1 Tip for New Beginner RC Airplane Pilots

Check out this thread to learn tips and tricks about RC Airplanes from those with experience. Use it as a resource and be sure to share your knowledge with the group.


Share Your Best Tips with New Pilots

This time of year we start seeing an influx of newcomers to the hobby visiting RCGroups. Some are finding out about this great hobby for the first time and wanting to soak up as much information as they can before starting their journey. For most of us, we've been doing this for years or decades and as a community, the knowledge we all have is an outstanding resource that should be shared.

I wanted to create a series of these articles for various RC categories so no matter if you got a new airplane, heli, drone, truck or boat, you'll have easy access to some of the best tips and tricks to help you be successful and enjoy your chosen hobby. This article is for RC Airplanes, so please hit the reply button below and share your favorite airplane related tips and tricks.

I'll get us started with a cool resource you might not be familiar with. While it is possible to learn to fly with the right airplane all by yourself, you are going to have a better chance with the help of an experienced pilot. Plus meeting and flying with others who share the same passion as you is way more fun than doing it alone. Use the RCGroups Places Page to locate and find clubs near you and reach out for help. You'll be glad you did.

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Dec 18, 2017, 01:17 PM
IMO ( In My Opinion ) →
balsa or carbon's Avatar
In My Opinion , the most important factor for first time RC flyers is : having , or NOT having , the assistance of an experienced RC flyer.

If assisted by an experienced RC flyer , any good trainer will do .

If NOT assisted by an experienced RC flyer and doing it completely on your own :
1) use a plane that can fly slowly ( gives you time to think , time to react , and time to correct a mistake ) .
2) use a plane that , after making a turn .... returns to right-side-up wings-level flight all by itself .
3) make your first flight attempts over a huge , open , grass-covered field ..... at a time when there's no wind .
4) accept that you first need to learn to crawl , then walk , then run .

Here are two examples of good ( learn to crawl ) trainers for unassisted first time RC flyers :

Lightweight 40" wingspan FT Old Fogey-ish (2 min 58 sec)

Copy of EzFly with under-cambered wing (1 min 57 sec)
Last edited by balsa or carbon; Dec 18, 2017 at 03:24 PM.
Dec 18, 2017, 01:21 PM
"Some do, some don't"
old_coastie's Avatar
Good Idea Jason,

Well for any New Beginner's out there if you are reading this then you have already made a great start because you have found a wealth of knowledge just by discovering the RCGroup's Site.

I started in the Hobby in June of 2013, and I was one of those individuals that initially learned to fly on my own. I'm not saying this is the best way to learn but it is possible. The plane shown on the opening of this thread, a HobbyZone Champ is the plane that I learned with. This is also how I learned the truth of the of the saying....

Fly, Crash, Repair, Repeat

In my case flying led to crashing which led to going back to the hobby shop where I bought the plane for spare parts which led to meeting other people who were in the Hobby which led to learning about local RC clubs which led to meeting others who really knew how to fly which led to learning about all of the different kinds of options that were available which led to learning that I could buy inexpensive foam kits and that I could build my own planes which led to learning not just how to fly but "how" planes fly which led to becoming a better pilot which meant I crashed less so I had more money to buy more planes and meet more people and learn from them and to look at their planes and decide I wanted to try that kind of plane also..... Anyway you get the idea, one thing led to the next, and yeah flying is fun, flying with others who like to fly is even more fun.

Some truisms to keep in mind....

Crashing a plane is part of the Hobby, not necessarily a fun part of the Hobby (although sometimes it can be darn right hilarious), but it is a part of the Hobby.

Take Offs are optional, landings are mandantory

A nose heavy plane will fly poorly, a tail heavy plane will fly once

It is much easier to "go around" and try to line up for a "good landing" than it is to try and make a "good landing" with a "bad approach"

Better to make a long walk to pickup a good plane than to make a short walk to pick up pieces of plane

But the most important thing of all..... Have Fun.......

Mark R.

Dec 18, 2017, 02:53 PM
Wake up, feel pulse, be happy!
Piece's Avatar
Don't buy a Taranis!
Latest blog entry: Jeti ESC resto-mod
Dec 18, 2017, 03:15 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
My tip for New Pilots ---

Read the 'Sticky' threads at the top of this forum.

It's why they are there, and why people created them.

