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Articles and HOWTOs Articles and HOWTOs associated the R/C hobby.

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xed's Avatar
xed xed is offline
First Name: Greg
Last Name: Patterson
MAAC Number: 71347
WIMAC WINGS: Solo Planes
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Beginner's Information
by xed 2009-05-27, 10:57 AM


These are some DO's and DON'Ts for beginners (and even experts) flying model aircraft. Your contributions are welcome, please Reply to this thread and I will update this list accordingly.

Joining the Club

By joining a club such as WIMAC, you open yourself to access to many other people who share your enthusiasm for a great hobby. WIMAC offers beginners with the opportunity to learn how to fly in a safe environment.

The WIMAC club has Instructors who are willing to volunteer their time to help you learn how to fly in a controlled manor, using a buddy box system such that if you become disoriented, the Instructor will have an opportunity to intervene and safely recover your aircraft before an incident occurs.

To become a member of WIMAC, you must fill out a WIMAC Membership Application form. You must also fill out a MAAC Application form, which all WIMAC members must be a member of in order to participate in club activities. Visit the WIMAC club in person and ask to speak to a club member and gain first hand experience to what our hobby is all about. Directions to our club can be found here.

Note that MAAC membership is required to participate in any WIMAC sanctioned activities, which includes flying at our Outdoor field and at our Indoor facility. By becoming a member of MAAC, one of the benefits of membership in the Model Aeronautics Association Canada (MAAC) is the third party insurance coverage that is provided for each member. MAAC’s focus however, is to promote safe flying. Our third party insurance coverage has a limit of $5,000,000.00 with a deducible to the member and club of $500.00. The coverage can be denied if MAAC and WIMAC protocols and rules are not followed. Your best option is always to fly safely with a chartered club and at sanctioned events. For more information, please see the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC).


If you are starting out in this hobby flying RC airplanes, you will most definitely want to start with a .40 sized trainer plane. This is an easy-to-fly, high wing airplane (refer to picture) with built-in dihedral that keeps the orientation of the aircraft mostly right-side up with little stick input.

It is recommended to start with an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) rather than a kit since you are more likely to crash this plane sooner rather than later and replacing parts of the plane may be easier and faster than rebuilding.

Some beginner packages (e.g. Hobbico NexStar) are further along in terms of completeness of the aircraft package. It includes a 4-channel transmitter, receiver and wiring pre-installed, .46 sized OS engine. While it may seem like this is the best choice, the flight characteristics of this model are not the greatest but Hobbico does guarantee replacement of the airplane in the event of a crash. The 4-channel radio, while very basic, does work but if you intend to stay in this hobby and upgrade to bigger models, a radio transmitter with more channels may be required.

Basic Equipment
  • .40 sized Trainer ARF (including .46 sized Glow engine, OS brand engines are very popular and reliable)
  • Radio transmitter (minimum 4-channel).
  • Glow fuel (10% nitro)
  • Glow fueler (mechanical)
  • Chicken stick or mechanical starter
  • Spare glow plugs suitable for your engine
  • Field box. You can get away with a simple toolbox from Canadian Tire, which is cheaper than buying a Field box from a hobby store. But the hobby store Field boxes have room for an electrical panel and 12V battery (for a mechanical starter) and the Glow fuel bottle can be attached to it for easy carrying.
Also read the Field Checklist article.

  • Talk to a knowledgeable hobbyist before you spend a dime in a hobby store.
  • Find an RC club suitable for beginners, that have members who are open to answering your questions.
  • The RC club should belong to MAAC. If they do not, you will not be covered with appropriate insurance and you could be liable for damages to persons or property.
  • The RC club should have a clearly defined field layout, safety rules, flying etiquette, and boundaries.
  • Practice on an RC simulator, that will allow you to advance more quickly when flying the real thing. Learning the stick basics on the computer will be much cheaper than repairing your aircraft due to dumb thumbs.
  • Always fly with an Instructor on a buddy box until you are comfortable with taking off and landing by yourself.
  • When with an instructor, with a new model, ensure that the instructor is aware of the state of the plane, particularly so if it has never flown before. Ask them to verify the integrity and setup of your model before the first flight, to limit the possibility of something going wrong during takeoff or during flight.
  • Be calm and collected, nobody likes to be yelled at or treated badly or distracted while they are flying their model aircraft.
  • Always have your mind a few second in front of the plane. Always be in control of the plane. Don't let it go where it wants.
  • Plan you flights, have some goal to achive each time you go out.
  • Execute maneuvers where you can properly see the plane. Don't start a maneuver other than turning back when the plane is so far that you can no longer see it.
  • Grip the transmitter throttle with your thumb holding the stick at idle while transporting the plane and transmitter to the taxi area.
  • Remove all tools or foreign material away from the propeller and engine before starting your engine. Once the engine has started move toward the back of the plane.
  • Ask for help if you cannot carry your aircraft and transmitter at the same time. Ask for help promptly if you feel you're losing control of the aircraft.
  • Always perform engine adjustments from behind the plane, reaching towards the nose of the plane. If you cannot reach the adjustment screw from this position, turn off the engine, make your adjustement and restart the engine. You'll spend a few extra minutes tuning, but many less hours waiting at the emergency with a cut finger, or worse.
  • Try to have a second model aircraft ready to fly. Nothing is more frustrating than missing a gorgeous weekend because you haven't repaired you last hard landing. A hard fact of life is that you will need to repair many planes in your hobby career.
  • Do announce your intentions at the flight line clearly and make sure everyone flying is aware of them. "On the runway", "Take off", "Landing", "Low pass", "Runway clear", etc. are mandatory.
  • Do give precedence to land to engine outs ("deadsticks"). Fly away from the pattern.
  • Do check your transmitter and receiver battery before each flight. When they go dead, it may be too late. This is especially true with 2.4GHz radios, which are essentially computers that will reboot when the battery in the receiver or transmitter is too low. If this happens, you will regret it!
  • Buy and bring a good pair of sun glasses. Staring up at the sky, even on an overcast day, can be very hard on the eyes. At several hundred feet, your plane doesn't look like much more than a speck if you cannot focus on it well enough.
  • Bring towels and window cleaner (Windex or Bon Ami) to clean the messy castor oil off your model before packing it away in your vehicle.
  • Have spare glow plugs, you will never know when they will quit working. Some other club members may be willing to sell you a spare one if you have none left.

