane in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know. We (the trainer and I) never did. After the first flights, I realized that no matter how badly I managed to screw up, my instructor would save the airplane. At that point in time, I became more relaxed.

For most of us, fear is a training inhibitor. With my fear diminishing, my learning curve and enjoyment started to accelerate. After a handful of additional flights, I progressed to the point where I could get the airplane to stagger through the air in the general direction I wanted it to go without the instructor taking over. I was flying! With more practice, my turns got smoother, and I flew straight and level without a problem, but the instructor was still taking off and landing for me.

I was starting to reach a reasonable level of comfort with the ability to fly pattern laps around the field when the instructor said it was time to start practicing landings. The nervous/excitement ratio took a big jump with this announcement! It was time to give up my good friend altitude.

Landing the airplane requires giving up both your altitude and your speed so you can bring the airplane to ground level. As your altitude and speed decrease so does your margin of error.

During normal flight speeds at higher altitudes, the airplane is responsive to minor changes in the radio controls. All your flying experience to date has been in this mode of operation. Flying at low landing speeds is a different ball game, and for all practical purposes, it’s like having to learn to fly all over again but in a different way. One example I can think of would be driving a car. When a car travels at highway speeds, it requires very slight, almost unnoticeable movements of the wheel to keep it moving in a straight line. Move it slightly, and the car is quick to change lanes. Now slow the car down to about 5 mph. At lower speeds, it takes more movement in the steering wheel to cause a change in direction. The more drastic the change in direction, the more you must move the wheel.

Flying an airplane at low landing speeds is similar to this. As you begin to lose forward speed, your radio controls become sluggish. The slower you fly, the more unresponsive they become and the more you need to move the controls to make even the smallest correction to the airplane’s flight path.

My instructor did not throw me to the wolves though when I started training for landings. At first the instructor had me reduce throttle while I was still at or near normal flight altitudes. This gave me the experience of how my airplane and controls react at slow speed and how to make proper corrections. I still had my altitude for a margin of error. As I became more comfortable with flying at low speeds the instructor asked me to practice at lower altitudes. I was still hooked up to my instructor’s buddy box, and he gave me constant feedback and encouragement as well as saving my airplane from time to time. At that point in time I was regularly doing low speed fly-bys down the length of the runway at about five to eight feet off the ground.

My instructor told me it was time to try a landing. He was very candid with me and told me that when the airplane was only a few feet off the ground on the landing approach, there would be little he could do to save it. Even though I had trained very hard at the low fly-bys, I was still nervous about crashing the airplane. The first time I attempted a landing, my instructor kept telling me to simply take my time. It actually worked! I was really proud of myself.

Have I ever crashed? While I have not had any fatal crashes to date, I have had two hard landings. I dropped the nose of the airplane just moments before landing, hitting the runway. The impact twisted the engine from the mount slightly. The instructor showed me how to fix it at the field and about 30 minutes later the airplane was in good flying condition and back up in the air.

When landing you normally pull the nose of the airplane up a little bit prior to actual touch down. During the second mishap, I pulled up on the nose a little too hard, and the tail section of the airplane hit the runway causing a slight crack in the elevator surface. More instructions on field repair, and I was flying again. When comparing notes with my training friends, it seems all of us have had at least one hard landing resulting in a crack or scratch here and there, but no one has had a crash where the airplane could not be easily repaired. I have done between 12 to 15 landings without incident.

The point I want to make here is that you should have some realistic expectations that your first airplane will receive a few bumps and bruises. I will not go so far as to say that you will never have a fatal crash, but if you work hard with your instructor, odds are you won’t have one.

from High Flier, North Dallas RC Club, Dan Henderson, editor, Dallas TX
from AMA National Newsletter May 2003

Learning How To Fly
by Mike Lynch
TriVillage RC'ers (Chicago)
Radio Waves
Jul-Oct 1995

Step one to learning how to fly - Keeping your plane in the air

This article is similar to one published in a series over the winter aimed at helping instructors teach RC flying. However, this article looks at RC flying from the perspective of the student. It should be refreshing to beginners to know that all instruction can be divided into four basic steps. Knowing this should help you organize all facets of flying into one of four steps and help you know exactly where you stand each step along the way.

  • Step one - Understanding how to turn

  • Step two - Being able to set and hold headings

  • Step three - Knowing how to take off

  • Step four - Learning how to land

In this article, we limit our discussion to helping you with the first step you need to master. Your goal in this step will be to keep the plane in the air. To do this, you must be able to make turns in both directions without gaining or losing altitude. As your instructor will explain, turning is a three step procedure. First, you bank with aileron until your plane achieves the desired bank angle (usually no more than about 20 degrees of bank). Second, actually turn by applying up elevator. And third, at the completion of the turn, you apply opposite aileron to exit the turn and return to straight and level flight.

There are many factors that can make turning different from one turn to the next (plane type, wing configuration, amount of dihedral, and especially wind direction and velocity), meaning every turn will require slightly different stick movement amounts. Additionally, you can control the sharpness of the turn by applying differing amounts of aileron and elevator. The more aileron you apply to enter the turn, for example, the sharper the turn will be - and the more up elevator you'll need to hold your altitude. Considering all the factors that affect your turns, you'll need a lot of practice under all kinds of flying conditions to truly master turning.

