In part one of this series, how to get started building a radio-controlled plane was covered. Now you know how to choose a plane model and attach the electricals, it’s time to get started on the next stage. Remember, you can always use another pilot’s eye to look over your craft. This avoids any pitfalls that may happen in flight. If you take your aircraft out to your local RC club or field, there will be plenty of fellow pilots who can advise you.
The pre-flight stage
Pre-flight checks are a stage no pilot can skip. After putting all this work into your aircraft, you don’t want to bypass this stage and crash it. These tests the radio test can be carried out the day before you fly the plane for the first time. For digital radios, the instructions from the manufacturer should be followed. If your radio has an antenna, test it from 100 feet away. Move the plane around and make sure there are no issues.
Many radio errors come from the length of the servo lead. A choke or noise filter can help with an excessively long one. Check the links and make sure to tighten up the fuel leads as well. If the plane is electric, secure the battery. The next stage is the one you’ve been waiting for. Flight! There’s nothing like the sight of something you’ve made taking to the air. If you have followed all the instructions, then a minor scrape or crash won’t be the end of your RC plane. Even so, crashes are easily avoided by following directions.
Don’t get too excited and jam the throttle at this stage. You can start slow and increase the speed to full. Let your plane climb and when you turn, make it smooth and gentle. Your aim should be to attain a decent altitude and make some circles, maintaining your height. Practice the landing by making some approaches. Keep an eye on how long your flight lasts and don’t get carried away. It’s better with gas powered, for example, to make two flights that are shorter than trying to extend it to the full 20 minutes that the fuel will carry you.
Taking it further
After you’re confident making circles, you can start attempting loops at a higher altitude. This should only come after several incident-free flights. If you really want to push it, you can do rolls. Once you are confident you’ll probably start to desire an aircraft with more maneuverability. Stunt planes could be your next step, especially if rolls are important to you. Your next craft should have the ability to climb decently and do some aerobatics. Gliding should also be a priority. Even if you crash in the beginning, a well-built plane should withstand some abuse. Building a balsa wood airplane with a larger wing can be a good starting point. Then you can upgrade to scale planes once you have the hang of flying.
No matter what craft you choose, happy flying!