Beginners are not allowed to fly without supervision until they pass the BMFA ‘A’ Test.

You won’t learn how to fly from a book. Your Instructor and Club members are irreplaceable.

We have a list of members who are willing to train new pilots and suggest you make contact with Graham (below) and he'll discuss and help arrange your training.

Your first lesson

Get an instructor to check out your model and installation. Tell him of any alterations you have made on your own. The first lesson will be, the site layout, where to park, where to place your model in the pits, and most importantly, how to use the peg system.

Site Layout

Make sure you understand the site layout especially the Transmitter control procedure as described earlier.

Flying Area

The flying area will be explained to you, make sure you understand the areas to fly in, if in doubt ask, see the site layout diagrams.

Always Remember

Your instructor is only human; he can make mistakes like you and me. Don’t blame him for any mishap, which might occur during your tuition. He will teach you to the best of his ability. Always remember he is there to enjoy our hobby just like you. Make sure you and your model are ready for the days flying.

The skill of flying radio controlled models is not easily acquired, and you the beginner need all the help you can get. Joining this club and getting the help and support of experienced model flyers is the quickest road to success, and the cheapest!! This booklet is designed to introduce the novice to a programme of learning, by which he can avoid pitfalls, acquire good habits, and check his progress.

Your success in the sport depends on you.

Look at learning to flying radio models with the same respect you would give full size aircraft; they can be just as challenging. Without the proper training the sport will not only be expensive but also frustrating – this can put the newcomer to our fascinating sport off.

Get The Proper Training

The length of time-spent learning depends on the individual. Some people learn faster than others, the average time from your first lesson, to going solo, is about three months; again this depends on how much time and effort you put in. But don’t worry it will all click into place eventually. Of course you will not achieve the necessary flying skills by reading about it, use these notes only as a guide. Your instructor is the most important road to success.

Choosing a Trainer

There is a bewildering variety of trainer kits, plans and ready-builts on the market, most of them good, practical designs, easy to build and to fly. “Which is the best?” is a meaningless question, rather you must ask, “Which will be most suitable to my temperament and circumstances?”

What has attracted you into the sport? Do you like excitement, or do you prefer quiet satisfaction? Are you going to be a meticulous builder who also likes to fly, or an ace pilot who puts his models together as quickly as possible? Are you extravagant or do you take pleasure in economy? The modeller will find the balance of activity, which suits his personality.

Ideally it’s better to get advice from instructors and club members rather than the local model shop.

We recommend a high wing 40/50 powered, four-channel trainer. It may be built from a kit, or an ARTF model. The latter is the way most beginners are going. ARTF models are very well designed and proven flyers. They alone are responsible for the huge increase in interest in our hobby.

Come along to one of our flying sessions and get all the advice you require!

Size, Weight and Power

Most of us feel that a bigger model will be easier and more satisfying to fly. But the bigger it is the more expensive it will be to build, the more care needed in building, the more liable to serious damage in a crash, and to failure of components due to greater stressing; in short it will need more frequent and regular care and maintenance. It will need a larger engine and propeller and will use more fuel.

The Super 60 is an example of a trainer kit we know that is a very stable flyer. There are a good number of similar ones in your local model shop. Remember these have to be built up so it may be that a similar ARTF would be more suitable to you.

ARTF (almost ready to fly) models are the favourite of most beginners. They are sometimes cheaper than a built up model. And they save a lot of valuable time, time that is better spent on the flying field learning to fly. Building skills can come later. These aircraft are proven performers and show the beginner how a model is put together.

BUT BEWARE! The ARTF model airframe should be checked for structural strength. Make sure you check all glued joints especially around the firewall, and if in doubt strengthen the stress areas with extra balsa or ply. You may be glad you did sooner than later.

THERE IS A BEWILDERING CHOICE; IT’S UP TO YOU but most ARTF Trainers are acceptable.

Kits and Plans

If you have a lot of time on your hands, this is the most satisfying way to come into the sport. The draw back is the time it takes to build and finish the model. And if you have a mishap early in your training, it could put you off a little seeing your hard work broken at your feet.

Your instructor or any of the experienced club members will give you good advice.


As with aircraft, there are a large variety of engines to choose from, some very good and some not so good.

Enya, ASP, SC, Thunder Tiger, Super Tigre, O.S. and Irvine all make very competent engines. We suggest that you start with a 40-53 two stroke engine of medium price range £50 - £65.

Again ask your instructor for advice on the best power plant for your chosen plane. Experience with Petrol and larger type engines can come later!

Other Field Equipment

Flight box, with starting equipment, such as fuel, glow plug connector and power panel etc.

Remember if you borrow anything from fellow modellers, return the item as soon as you finish with it, if you don’t, you may find it difficult to borrow anything else later.

The Guidance System

You don’t have to be an electronic wizard!

Radio control equipment such as Futaba, Sanwa, and JR, are extremely high quality and will give you trouble free flying. The equipment must be installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Your Instructor will check your installation before the aircraft flies.

Always tell him if you have changed or altered anything!

Futaba is one of the most common radios used in the club, but any of the popular makes will give just as good service. We have a Futaba buddy box system in place, so Instructors can let the complete beginner fly, confident he can regain immediate control if things go wrong.

Nowdays if you're starting from scratch you may as well buy into the new 2.4GHz radio equipment. A good starter choice would be a Spektrum DX6i. This is a computerised system which allows you to adjust functions from the transmitter and has a wide range of lower cost receivers. Better for the future would be the Spektrum DX7 or perhaps a Futaba 7 or 8ch 2.4GHz set.

Any of the standard radio sets will give you all the controls you require, and they are very affordable. It’s up to the individual how much he wants to spend.

Remember, ask your instructor about anything of which you are not sure.

Get advice from the club, rather than the local model shop.


Learning to fly a model aircraft safely and proficiently takes an awful lot of dedication from you. The Instructors word is final on all matters, you should ask him about everything of which you are not sure. If he doesn’t have the answer at hand he will find out for you. Also, remember the Instructor is a modeller - he wants to enjoy our sport like you. Always make sure you are ready for the lesson, there is nothing more frustrating than having to abandon a flight due to poor preparation or a forgotten item.

Remember you may not be the only pupil so don’t waste your tutor’s time.

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