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Frequently Asked Question About R/C Aircraft Modeling

Check out the following frequently asked questions about radio controlled model aircraft building, flying and general r/c model aircraft questions.

How much does it cost?

Although some of the aircraft can be expensive, a person can get started in the R/C hobby for as little as $700.00 or less. The average cost of a complete setup is around one thousand dollars. This is not too expensive when you compare it to the cost of golfing or skiing for a season (approx. $1800.00 and more).

How do these miniature aircraft work?

These are miniature aircraft with the same functions as their full sized counterparts. They fly in the same way with the same controls. The big difference is that they are controlled from the ground with a radio transmitter with control sticks on it. The engines can be either 2-stroke or 4-stroke, gasoline or the high end being the jet turbine. Also gaining in popularity is the electric motor . In the aircraft is a radio receiver that runs electric motors called servos. The servos move the control surfaces of the plane causing it to react to the pilot inputs from the transmitter on the ground.

Are they dangerous?

When not treated with due respect and caution, any machine can be dangerous. You must always keep thinking " safety " . We have strict rules and regulations governing the flying of our miniature aircraft. We only fly away from populated areas, and at least five miles away from airports. We are governed by the Model Aircraft Association of Canada. Anyone flying models in our club( or any other flying club in Canada is required to be a M.A.A.C. member.) M.A.A.C. also provides us with substantial insurance in the event an accident should occur. If you go to the MAAC website on the links page there is a great deal of information regarding the association.

How do I learn to fly these R/C planes?

We suggest that you join a club where you will be put in touch with a qualified instructor. He or she will check out your aircraft and do the initial take-off, and " trim" the plane properly. From there, you will be given the controls along with a "buddy cord" with the instructor using the second transmitter and will be coached into gentle turns, Chances are you will lose control many times and the instructor will take over and bring the aircraft back to proper flying. Don't be discouraged, this happens a lot. As you progress you will be able to hold level flight, and finally take-offs and landings with the instructor watching. There will come a point where the instructor will pass you as a qualified pilot and you will recieve your "wings" pin. From then on you are able to fly on your own. We also have a "wings" program with a full and extensive booklet. Our club has a computer and simulator to practice on, and to get a "feel" what it's like. One good thing about a simulator is, if you crash it won't cost you any money.

Can I learn to fly without an instructor?

A small number of lucky modelers have taught themselves how to fly remote control airplanes but they are few and far between. More often than not, a novice pilot will crash and totally destroy his airplane without the assistance of an instructor - and he won't even be able to recognize what went wrong. Many hours of work can be involved in the construction of a model and it will be lost in a moment of beginners indecision. A skilled flyer can help you get past the first critical test and trimming flights without damage to the airplane.

Are the models hard to build?

Most of the kits out today can be built with little fuss. If you are capable of following instructions, you shouldn't have any trouble at all. The instructions that come with the kit usually have pictures and diagrams showing you how the parts should go together. Modern model kits are precision cut (laser) and use the best materials. If you have questions about building a kit, there are many experienced model builders in the Sky Rangers club who would be more than happy to lend a hand.

What kinds of tools do I need?

The basic tools include a flat building surface,(a door is good and on top of the door cork or ceiling tile so you can stick your pins in), hobby knife, pins, sandpaper and glue. CA glue(Cyanoacrylate) but watch out DON'T stick your fingers together, it's handy to have a small bottle of DEBONDER handy just in case, and also some epoxy. As you progress in the hobby, you will acquire other tools that help you in your endeavors.

Do I have to build my own model?

Part of the intrigue of R/C modeling is the construction of your own flying machine. Seeing your creation in the air adds to the enjoyment. There are, however, other ways of getting into the air. In the past few years, manufacturers have been selling ARF's (Almost Ready to Fly) airplanes. They come complete with everything needed to get into the air,( a few manufactures include the radio and engine also). The major structures have already been built and finished. It only takes a few hours to put it together along with running checks on the stability of the fuselage. Some entrepreneurs will build completely ready to fly models to your specifications. Although this is an easy way to start flying, it is also expensive. Some ready built models can run in the thousands of dollars. More recently, you can pick up RTF's (Ready to Fly) and BNF's (Bind and Fly) which are programmed onto an existing radio you already own.

How fast do they fly?

Their flying speeds can range from about 20 mph to over 200 mph ( jet turbine). The speed of an average sport model flown in this area from 20 to 50 mph.

How big are they?

A typical sport model or trainer can have about a five foot wingspan and weigh from four to eight pounds. There are single and multi-engined models that can have twelve foot wingspans and weigh twenty pounds or more. Jet turbines have been increasing in popularity. Most models can be disassembled for transportation with the wing being detached from the fuselage. Electric flyers are usually much smaller and more easily transported.

What do I need to get started?

You will need a plane, either build one from a kit or buy a ARF. The plane should have a high wing with a flat bottom for more stable and gliding ability. Select a engine and a recomnended propellor,a 2-stroke would be good to start off with. Next a transmitter [radio], (either a 4- Channel or 6- Channel ), receiver and battery, a off and on switch, and four servos,[this all comes as a kit]. You will also need a flight box, which will include a starter, igniter, 12volt [small] battery, some tools, fuel pump, and a gallon of appropriate fuel. And don't forget a few feet of silicone tubing.

Where can I purchase Radio Controlled Equipment?

You can purchase equipment from most hobby shops also if you click on the "links" page you will find some very good hobby outlets with their Web Sites. They are just a phone call away and would be happy to help you with your needs, and most of them have a 1-800 number to serve you better.

How long does it take to fly on your own?

That all depends on the student, and how much time an individual can spend with the instructor. A good guess would be three months to a year on the average.The more time (Hrs.) a student can give, the faster (he or she) can fly solo and receive their "wings". Every club has their own "Wings" program to follow and also has a booklet to read. Also MAAC { Model Aeronautics Association Of Canada } has a very good training manual to follow.

You Say " Ground School "?

Yes, as a student you should have at least one week of ground school and as a student you will be given a "Wings" booklet that explains terminology and why the plane flys. Example would be yaw, balance, stall, wing root, deheidral, wing incidence, etc. Also shows the straight forward manouvers that have to be performed before the student is able to recieve their "WINGS".

What is 72 MHZ ?

Lots of present radios in the 72MHZ {megahertz or 72,000,000 cycles per second in frequency } are still being used. 50 channels in this band for R/C airplanes each channel is 20KHZ or 20,000 cycles apart.

What is a Spread-Spectrum 2.4 Radio?

It's a fancy way to modulate a radio frequency wave to transmit data, in this case to control our model airplanes. This is a major advancement in frequency control.

What Frequency Range Does It Operate In?

Spread spectrum radio systems operate in 2.4GHZ {Giga-HERTZ} - 2400 million cycles per second of frequency.

How does Spread-Spectrum work?

When you first turn your 2.4 radio on, it first listens to the band and looks for a clear channel. Once it finds one it looks for another one. It now takes those two channels and transmits it's data to the linked receiver. The receiver will only listen to it's bound transmitter signal.

What are the advantages of the 2.4GHZ systems?

One item is, no two flyers can be on the same frequency. Also 2.4GHZ is almost impervious to electronic noise. The radio transmitter will select the channel or channels you are using and also no need for long antennas.

How many aircraft can be flown at any one time on 2.4?

Lots, 10 planes or more, but our MAAC { Model Aeronautics Association Of Canada } safety code and all clubs specify no more than 5 planes or less can fly at any one time.


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