Typical Practice

For your first few tries - Your instructor will begin by having you make smooth gradual turns. He will get the plane in the air and flying at a relatively slow airspeed (about half throttle). At this speed the plane will be quite docile. He will typically get the plane in an attitude that it is ready to turn in one direction or the other. If you have the trainer system, he will then push the button that gives you control and tell you which way to turn. You do your best to turn as instructed (he'll probably talk you through each turn for a while). If he thinks you have made a mistake and the plane is in danger, he'll retake control and set up for another attempt. Attempts should be practiced equally in both directions, right and left. Once you master your first level turn, he will allow you to continue flying until you have problems, challenging you to see how long you can go before he must retake control. In these early stages, it is likely that he will retake take control soon after your turn attempts. But eventually, you'll catch on to the required stick motions and be able to make the plane turn as instructed. He will have you continue to practice, making you turn equally in both directions.

Once you catch on - Most instructors will get you practicing a figure eight pattern soon after you master your first turn. Figure eights are great for practice since they force you to practice turning both left and right. Also, since the instructor knows what it is you are trying to do at all times, they can easily judge how you're doing. The easy figure eight is when making left turns on the right side of the field and right turns on the left side of the field. Once you master smooth gradual turns in both directions, he will have you practicing more severe turns (with more bank angle), requiring more aileron and elevator. He will also have you reverse the direction of the figure eight (making right turns on the right side of the field).

Advanced Practice

One of the hardest tasks to master in this step is holding the desired bank angle throughout the entire turn. Most docile trainer planes tend to self correct. Once aileron is applied and the plane banks, it will have the natural tendency to straighten itself out. This degree of self correction varies from plane to plane. I've seen some planes that even have different self-correcting qualities from right to left hand turning (possibly caused by improper engine thrust). In any event, you must be able to hold your desired bank angle for the duration of the turn. The longer the turn, the harder this can be. To practice holding bank angle, your instructor will have you making full 360 degree turns (again, in both directions). He will have you fly down the middle of the runway. When the plane is centered on the field, you will begin the turn, (in a direction away from the pits). Your goal will be to maintain a smooth, gradual turn for a full circle. Depending upon your plane's self correcting qualities; it is likely that you will have to make gentle corrections with aileron during the turn to maintain the bank angle you want.

Typical Problems

The up/down problem - Most beginners have trouble remembering which way is up. Remember, when you pull back on the stick, the plane goes up, just like a full scale airplane. To help with this problem, try holding the transmitter in a more horizontal attitude.

Not getting up in soon enough - As soon as the plane begins to bank, its lift decreases, causing the plane to go into a dive. As soon as you see the wingtip drop in the direction of your desired turn, you must begin applying up elevator. If you do not, the plane will lose altitude in the turn. The more severe the bank angle, the less lift there will be, and the more up you must apply to hold altitude.

Applying up before the wingtip drops - This is the opposite of the previous problem. If you apply up elevator too soon, the plane will begin to climb. As it does it loses airspeed and will eventually stall. With decreased airspeed comes a sluggishness in aileron response, meaning it will be harder to make the wingtip drop in the desired direction. Since this problem usually occurs after having problems getting up in soon enough, I call this "wishing the plane around with the up".

Ballooning problems - Many trainer planes have flat bottom or semi-symmetrical wings. It is a natural characteristic for this kind of wing to have more lift when airspeed is increased. The faster the plane goes, the more it wants to climb. You may have some downthrust in your engine to attempt to counteract this tendency for gaining altitude with engine speed. However, keep in mind that throttle speed is but one of the factors that contribute to airspeed. If your plane loses altitude in a turn, for example, it will pick up airspeed during the turn. You eventually finish the turn and apply opposite aileron. When you do, your plane's increased airspeed will cause the plane to climb. I call this ballooning, since it looks like the plane is just rising for no apparent reason (like a hot air balloon). The best way to avoid ballooning is to make level turns that don't cause the plane to lose altitude. If you see that the plane is losing altitude in the turn, you can minimize ballooning by applying a small amount of down elevator after the turn is finished. The plane will eventually slow enough so as not to rise.

Forgetting which way you're turning - Beginners are prone to forget which way the plane is turning during a turn. While this sounds like a very basic problem, it is quite common. If you forget which way the plane is turning, you will likely apply the wrong aileron direction to exit the turn. When you do, the plane will dive deeper into the turn instead of righting itself. Though some of this problem will go away with practice, you may have to make a conscious effort to remember which way the plane is turning in every turn.

Left is easy; right is hard - Or vice versa. It is likely that you will master turning in one direction faster than the other. However, you have not truly mastered step one until you can turn equally well in both directions. Figure eights are the best way to practice turning in both directions.

