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  1. #1
    Ptarmigan's Avatar
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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

  2. #2
    magnum's Avatar
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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    You are going to get a lot of answers to that question I am sure. The amount of time it takes depends a lot on the person, the instructor and how much time you devote to it. IF you are already familiar with R/C cars etc.. then you probably have the left/right turning down.

    I soloed in less than a week. Plane problems kept me from soloing on the same day. Less than 5 flights. Another guy at the field was still learning 4 months later. That should give you a good idea of the diferent time frames..

    If you are at all familiar with flying in general, ie flight sims etc. It shouldn't take long. Try to get as much info as you can to begin with.

  3. #3

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    How Long?

    Actually the first answer is pretty complete.
    I could add that reliable (not expensive necessarily} equipment helps,since you can spend your time flying with your instructor,rather than tuning and rebuilding.
    Full size pilots sometimes have extra problems,since there is no direct connection to the plane,so no horizon to line up on ,and all control movement is reversed when the plane is flying toward you.Ego sometimes gets in the way too.....I think simulators help too,although I have never used one,but Im an instructor in our club and Im wary of the newbie,who tells me he can already fly,cause he learned on his simulator.I have seen one natural solo in two days,and I know of others who are still trying after a couple of years......Im guessing a couple of months is average but a lot depends on the time you spend at it.....
    Kevin
    MAAC 6401L,CD.
    \"The future isnt what it used to be, and whats more it never was\" ...Lee Hays

  4. #4

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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    The answer, for most people, is "longer than you think." It's harder than it looks.

    I remember when I was learning. I was months and months into it, and still making mistakes, and getting pretty discouraged. I went to a club meeting where they were giving out the "solo" awards. There was a youngster there getting his award, and someone asked how long it took. His answer was "4 gallons of fuel and 3 airplanes". I made 4 gallons my goal, and got a U.S. Aircore airplane so I could do it in one airplane.

    As it turned out, 4 gallons was just about right. I'm not talking about just "soloing", i.e. being able to take off and land in one piece, but true confidence in being able to land exactly where I want to even with some crosswind, etc.

    Since then, I've listened to a lot of people, particularly those who teach for a living, and I think 4 gallons of fuel is a pretty good rule of thumb. That works out to about 50 10-minute flights, or 10 hours of stick time. In my case, the skill grew so slowly, it seemed to me that the plane was flying better, not that I was doing anything different.

    If you figure a lot of people only fly once a week, or once every two weeks, and only in good weather, you can see that it could easily take over a year to go through that 4 gallons of fuel.

  5. #5

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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    Ray,
    On the average, my students take around 5 hours, which can be done in around 2-3 days of intense instruction. I don't use a buddy-box, so I can let everyone I teach safely have takeoff and landing experience on the first or second lesson. On the average, they will have approximately 10 takeoff lessons and 20 practice approaches and 20 landings, with the last 10 completely on their own.

    I have had many learn within a couple of hours ( same day) and none had previous sim experience. Although some of my students who did have sim experience, it didn't seem to help them at all. I think it was because they were practicing wrong and I had to essentially teach them to unlearn all of the wrong stick movements they had taught themselves.

    I used to use the buddy-box, but found something that works much better for me. BTW, I don't have to snatch the transmitter either to "save" the plane. I know that there at least two instructors who will never go back to the buddy-box again.

    After all of my students leave me, they can takeoff, fly around very skillfully land without breaking anything, except maybe a prop or two.

    Take care,
    CCR
    http://www.kites.org/rc_instructors
    www.abchobbyshop.com- information

  6. #6
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    Time to Learn to Fly

    To the above answers, I would like to add that the length of time to learn to fly also depends on the individual. Specifically, his age, dexterity, vision, hand-eye coordination, and other personal factors.

    Older people, 60's and up, tend to take longer to tech. the young guys, 10-15, sometimes solo in 2 or 3 flights. They have reflexes like a cat and have no fear of losing the plane- it's usually just another toy to them. RC car drivers also learn quickly-they already know how to steer backwards.

    If you are really a klutz then it is going to take longer than if you are really coordinated. Those that grew up with, and are good at, video games tend to have an easier time.

    I have had some students who refused to wear glasses even though they used them for driving.

    You need to do a realistic self-assessment of your abilities and factor this into the length-of-time equation.

    Finally, if you are a parent on a father-son learning together set up, don't even think about competing with your young son. Go at your own speed.
    Ed Moorman, AMA 553, Former R/C Report Fun Aerobatics Columnist. 76 and up to my old tricks!

  7. #7
    magnum's Avatar
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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    Truth be known.... You will never stop learning

  8. #8

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    Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    Originally posted by Ptarmigan
    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?
    Hi Ptarmigan,

    The answer to this question is, "A Lifetime", since piloting is "a work in progress", and no pilot will ever get to the point that they couldn't learn something more about controlling an airplane in flight or on the ground. If you mean to ask, "How long does it take to solo an R/C model airplane?"...then my experience so far indicates a typical stick time of about 10 hours.