Dec 18, 2017, 03:38 PM
yank and bank!!
Yes, it does stink that you have to start out with the dumb looking plane.....
Dec 18, 2017, 03:39 PM
KE Spins make me dizzy.
I know that super fast jet is awesome looking on the shelf there or hanging up, but it won't be good for your first time in the air. Leave that for your 'graduation flight'.
Dec 18, 2017, 03:49 PM
IMO ( In My Opinion ) →
balsa or carbon's Avatar
Originally Posted by failboat
Yes, it does stink that you have to start out with the dumb looking plane.....
Bring a garbage bag for your "cool" looking plane ....
Last edited by balsa or carbon; Dec 18, 2017 at 07:37 PM.
Dec 18, 2017, 04:01 PM
Registered User
putput's Avatar
Read the sticky's they are a great wealth of information.
Get a trainer to start, Period.. Top wing, lots of dyhedral.
Learn about CG, decalage and how to trim a plane.
Listen to others that have been flying a while, we have done it, broke it, crashed it, rebuilt it etc.. We just might have some good pointers.
Fly 3 mistakes high, dont care how easy acrobatics seem, the wind gusts will change your ideas pretty quickly.

Limit your bad decisions on flight day to 1. We all make them, and it only takes one mistake to wreck your flying day. The more you pile them up, the more chances of a painful ending.
Dec 18, 2017, 04:17 PM
Registered User
Shifteer's Avatar
Don't start with a tiny plane. It's easier to fly a bigger, slower model than a fast tiny one.
Dec 18, 2017, 06:52 PM
"Some do, some don't"
old_coastie's Avatar

Can't stop laughing.... Dumb Looking Plane Bwaaahhhh!!!!! So True...
Dec 18, 2017, 07:40 PM
Your BEST bet IF you’re JUST starting out would be the Hobbyzone “Champ” RTF (HBZ4900). It’s what I first “cut my teeth” on, and I’ve been hooked ever since. If you can get an experienced pilot to show you EXACTLY what to do, that would be a PLUS. You WILL be hooked!!!
Dec 18, 2017, 08:33 PM
Alien_Tech's Avatar
Without a doubt, buy a simulator!
Dec 18, 2017, 10:44 PM
"Some do, some don't"
old_coastie's Avatar

Best Way to Start Out Different Paths

OK Guys really enjoying the stuff that is being posted on here but let's stop and think for a few on what are the different paths to learning to fly RC Planes.

As I see it there seem to be several paths that can be taken or at least taken in a different order with pluses and minuses for each.

1. Buy a Ready to Fly Foam Plane, everything in one box (i.e. Champ)

2. Go to a Local RC Club and learn from an experienced instructor

3. Buy a Simulator and learn the basics

4. Buy an EPP foam "Trainer" Kit and build it yourself

1. RTF

Instant gratification (+)
Initial cost fairly low (+) $90
Suitable flying locations just about any school or park (+)
Re-Usability of equipment Very Low (-)
Chance of Initial Successful flight experience call it 50/50 (+/-)
Learning Curve Low (+)

2. Local Club

Instant Gratification depends on the Club, at my local club it would be high at some others meh.. Call it 50/50 (+/-)
Initial Cost Should be nothing If your Club charges visitors for initial Buddy Box flights Shame on you,,, (+)
Suitable flying locations Well yah gotta be at the Club to fly (-)
Re-Usability of Equipment No investment other than time (+/-)
Chance of Initial Successful flight experience High (+)
Learning Curve Call it Medium, Instructors are going to pass on a lot of info in short time (+/-)

3. Simulator

Instant Gratification Not Sure on this one, Yes you will be learning to fly, but your not really flying Call it 50/50 (+/-)
Initial Cost High Software plus a suitable controller (preferably one you can use as TX) $250
Suitable flying locations Your computer (+)
Re-Usability of Equipment Very High (+)
Chance of Initial Successful flight experience, With a Reset Button who cares, Definitely will increase chances of first
"Real" flight (+)
Learning Curve Call it Medium lets face it loading software can be a pain (+/-)


Instant Gratification Low lets face it you have a box of foam and parts (-)
Initial Cost High Kit $50, TX at least $100, Plane electronics at least $50, Charger $35
Suitable flying locations Once again just about any school or Park (+)
Re-Usability of Equipment High (+)
Chance of Initial Successful flight experience Med/High EPP is a lot harder to break than a Champ (+)
Learning Curve High First you gotta build it and there are a lot of things that go into setting up a plane the first time (-)

Anyway just some of my thoughts on the subject, me personally I've done all of these at one point or another.

Mark R.

Dec 19, 2017, 12:29 AM
Registered User
krashtest's Avatar
I'd honestly recommend a simulator. The entry cost is expensive,more so than a RTF trainer, but you can fly any plane you want and crash a million times with zero worries.

I started the R/C aircraft hobby with a Horizon Hobby Duet, which I disliked because I found the differential thrust to be weird. I'd cut the throttle to slow down, and it would stop being able to turn. I smashed into many trees because of that. It was durable, but I'd honestly say that the simulator (Real Flight 7.5) helped me learn to fly more than the trainer plane did.

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