EARN YOUR WINGS
Model Airplane News|January 2022
10 Tips for First-Flight Success
THE MODEL AIRPLANE NEWS CREW

For the first-time RC modeler, setting up your airplane is fun all by itself. But the real excitement begins at the flying field. The basics for success are your properly assembled airplane, a fully charged radio and flight battery, and a nice calm day at the flying field.

Here are 10 tips to help you get started.

1. GET AN INSTRUCTOR

It’s best to partner up with an experienced modeler who can teach you to fly. Together, you both can set some flight goals so that you can build on what you learn on previous flights. A good plan includes learning how to: taxi your model and takeoff, fly at a constant altitude, execute left and right turns, fly at lower airspeeds, and recover from stalls.

Always concentrate on keeping your model under control and adjust for wind conditions.

2. GET CONNECTED

A buddy-box training system is very helpful. Some use a cable to connect the student’s and instructor’s transmitters and some are wireless. It allows the instructor to take over control (usually with a spring-loaded switch) if the student gets in trouble.

3. TAXI-TESTS

A good way to get comfortable with your model is to slowly taxi it around so you get a feel for how it reacts to control inputs. Taxiing upwind while steering with the rudder is more effective. With a taildragger, apply a little up-elevator to help keep the tailwheel on the ground. With a model that has tricycle landing gear, a slight bit of down-elevator will help keep the nose-wheel down for positive steering control. Taxi training also helps you learn about steering/control reversal.

Normally, when your airplane and you are facing the same direction, you move the rudder stick to the left and the model goes to the left; however, when the model is pointing toward you, steering control seems reversed. This can be confusing at first, but with practice, you’ll learn to automatically adjust when the model starts heading back toward you.

Also, advance throttle slowly to minimize the torque effect on the model causing the model to swerve to the left. Applying a little right rudder corrects this. Once you’re comfortable taxiing your model, you’ll be ready for takeoff.

4. PREPARE FOR TAKEOFF

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