  • Don't buy the most expensive or neatest looking model aircraft you see in the store. These are not the easiest models to fly and you are more than likely to crash it within a short period of time.
  • Don't spend any money until you speak to someone qualified in the subject area of expertise you are interested in, and that may not include a hobby shop cashier.
  • Don't fly if the flying conditions are beyond your experience, too windy, gusty, too dark, too fast, etc.
  • Don't turn your radio transmitter on before sticking your frequency pin on the frequency board. You could knock another member's model aircraft out of the sky and you will be liable for paying for damages.
  • Don't fly your model aircraft after it has crashed until it has been fully inspected and there is no possibility of dangerous hidden defects.
  • Don't fly in an open park where adults or children are playing or watching, they may not realize your model aircraft can harm them.
  • Don't fly on or near open traffic roads, you are flying a lethal toy.
  • Flying over your head or behind you makes it very easy to become disoriented with respect to your model's attitude, altitude and flight path.
  • Don't fly so far away that you are having difficulty telling whether the model aircraft is flying towards you, away from you, or even upside down. If you can't see it, you can't fly it.
  • Don't start your engine unless the aircraft is well secured and cannot move forward - even a few inches.
  • Don't run your engine at full throttle on the dedicated tables. Some of the bigger RC models are more than capable of toppling over the table.
  • Don't break-in your engine or run it for an extended period of time in the pit area. There is a dedicated area for this, away from the pilot stations, so as to not distract any pilots who are presently in the air.
  • Don't be shy. Introduce yourself to people, participate in conversations around the pits and picnic tables.

Pre-flight Day Inspection
  • Inspect your plane(s) before the start of your flying day.
  • Inspect all control surfaces for loose or broken connections or hinges. Apply some pressure back and forth to verify the connections under load.
  • Pull on every control surface to make sure the hinges are sturdy.
  • Check engine mount and engine bolts.
  • Verify landing gear and landing gear block.
  • Inside the fuselage inspect every servo to make sure they are secure, do the same for the wing (aileron) servos.
  • Verify your batteries have adequate voltage under a load.
  • Perform a transmitter range check with your model airplane secured and the engine runnning, to verify that there is no interfence and the transmitter and receiver are working properly.
  • Verify all control surfaces are moving in the intended direction with your radio transmitter. Accidently reversing the aileron servos will almost certainly mean a crash.

Courtesy and thank yous for the contributions to this article from many of the great members of WIMAC.
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Last edited by xed; 2010-07-13 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 2009-05-27
Andrew Fernie Andrew Fernie is offline
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Great list Greg.

How about:

Don't be surprised if you don't fly your plane the first day you bring it out. Your plane will be checked out by an instructor to make sure that all is correct, and it is quite normal to find a few things that need to be corrected. If they can be done at the field we will help, but you may well need to take it back home for bigger jobs, or if you don't have the parts on hand. The last thing you want to do is take off and find a problem in the air.
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Old 2009-05-29
Posts: n/a
Yeap,,,that way,
you, your buddies and the control air-space will be safe.
By the same matter,,, your wallet will be more as a healthy happy wallet!!!

Good idea to have shown these ways ...
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Old 2009-05-29
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Burning Head Burning Head is offline
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First Name: Richard
Last Name: Sabourin
MAAC Number: 79332
WIMAC WINGS: Instructor Plane
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Best timing for the warning and pit stop rule greg, thanks
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Old 2009-05-29
briankizner briankizner is offline
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First Name: Brian
Last Name: Kizner
MAAC Number: 36125
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Well done, Greg. All sensible suggestions, most of which I have violated at my expense from time to time.
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Old 2009-05-30
AlixB's Avatar
AlixB AlixB is offline
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First Name: Alix
Last Name: Barjon
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Great list

Hard to do better.
Maybe post it at the Shelter? Or have a bunch printed and put in the Impound box?
Can save a lot of time to the instructors.

Thanks Greg
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Old 2009-05-31
Posts: n/a
Question Instructor Wanted

Hi; do`s anyone know of a good instructor for Blade 400 3D Heli..
I live in Napierville and I need help Please..

Last edited by Tilou; 2010-07-14 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 2009-05-31
David Janashvili's Avatar
David Janashvili David Janashvili is offline
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First Name: David
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Perfect, Well done Greg
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Old 2009-09-08
Posts: n/a
I am new to this club, I have recently joined and I am looking to get a my first plane and seek instructor assistance, does any know who to contact or what to buy. Help is really appreciated.
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Old 2009-09-08
Burning Head's Avatar
Burning Head Burning Head is offline
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First Name: Richard
Last Name: Sabourin
MAAC Number: 79332
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Go at the Wimac home page, then to the archive articles, read the ''Wimac and Maac'' thread. if you allready have all those permit, next is the radio and the trainer planes. there a lot of online store in Canada and USA.
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