    As an R/C flight instructor, I require my students to demonstrate three consecutive take-offs and landings, with taxi back to the pilot station at completion, to earn their solo certificates. Typical students, who have no prior experience with model airplane flying, can usually accomplish their solo demonstration flights after about 8 to 12 hours of dual instruction at my school. Since they typically get 2 hours of stick-time per day, the time to solo, in days, is about 4 to 6.

    There is a list of graduates, with pictures, and posted stick-times required to solo on my web site ( www.hobbiesaloft.com ) under the option "Graduates". As you can see from this list, about 8 to 10 hours is typical.

    Good question for the Beginners Forum

    Ray Smith
    R/C Flight Instructor
    Owner, Hobbies Aloft R/C Flight School

  9. #9

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    A Lifetime.............is a good answer

    And very true...........just when you thought you knew it all you find out you didnt.
    Safe Flying

  10. #10

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    Re: Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    Originally posted by Ray Smith

    If you mean to ask, "How long does it take to solo an R/C model airplane?"...then my experience so far indicates a typical stick time of about 10 hours.
    Hi Ray, I've spent some time at your web site with your comparison of the kinesthetic method vs the buddy box. Interesting! Unfortunately, I've already learned (with a buddy box), so I can't try your method out! I agree with most of what you said about the buddy box, with the following comments:

    1. You say the buddy box is almost useless in preventing crashes on landing. I disagree. The buddy box can save a plane from many types of landing errors, such as flying too slowly or too fast, being way off the runway, etc.

    2. I agree your method sounds better for the student, but it seems to me that the average time to learn with kinesthetic is about the same as for learning with a buddy box. Is the only benefit of kinesthetic over the buddy box that you don't crash airplanes?

    My question is where does the instructor stand (instructing an adult)? Side by side, or behind with arms around? I see only a few pictures on your web site, and they're with youths.

  11. #11

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    Re: Re: Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by gpmikemorse
    [B]

    1. You say the buddy box is almost useless in preventing crashes on landing. I disagree. The buddy box can save a plane from many types of landing errors, such as flying too slowly or too fast, being way off the runway, etc.

    Not if the airplane is, say 2 ft off the ground, has a ground speed of 22 ft/sec (15mph), and the student suddenly panics and bangs the sticks hard over. In this scenario, the instructor would have to let go of his button and effect a control correction in less than .1 sec in order to save the airplane. Again, even if the instructor could accomplish this superhuman feat, the control inputs needed to save the plane are not felt by the student (because of the activation of the buddy-box system) and therefore the student does not learn. With kinesthetic instruction, the instructor's fingers are already on top of the student's fingers, (with whatever force is necessary) to prevent the panic move by the student...and the student gets to feel what he or she should have done with the stick to make a good landing. Since the airplane will land without damage, the student will get another chance to "get it right" in about 35 to 40 seconds on the next landing attempt.

    2. I agree your method sounds better for the student, but it seems to me that the average time to learn with kinesthetic is about the same as for learning with a buddy box.

    Now we are talking about what it means to be a skilled solo pilot. My standard is quite high, with the student having to demonstrate at least three consecutive good landings (while I video tape the demonstration) with a taxi back to the pilot's station. In other words, it's not just getting the plane down, but doing it with precision...over and over again.

    Is the only benefit of kinesthetic over the buddy box that you don't crash airplanes?

    No...but I think you might agree, not crashing the airplane is a pretty nice part of learning to land. The other part is that the student feels the correct inputs and can try to pick up on those feelings over and over again until he/she gets it right.

    My question is where does the instructor stand (instructing an adult)? Side by side, or behind with arms around?

    I normally stand to the right side of my student and generally need to correct only the right stick, since the left stick is already at the idle position (all the way down) and the rudder is not generally needed until after touchdown. I don't want my student to "present" the control box to me in any way, but rather to just fly the plane, realizing, the controls will be adjusted (by me) if necessary.

  12. #12

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    Re: Re: Re: How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by gpmikemorse

    I see only a few pictures on your web site, and they're with youths.

    Ther is a picture of me instructing an adult on the "Our Secret" page of my web site ( www.hobbiesaloft.com ).

    Ray Smith
    R/C Flight Instructor

  13. #13

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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    How long does it take to fly?

    Make it your goal to solo in 6 good weekends and you probably will. Assuming the Kinestetic Method (is that a book by Ron L Hubbard?), or the buddy box sucessfully rescues your plane when you mess up, you will keep flying and learning.

    The main factor in learning is what you do when you are flying. Do you just nervously watch the plane fly straight for as long as posible, then fumble your way thru a turnaround to let it fly straight again? If so it will take a while. If you want to get the hang of it fast, try some simple excersizes.

    A good one to start with -- Wagging Wings. While flying a straight line, just nudge the ailerons a bit left and a bit right to lean the wing 10 degrees left then 10 degrees right. Do this over and over between turnarounds. Start slow, plan on 3 or 4 wags between turnarounds, and work your way up as you begin to get comfortable and the connection between what you see, and what your thumb is doing begins to build. If you lean the wings too far to the left, no problem, just gently lean them to the right and keep trying till you get the swing of it. Once you get up to 10 wags between turns you will be getting 10 times the experience at the first and last steps of making a turn, than you would otherwise. You will also become really fluent with making corrections.

