Getting Started in RC

LOOK for members with a GREEN badge label - they are Instructor Pilots and can provide assistance and instruction!

Fly with Us! Try before you buy.

RC Flying is an enjoyable hobby for people of all ages. There are no special skills required to enjoy the hobby but learning to fly an RC model will take time, dedication, and a lot of patience.

Learning new skills can be challenging. There are some tips when getting started that will make learning easier. The following information will help answer questions about getting into the hobby. The Holly Springs Skyhawks Radio Control Group and its members are always ready and willing to help you enjoy this great hobby. We have dedicated Instructor Members - ones with a GREEN member badge - and we are ready to assist and answer questions!!!

Question: Do I need my own plane and equipment to try RC flying?

Answer: No, if you would like to get an introduction to flying the Skyhawks RC Group will be happy to let you try flying with the help of our club trainer. Please send us an email (link on HOME page) so we can agree on a place/time.

Question: How much does it cost to get started in this hobby?

Answer: The answer depends on your goals and budget. Like any hobby, you can spend as much as you like and never feel you have "everything you need/want". What is your budget? How committed are you to learning the skill to SOLO an RC aircraft. SOLO means you can take off and land unassisted and do so with reasonable assurance your flight will not result in a crash.

Start with a Ready To Fly (RTF) plane which includes all of your basic equipment (plane, transmitter, battery, charger). Next, pick a starting point. The choices are listed depending on your budget/goals. Here some that we recommend:

  1. Limited budget/Not sure if this is a hobby I'll stick with: HobbyZone Sport Cub S RTF ($130): Plusses: Small size/weight, easy to store/transport, inexpensive batteries, easy to repair, inexpensive replacement parts. Minuses: Sensitive to wind (needs a calm day, <5mph wind), limited range transmitter. Best for: folks who want limited assistance and aren't afraid to try flying on their own
  2. Solid entry level trainer: HobbyZone Mini Apprentice RTF for ($230) - you cannot go wrong with this aircraft. Inexpensive batteries, can be buddy boxed, excellent flight control assist for the beginner pilot.
  3. E-Flite Apprentice 15e RTF ($280) - The gold standard of trainer planes. Relatively "large" but very stable and almost glider like flying charateristics. Fantastic flight control integration to assist beginner pilots. Can be buddy boxed with an instructor. Batteries for this aircraft will be about $25 each. You may want to budget $500 total for this aircraft as you'll likely want an upgraded battery charger and more batteries. Fight times per battery are > 10 minutes.

Question: Can I learn on my own or do I have to have someone teach me?

Answer: With today’s technology you can learn at a much faster/easier rate than in the past. While you can learn on your own with a plane equipped with beginner assistance like the planes mentioned above, we recommend that you seek the help of an experienced pilot for your initial flights. Members of the Holly Springs Skyhawks are always eager to help new pilots. One thing that can help you learn is the use of a flight simulator. The only one we recommend is REAL Flight. Any version greater than G6.5 will do. Check eBay, RC Groups, or Craigslist.

Question: Where can I fly my plane?

Answer: Some of the micro airplanes can be flown in a small space such as a park or even your backyard. We recommend flying in an area that is designated for model flying. Fortunately, in Holly Springs there is a designated RC flying area located at Sugg Farm which is part of Bass Lake Park.

Question: Are there safety rules I should follow when flying my RC aircraft?

Answer: Yes, there are some simple safety rules that should be followed when flying your RC aircraft. The safety rules can be found at the link above "NATIONAL MODEL SAFETY CODE". Also, knowbeforeyoufly.org is another good resource for beginners.

Question: Is there a national organization for model aircraft?

Answer: Yes, the Academy of Model Aeronautics is the national organization for model aircraft in the United States (modelaircraft.org)