Not being able to hold the correct bank angle This is the hardest thing to master in step one. The longer (and more gradual) the turn, the harder this can be since most trainer planes are very self-correcting. Here's something that may help. You know your right stick controls aileron and elevator. It has a neutral position (spring-loaded). When you let go, it snaps to the neutral position. Too many beginners tend to let go of the aileron stick during a turn and let the plane fly in its neutral aileron position. While this position makes a great point of reference, flying is very dynamic. All conditions change through every maneuver you do. This means you will commonly need to hold the stick somewhere other than in its neutral position as you fly. The sooner you realize that the neutral stick position is ONLY a point of reference, the sooner you will master flying. In all cases, you must "fly what you see", making your stick position go where ever it must to get the desired results. To illustrate this, say you are making a 360 degree gradual left turn. You bank with left aileron to get the desired bank angle. As the plane begins to bank, you bring in up elevator. You release the aileron, once the bank angle is achieved (to neutral). However, during the turn you notice the plane is beginning to "flatten out" (self correct back to straight-and-level flight). You will need to bring back in a very small amount of left aileron to maintain your bank angle. As continuing the left turn, you will eventually find out that you must maintain small amount of left aileron for the entire turn. On the other hand, you will also have times when the plane may fall deeper into the turn than you wish. Maybe you gave too much aileron to enter the turn. Or maybe the wind is blowing the plane deeper into the turn. In either case, you will have to apply gradual opposite aileron to counteract this tendency throughout the turn. The point is: the aileron's neutral position is only a point of reference! You will often need to hold in a small amount of aileron to maintain turns.

Checklist for success

As when learning any new subject, it is helpful to take pride in the small steps you master along the way to achieving your ultimate goal of being able to fly by yourself. This gives you confidence to continue and helps let you know where you stand in the overall scheme of things.

  • I can consistently turn in the left direction

  • I can consistently turn in the right direction

  • I can always remember which way is up

  • I can turn without losing altitude

  • I can fly the simple figure eight pattern (left turns on right side of field)

  • I can fly the difficult figure eight pattern (right turns on right side of field)

Step two to learning how to fly - Setting and holding headings

At the completion of step one, you can keep the plane in the air without help from your instructor (except for take offs and landings). You can turn equally well in both directions and have gotten the left/right mistakes out of your system. However, the plane may still be "flying you" to some extent. You may still find yourself reacting to the plane at times instead of directing the plane to do what it is you want. Your second major goal will be to have complete control of the plane's attitude and heading at all times, and you must master this step in order to begin learning how to land.

To understand this need for setting and holding headings, watch how your instructor lands your plane. As they begin setting up for their final approach, they must get the plane in a rather precise position (at a specific altitude and on a planned heading). They must then begin their final approach turn. This turn must be very precise, since at the completion of this turn, the plane's heading must be perfectly in line with the runway. Once in line with the runway, the heading must be held all the way to the ground. (More on how to land in step four). If you truly master step two, rest assured that landing will be a simple extension of what you already know.

Typical Practice

For your first few attempts - Once again, figure eights make the best place to start. Your instructor will get you back into your figure eight pattern making left turns on the right side of the field and right turns on the left side of the field. But this time, you will concentrate on exiting each turn in a predicted manner. I have beginners practice setting headings corresponding to the corners of the field. I tell them to try to have the left/right center of the figure eight right in the center of the field. If you have truly mastered step one, this should be relatively easy. In fact, you may have already mastered the ability to precisely exit turns in the figure eight pattern from step one. Once you can perform the figure eight in this direction, you will practice in the other. This practice shows whether you can truly exit turns in a precise manner (setting a heading).

As you begin to catch on - Your instructor will then have you lengthen the straight legs of the figure eight. He'll have you send the plane further away in both directions. Now the goal will be not only setting a heading, but holding the plane's heading precisely during the entire straight leg. You'll have to make minor corrections during each straight leg to hold the heading.

You’re really catching on - Once figure eights are mastered, your instructor will have you practicing approaches. Though you will be keeping the airplane high in the air and not cutting throttle as you would when landing, you will begin practicing what it takes to land. Your instructor may have you practice this with an oval pattern. The near side of the oval will be the center of the field. Say, for example, you have the plane heading from right to left and parallel to the runway. Once the plane is at the left end of the field, you'll begin a gradual right turn. At the completion of the turn, you will set the plane's heading parallel with the runway, flying from left to right. You hold this heading all the way to the right side of the field. At the right side of the field, you'll make another right turn, exiting the turn with the plane right on the middle of the runway. Once you master this, you'll reverse the direction of the oval.

Advanced Practice

The problem with oval patterns is that you are constantly making turns in the same direction. This leads to becoming more comfortable turning (or approaching) from one direction than the other. Additionally, with wind conditions as they are in the Chicago area, you'll have to be able to land from both ends of our field. For this reason, I use a modified figure eight pattern to practice high altitude approaches. Say the plane is coming down the middle of the runway from right to left. Once the plane passes the center of the field, the student will make a 45 degree right turn. They will hold this heading until the plane is far enough away to make the approach turn (without crossing the flight line). They will then begin a long sweeping left turn, ending the turn right on the middle of the runway. They will hold this heading until the plane passes the center of the field, then make a 45 degree left turn and perform the "mirror image" of this maneuver on the right side of the field. This forces the student to equally practice making both right and left approaches. When you can repeatedly perform this maneuver, you have truly mastered the ability to fly in a very precise and controlled manner!

Typical Problems

Exiting turns too early or late - Beginners tend to have problems determining when to begin to apply the opposite aileron to exit turns. If you wait too long to apply opposite aileron to exit the turn, the plane will overshoot your intended heading. If you’re early with opposite aileron, the plane will undershoot. Either leads to the need to "milk the plane back?' to its desired heading. Keep in mind that the better you are at setting your headings, the easier it will be to hold headings.

Wandering - When the plane is on its desired heading, beginners have the tendency of applying too much aileron when making corrections to hold the heading. This leads to the plane veering back and forth from left to right. While the plane is generally heading in the right direction, its motion is not very smooth. You must remember that corrections needed to hold headings must be very gentle as compared to actually making turns.

