Getting Started in RC
(Note: Flying an RC model likely requires registration with the FAA. See below for more details.)
Talk to us before you buy!
RC Flying is an enjoyable hobby for people of all ages. Before buying anything from either of the local hobby shops or online, PLEASE meet and talk to at least one of the club officers. We have a lot of experience and can help you make the best decision with regard to aircraft and equipment!!
Question: Can I try RC flying?
Answer: YES!, if you would like to get an introduction to flying a model, the Skyhawks RC Group will be happy to let you have a sample flight with the help of our club trainer and buddy box system. Please send us an email (link on HOME page) so we can agree on a place/time to meet.
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). The choices are listed depending on your budget/goals. Here some that we recommend and one of these "Horizon Flight School qualified aircraft:
- Limited budget/Just want a "taste" of the hobby? 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
- Budget 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. We have one of these as our club trainer plane.
- AeroScout S 1.1m RTF (HBZ3800) ($229) - The HobbyZone AeroScout S makes learning to fly an RC (Radio Controlled) airplane easier and more fun than ever before! It is extremely durable and features exclusive SAFE technology that helps to prevent crashes so nearly everyone can learn to fly.
- Apprentice STS 1.5m RTF Smart Trainer with SAFE ($350) - OUR TOP RECOMMENDATION. The gold standard of trainer planes. Relatively "large" but extremely stable and almost glider like flying characteristics. Fantastic flight control integration to assist beginner pilots. We have this plane as a club trainer.. Batteries for this aircraft will be about $45 each. You may want to budget $500 total for this aircraft as you'll likely want a couple additional batteries. Fight times per battery are > 10 - 15 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)