Learning to Fly
Training and Solo certification process
Details of MAAA accredited training lessons here.
Model planes, and radio control model planes in particular, have come a long way from the days of balsa wood, tissue paper and dope -- and then a trip down the local park to see if it flys. But with this increasing sophistication has come all the added risks and responsibilities. The F3A Aerobatic models flown today are About 2 metres in length, 2 metres in width, weigh in at 5kg, are powered by 3.5bhp 23 cc motors turning 17 inch propellers. They are real aeroplanes in every sense of the word, it is just the pilot stays on the ground rather than flys in the plane.
Similarly, the disciplines and skills required to fly them safely are on par with those of a full size plane. From memory it took me 10 to 15 hours flying time to get to my first Solo flight in a full size plane, and similar time to achieve my Solo rating for a radio control model! The great thing About radio control models is that once you have learnt to fly them, you don't spend the next 40 hours learning how to navigate!!
So what does flight training entail? I would put it broadly in four areas:
I don't have any formal statistics but, by observation from my time flying, most of the incidents I have seen can be traced back to failures in the first two of these, not the third (and in the instances it is the third it is usually sloppiness on some basic disciplines).
For the training process we use stable, high wing models as shown in the Novices section of the site. Typically the model will be thoroughly inspected by one of our MAAA qualified instructors prior to its first flight, as will the installation of all the radio equipment, linkages and motor installation. Then, you will be briefed on the basics of the field, the frequency control keyboard and use of the radio transmitter. With all this done, the Instructor will take the plane up for you, trim it in flight so it is safe for you to fly (and may bring it down to make some adjustments), and when they are happy, help you learn to fly it -- first straight and level, then through turns. This usually continues (at least for powered models) until you can consistently fly neat rectangular circuits at a constant height. Once you can do this well, taking off and climbing to a safe height is easy. And landing involves flying a rectangular circuit (always!!) with lower throttle and a bit of up elevator at the end to 'flare' the model. The flying bit is that easy!
To get a feel for the non-flying aspects we suggest you read our Club Rules and Operating Disciplines.
Master all this, pass the relevant Doncaster Flight Proficiency Rating test -- and then the real fun and learning starts. More details on the requirements for, and availability of, training can be found here.
Still interested (and hopefully intrigued)? If you haven't done so already , 'come on down' and get to know us.
*** 23 April, 2021 09:30 AM +1000 ***
Last updated 23 April, 2021