How to Fly a Remote Control Plane

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Flying a radio controlled plane can be tricky. These steps will help you figure out the basics of RC flying.


  1. Buy a remote control plane. A good beginners plane would be the super cub from HobbyZone, for about $150. However, it is recommended to not use the Anti-Crash Technology.
  2. Build the plane (if assembly is required). Or rebuild it after you crashed it while trying to fly it without learning on a simulator first.
  3. Preflight the plane. Turn on the transmitter, then the airplane. Check the direction of flight surfaces (have someone experienced check you). Do a range check... with the antenna on the transmitter collapsed, walk 50-100 feet away and check that your control surfaces still respond without chattering or unwanted movements.
  4. Determine approximate wind speed by tying a ribbon to the end of the antenna of the remote and holding the controller parallel to the ground. Do not fly if the ribbon is parallel to the ground! Under 30 degrees is perfect
  5. Determine wind direction by throwing some grass clippings or other light material into the air. If possible, launch INTO the wind. If you are taking off from a runway and the wind is perpendicular to the runway, it is possible to take off, but not advisable for a beginner.
  6. Slowly advance the power on your aircraft and wait for it to gain sufficient speed on the ground. If you are hand launching, advance the power to full and give the plane a straight level and firm (not too hard though) toss into the air and quickly grab the controls. If you are still learning, have someone else launch your airplane for you so you can keep your hands on the sticks.
  7. Keep the throttle at 100% until the plane reaches a sufficent altitude for the size plane you are flying. I usually fly what we call 3 mistakes high, which is 150-200 feet up, then reduce the throttle to half power.
  8. Use a very light touch. Just push the stick over for a split second and release. Simulator training will make you better at this.
  9. Turn to the left or right by moving the right control stick left or right. This will roll the plane slightly to the side. You will also need to pull back on the right control stick slightly to pull the plane through the turn. To complete the turn, roll the plane parallel to the ground. Remember to always keep the plane upwind, this way it will not blow away from you.(this only applies if you turn with ailreons.
  10. Keep the plane as level as possible; if you raise the nose too much, it may cause a stall.
  11. Practice an oval shaped flight pattern, keeping all turns in the same direction. When you find yourself comfortable with this pattern, try flying an oval in the opposite direction (let other pilots around know what you are doing so they know to avoid you if you are flying an opposite pattern). When comfortable with both directions try a figure 8 pattern.
  12. Land the airplane by first making note of the wind direction to land into the wind. Reduce power slowly (do not touch the right stick - to descend, simply reduce the throttle). You want the plane to almost glide on its own. When the plane is 5 feet from the ground, cut the throttle.
  13. Flare just before the plane comes in contact with the ground by raising the nose at the last second so all three wheels touch at the same time.


  • Go easy on the sticks. When your just learning how to fly, never push a control stick (except for the throttle) too far in one direction, especially in emergencies. Just keep calm, and get yourself out of the situation. Again, try a flight sim.
  • Fly into the wind for optimal performance.
  • Find an instructor, experienced flyer, or consider joining a flying club. Crashing on your first flight is not a good way to start your flying experience.
  • Train with a RC-flight-simulator at home. This is a safe way and a crash would not be so expensive. FMS is a free flight simulator that can be found on the internet and a lot of people program models for free that work with the program. There is even a way to attach your transmitter to the computer so that you can fly a plane with your transmitter (if it has a buddy connector).
  • Refer to the manual for your exact model.
  • Obtain and Amateur Radio License. Ham Radio Operators have access to special Radio Frequencies for Model vehicles.
  • the best beginner planes in my experience are the Hobbyzone Supercub for $160 or the Multiplex easystar for $175. (or firebird phantom, $60 but easier to break)
  • If you are flying electrically, bring the car charger to the field.
  • When flying a nitro (glow) plane, bring all the necessary things for glow, like fuel, glow plugs etc
  • If flying glow, bring windex and a cloth to the field, glow planes deposit unused fuel onto the plane, when you bring it down, there will be a greasy layer of glow fuel on your plane.
  • Esky flight packs for FMS are the best way to train, because more than likely, you can download your plane for FMS (also good for terrible weather.)
  • IF you are not sure if rc flight is for you, pick up a airhogs aeroace from your local walmart or Toys r us for $25. I am an experienced flyer, and I love mine.


  • Never fly on a very windy day, unless of course you are good, in which case, see if you can face the plane into the wind and make it hover
  • If there are other model pilots on the flying field check the channel of their remote controls! If two pilots are using same channels at the same time the planes will be controlled by both transmitters and may crash.
  • Do not try to catch the plane in the air.
  • Keep all loose limbs, clothing and hair away from the propeller.
  • If you are in the USA, I suggest you fly with membership of the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronatics) -
  • Do not be tempted to buy a warbird, they look cool, but are too tough to control for a beginner.

Things You Will Need

  • A lot of free space. e.g. a big field. Do not fly in parks where other people are until you are a sufficient flyer. You could seriously injure somebody.
  • A good friend or assistant to start the plane and help you in dangerous situations.
  • A remote control plane - check if everything is o.k. before every flight. Electric models are available as well as the traditional gas models.
  • A transmitter - make sure the batteries are charged.
  • All necessary equipment to maintain your aircraft

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