Self Taught Flying



So you want to learn to fly, but no one is around to teach? Don't want to do the club thing? Well fear not, it is possible to teach your self to fly! All it takes is the stubbornness of a mule, the bank roll of Bill Gates, and all your spare time. Well, not quite, but at times that's what I thought.

Ill give a few tips learned from the University of Hard knocks (Wyo campus) to help get you on the right track.

The Plane - Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have advise on what trainer is best. Well I have flown a lot of trainers and from the stand point of crash resistance, and sheer ugly (I'll elaborate in a minute), the Sturdy Birdy from Hobbico, or Duraplane Are probably the best bets for surviving long enough to learn the basics of flight. It has been brought to my attention that The Dura Plane Trainers have a thicker airfoil than the Sturdy Birdies, making them slower and more forgiving. I still maintain that modifications be done as out lined later and save the stock wing for later.  Another choice would be one from .   These are not ARFs (Almost Ready to Fly)  but are are so easy and cheap to make they make great first glow powered planes.

With the advances in electrics the last few years, the most economical is probably an electric trainer.   Light weight, relatively slow and inexpensive to fix.  They also have the advantage of being light that if you prang one, the damage tends to be less than a larger plane.


Advantages of these types are, they are tough. I have pranged one, straight in at near full throttle on hard dirt and rubber banded the wing back on, changed the prop and flew again. If you do break something you can buy some of the major parts from a Hardware store, they' re cheap, and are about as simple as they come. They are ugly as a mud fence in the rain, which is good. You won't be worried about ruining its good looks by thumping it a few times.

disadvantages of these types are, well, they fly about as well as somewhere between a brick and a 2x4. The one thing a novice needs is time. Time to think so they can react to what ever is happening. The slower the plane flies, the more time you have. These types, built stock, will not "float". They land fairly fast (at least it will seem fast). They also have a flexible tail boom, good for surviving thumps, bad for flight characteristics.

Modifications to make them fly them fly better may cost a little but will pay off big in performance. I suggest doing what I did (eventually),  buy another wing. There are places you can order foam wings from for fairly low cost, Dynamic Balsa is one place. I suggest a wing of around 70" or so.  It turned our dirty birdy into a flirty birdy, and really made a difference. Depending on the kit you choose an increase of the tail area, or at least the elevator and rudder be increased by 20% or so. One final thing I would strongly urge is adding ailerons to the wing if not already included in the kit. They will allow you far more control that rudder alone.

The last piece of advice I give you is to not give up. It takes real determination to do it this way, you have chosen the road less traveled. You can expect some very bad days, just put it down for a bit, you can gain nothing by forcing it down your throat, except burn yourself out.

There are few things we can do that are as rewarding as RC. Think thats just cliché? Let me ask how you feel about it after your 1st successful flight!

Good Luck!

Free Counter