Why Do You Fly?

I wanted to start this thread to share and hear from others about why we fly RC planes.


Why Do You Fly RC?

I wanted to start this thread to share and hear from others about why we fly RC planes. There are many hobbies out there and lots of ways to spend your free time, so what it is about the RC hobby that made you choose it?

I remember living in Florida as a kid and playing on our 40 acre property. I had boomerangs, foamy gliders and my dad had a little Cox .049 powered control line plane. I was fascinated with things that flew through the air. This was all before the internet existed and while I had a few RC trucks along the way, I never knew about the model airplane hobby until I was in college. As soon as I saw RC airplane boxes in the local hobby store, I knew I had to do it. I fell in love with the hobby for many reasons. Firstly it was just a ton of fun, but there is so much more than just having fun. I learned valuable skills in building, using tools, problem solving and more. Plus I got to join a club and make some great friends that I still consider my flying buddies to this day. I've been able to travel and have some great experiences and attend epic events spending several days to a week together with like minded people, all enjoying the RC hobby. It's been amazing and I'll continue to participate in the hobby for as long as I can see and hold a transmitter.

So what's your story? What got you started and hooked on flying model airplanes? Comment below and share your story with us.

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Dec 01, 2020, 09:35 AM
Registered User
The appeal of RC flying to me is mostly in the scale factor of realistic looking versions of real aircraft. I've always liked airplanes and helicopters, and RC gives me an affordable way to fly. Flight simulators are great fun but there's something "extra" about actually flying an RC aircraft instead of doing it virtually. The RC flying community seems to be all about learning and having fun, especially the club I'm a member of. I've met some fantastic people thanks to this hobby.

I was introduced to RC by my dad in the early 90's when we built a Dumas Coast Guard lifeboat from a kit. It was our first "jump" into RC, and a few years later I got into RC cars with an RC10T kit that we built together.

Took a long break from RC in high school/college/early working years. In my late 20's got into RC again with 1/10 scale on-road RC racing, and messed around with fast electric RC boats. I was always interested in RC flying, but was apprehensive about diving in. Always thought if I built a kit, I'd be too afraid to fly it as a rookie pilot and turn it into match sticks.

Fast forward to my mid 30's, still always interested in RC as a hobby and flying in general. Decided to jump in with a RTF foamie (UMX T-28 Trojan) and taught myself to fly. Well, my concerns about learning were not warranted and I had more fun flying than other forms of RC (and I enjoyed all of them). The bug bit me and now I have a half dozen planes (kits, ARF's, and foamies) of civilian and military varieties.

While I love internal combustion engines (I work on my 1:1 cars and boat as a hobby also) the advent of brushless motors and LiPo batteries really make the hobby accessible. Between work and family, I don't get as much time to tinker with projects as I'd like, so electric fits the bill for me. When my son is a little older, I'd love to try a gas plane when I have the time.
Dec 01, 2020, 09:42 AM
Registered User
What got me started was watching my buddy fly his Parkzone Mustang in a park. I have hade a passion for WW2 warbirds since I was a kid, but at that point I had only built them as plastic kits for display. But when I watched that thing in the air, I just knew I had to get into the hobby as well. Now 12 years later Im slightly surpised that warbirds are not my favorite type of plane, I prefer both acro-, sport and gliders, and I also fly fpv. But I have a couple of warbirds as well, and I absolutely enjoy flying them, and trying to make them behave as scale as possible.
Dec 01, 2020, 09:50 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
I can't remember a time when I didn't "fly." My first airplanes were two pieces of balsa or pine glued together at an almost-right-angle and thrown. I was probably 4. My father and big brother were making models too. It was just what you did, I suppose. My one granddaughter is growing up pretty much the same way - Daddy and Grandpa do it, and so she does too.

As for things that actually flew, Dad started us off with sheet gliders - we always made our own - then moved on to built-up sheet kits like the Carl Goldberg Shoestring. From there we moved to Comet.

After we learned trimming with FF, we moved to CL. We started with Cox (PT-19, Fokker D-7, Sopwith Camel) and moved up to Sterling and Scientific kits. We also built a LOT of planes from Air Trails magazines. By fourth grade I had learned how to scale plans up from the magazine to whatever size I wanted. It took a while when you had to do everything longhand multiplication!

Then we started in on RC. I got my first radio, a World Engines 6 on 27.045, when my father's friend got shot down by a trucker one time too many and moved to 72MHz. Living out in the country in a big valley only open at one end, 27 was not a problem.

Why do I fly? Why wouldn't I?!?!

Dec 01, 2020, 10:06 AM
San Antonio TX.
sensei's Avatar
Here is dad in the late 30s with his control line Staggerwing, and the apple didnít fall far from the tree. I learned to build and fly free flight and control line in the early 60s and moved into RC some years later.

