Learning to fly RCPhoto by Laurent Cluzel

A Short History of RC Flight Training methods.

RC airplane training, way back when when I was learning to fly, the only method available was to teach your self! This was a long and heart-breaking process, with many crashes and repairs, along the road to success.

I believe the first change came when flying clubs decided to start a  training program. A few of the competent flyers, who were willing to offer their time, were appointed instructors.

These wonderful members were willing to offer their valuable flying time and teach newcomers to fly. This was, and still is, a thankless task that is usually not fully appreciated by a lot of students.

The usual rc airplane training process was for the instructor to initially fly and trim the pupil's airplane. When the plane was flying straight and level and into the wind and at a safe altitude, the transmitter was handed to the student who was coached, by the instructor for the rest of the flight.

If and/or when the student got himself into trouble, he simply handed the transmitter back to the instructor. Who was then expected to save the airplane from whatever position the student had managed to get it into!

The first improvement to come along was the buddy cord. This cable connects the student's transmitter to the instructor's transmitter. (As shown in the photograph above.) The teacher has complete control over the aircraft until he releases the pupil via the switch on his transmitter.

The instructor can take over control at any time during the flight. This feature is a big step forward in the RC flight training process.

A point to realize is that the two transmitters must be compatible. It is recommended to check the type and make of the instructor's transmitter before the student makes his or her purchase of their first radio system.

The last training aide to mention is the RC Flight Simulator.

The Choices Available to the Modern Student of RC Airplane Flying.

The first decision to be made is- do I join a club or will I "go it alone"?

The many advantages of joining a club are described on this page-RC Airplane Clubs.

If you decide to learn on your own, then please, please, buy yourself a decent simulator and PRACTICE on this, until it becomes second nature for you to successfully take-off and land.

Visit this page for complete information on the RC Flight Simulator

The next recommendation for the "solo" student is to purchase an easy flying and forgiving trainer airplane. For information on my choice for this type of airplane please visit the Beginner RC Airplane.

Please note that I strongly recommend you purchase a good simulator for both methods of RC airplane training.

If you do decide to join a club, then I would leave your decisions regarding purchase of airplanes and radio gear until after you are a member. You will then find out the local preferences for models and gear and make your start, in this great hobby, a lot smoother!

Something New.

I have to mention a brand new type of trainer aircraft that appears to contradict all the advice myself (and many others!) have been offering over the years! I refer to the Hangar 9 P-51 Mustang. Believe it or not, this is a semi-scale, low wing TRAINER RC airplane!