Hobbyists love their RC airplanes. RC stands for Remote Control – and these aren't just toys – they are miniature models of planes that are for fun for people of all ages.
Getting into the hobby of RC airplanes isn't terribly difficult, and there are a lot of people out there who are willing to give advice and help to even the most novice of hobbyists. Below are some tips on how to get started.
Spend a Little at a Time
The best way to “test the air” of remote control aircraft is to purchase some of the more inexpensive models of RC airplanes and take them out for test runs. Choose a wide, open locale where the craft will be easy to find should it crash or land far away.
Some of the least expensive RC airplanes start at about $40, and are already built. Those who would prefer the whole experience can purchase a kit and build it themselves. However, there can be a bit of a snag for beginners when it comes to building a Remote Control airplane from a kit.
The downside to using a kit to build the RC airplane is three-fold:
- The more complex the kit, the longer it will take to make. Some kits take several months to build.
- Once the craft is built, the first-time pilot, who had poured hundreds of hours of labor into it, will be extraordinarily nervous about flying it, and won't want it to crash. This fear really takes the fun out of flying the craft. Additionally, the crafting of pre-built RC planes is typically done to high standards of quality by seasoned professionals – much more likely to be sturdier than any first-time built craft.
- The tools required to build a great RC hobby airplane are extensive, and that can run into hundreds of dollars. This is fine if a person discovers he or she loves the hobby – but if they don't love it, then it's not so great.
Essentially, the best bet is to start small, with pre-built RC airplanes that won't break hearts if it crashes.
Learn the Terminology
Either browse websites with glossaries, or pick up a book on this hobby to learn the terminology prior to making purchases and really getting into it. For example, one might think, “well, four channels are better than two channels because it's more!” Well, the answer to that is “yes and no.” Certainly, four channels will operate the RC plane more accurately, but for the beginner, two channels (propeller and rudder) are usually the best way to go – because it's a lot easier to operate!
It's Not a Toy–But it’s Fun
Hobbyists might get a bit offended if hearing an RC plane referred to as a toy – that's because it's a serious hobby to many (but it's still a lot of fun). The plane is essentially a miniature of the real thing – the principles of flight are the same, and the operation requires safety checks. They fly fast and they weigh quite a bit (six pounds on average) – they can cause damage to people and animals should they hit them.
While there are no “rights or wrongs” when it comes to RC airplanes (except when it comes to safety, for certain), there are some helpful hints that will save time and money for those new to the world of RC. Get started by meeting experienced RC hobbyists – they are always willing to provide advice, give tips, and generally make the RC airplane experience a whole lot more fun!