How to Fly RC Model Airplanes without an Instructor
Some tips on learning how to fly RC with the ParkZone Ember
Flying a radio control model airplane is quite easy and a lot of fun - once you know how to do it. Learning how to fly RC has always been a challenge. Recently, a few RC schools have been established and are a great way to learn how to aviate if you have the time and money. Typically, however, the aspiring RC pilot would locate a local model airplane flying field, link up with a club flight instructor, and take their test flights and instruction from there. Many variables entered into the process of learning how to fly, ranging from how well you built your aircraft, avoiding damage from crashes and being able to obtain flight training only when your instructor was available.
Learn on your own
But what if you wanted to learn to fly RC by yourself? What if no instructor is readily available to work with you or meets your schedule requirements to fly together? One avenue is to practice with RTF indoor helicopters - see micro RC helicopter reviews here. With the larger, gas or electric powered RC model airplanes, it was and remains just about impossible to learn how to fly without an instructor next to you. These larger, heavier airplanes fly faster than the smaller ready to fly electric planes, and common student pilot errors can quickly lead to a crash if an instructor is not there to quickly take over the flight controls.
With the advent of computer based RC flight simulators and ready to fly micro RC model aircraft, such as the ParkZone Ember, learning how to fly on your own is now quite possible. While it is always best to seek out a flight instructor when you wish to learn, the following course of action can successfully be followed on your own.
The first step in learning how to fly by yourself is getting a quality flight simulation program for your computer, such as RealFlight. An RC flight simulation program offers a variety of aircraft with which you can practice flight maneuvers. The RealFlight computer flight simulator has a wide variety of light weight, electric powered model planes on which you can learn to fly that closely mimic the ParkZone Ember airplane’s flight profile and handling characteristics.
Field house flying
Flying electric model airplanes inside offers several advantages to the student pilot over learning to fly outdoors. There is no wind to worry about thus no need to practice crosswind techniques. In addition, lightweight models such as the Ember are easily hand launched, thus avoiding potential take off crashes.
The key aspect of a computer flight simulator that will shorten your training time is an easy way to practice with the new challenge of aircraft orientation. When an RC model is flying away from you, turning the rudder control to the right causes the airplane to turn right, and of course left rudder will cause a left turn.
However, when the model airplane is coming towards you, a right rudder input (transmitter rudder control stick to the right) will cause the model to turn left from your ground vantage point. The model airplane turns the same way in relation to the transmitter’s rudder control as viewed “from the model’s cockpit.”
Pilot vantage point
However, from your ground vantage point, the airplane turns in the opposite direction from the transmitter rudder stick position when coming towards you. It takes a while to get comfortable with this. The idea is to think about the orientation and understand what is happening, then practice using the computer simulator and finally in the air. Learning how to turn a model airplane with the correct rudder control input will soon become instinctive to the beginning model airplane pilot.
Landings are always a huge challenge when learning how to fly with the larger models. There is simply no avoiding the need to land an airplane once in flight. With the typical gas powered model airplane cross winds need to be compensated for, and precise approach airspeeds and alignment to the runway must be observed. This precise flying is coming due right at the time the student pilot is at the very early stages of learning how to fly.
Author: Gordon McKay