Dec 01, 2020, 10:24 AM
Registered User
I missed my calling to be a real Heli/airplane pilot. For me it all started when my father took me with him for a ride in a Cessna with floats off the water. The guy asked if we would like to go for a ride, so naturally father said yes. My dad used to build models when I was a kid. After that ride in a real airplane I was hooked. No word of a lie, all my toys growing up revolved around flight be it space or airplanes or helicopters. I was never a car truck kid. "Blech" nasty old wheeled vehicles. lol. When I got married some years later (regretfully at 21,"since divorced 2000"), I bought an RCM magazine and that was it. I was hooked on R/C aircraft. I dabled in airplanes and r/c cars (yes cars and belonged to an organized racing club) and had a few boats too. But my heart was always with helicopters (me and brother got a ride in a MD500 for my brothers 10th Bday) "long story". R/C Helicopters were always just out of my reach financially at the time. Go figure (married). Once I started driving for a living....family..etc....I sold off everything and that was it for some years. Enter 2005 (single father), I started researching the possibility of getting back in the hobby but only this time Helicopters (my first love). I did for the most part but being a single dad and $$ was tight and I shelved the idea. I managed to learn to hover and fly back and forth in front of myself but nothing you would call big air forward flight flying. I continued to fly in the SIM religeously. Enter 2014, living alone (finally), I bought my first real r/c Heli (Trex 450 XL) and I quit smoking and drinking and I was in with both feet nobody or anything to stop me. I've had a few Heli's since then but now I'm down to a Blade 450 (love that heli) and Trex 600E (my favorite everyday flyer). Nothing beats the big birds. Bigger is always better. I recently bought the Carbon Cub Z SS (I can use the same 6s batterys I use for my Trex 600). Wow !, that plane is a big bird. I changed the motor out and ESC and working on better servo's for it. Here we go again. lol. Anecdote here, I have RF 9.5 now and have a plethora of aircraft to fly at my disposal (I prefer the big planes and heli's) and the cockpit view aircraft (go figure). My next move is to get the new Xbox X series console (my PC isn't powerful enough and its cheaper to buy the Xbox) and buy Microsoft Flight SIM 2020 (being redesigned for Xbox X in 2021). I have an inside scoop at Microsoft my friend from here works for Microsoft Vancouver, Canada. I'll have to get all the computer desk attachment flight control aparatus (yoke, peddles, throttles). I'm currently useing a 32" Sony TV for my PC and I'm going 50" next. Let the fun begin.
Last edited by FG; Dec 01, 2020 at 10:40 AM.
Dec 01, 2020, 11:10 AM
Tommy Toy the Crazy Boy
To me, RC flying is therapeutic, even spiritual.

My flying field is out in nature, surrounded by trees on three sides and a lake on the other. The pilot's area faces the west (sunset). I often see birds, deer, and other animals while out there. So, when flying, I'm surrounded by nature's beauty. I call it my antidepressant. It is absolutely beautiful.

And, flying, especially learning 3D flying, is very challenging. So, I'm always learning and often praying for God's help. When I grease a landing, I often thank God.

Finally, the physics of flight is absolutely amazing. As I watch my plane take off, tip stall, hover, or come in slowly without losing lift I marvel at the laws of physics that control flight.

In short, RC flying is calming, exciting, and mesmerizing. What a blessing that I have this opportunity.

Dec 01, 2020, 11:20 AM
Registered User
I love to paint in the sky.

I started at 8, in 1956 with CL. Switched to RC in 72. Been normal ever since.
Dec 01, 2020, 12:09 PM
Flying every chance I get!
Micubano's Avatar
Mine comes from a lifelong obsession with flying things. I remember having a battery-powered control line kit as a kid. Later I found a 7 or 8 inch 747 that hung from my bedroom ceiling and did circles. Both of those went through a lot of batteries. There was the RC helicopter at the local flea market that tortured me for years as a teen because I could not afford it. The guy told me that I would just crash it if I could. I loved the local airshows every year. I also remember my mom taking me to the airport just to watch the planes take off and land. The only RC thing I had as a kid was a Tyco RC car and it didn't last long as I like driving off jumps and into the air.

I briefly started RC flying when my daughter was young with a Sharper Image kit. For a little kid, she did great. I was the one who misjudged the phone pole. With a lack of guidance on how to repair it, my love for the hobby was set aside again.

Years later when my son was about 5, we were at a craft show and he won a gift card to the local hobby store. I had no idea the store even existed before then. The manager doubled the gift card so my son could have a Syma helicopter. To return the gesture, I bought a Blade MCX2 RTF kit so I could fly with my son. I still fly it in the winter. That little heli pulled me back into the hobby fast and now I had the people at the hobby store to help me out. Before long, I met others in the area and started flying with them. Then I found RCG and all the information you could want and some advice you don't. When I had most of the Blade helis up to the 550 size, I started looking at the little foam planes. I thought they were fragile but it turned out going from helis to planes was really easy. When Roman P lost his life to a heli, I decided it was in my best interest to move to mostly planes. I still have a Blade 450 3D that I slowly march around the field once ot twice a year and I just finished cleaning the little helis and making sure they all still work, but they mostly sit on a shelf.

