Getting Started Part One.

Getting started in the flying of model aircraft has never been so easy. The choice has never been so great and the prices so affordable. Unfortunately this choice leads to difficulty for the new modeller in making the right choice of their first model, and equally important investing in the correct equipment.

With the availability of perfectly good flying models ranging from a 20.00 "toy", which can be purchased at some supermarkets through to a 200 mph plus jet with a price tag of several thousand pounds from specialist suppliers the choice seems limitless. Then the choice of motive power; internal combustion engines (I/C), electric power (now totally practical), conventional fixed wing models, helicopters, gliders and even the opportunity to fly indoors with the right model. Making the correct start is a real dilemma.











A few frequently asked questions.

Before we progress any further please try and answer the following questions for you own benefit.


 Question. "Do you know what sort of model you want to eventually fly?"

If you just want to get flying then choices and decisions have to be made. If you have a definite model or model type in mind then a lot of your decisions are already made. A lot of potential modellers dream of a fully working model of a Spitfire, the reality is very few will ever own or fly a model of a Spitfire; it really is a model for the dedicated modeller and is defiantly not a model to start out with. I have been flying models for 35 years and only put a "Spitfire" in the air a couple of years ago and is hardly a scale masterpiece.

Question. "Have you been given a flying model as a present or purchased a model from an "Internet" auction site?"

If you have a model but had no choice over it then sadly it may not be suitable for starting out only a visit to the field and advice will tell. If you intend to buy from an Internet auction site the best advice is don’t. Ok there can be the odd good buy, but you need to know what you are looking for and most importantly what you are looking at. 

Question. "How much spare time do you have to dedicate to building a model?"

Up until a few years ago the aspiring new model flyer would have to have spent time building his first model prior to venturing out to the field to have it tested and start learning. Now ready built airframes can be purchased often cheaper than you can buy the raw materials, with a couple of nights work these can be readied for flight. There are still many who enjoy building as much as the flying some even more than the flying. Although conventional kits are becoming rare they are still available. The range of plans to build from is vast with all of the modelling magazines having their own very comprehensive list of plans from which to build.

Question. "How much spare time do you have to dedicate to learning to fly your model aeroplane?"

As with most activities how quickly one progresses depends a lot on how much time one dedicates to the learning process. With model flying the weather also dictates when one can fly, obviously the summer months should give better weather along with long light evenings learning at this time of year will progress faster.

Question. "What sort of financial budget are you working on?"

It’s a question only you can answer. But the tighter your budget the more the need to make sure that you buy the right equipment at the out set. The largest single purchase will probably be a set of radio control equipment, while there are many very good and perfectly adequate budget sets, however if one gets into the hobby then the limits of these set will quickly limit progress. This can be a particular problem with helicopter operations.

Question. "Where can I find further details of models and available equipment"?

There are several UK magazines that contain all the latest info and details of what’s available.

General magazines covering all aspects of the hobby.

Radio Control Modeller & Engineer? (RCM&E),

Radio Control Model World (RCMW),

Aero Modeller International (AMI),

Radio Control Model Flyer (Flyer)

Specialist publications

Quiet & Electric Flight International (QEFI) covers gliding and electric flight, Rotorworld and Model Helicopter World cover Helicopters, Flying Scale Models cover scale models & Radio Control Jet International gives a tantalizing taste of jet models.

There is also BMFA News, which is a monthly newsletter of the BMFA which you will receive free once you join the BMFA. 

Question. “Is age a handicap to flying a model aircraft?” 

Only in the way it’s a handicap to learning most new things. The older you get the slower you learn but picking the right model with a performance that allows time to react will see you learning quite quickly. You do need relatively good eyesight (glasses are no problem) as to start out you will be flying some distance away.

Question “I see that there’s new 2.4 Ghz equipment being advertised everywhere, what’s it all about and do I need to buy into this new technology”?

For many years model aircraft were flown using radio control operating equipment in the 35 mhz band. Within this band there are 36 allocated frequencies allowing up to 36 models to operate simultaneously see (UK Frequencies & pegboard system) for more details.

In the last couple of years radio control equipment based on mobile phone technology has become available. Like mobile phones each set is unique and they cannot interfere with other similar sets.

These sets are growing in popularity and anybody buying new equipment to start out should seriously consider moving to this technology. 


Gloucester Model Flying Club