Judging the plane's true position relative to the field - As you begin practicing your high altitude approaches, you may find it very difficult to get the plane on a heading that makes it go right down the middle of the runway. While you must eventually be able to do this, begin by practicing getting the plane flying parallel to the runway. Don't worry if the plane is too far out or too close in (as long as you don't cross the flight line) as it flies by. With continued practice, you'll eventually be able to judge when to exit your final approach turn to put the plane right in the middle of the runway.

Checklist for success

  • If I exit a turn slightly off course, I can milk the plane back to my desired heading.

  • I can come out of each turn I make on the desired heading.

  • I can fly the simple figure eight pattern with precision (heading into corners with center of figure eight in the center of the field.

  • I can fly the lengthened figure eight pattern and hold the desired heading for the duration of each straight leg.

  • I can fly right turn oval approaches.

Step three to learning how to fly - Taking off

If you have truly mastered steps one and two, taking off is relatively easy - as long as you can takeoff directly into the wind and your plane's ground tracking is correctly adjusted. In this step, you will be in control even when the plane is very close to the ground, meaning the trainer system will allow your instructor the immediate access he needs to retake control if you get into trouble. Certain instructors may refuse to help you with learning how to takeoff if you don't have the trainer system.

Whether or not you have the trainer system, I recommend practicing your ground taxiing while the field is not busy. Come out early in the morning before the crowd arrives or take your plane to the helicopter hover area to practice. Do not hog the main runway to practice taxiing while others are flying.

Typical Practice

With taxiing - You can start your taxiing practice long before beginning step three. Any time there is no one at the field, you have the whole runway to yourself. By all means, fire up your engine and practice taxiing (just be sure the plane doesn't build up too much speed!). If you have a four channel system (as most do), your left stick will control both rudder/nose wheel and throttle. Though you haven't been getting much practice using your left hand, you will need to become proficient with it before you can takeoff. The hardest thing for beginners to get used to when taxiing is that it takes more throttle to get a plane moving that to keep it moving. If you slowly increase throttle until the plane begins to move, it will continue accelerating until you reduce throttle. This can be scary! My recommendation is that you apply throttle in short bursts. To get the plane moving, goose the throttle to slightly over half then quickly reduce back to idle. With practice you will get to know just how much throttle you need to get the plane moving. You will also need much practice with steering with your left hand.

Your first few takeoff runs - I recommend that you practice takeoff runs (without actually taking off) for three reasons. First you must be able to abort takeoffs. If the plane starts heading in the wrong direction, you must know when to abort. Practicing takeoff runs with no intention of actually taking off forces you to do this. In essence, a takeoff run is an aborted takeoff. Second, a very small amount of rudder/nose wheel control will have a big impact on your takeoff run. It is likely that you will over control during you first few takeoff runs, possibly heading the plane right for the pits! Knowing before you start that you will be aborting the takeoff will help with this practice. Third, practicing takeoff runs also forces you to practice taxiing. To practice, you will need to taxi the plane out to the runway and head it into the wind. You'll slowly increase the throttle until the plane starts moving. As the plane continues to increase in speed, you must be able to keep it heading into the wind (with your rudder/nose wheel control). At some point, your instructor will tell you when to abort. As soon as he does, you will immediately reduce the throttle to idle. The plane will slow for you to taxi back and try again.

Your first few takeoffs - If you have learned to control your plane on the ground, taking off is really quite easy. You will taxi out just as you do for practicing takeoff runs. Being on the lookout for a reason to abort, you will increase the throttle until the plane begins to move. Using the left stick, you keep it heading into the wind. When it achieves sufficient airspeed, you instructor will tell you to pull back slightly with up elevator to cause the plane to come off the ground. (If the plane is trimmed properly, it may actually lift into the air by itself.) Once the plane is in the air, you will release the elevator and let it climb at a reasonable climb rate (your instructor will help with this based on you engine power and plane type). When the plane reaches a save altitude, you'll make you first turn (ALWAYS in a direction away from the pits!). You'll cut the throttle somewhat and begin your practice flying. You've just taken off!

Advanced Practice

As stated, it is best to takeoff into the wind. Unfortunately, our flying field's runway (East/West) will sometimes force you to takeoff with a cross wind. Depending upon your plane's win configuration, you may need to hold in some aileron to keep the wing tips level as the plane reaches airspeed. In essence, you are flying the plane while it is still on the ground! The higher the wind speed, the more problems you may have with this. Be ready to abort at the first sign that the wind direction is changing the plane's heading.

Typical Problems

I can't use my left hand! - Most of us are right handed. For us, it may take quite a bit of practice before you can properly articulate what you want the throttle and nose wheel to do with your left hand. However, you would be foolish to begin trying to takeoff until you master controlling the plane on the ground. And ALWAYS REMEMBER: When you get into trouble, cut the throttle to idle!

The recurring left/right problem - Just as you had to master the ability to turn right and left in the air, you may have to do it again on the ground (with your left hand). When the plane is coming toward you, you may be confused which rudder/nose wheel control must be given.

Over controlling during the takeoff roll - A very tiny amount of rudder/nose wheel control will dramatically affect the plane's heading during the takeoff roll. This is why you must practice your takeoff runs prior to actually taking off.