At some point, I started doing side work for the hobby store and I was paid in gift cards. For the 3 years I did that before the closed, I amassed a lot of planes. Over 100 at one point. I finally had to start selling some when I could not walk through my basement. For years I bought almost every new Horizon plane that came out with the exception of warbirds. About 4 or 5 years ago, the store owner moved south. The store closed and his really nice private field was no longer open to the public. With places to fly my giant-scale foam being limited, the guy who mostly taught me how to pretty much do everything RC finally talked me into visiting his club. It was a whole different experience. These guys were dedicated and precise about their flying where the old place was pretty much the wild west. I joined immediately and consider the guys at the club some of my best friends. Because the store closed but I was still flying, I did quit smoking and going to the bar so keep up the hobby, which was a very good thing. About 2 years ago, one of the guys traded me a Precision Aerobatics kit (sans electronics) for one of my Horizon Hobby foam planes. I took my time building it and the maiden flight went really well. Needless to say, my collection has changed drastically since then. I'm under 40 planes and to be honest, there are only about 20 that I fly regularly. Eventually, my collection will probably be 15 to 20 planes because they keep getting bigger and I've really dialed in on what kind of planes I like to fly. Mostly PA planes, but I have some EF and AJ planes as well.

So who do I like to fly? Because I can and I find it very relaxing. I stay with it because it slowly but surely has changed my life for the better.
Latest blog entry: The Winter Projects
Dec 01, 2020, 12:27 PM
Sleepy Hollow, IL
I found early on in the hobby that from the takeoff to the landing, the brain is so focused on the airplane that you are in a euphoria where all physical and worldly problems disappear.

The euphoria is very addictive, it just makes you want to fly even more. It's like AndyKunz said, "why wouldn't you want to fly!!"
Dec 01, 2020, 12:38 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by tmulligan
In short, RC flying is calming, exciting, and mesmerizing. What a blessing that I have this opportunity
Agreed, can't argue with that.

Originally Posted by ampmaker
"why wouldn't you want to fly!!"
Exactly why wouldn't anybody want to fly. Freedom in the air. Personally "I work to fly", "fly to live".
Dec 01, 2020, 01:03 PM
Apparently, “airplane” or some toddler-mangled version of that was among my first words

I did some full size flying. But frankly it’s just too expensive to be a hobby for me. And no way I’d ever get a chance to take the controls of aviation icons like a Spitfire or Sopwith Camel. But with RC models, I can get a taste and let my imagination do the rest.
Dec 01, 2020, 04:01 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by CF105
With RC models, I can get a taste and let my imagination do the rest.
Your comment appealed to the boy in me. In fact it probably appealed to the boy in all of us. "Let Imagination do the rest". Very poinent. Someone once wrote: (I don't know who), "keep the boy alive in you" "if you don't, you lose a piece of yourself". I try to keep a happy balance of both. But when it comes to my toys (Yes I collect em), and my aircraft, the boy comes alive. lol.
Dec 01, 2020, 04:43 PM
Just here to have fun with RC
Rhea's Avatar
As others have already written here it is therapy and a spiritual experience. I have always had a curiosity toward engineering and scientific appreciation. When I was first aware of the attraction to things that fly aviation was still quit new. The first manned, controlled flight occurred only about 45 years before I began tinkering with those flying things. I can recall my parents taking me to see an air show demonstrating control line planes when I was just a little boy. It was so fascinating to see those things going around in circles so gracefully powered by those marvelous engines they had then.

I began with free flight then control line and when I learned about Radio Control that was all it took to get me into the real scientific domain of modeling. Of course my free flight experiences oftentimes ended with a plane flying away and sometimes never to be found. I recall a time when I went to the corner store and bought a nickel glider (yeah you could buy a flying balsa plane for 5 cents once upon a time) and it flew out of site as soon as I tossed it in the air.

During those early days I built a lot of plastic models of planes and cars and everything else that was modeled. I did a lot of experimenting with planes. Some of my creations flew, others didn’t do so well. I am still trying new things and the results are the same now as they were then.

Now that I am, can we say, an advanced-age enthusiast of model aviation I am just here to have fun flying anything and everything. It truly is therapy for me and I am convinced that a day at the field flying my planes is the best medicine for lowering my blood pressure and it gets me out and at least gives me some exercise.

Thanks for asking the question Jason and let’s keep flying for as long as we can.


Dec 01, 2020, 06:47 PM
Registered User
E-Challenged's Avatar
I had scarlet and rheumatic fever at 6yrs old, was basically a shut-in due to heart damage. I was encouraged to do crafty things, eventually built Comet and other brands of stick model planes. I got a Spitzy .045 and converted Mongram Speede-Built and larger Comet models to control line flying. I became very interested in real aircraft and aviation history and eventually flew single and later multi channel RC models, converting Berkeley and Sterling scale models to RC. I had a 40 year career in Aerospace and have been retired since 1990, still at scale electric powered RC models at age 81 and 3/4. I am mostly interested in Pre-WWII and 50's private and racing aircraft.

Other hobbies include/have included life -long Indian and other motorcycle addiction, backyard astronomy, RC scale boats, guitar, and motorhoming.
Last edited by E-Challenged; Jan 07, 2021 at 11:02 AM.

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