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RC flying Dos and Don'ts
- some basic safety tips
The rc flying Dos and Don'ts listed below are just some basic tips that should keep your flying experiences as safe and enjoyable as possible. They're guidelines for flying in public places - if you're flying at a club patch, then you'll have club rules in place.
They're not set in stone but go along the lines of general common sense. RC flying is a great hobby and will give you heaps of fun, but all rc pilots need to fly responsibly - or we all get a bad name!
Of course accidents can and do happen, but as the British Model Flying Association puts it... "Safe flying is no accident".
So please bear these rc flying Dos and Don'ts in mind when you're at the field with your rc airplane, and you'll have a much better day.
Some RC flying Dos
- If you're new to the hobby, do choose a suitable aircraft i.e. a model suited to your current flying experience, not the one that looks the best in the shop but you won't be able to control. Following the advice throughout this website should give you the right idea.
- Do be aware of any model flying rules and regulations as set out by your country's governing body.
- Do select your flying site carefully, and always check to see whether flying an rc aircraft is permitted in the area that you want to fly.
- Do check whether any kind of public liability insurance is needed (it usually is for club flying). If your aircraft damages property or, even worse, people, then you could be in for a multi-figure damages claim. Yikes!
- Do search out any local clubs in your area. If you don't want to join, at least talk with members about flying outside of their space; MHz frequency control is a serious issue and can't be ignored.
- Do be very aware of proximity to houses, roads, schools etc. and keep as far away as possible. The larger and clearer the open space for radio control flying, the better.
- Do carry out those essential pre-flight checks and, very importantly, the range check.
- Do respect that not everyone likes rc models! Noisy airplanes should be flown at rc flying club fields or well away from public ears.
- Do be very aware of your radio gear battery levels at all times. A drop in charge after lots of flying will result in the aircraft going out of range, and out of control. Very bad in a public place.
- Do write your name and phone number somewhere on the aircraft (or use an address label). RC airplanes have been known to fly off by themselves, or get stuck up trees or lost in corn fields, and the finder has more reason to return it if there is contact information - and even more so if there's an offer of a reward.
- Do fly within your skill limitations. We all need to push the envelope a bit, that's how we progress, but pushing it too hard too fast can have nasty results.
- Do use common sense, keep it safe, sensible and responsible at all times.
- Do consider buying my ebook for the ultimate getting-started guide!
- Do have fun!
Some RC flying Don'ts
- Don't fly where flying isn't permitted.
- Don't fly too close to built-up areas or roads, or anywhere where you could be a nuisance to the public.
- Don't fly in an area with lots of trees, pylons, posts, power lines and other obstacles.
- Don't fly close to people who are out trying to enjoy the sunshine. Or anyone at anytime, for that matter.
- Don't fly over or close to animals - wild or domestic.
- Don't try and fly beyond your capabilities eg try advanced aerobatic maneuvers without mastering the basics first.
- Don't fly over your head and behind you - it's the quickest way of getting completely disoriented and confused with what the aircraft is doing. A truly horrid feeling when it happens, believe me!
- Don't fly the aircraft too far away - it doesn't take long for an rc airplane or helicopter to become a tiny dot in the distance, and you have no idea of what the aircraft is doing, which way up it is etc. Again, a sure way for disorientation to kick in.
- Don't fly on very windy days if your aircraft - or its pilot - isn't capable of handling wind. Different rc aircraft can handle different strength winds, but for a basic electric park flyer a wind of 10mph could be too much. No wind or a gentle breeze is ideal.
- Don't turn on a MHz transmitter if you see other modellers around. Check which frequency band they are using first; they also could be using a MHz TX so you need to be aware of potential frequency clashes.
- Don't forget your pre-flight checks and range check.
- Don't fly if you are in any doubt about your aircraft or your situation. Wait for another day instead, or choose a safer area.
The above rc flying Dos and Don'ts relate to flying in public places. Again, common sense should dictate how you fly anyway. If you're flying at a club field you should already have the club rules to hand, so obey those at all times!
I'll just reiterate the point about rules and regulations as set out by your country's governing body for model flying; many newcomers to the hobby don't even know that such rules are in place.
In recent times, these rules have become more strict and more important, thanks to the popularity of drones/UAVs. So please don't just buy something and think you can go and fly it anywhere you like. If you're flying illegally and something goes wrong, you won't have a leg to stand on.
So if in doubt, check with your governing body. Below are some relevant links:
- International Aeromodelling Commission of the FAI (CIAM) - our sector of the World Air Sports Federation (FAI: Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). The FAI is the global governing body for all air-related sports, model and full size.
- Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - the official national body for rc aircraft within the USA.
- Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) - the official national body for rc aircraft within Canada.
- British Model Flying Association (BMFA) - the legal body within the UK.
- Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA) - the official body for model flying in Australia.
- Model Flying New Zealand (MFNZ) - the official body for model flying in New Zealand.
Learn to fly rc planes ground school.
RC flight raining methods.
How to fly rc airplanes (flight school).
RC flight simulators.
RC airplane controls.
RC flying FAQ.
RC flying glossary.