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Keys to Success for beginner pilots

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Keys to Success for beginner pilots

Old 12-21-2010, 09:30 PM
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Lightbulb Keys to Success for beginner pilots

There are a few things I have seen and read as the
key areas to stress for new pilots. Some get it right away and some have to work at it. They are in no particular order because they all have to be
learned to be successful.

Over Control
Preflight Check

1) Wind - The single biggest cause of crashes that I have observed has been the insistence upon flying in too much wind. If you are under an instructor's control or on a buddy box, then follow their advice, but if you are starting out and tying to learn on your own, regardless of the model, I recommend dead calm to 3 MPH for the slow stick and tiger moth type planes. Under 5 MPH for all others. That includes gusts. An experienced pilot can handle more. It is the pilot, not the plane that determines how much wind can be handled.

Let me share a story:

The wind was around 8 mph steady with gusts to 12. That was strong enough that some of the experienced pilots flying three and four channel small electric planes chose not to launch their electrics. This new flyer insisted that he wanted to try his two and three channel parkflyers. Crash, Crash, Crash - Three planes in pieces. He just would not listen. Sometimes you just have to let them crash. There is no other way to get them to understand.

Many parkflyers can be flown in higher winds by AN EXPERIENCED PILOT. I
have flown my Aerobird in 18 mph wind (clocked speed) but it is quite exciting
trying to land it.

Always keep the plane up wind from you. There is no reason for a new flyer to have the plane downwind EVER!

2) Orientation - Knowing the orientation of your plane is a real challenge,
even for experienced pilots. You just have to work at it and some adults have a real problem with left and right regardless of which way the plane is going. Licensed pilots have a lot of trouble with this one as they are accustomed to being in the plane.

Here are two suggestions on how to work on orientation when you are not flying.

Use a flight simulator on your PC. Pick a slow flying model and fly it a lot.
Forget the jets and fast planes. Pick a slow one. Focus on left and right
coming at you. Keep the plane in front of you. Don't let it fly over your

FMS is a free flight simulator. It is not the best flight sim, but the price
is right and it works. There are also other free and commercial simulators.

The links below take you to sites that provide cables that work with FMS that allow you to use the trainer port on your radio to allow you to fly the
simulator. This is an excellent training approach.


An alternative is to try an RC car that has proportional steering. You don't
have to worry about lift, stall and wind. Get something with left and right
steering and speed control. Set up an easy course that goes toward and away from you with lots of turns. Do it very slowly at first until you can make the turns easily. Then build speed over time. You'll get it! If it has
sticks rather than a steering wheel even better, but not required. Oh, and
little cars are fun too.

3) Too Much Speed - Speed is the enemy of the new pilot, but if you fly too slowly the wings can't generate enough lift, so there is a compromise here. The key message is that you don't have to fly at full throttle all the time. Most small electrics fly very nicely at 2/3 throttle and some do quite well at 1/2. That is a much better training speed than full power. Launch at full power and climb to a good height, say 100 feet as a minimum, so you have time to recover from a mistake. At 100 feet, about double the height of the trees where I live, go to half throttle and see how the plane handles. If it holds altitude on a straight line, this is a good speed. Now work on slow and easy turns, work on left and right, flying toward you and maintaining altitude. Add a little throttle if the plane can't hold altitude.

4) Not enough altitude - New flyers are often afraid of altitude. They feel
safer close to the ground. Nothing could be more wrong. Altitude is your
friend. As stated above I consider 100 feet, about double tree height where I live, as a good flying height and I usually fly much higher than this. Fifty feet, is minimum flying height for new flyers. Below that you better be lining up for landing.

5) Over control - Most of the time the plane does not need input from you.
Once you get to height, a properly trimmed plane flying in calm air will
maintain its height and direction with no help from you. In fact anything you do will interfere with the plane.

When teaching new pilots they often do a demo flight of their plane. I get the plane to 100 feet, then bring the throttle back to a nice cruising speed. I get it going straight, with plenty of space in front of it, then take my hand off the sticks and hold the radio out to the left with my arms spread wide to emphasize that I am doing nothing. I let the plane go wherever it wants to go, as long as it is holding altitude, staying
upwind and has enough room. If you are flying a high wing trainer and you can't do this, your plane is out of trim.

