How Do I Get Started in Flying Remote Control (RC) Model Airplanes ?

So you are interested in taking up the sport of Radio Control Model Flying. Your interest could have developed in many ways. It could be that you passed a newsstand and saw one of several fine RC Modeling magazines on the shelf. Ironically, it might have been a newsstand at the airport on your last trip! You bought it and now want to join the fraternity.

Or maybe you were just driving by a model flying field and liked what you saw? Your first exposure to RC modeling could have been while out walking with your family and stumbling upon a club display of their planes. There were dozens of bright sport airplanes mixed with miniature replicas of full size airplanes (called “scale models”) and a few really big aircraft. There were also lots of friendly people who just enjoyed sharing their love of the sport with you. There are a lot of great people in RC (in all modeling actually).
Best of all, maybe you are looking for a hobby that you and your children can enjoy together. Or maybe you are looking for something you can enjoy doing with your parents? If so you have definitely chosen the right sport. If a friend already in the sport has influenced you, you are one of the lucky ones.

There is nothing a dedicated RC pilot likes better than to brainwash, uh, excuse me, “provide valuable information to”, a new convert. In this case, listen to your friend and follow whatever guidance is provided. But also try to get additional information from magazines, other flyers, model discussion websites and other information sources as well.

While several whole books have been written about getting started, we will try to condense this knowledge into one article. There may be some personal opinions expressed in this article (all identified) but please remember that they have been formed during many years of experience.
First of all, forget any special physical requirements. The sport of RC is open to just about anyone. You do need to be able to see at least 20/30 with correction. You do not even need both eyes as I have known two students who flew with only one (each that is). I have seen great model pilots in wheelchairs, with hearing or speaking challenges, RC pilots who are in their early 90’s and a few as young as 7 years old.

You do you need to have special technical knowledge. You do not need to know anything about electronics nor do you need any idea how to build a model engine. In today’s modeling world, you don’t even need to know how to build a model aircraft. The RC industry has done all that work for you.

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Mitchell Fixed Wing Aero Club