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Fixed Wing



This New Pilot Help Sheet has been prepared by the Edgewood Flyers to help you to get started in radio control model airplane flying.  We will give you some helpful hints, what to expect and explain some of the club rules and procedures.  You should also talk to other members of the club for additional help.  They are more than willing to help you.  Also by selecting the right airplane and equipment, you should be able to progress from a student to a full pilot and get the most from your experience.


This is the best way to get started.  A flight simulator is an easy and convenient way to practice maneuvers, to develop coordination and stick control. It can also be used between flying lessons to practice. It can be bought from your local hobby store. REAL FLIGHT has a good simulator program. There are others for sale also.


The first step is to select an airplane.  We recommend a trainer, which is the easiest model to fly. It is designed to fly straight and level, and is simpler to takeoff and land.  A typical trainer should have a:

Flat Bottom Wing - This type of wing has more lift at lower airspeeds, which makes it easier to fly. It also works better at take off and landings.

Dihedral - This means that the wings are shaped like a shallow "V". Dihedral keeps the airplane flying level by equalizing the lifting forces on both sides of the wing.

High Wing - A high wing model is more stable. Since the weight of the model (or CG) is below the wing, the airplane will tend to right itself when tipped up or down.

Tricycle Landing Gear - There should be a nose wheel and two wheels located under the wing. This simplifies takeoff and landings.

All kits require some degree of assembly and time to build. If you wish to spend less time building, you can purchase an almost ready to fly (ARF) kit. They can be purchased from a local hobby store or from a catalog. We recommend the following ARF models:

Kadet LT40 by SIG Mfg.
Telemaster by Hobby Lobby
Avistar by Hobbico
Aerostar by Midwest
PT-40 MKI by Great Planes
Trainer 40 by Tower Hobbie

Regardless of the amount of advice that the beginner gets, the final choice is up to you.  Each person must decide which model is pleasing in appearance and performance, meets their needs and budget.


The radio or transmitter is the link between you and the model. Radios operate at different frequencies to protect the other pilots in your vicinity from losing control.

There are many radio brands to choose from. They include Futaba, Airtronics, Spektrum, Hitec and Tower Hobbies. Each brand offers a wide range of options from a simple 3 channel to a computer-assisted 8-channel radio.  We recommend a 4-channel radio to start with.  These control throttle, ailerons, elevator and rudder.  You can later buy a better radio, which has more channels and options.  Better radios have variable control arms, which make them less sensitive to small movements.



To help you to learn to pilot a model, you should have some understanding on how an airplane flies.

There are four forces controlling an airplane in flight. They are thrust, lift, drag, and weight. Thrust is the engine/propeller force, which pulls the airplane forward. Drag is the resistance of the air against the moving airplane. Weight is downward pull of gravity. Lift is due to the difference in pressure over the wing by the moving air. In constant flight, these forces balance out each other. Changes occur when one or more of these forces increase or decrease.

An airplane moves about three axes. Yaw is a flat rotation and is controlled by the rudder. Pitch is the up or down nose movement and is controlled by the elevator. Roll is the spin about the fuselage and is controlled by the ailerons. An airplane can individually yaw, pitch or roll, or any combination.


An instructor is an experienced flyer certified by the club. They will teach you how to fly. You may also learn from a pilot, but we recommend that you work with an instructor instead. Instructors are generally at the field and can be identified by a blue ID card. You can also arrange a session with an instructor at a club meeting. You can generally expect to receive between 2-4 lessons per day, each lasting about 6-8 minutes. As a rule of thumb, you will solo by the time you use 2-3 gallons of fuel.

A buddy box is a radio without the battery pack & antenna, which you will need to learn to fly. It is connected to the instructor’s box via a cord. This allows the instructor to take control by pressing a switch to prevent possible crashes or bodily harm. The student should bring a chord and box to each lesson.

Airplanes and support equipment must be checked by the instructor for proper construction, then test flown and adjusted for flight. If the instructor feels that there is a problem with the airplane, he will have you correct it.

There are a few safety rules that a student should learn. Do not fly over your head or in the pit area. You can become disoriented or harm others. Watch out for other pilots when you start your engine and announce when you come on the field. Also keep the model high. If you get in trouble, you will have plenty of altitude to recover. The instructor will get you out of trouble if necessary.

In the first few flights the instructor will take-off and trim the model. When the instructor has flown the airplane to a sufficient altitude, he will give you control. He will have you perform ovals, rectangles, left and right turns, figure eight’s and loops. Later the instructor will allow you to attempt take-off and landings. This is the most difficult part of learning to fly.

Once you master all of the required skills, you must demonstrate this to two instructors before you can become a pilot. You will be given a checklist at the time of registration. The signoff sheet should notate the date of the test and the signature of two instructors. When you have the approval of two instructors, the chief instructor will certify your sheet and you will become a pilot.


Your local hobby store is generally your best source of information. They service what they sell and can be a lot of help in other areas. You should visit and support them.

There are also several good magazines that you can subscribe to. As an AMA member, you will receive Model Aviation. It will provide you with information about AMA activities, new developments, model plans and suggestions. There are other magazines such as Model Airplane News and RC Modeler to name a few. You can find these at your local hobby shop.

Helpful Websites:

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