Not knowing when to abort - This can be a real problem. Too many beginners simply increase the throttle and see what happens. This can be very dangerous! As stated, any number of things (wind, over-controlling, misaligned nose wheel, etc.) can cause the plane to veer from its original heading. It if veers, the results can be disastrous. You must know when to abort. You can practice aborted takeoff runs by simply making takeoff runs.

Holding the up in too long - Once the plane breaks ground you must begin releasing the up elevator. Otherwise the plane's climb angle will continue to increase, leading to an eventual stall.

Checklist for success

  • I can adjust ground tracking for easy taxiing.

  • I can control engine speed to cause consistent taxi speed.

  • I can taxi the plane in both directions on the ground.

  • I can taxi out to takeoff position.

  • I can perform takeoff runs and I know when to safely abort.

  • I can takeoff and maintain the correct heading and climb rate until the plane reaches a safe turning altitude.

Step four to learning how to fly - Landing

In step three, you were practicing high altitude approaches. If you truly mastered this ability in step three, step four will not be too difficult. You'll just be letting the plane come much closer to the ground.

A note about engine reliability - This step requires a great deal of throttle changing. Before starting this step, it would be wise to confirm that your engine will maintain idle, go from idle to full, and in general, perform without stopping or stuttering at all throttle settings.

Are you really ready to land? -- If all steps to this point have been truly mastered, landing will be simply an extension of what you already know. However if you are having problems mastering step four, it should be taken as a signal that further practice (especially with step two) is needed.

Typical Practice

Understanding slow flight characteristics - Before you can begin learning how to land, you must understand how the plane responds at slower speeds. With the plane rather high, your instructor will have you reduce throttle to just above idle and fly the figure eight pattern. Note how the ailerons respond much more sluggishly. Also not how, at idle, it is impossible to keep the plane from losing altitude (especially in the turns). Most importantly, note how if you try to maintain altitude by pulling back further with up elevator, the plane will eventually stall.

Increasing throttle - As you continue to lose altitude in their figure eight pattern, you instructor will eventually have you kick the throttle back up to regain altitude. You must be able to maintain control even at slow speeds (especially holding a heading into the wind). You must also know at what point your plane will stall. And you'll need to know what will happen during a stall and how to recover. Fortunately, most trainers are very stable in a stall and no radical controls will be required to recover.

Practicing real landing approaches - In step two we had you flying with precision. We had you flying right down the middle of the runway (in an oval and modified figure eight pattern). The goal was to hold the heading all the way from one end of the field to the other. Now you will repeat this practice (still up high), but this time you will reduce the throttle for each pass down the middle of the runway. Again, you will need to hold your heading even when the engine is at idle. The plane will be much more influenced by wind when at idle. You will increase the throttle at the end of each pass. With the modified figure eight pattern, you will practice setting up approaches from both directions.

The final approach turn - As you become more proficient, you instructor will allow you to let the airplane come close and closer to the ground. Soon, you'll be ready to practice approaches that bring the plane to within about 10-20 feet from the ground. At this point, you must be able to make a very controlled final approach turn. Though this is rather difficult to explain, you must understand that the nose on the plane must maintain a lightly downward attitude throughout the final approach turn (especially if the throttle is cut to idle). This is how we get the plane to maintain airspeed as it comes to the ground. The windier it is, the more important this point (and the more severe the downward attitude). While some pilots try to counteract the wind with higher throttle settings, the descent of the airplane allows much finer control of airspeed than throttle. If the nose of the plane balloons up at the end of the final approach turn, the plane will eventually stall, and you'll know right away to abort the landing. With this condition it will be impossible to maintain airspeed, and if very close to the ground could result in disaster.

Actually landing - Once you have progressed to the point where you can consistently align the plane with the runway and bring the plane to within 10 to 30 feet from the ground, you are finally ready to land. Keep in mind that the plane's natural descent at idle will be what causes the plane to descend for landing. You should not have to be forcing in down elevator to cause the plane to come down. During the last twenty to thirty feet of descent, you must keep the wing tips nice and level. As with taking off, you must be ready with sharp, yet precise corrections to keep the plane on the center of the runway. Again the natural tendency of the plane at idle will be to descend, so if the proper heading is maintained, it is a relatively simple matter of waiting until the plane comes to the ground. When the plane drifts down to within about 1-2 feet above the ground, you must gently pull back on the up elevator to cause the plane to flare out. Your instructor will have demonstrated this many times by this time in your flight instruction.

Be ready for a few hard landings! -- A beginner's first few landings tend to be a little rough. Though the correct amount of approach practice should help overcome nervousness, landing can be especially unnerving. Beginners tend to panic when low to the ground. They forget which way to turn, especially if minor aileron corrections are necessary. Always remember that if approaching from the right, right is your friend, meaning if they panic, giving right aileron will take the plane in the direction away from the pits. If approaching from the left, left is your friend. Dumping the plane is always better than flying into the pits.

Practice overcomes everything - Though a beginner's first solo is a great confidence builder, do not think you have mastered landing just because you have done it once. As with taking off every landing will be different. While you will be very anxious to begin flying by yourself at this point, you'll need a lot of practice landing - in both directions and in different win conditions. One excellent way to practice landing (and taking off) is with touch and goes. After landing (without killing the engine), you'll taxi back, take off, and land again. As you gain proficiency, smoothly reapply throttle as soon as the plane touches down, performing a true touch and go.

