New to the Hobby?
To get started in this hobby, head out to the field and talk to some people. Most people in this hobby love talking about it, so you’re sure to get your questions answered. If no one is there, that’s not surprising, try again. It could be a perfect day and no one is there and the very next day could be low clouds and windy and there will be twenty people there actively flying. You just never can tell. The best chance to see a wide variety of aircraft and people is to come to the events.
Incidentally, you’ll find out that a good bit of the RC crowd flies the “real” stuff as well, from ultra-lights to commercial airliners. As before, people in aviation love to talk about it, so if you want to know what flying both private and commercially is really like, there are people here that can tell you. One of our members literally flies around the world about twice a month for a popular automaker.
Take note of how people are flying (hopefully you’re seeing good manners as an example). Call out what you plan to use the runway for: call out taking off to the left or right, call out your landings from the left or right, fly a predictable pattern so your fellow flyers have an idea of what you’re doing to do (or tell them), leave the runway clear for take offs and landings (don’t use the runway for hover practice unless you’ve cleared it with your fellow flyers). It’s very similar to flying at full size airport; there’s a flight pattern, usually dictated by which way the wind is blowing. It’s pretty much like being in a skating rink so that you don’t crash into each other.
Model aircraft are dangerous. It’s up there with chainsaws and circular saws. Unless you like ambulances, you have to think ahead for where things can go because the unexpected will happen. A simple battery failure could be life changing if you’re doing something dumb like flying over people. If you or someone gets hit by a typical model aircraft, it’ll very likely do more than leave a mark, it’s a trip to the hospital or worse (there’s no exaggeration in that).
Always stay behind the netting and off of the runway unless you’re retrieving an aircraft (and be quick about it). Always keep your flying to the east of the netting (don’t fly over people). Give it the same care as you would at firing range: stay out of the way of where they can go, and keep yours pointed away from people, and don’t go out in the field unless everyone knows you’re doing it.
Ironically, those dainty electric aircraft are the ones that are especially bad about sneaking up on you. Be sure they stay pointed away from anything you don’t want messed up (sound familiar?). Even those innocent looking “drones” cripple people. Think about it, those harmless looking plastic props can easily turn 8,000 RPM and some turn 30,000 RPM... It’s reconstructive surgery time.
About the only model aircraft that will just “leave a mark” or maybe scratch a cornea are the smallest of the small electrics. Generally speaking, give all model aircraft the respect you would of a chainsaw or firearm.
Last but not least, keep your model aircraft well maintained, test your batteries, and build them so that it’s unlikely anything will fail in flight.
If you want help with your first plane, we have members that can guide you. Help with setting up your radio, trimming the plane and even a maiden. If you want to learn to fly with less risk, a member can assist via a buddy box. Ask for Larry White next time you are at the field. He is there most mornings.