Learning radio control flying can be an exciting start to a fascinating life-long hobby, or it can be a costly and frustrating exercise if the beginner does not get on the right track. As in most pastimes the key to success is getting the right gear and advice from the word Go!

The best way to get this is to call us or come and see us at the club – you will get a warm welcome, you will get lots of free helpful advice, and you can fly our dual control club trainer, with a certified instructor, for $5 a flight.

We will advise you on the right type of model to start with (VERY IMPORTANT!), the right type of engine, and recommend the most suitable radio gear appropriate to your aims and your budget. Another good source of help is your local model shop – Acorn Models for example. They will have all the suitable models, engines, and radio sets; and they won’t sell you anything unsuited to a beginner.

At the Kaiapoi Model Aero Club our main interest is powered flight, so this is the area I will cover here.

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Here is some general advice for the beginner:-

The typical trainer model is designed to be stable and easy to fly, with some self-correcting abilities built in. Some examples that are well proven by many learners are the Goldberg EAGLE II, the Sig LT40, and the Great Planes PT40.
To be suitable as a trainer a model must have a high wing, with a flat bottom wing section, and a reasonable amount of dihedral (i.e. the wings form a shallow V shape when viewed from the front of the plane). You can purchase and build a kit, or you can get an ARF kit, that is a kit where all the building and covering is done for you and you just have some simple assembly to do.
Either way, if you are not sure what to buy or how to proceed then feel free to contact us for advice.

Models are usually classed by the size of their engine, and the most popular size is the 40, (for .40 cubic inch). These trainers are around the 1.6 to 1.75 meter wing span (62-70″) which is a good size for stability and for visibility (they get very small very quickly in the air!). An important advantage is that the motor is common size for the sort of models that you will graduate to once you are past the training stage.

There is a wide range of suitable motors available, O.S. and SuperTigre are two of the most popular.

The radio gear should be a minimum of 4 channels. For many fliers this will be enough, but if you expect to fly models with retracting wheels, flaps, or other such features later then you may need more. The basic 4 channels control the throttle, the elevator (up and down), the ailerons (bank left or right), and the rudder. Popular makes include Futaba, JR, and Hitec. The controls can be set up in several different ways e.g. the throttle can be controlled by the right stick (mode 1) or the left stick (mode 2). Make sure you match the mode of your instructor. Kaiapoi fliers are mostly mode 1.

That was a very basic guide to what you need. The main purpose is to stop beginners from wasting money buying unsuitable equipment and ending up frustrated. So don’t be shy – come and see us before purchasing anything.
This is doubly important with 2nd hand gear.

The best time to visit the field if your wanting more infomation is on a Sunday. Flying is done any day of the week, but the majority of the instructors will be there on Sunday’s and available to answer your questions or give you an introduction flight. Mid morning is usually a good time, but if unsure contact us to make sure someone will be there to meet you.

So – see you at the strip, and Happy Landings!