Even in a mild breeze with some gusts, once you reach flying height, you
should be able to take your hand off the stick. Oh the plane will move around and the breeze might push it into a turn, but it should continue to fly with no help from you.

Along this same line of thinking, don't hold your turns for more than a couple of seconds after the plane starts to turn. Understand that the plane turns by banking or tilting its wings. If you hold a turn too long you will force the plane to deepen this bank and it will eventually lose lift and go into a spiral dive and crash. Give your inputs slowly and gently and watch the plane. Start your turn then let off then turn some more and let off. Start your turns long before you need to and you won't need to make sharp turns.

I just watch these guys hold the turn, hold the turn, hold the turn, crash.
Of course they are flying in 10 mph wind, near the ground, coming toward
themselves at full throttle.

6) Preflight check - Before every flight it is the pilot's responsibility to
confirm that the plane, the controls and the conditions are correct and
acceptable for flight.

Plane - Batteries at proper power
Surfaces properly aligned
No damage or breakage on the plane
Everything secure

Radio - Frequency control has been met before you turn on the radio
A full range check before the first flight of the day
All trims and switches in the proper position for this plane
Battery condition is good
Antenna fully extended
For computer radios - proper model is displayed
All surfaces move in the proper direction

Conditions - No one on the field or in any way at risk from your fight
You are launching into the wind
Wind strength is acceptable ( see wind above )
Sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes
All other area conditions are acceptable.

Then and only then can you consider yourself, your plane, radio and the
conditions right for flight. Based on your plane, your radio and local
conditions you may need to add or change something here, but this is the bare minimum. It only takes a couple of minutes at the beginning of the flying day and only a few seconds to perform before each flight.

If this all seems like too much to remember, do what professional pilots do, take along a preflight check list. Before every flight they go down
the check list, perform the tests, in sequence, and confirm that all is right.
If you want your flying experience to be a positive one, you should do the
same. After a short time, it all becomes automatic and just a natural part of a fun and rewarding day.

I hope some of this is useful in learning to fly your plane.
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:15 AM
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Yep, the thing I can't stress enough is hours on the sim. It will make your real flying experience so much more enjoyable to keep the plane where it belongs; in the air.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:05 PM
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Another resource for newer pilots can be found here.
It is updated often and may help you find answers to your questions.



Last edited by Rock Pile; 09-29-2015 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:40 PM
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thanks for the updated one.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:01 PM
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I have a cool experience when using FMS, this is really helpful software to guide me flying rc
maybe this will help : aerofunmen.blogspot.com/2010/01/looking-for-rc-helicopter-simulator.html
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:49 AM
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this thread helped a lot as for a noob flyer like me

lots of INFOS for starters

keep it up..
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:49 PM
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Newbies are very unlikely to set up their helicopter correctly by themselves. Remote control helicopters that have been properly set up perform better.*
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:08 AM
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Default Or...

Learn to fly a slope soarer first, and you'll never need to worry about wind again.
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:41 AM
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I liked the way you threw light on important issues like wind, orientation, altitude, etc.
It seems that you are very much experienced in using RC planes.How long are you flying the ones? I am sure, others will also follow your important instructions that are cited.In the end, it is the sheer experience and joy derived from this activity that matters the most.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:43 AM
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Thank you so much for all that information!! I will be a noob and I will for sure follow these tips.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:21 PM
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Thumbs up useful artcile

thanks a lot for the sharing, i have got so many useful information which benefits a lot.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:34 AM
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that's very nice...i really think that this information is pretty good for the users. Their description also very well defined really helpful for the beginners and i must say a great work done
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:26 AM
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Default RC Planes

I'm so new in aeromodelling that I have a plane "Mini Cessna - Brushless 2.4GHz RTF", but I've found your posts to be very helpful. This one is great, as is the one I seemed to have seen you post a dozen times regarding choosing a first plane.

Very helpful stuff.

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Old 04-01-2013, 04:24 AM
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I am new in the field of RC pilots. I am very thankful to you for your marvelous post. Really your post will helpful for all beginner pilots.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:54 AM
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I read this valuable post about beginner pilots, its very informative especially for a newbie, i also really like these tips and is very useful of all of users. thanks for posting ....
Keep it up
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