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RC Airplane World flight school

- lesson #5 : where to fly RC airplanes

Following on from lesson 4, this rc flight school page will help you choose a suitable location from where to fly your rc airplane. Pay attention to this one, because flying in the wrong place can be potentially very damaging to our hobby!

Club, private land or public area?

These are pretty much your three options for finding somewhere to fly rc airplanes.

Flying at an rc airplane clubIt could be that you have an rc flying club close to where you live - use the rc airplane club directory in this website to see if there's one within a convenient distance from home. If there is, consider joining especially if you're thinking of flying IC powered rc planes. Such airplanes are more involved than your typical electric park flyer, so help from other modellers is always a good thing.

If there's a club nearby but you don't want to join, it's a very good idea to pop along to their field one weekend and talk to the members about flying in the area. Frequency interference is a very serious issue and can't be ignored if there's potential for conflict.

While it's true that more and more of us are using 2.4GHz radios, it's still very possible that you have bought an rc airplane that utilises a traditional MHz radio system. This is where you have to be very concerned about radio interference from or to other flyers. Only the 2.4GHz rc systems offer complete peace of mind when it comes to interference-free flying.

Flying your rc airplane from private landIf you're lucky enough to have access to private open land - either your own or a friendly farmer's - then you can fly from this so long as you have permission to do so. Private land is the preferable option over flying from somewhere public, because you can pretty much do what you like when you like, without the worry of being yelled at by a member of the public who doesn't like rc airplanes!

Of course, it could be that you've bought an 'ultra micro' type electric rc plane and that your back yard is big enough to fly it in. Lucky you, you're in an enviable position!
But once again, if there's an rc club nearby go and talk to them first, make sure that you're completely clear on frequency issues and that your flying is in no way going to interfere with theirs. This is very important!

Flying your rc airplane from a public areaYour final option is to fly your plane from a public area. Depending on the size and type of your airplane, suitable locations include public parks, sports fields, ball parks, beaches, open hill sides.... You get the idea.

The crucial thing to remember when flying in a public area is safety. Read these rc flying do's and don'ts for flying your rc airplane from such a place, and always use common sense and act responsibly.

As strange as it might seem, not everyone in the world enjoys watching an rc airplane zooming around the sky. It only takes the wrong kind of person to complain to a local authority, and that location can quickly and easily be shut down to model flyers. So always always remember where you're flying, and be responsible. None of us want this hobby to get a bad reputation!

Wherever you want to fly from, your flying location needs to be open and spacious. The size of your plane will determine what size area you need to fly in, but for, say, a 30 inch wingspan electric RTF airplane a ball park would provide ample airspace - that should give you an idea of the kind of area you should be looking for.

Tip: when searching for local flying sites, use Google Earth, Google Maps or Windows Live satellite imagery - it's simply the best way of searching your area quickly!

Other things to note when looking at where to fly rc airplanes include:

The bottom line is that you need a large(ish) open space where there is no danger of causing trouble, being a nuisance or risking damage to people or property. And on that note, you absolutely must check local regulations and byelaws to see if flying radio control aircraft is even permitted. If it's not, and you take to the skies, you could well have an angry official breathing down your neck and writing you a ticket!

Another important point you might want to consider is public liability insurance. It's not so critical if you're flying from private land, and if you join a club then insurance is likely included in the membership fee (but check!), but if you're flying from public land then it's well worth taking it out. Your national governing body for model flying will be able to help you, here are some links for western countries:

Third party liability insurance for rc flying isn't expensive and will give you good peace of mind. Take some time to look into it and contact your appropriate organisation from the list above for further information.

If you follow all the pointers on this page, you should be able to find where to fly rc airplanes safely. Most of us are close to some kind of open land, but you do need to think through your flying site and weigh up the pros and cons of the location. Be safe, and be responsible when deciding where to fly!


Next up: Lesson 6 - How to do your pre-flight checks.

Or skip to the lesson appropriate to your current situation...

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