How To Avoid Crashing Your First RC Plane – 10+ Essential Tips

a guest post by Eddy Murano

There are very few things as enjoyable on a nice sunny day as taking out your remote control airplane and having a nice leisurely flight. If you happen to take your kids along they will have a great time and it will also make for a great family experience as well.

Some people think of RC airplanes as toys and some of them are. But other RC airplanes are complex and state of the art machines that rival the performance and appearance of their real life counterparts. From small 2 channel basic airplanes to full function jet engine fighters, the hobby has them all!

Contrary to popular belief, flying one of these airplanes is not difficult. It does take some practice and it helps if you have a little upfront knowledge and insight as far as what you are going to encounter and that is where this book will come in handy.

A lot of people spend a lot of money on their planes only to have them sit on a shelf because they don’t have the first clue how to get them up in the air and back down in one piece. Well, we are going to show you how to do all that in this article. By following the simple tips provided on this page you will get a great start on great hobby and leisure activity

First, you should buy a trainer that is easily repairable, in case of damage. To have a crash is common, especially in the initial days of training and learning. Hence, your plane should be easy to repair and not take away the fun from your hobby. Secondly, buy a trainer, whose parts are readily available, so that in case you need to replace a part, you don’t have to wait till you lose interest in flying, before getting the spare part.

Tips

  1. Get lots of practice with an RC flight simulator that uses your RC controller, and it will be almost a non-issue. For about $100, you can own a realistic training aid that can teach you all the basic tasks of flight. Although flying a model airplane might look easy, it isn’t. In fact, flying an RC plane is in some ways harder to learn than flying a “real” plane. That’s because when the plane is flying toward you, you’ve got to reverse the stick commands – you need to turn “left” to make the plane go right- and so on. Practice on a simulator, and it will be second nature after a few hours. Buying a simulator can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in crashes that won’t happen. I’ll recommend the best simulators in this book.
  2. Start with the basics before attempting difficult stunts like loops, rolls or inverted flying.  
  3. Get lessons from an experienced hobbyist. Believe it or not, you can get flying lessons absolutely free at RC clubs across the United States. I urge you to join your local chapter of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the AMA. More on that later. 
  4. Find a proper flying field with safety protocols or a very large empty car park and ‘fly’ the plane without letting leave the ground. In other words, you are just steering it and getting used to adjusting speed and operating the control surfaces. When you are confident at that take it to a large flat park and fly it. Landing is the tricky part but you can practice flying in low and level a few times beforehand. Also google for any RC Flying Clubs in your area. Here’s the biggest reason to join the AMA-you’ll get access to a dedicated flying field. Plus, membership in the AMA includes an insurance policy covering you for liability, medical expenses, fire and theft.
  5. Read the instructions properly, before assembling the parts together, if you are planning to assemble your RC plane. This will enable you to learn without crashing your plane often and it will also be affordable for you to replace the plane in case of a major crash. 
  6. Test and re-test your batteries before putting your electric RC plane in the air. Without battery power, your plane will transform into a pilotless glider–and a poor one at that. You do not want to risk engine failure. Check your batters and be certain that their fully recharged before taking off. Otherwise, you may be a witness to a costly and thoroughly disheartening RC plane crash.
  7. Determine wind direction by throwing some pieces of grass or light material into the air. Fly remote control airplanes into the wind for optimal performance.
  8. When landing remote control airplanes, first take note of the wind direction to land into the wind. Reduce power slowly, allowing the airplane to almost glide on its own. Cut the throttle when it is 5 feet from the ground.
  9. Never fly on a very windy day. Determine approximate wind speed by tying a ribbon to the end of the transmitter’s antenna. Hold the controller parallel to the ground. If the ribbon is parallel to the ground, it’s too windy. If the ribbon is less than 30 degrees, then it is okay to fly.
  10. If launching by hand, a friend can launch the plane for you so you can keep your hands on the controls at all times.

BONUS TIP Crashes are inevitable. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get it right the first few times. Just keep practicing to improve your flying skills.

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.