Typical Problems

I can fly a perfect approach up high, but not low to the ground - It is likely that nerves are getting in the way. If you are flying with the trainer system, you shouldn't have to worry about the plane. Your instructor will take over if you get into trouble. Additionally, you may simply need more practice to build confidence.

Problems with slow speed flying - Most beginners find it difficult to control the plane at slow speeds. It takes more stick movement when flying slow. Just remember one of our most important rules: "You must fly what you see!" If the plane isn't responding the way you think it should, you need more control.

Problems with high speed flying - After losing altitude during a practice approach, you will be smoothly increasing throttle to go around again. As you do, it is likely that your throttle will be increased to a setting greater than normal from previous practice. You must be prepared for more responsive controls with higher throttle settings.

Not knowing when to cut the throttle to land - This is a difficult issue to address since every plane has different descent characteristics. Your instructor will tell you when you need to cut and increase throttle for a while. But it's also good to practice, knowing that you can always abort the landing if it appears that the plane will not make the field or overshoot.

The plane ends the final turn in an upward attitude - Though it can be hard to do, remember that the plane must descend slightly in it's final approach turn. This is most important on windy days, since the plane's airspeed is much more critical.

Checklist for success

  • I can fly the plane at all throttle settings.

  • I can fly the modified figure eight approach, letting the plane come within 30 feet of the ground from both directions.

  • I can consistently fly approaches that line up perfectly with the middle of the runway.

  • I know when to cut throttle in order to allow a good final approach.

  • I can maintain a slight rate of descent during the final approach turn.

  • I can increase the throttle and safely abort any landing attempt.

  • I can keep the plane on the desired heading, centered with the field, with the wing tips nice and level through the entire final leg of my approach practice.

  • I know when to flare with up elevator for landing.

  • I can consistently land!

  • I can land without killing the engine.

  • I can perform touch-and-go's.

Are you ready to fly by yourself? -- The whole point of RC training is to get the beginner to the point where they no longer need help. If you have successfully completed the four steps we have given, you should be ready. By no means, however, should you consider yourself an expert. The practice you have done has been with close supervision. In the real world, there will be no instructor there to take control when things go wrong. You can still get the plane into rather precarious situations.

Why I Need An Instructor
An instructor serves two purposes. First he/she will fly your model for the first time to make sure it is performing properly before you try to fly it. When a new R/C model takes off for the first time, there is no way of knowing exactly which way it is going to go. Some models will try to climb, while others will want to go down. Some will try to turn left, others right. Some models will be doing both at the same time on the first flight! It doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with the model, but these minor differences must be "trimmed out" in order for the model to fly properly straight and level. That's why a new model's first flight is best done by a pilot who has flown an R/C airplane before, someone whose reflexes are already conditioned to anticipate the model's actions and instantly make the right move to counteract.

The second reason for an instructor is to correct any mistakes you might make when you take over the controls for the first time. Let the instructor get the model airborne and flying level at a safe altitude ("several mistakes high" as the old saying goes) before he/she turns the control box over to you. You will quickly find out that it is very easy to overcontrol an R/C model and to get disoriented- Everyone does it at first! If you get into serious trouble on your first flight, quickly hand the transmitter back to the instructor so he/she can rescue the airplane.

The best instructional method uses a "Buddy Box". A Buddy Box setup requires two similar transmitters hooked together with a cord. This allows the instructor and the student more time to recognise and correct mistakes

In addition to not overcontrolling, another problem that beginners need to overcome in learning R/C is the left/right control reversal that happens when the model is flying towards you one minute, away from you the next. For example, if you were seated inside the cockpit of a full scale airplane and move the control stick to the right, the airplane would turn to your right. Moving the stick to your left would make the airplane turn to your left. That's not always true with an R/C model. If the model is flying away from you, the controls are normal- right stick makes the model go right, left stick makes the model go left. But when the model is turned and flying towards you, the controls are reversed- when you move the control stick to the right the model still turns to its right, but now that actually makes the model travel to your left. This can be confusing at first, but with practice you will adjust to it.

It's not that learning to fly R/C is difficult, it's just a lot different than anything you have ever done before. Anyone can learn to fly R/C airplanes if they are willing to listen and learn! Remember the first time you tried to ride a bicycle? It seemed completely awkward the first time, but once you learned how, it quickly became very easy. Learning to fly an R/C model airplane also comes quickly to most people.

Fly your trainer as often as you can, until you have it completely mastered. After you get a few flights under your belt with an instructor at your side, you will begin to feel more comfortable at the controls. Soon you will be flying by yourself with little thought to the move required. It will just come naturally! Don't get discouraged if you have a minor crack-up; repair the damage and get back into the air as soon as possible. As your reflexes become trained to R/C flying, you will soon be able to adapt to the faster flight of more aerobatic models.

Good luck with the hobby!

..... from SIG




The Flying Penguin Beginner's Guide to Flying FAQ File

Here's how they do it in the UK

and in Prince Edward Island, Canada
All About Radio Control by Jim Ewing, Great Hobbies

Airplane Flight by David P. Stern

There's a large pile of stuff to read -
- but you want some direct hands-on help in the Rochester NY area? 