    Other good ones: do loops and rolls early in training maybe even your first flight. Beware: trainers aren't built for these kind of manuvers so it will probably misbehave a little, rolls will be slow and you may loose a lot of altitude, maybe even start to dive if your roll rate is really slow. Start high so you have plenty of room, and your instructor has plenty of time to rescue the plane if the need arises. Ask about tip stall, maybe your instructor can demostrate. being able to recognize a tip stall when you see it will probably save a plane or two. Do figure eights. lots of them, once you have that down you are ready to start buzzing the runway. Practice lining up over the runway from the right and left. start high, and gradually work your way down. landings are the hardest part, but if you master the excersizes the only thing you have to learn for good landings is managing the throtle and elevator to get a little flair going as you touch down. Simulators are great for this!




    best of luck, and a pleasant adventure to you!

    Shmo
    Nobody is perfect, I am a nobody, therefore i am perfect!

  14. #14

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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    shmo46,

    I totally agree with the exercises you listed. I use these when I think of them, but I realize that I should think of them a lot more as the wing waggling and figure eight exercises works wonders for helping to greatly speed up the learning curve.

    Take care,
    CCR
    http://www.kites.org/rc_instructors
    www.abchobbyshop.com- information

  15. #15

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    Learning to Fly

    I have to say this: get some help! I started 15 years ago. I'm an engineer and have had a pilots licnese. I tried to learn on my own and have had so many crashes and disapointment. Tring this plane and that plane thinking it would help to have a 'better' plane. Last summer, my wife, bless her heart bought me an AirVista for our anniversary. Because it looked so pretty i thought I would get some help. (did not want to wreck her gift) I had a guy at the local club plug his radio into mine and buddy box. WOW, for the first time I flew without a crash! I've been flying now on my own and have LOTS of FUN! Get HELP! He helped me for 5 weeks every Friday night for about 2-1/2 hours each. I've been flying on my own since then. In Minnesota it is hard to fly in the winter too much but most weeks I fly at least once. I am getting ready to fly a Low wing trainer now (Goldberg Tiger 2 ARF) I want to fly the war birds i have: a Kyosho P-51, a top Flight P-47, and someday I will own a F4U Corsair!
    Goldwing
    Sheldon Sievert

  16. #16

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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    As far as learning to fly advanced planes such as scale, pattern, or any low wing type of aircraft, and even helicopters, with the non buddy-box teaching method I use, I can easily help almost anyone safely and quickly with the transisition.

    So, after a couple of hours (one day) of me instructing someone on a trainer, it is rather easy for my students to get familiar with the flight characteristics of any type of low wing aircraft.

    Ironically, they say that the low wing plane is almost easier to fly than the trainer. I have several low wing planes that I will let anyone fly, even if it's just for the experience.

    Take care,
    CCR
    http://www.kites.org/rc_instructors
    www.abchobbyshop.com- information

  17. #17

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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    How long to learn depends on what kind of flying you intend to do. I'm a glider guider. It took me a summer to learn. I didn't burn ANY fuel, I had no instructor, and I got a workout to boot.

    What I did was construct a simple foam 2Meter glider (balsa tails). Then I HAND LAUNCHED it from a small hill at the back of the field. But then I'm still learning how to land on a runway. Putting a glider down somewhere on the field with the wings level is not that hard. 3 fuselages later I could
    a) put it down where I wanted it with the wings level
    b) stay out of trees
    The wing held up very well and the tails never suffered dammage except to break off the fuse when sliding out of a tree. The occaisional hard nosein required tape and maybe even some epoxy.

    As for hitting a runway, that requires adding direction to the landing equation. I can, throw it, thermal it, catch it, but not really land it, I'm still learning that.

    Total cost was very small because I did not have to travel to the club field 20minute up the road - flew in a local school yard! I could just grab the plane and xmitter and fly whenever I had a chance. I didn't burn any fuel and a foam fuse is really cheap and quick.
    Soaring axiom: Landing is a letdown.

  18. #18
    magnum's Avatar
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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    Hey guys,

    Just a friendly remimder. Since this is a family oriented board we do not allow the use of curse words, not even partially camouflaged.


    Thanks,

  19. #19
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    FLying learning time

    I worked it out after I got my wings and it took me 3 1/2 gallons fuel. I went every weekend for the Spring and Summer Saturday and Sunday. A lot of trips were wasted due to bad weather, or nice weather that was just too windy. It took me from April till August to get in enough flights to pass the wings. The weather went bad right after that due to very early winter!
    Current favorites: GP RV-4 1/4, Great Planes Stuka 60, Modeltech P47 60, Seafury 60, Rascal 40

  20. #20

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    How Long Does It Take To Learn RC Flying?

    It can take months , or even years. I will recomend the buddy box. Or practice on flight simulators.


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