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Park Flyer RC Model Airplanes

Park Flyer models open up your backyard or local park for RC flight!


P-38 park flyer

P-38 park flyer foam model airplane

The revolution in small and practical RC model airplanes for indoor flight has led to a tremendous increase in the popularity of park flyer airplanes. While "park flyer" is not a precise term, it refers in general to any smaller RC model airplane, oftentimes ready to fly and powered by an electric motor, that can be safely flown in a small area like a local park or your backyard. The Academy of Model Aeronautics has a robust Park Pilot program worth taking a look at.

Fly across the street

The huge attraction of a park flyer airplane, such as the Guillow Lancer, is the wonderful fact that you can take your model airplane to the skies on a moment’s notice, without the need of driving a long distance to a local RC club flying field.

One can return home from work and with one of these airplanes and get in some quality stick time in a flying area just across the street. The old paradigm of waiting to fly during the weekend, exclusively at the local model airplane club field, has been changed forever by park flyer aircraft.

Fokker Triplane park flyer

The Fokker Triplane makes for a striking model

In a sense, it has been the dream of model pilots from the beginning to fly in nearby fields. Two technical obstacles prevented this type of early park flyer from happening: engine noise and radio frequency interference.

Until just a few years ago, RC equipment was just too big and heavy for practical park flyer use. The larger RC gear necessitated a bigger model with a more powerful and louder gas engine. Practical electric motors and batteries for small RC airplanes just did not exist. The noise of and safety issues of these larger aircraft precluded any practical employment as a park flyer.

72 MHz and 2.4 GHz radios

The universal use of 72 MHz radios mandated the employment of a frequency control scheme to avoid jamming other RC park flyers on the same frequency. There was simply no way of knowing, with any certainty, that there was not another RC pilot on your RC frequency channel while you were attempting fight in a nearby park. The only way to avoid these park flyer noise and frequency deconfliction issues was to have all RC model flight take place at a local club field, separated by a safe distance from other flying fields - usually three miles - to avoid radio interference.

Wingo RC park flyer

The foam Wing-Dragon is an ideal slow flying trainer model airplane

All of these early park flyer concerns are now solved with the use of silent electric power and the revolution of interference free flight on 2.4 GHz radios. A park flyer can take to the skies with a wide variety of electric models, and no one from the general public will even be aware the silent RC model is airborne.

Technology allows for a variety of ready to fly airplanes, thus the average RC pilot will have a wide choice of aircraft in their hangars. As I mentioned, there is no firm definition of a park flyer airplane. Generally, park flyers tend to be a bit bigger than micro sized models to better handle wind gusts.

On calm days, smaller RC model airplanes can be very suitable for park flyer use. Park flyers can of course be built from kits or plans. You will find the vast majority of park flyers are ready to fly foam models. Most park flyer airplanes fly on two to three channels of radio control to save on costs.

Jet park flyer RC airplane

A pusher prop makes for practical thrust on this model

Park flying and new RC pilots

One of the huge advantages with the ready availability of this new breed of affordable park flyer airplane is the large influx of new RC pilots to the hobby.

In the past, the aspiring RC pilot was required to build their model, and made a dedicated trek to the local club field to learn how to fly RC. There was always the danger that one bad crash could wipe out your model airplane and prevent you from flying the rest of the season. This necessarily limited the number of new pilots to the hobby.

Park flyer models to a great extent remove these obstacles facing the student RC pilot. Your learning time with a park flyer is much more flexible as you are not restricted to just the weekend.

The smaller park flyer trainers operate at slower speeds and closer in to the pilot making learning that much quicker. RC flight simulators can accelerate the learning process as well.

Finally, the foam construction and light weight of a typical park flyer minimize worries from a crash. Repairs are less frequent and easier to fix. If the damage is too great, there is always to option to simply purchase a new park flyer.

Park flyer RC model airplane in flight

A perfect example of a balsa model airplane passing overhead

In summary, the addition of practical park flyer airplanes to the inventory of small radio control model aircraft is a welcome addition to RC pilots everywhere. Park flyer airplanes are readily available, inexpensive, fun to fly, and open up an entirely new venue of local parks and back yards to RC flight.

Author: Gordon McKay

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