1. Visit one of club meetings. You will be asked to introduce yourself.  Then is the time to ask to have someone assigned to help - help from someone who is willing to help you for as long as it takes.
2. Visit our flying fields
on a nice day. Don't be bashful - introduce yourself and join the fun.
Free training at Nothampton field, Tuesdays after 4 p.m. May through Septemer !
3. Visit the local hobby shops, introduce yourself and join the fun.
4. Send an e-mail to
5. Send your request by email to any club officer.

fill this out and bring it to Northampton any Tuesday 4pm - 'til dark
during the flying season (May - September)

Training Request Form Front

Training Request Form Rear

To Air is Human - To RC is Divine
ABC Park Flyers of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
NASA  Glenn Learning Technologies Project
RC Model Airplanes from Winona Aero Modelers

EASY R/C - Tower Hobbies has a few new web pages that may help you make some decisions about the stuff you need.  They even have a shopping list that may help you get organized.  Of course you'll probably come up with some new questions, ideas, and whatever.  By looking at what's available from the Tower, you can be better prepared to visit your local hobby shop, armed with questions and ready to shrug off whatever you decide you don't need, and pick up some pointers that the Tower missed.  So click here to get started in R/C Basics, Airplanes, Sailplanes, Helicopters, Cars & Trucks, Boats, Radio Systems, Engines, Ordering Basics, R/C Dictionary.

Flight Instructor - Richard Brook has kindly offered his pager number 746-5668 to assist student pilots in arranging flight instruction.  As long as you don't keep bugging him, he says it's O.K. to call him at any reasonable hour.
Now that you have read all of the above, and are thoroughly confused and discouraged and frustrated - come on out to Northampton Park Model Flying Field in Brockport, on Tuesday 4 pm 'til sunset, May through September. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the real thing. Make yourself known, join in the fun, and fly safely.
If you're flying now and want some advanced training, one of the best books can be found at
F I E L D    E T I Q U E T T E


"Coming out" as you prepare to place your aircraft on the runway.
"Taking Off" is pretty much self explanatory.
"Setting up to land" as you begin your downwind leg gives others time to clear the area for you. 
"Landing" as you are on final approach. 
"On the runway" if your aircraft stops dead on the runway.
"Off on the far side" if your aircraft veers off on the side away from the pilots' stations 
"Crossing the runway" Anytime you have to cross the runway (in either direction). 
"Runway clear" after you have retrieved your errant aircraft, or if it has been taxied off the runway on the pit side. 
"Dead stick" when your engine dies while in the air. Other pilots will pass this announcement down the line as it is a signal for everyone to immediate clear the landing zone.
"Touch and go" or "Slow fly-by" (note that high speed low passes and acrobatics in the landing zone when other pilots are on station are forbidden - these may only be performed out past the landing strip.
"Aircraft down..... ''(followed by the general area).
"I ain't got it !!" If a pilot will announce that he has a problem as soon as possible, other observers may be able to get a fix on the plane if it goes down. If you do get a fix, such as a certain tree, etc., do not move. Call for another person to come stand beside you and show them the point you fixed on. Even turning around and back can lose the fix.

And the warning cry for everyone to look out for something out of control - "HEADS UP"

Field Etiquette by Sam Hart
The Rend Lake RC Club

This is a list of things that I think would make it a little more pleasant at our Flying Fields..... You do not necessarily have to agree with me, However, these are issues that I think are just plain good manners, and in other cases, just good O'l Common Sense.

Some of these issues are also related to safety concerns..... This article is not aimed at any one individual, or meant to make anyone comply..... It is solely intended to be a REMINDER to each of us, so that we may be accident free, not only to ourselves, but our fellow fliers, and to include any adjoining Properties.

1.) Always put the Frequency Pin back on the Board when you are through flying, and put your Transmitter in the Impound Area...... I think impounding of the transmitters is a Rule..... You may be the only one on your Frequency, but you never know when someone may arrive later, using the same Frequency...... If each of us returns our Transmitter to the Impound area, we are also more likely to make sure our transmitters are turned off.

2.) When you start your engine, make sure no one is in the "plane" of the propeller..... If they happen to be, kindly ask them to move away and get behind the aircraft..... How many times have we seen a propeller loosen up or the whole works (prop, spinner, and prop nut) fly off.

3.) If you need to "run-up" an engine, (for example, break an engine in or test run an engine) please think of others..... Do it as far away from the Flight Line as you can...... Some fliers Greatly Depend upon the Sound of thier engine in flight to determine the speed of the aircraft or if the aircraft is flying under power.

4.) If someone is flying a New ariplane for the first time, it would nice and considerate if no one else would take off and/or fly, so that individual could concentrate entirely on his or her own aircraft, especially the First Flight..... I have seen several fliers wait until a new aircraft took off, then decide to start up thier engine or even take their plane to the air,, or run an engine at full throttle in the Pits..... Please be Considerate in these cases.

5.) If Possible, have a spotter with you if more than two airrplanes are in the air at any one time.... Four eyes are better than two to keep track of the other airplanes.

6.) Don't taxi into Take Off position until the Runway is CLEAR.... I have been guilty of this myself.... Many times an aircraft engine may quit running upon landing or run off the far side of the runway.... I have seen situations where someone was trying to start a dead engine on the runway, and another pilot decided to take off..... Please folks, make sure the runway is clear before taxing out or taking off.....Think of safety.

7.) In situations where you do happen to "Stall" on take off or landing, make an effort to get your plane off the runway as quickly as possible.... You don't necessarly need to "run" but do try to get your plane off quickly, especially if another plane is wanting to take off or a plane happens to be in thier landing approach.

8.) This issue may be in the rules, but we all need to be conscience of the fact to fly in the same Direction or Pattern...... If you want to do a "turn around pattern", refrain from doing it "over" the field. ... It is best to fly a "Turn Around Pattern" far out.... By a "Turn Around Pattern", I mean flying in a manner that brings you on the same "track" in each direction.... When other planes are in the air, the chance of a "MID-AIR" is more likely if the planes are flying Head On to each other.... I think we all need to fly in the same direction if more than one plane is in the air at the same time.

9.) It is important that each of us read our Club Rules.... They have been written for a reason.... I know that I have not done this in a while, but I will before our next flying season gets underway....And I am sure that when I reread these rules, I will be reminded of something.... In case you do not have a set of our Club Rules, I am sure Cliff will come up with a set for you....

Whittington Field Flight Tables
As most of you know, we have six(6) Tables set up so that Modelers can "Prepare" their Plane for Flight, and/or do "Maintance" on their craft, rather than be on bended knee on the ground..... These tables are very useful for all to use, especially for the "Ol" Timers in our Club...... It would be most appreciated by all, and very courteous on your part, if you would remember to remove your plane and clear the table for others to use when you have completed your maintance and/or completed your flight.....

Suggested Rules of Field Etiquette
from The Rich Valley R/C Club

1. When setting up your equipment in the pit area, don't set up too close to others who have already set up. Spread out and be considerate of their space.

2. When running your engine up, be sure your airplane is in such a position so as not to cause your prop wash to blow onto other airplanes, equipment, or persons in the area.

3. When starting your airplane, consider having someone hold it for you.

4. When field or air traffic consists of more than one airplane, consider having someone be a spotter for you.

5. Display the proper frequency flags and channel numbers on your transmitters so others can more easily determine what channels are in use and by whom.

6. When sharing a frequency with others, consider limiting your use of the frequency to no more than 20 minutes at a time.

7. When operating your airplane in the course of taxing, taking off, landing, etc., declare your intentions, communicate with others in the area, i.e. "MAN ON THE FIELD", "TAKING OFF", "LANDING", "TOUCH & GO", etc..

8. When making an emergency "dead stick" landing, declare "DEAD STICK" in a loud clear manner so others are aware of the problem and can take appropriate action. Landing priority should always be given those pilots declaring they are landing "dead stick".

9. When taxing out of the pit area to the field, or back to the pit area from the field, avoid taxiing too close to occupied flight stations. When the pit area is congested or when the safety of others may be at risk, consider not taxiing back to the pit area but rather stopping your plane at the outer limits of the pit area, shutting your engine off, and carrying or otherwise moving your airplane back to your pit location.

10. If you are breaking in a new engine, or have an engine that requires major adjustments, do this in a safe area away from others as far as possible.

11. If your assistance is requested, help out if you can, but when offering your assistance, make sure your "help" is wanted before reaching in and "turning someone else's needle valve" or "adjusting someone else's throttle".



Noise Recommendations

The RCCR is committed to being a good neighbor, especially with regard to noise control.  We take concerted effort using practical means to fly low noise airplanes.  We recommend trying to achieve less than 96 db at 9 feet at full power on the ground, and less than 75 db at full speed in front of the flyer at 100 feet height when flying. 

There are 3 primary sources of noise generated from our activities:

1.      Engine/Muffler
We recommend four-stroke engines since they generally run at lower speeds and produce a less annoying sound compared to two-stroke engines.  We recommend OS engines in either 4-stroke or 2-stroke versions as they produce a very good power level with a good muffler/engine design.  We also recommend YS four strokes for a good power/low noise combination.  Gasoline-fueled chain-saw type large engines are particularly noisy, and take elaborate muffling to be acceptable.  All engines must have mufflers with closed front ends.  No "stacked disk" or straight pipe mufflers are allowed.  Mufflers with internal baffles work best.  We recommend Davis Diesel mufflers to maximize sound reduction if the engine manufacturer doesn't supply a muffler or provides a noisy one.

2.      Propellers/Speed
Once engine/muffler combinations have been selected for low noise, the propeller then becomes the next loudest source of noise.  Propeller speed is the major source of noise.  Engine/propeller combinations to run at less than 12,000RPM for 2-strokes, and less than 10,000RPM for 4-strokes, are recommended.  In addition, the use of APC brand propellers is highly recommended.  They will noticeably reduce noise at higher speeds.  Other scimitar-shaped propellers may be equivalent.

3.      Airframe
The third, and least prevalent, source of noise is the airframe.  Profile- type airplanes tend to cause noise to radiate from their wing structures, acting like a drumhead.  The use of soft-engine mounts will help reduce this noise on these designs.  Soft-mounts will also help quiet large engines, particularly and above, or occasional airframes which resonate. Soft-mounts also reduce vibration which is destructive of radios and airframes.

We strongly recommend you consider the above recommendations when you select what you buy and fly.  While most 0.40 size trainer plane combinations will be acceptable from a noise standpoint, we think you will enjoy starting with quiet equipment such as 4-strokes, quiet mufflers and propellers. 

        Trevor Ewell,         January, 2001


Western NY Free Flight Society

Radio Control Club of Rochester