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  1. #1
    sensei's Avatar
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    How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Tell us how you learned to fly.

    When I was a young kid I learned to build and fly control line airplanes through trial and error but became accomplished with them. A few years later I wanted to learn how to fly R/C airplanes however there was no such thing as a buddy box at that time so I built a kit called an H-Ray or something like that, anyway I remember after building it I sat with the transmitter and airplane turned on for hours moving the controls and visualizing flying, then I would recharge and do it the next day. This went on for a week or more while I built up my nerve to actually go fly it. One thing happened during that time spent; I realized that if I kept the antenna pointed in the direction of flight I would not confuse myself because left was always going to be left, and right was right. So finally off to the field I went with my older brother that could drive, when we arrived I rubber banded the wing on, fueled up, too a few deep breaths and just went for it. I only flew it the one flight that day keeping that antenna pointed in the flight path direction but I got it up and also back down with only a scratched up wing tip and was excited and proud to go back home and tell my dad about my first flight. I remember his reply to me very well, it went like this, "I am proud of you Bobby, now the real job is to keep it in one piece".... [X(]

    Fly It Like You Stole It!!!

  2. #2
    scale only 4 me's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Us kids where cutting our fingers and crashing cheap 1/2a control line planes in a field at the end of the block, A neighbor saw us and came over to help. He later taught me to fly RC gliders,, I bought and built my first slope glider when I was 15, flew slope in SoCal for years then built my first glow power plane at age 25,, the rest is history

    The neighbor became a life long friend, was in my Wedding also
    You're so smart,, you figured out how to read this!! Or maybe ya just got lucky??

  3. #3
    acerc's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    In a pasture behind my home when I was a young'n. Took three Cub kit's to get to the point of being able to take off go in a circle and land.
    Robert
    Cub Brotherhood #3\\ Ryan STA Brotherhood #4
    Corsair Brotherhood #56\\ Waco Brotherhood #184

  4. #4
    flyinwalenda's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    My Dad brought home a trunk full of Gilbert control line planes after renovating a flood damaged store in the '70's. I flew and crashed those until I got the hang of it. I built a stick(took a long time) and bought my first radio system from Tower in '76. A Kraft system and it cost $380.00...(a lot of money for a kid ) and I worked all summer to save up enough money to get it. Also bought and built a Dumas Big Swamp Buggy and ran that all summer . Even built a tamiya lamborghini cheetah and drove that.
    My friends older brother got into rc planes years earlier and I got one of his beat-up planes (an early foam wing, fiberglass fuse) and flew and crashed that quickly .....learning the hard way. After that couldn't be fixed anymore I moved everything into the stick and joined a local club and learned to fly it properly. I stayed with it ,building a few more sticks as I crashed the earlier ones . I got out of it while in college and got back in after 25 years . Looking back now it's something I wished I would have stayed active with over the years. I still have my Kraft radio system, big swamp buggy, and still flying one of the last sticks I built in the early '80's.
    Brian Ray

  5. #5
    scale only 4 me's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Funny,,, I built the Tamiya Porsche 911 Targa,, that thing went through batteries [X(]
    You're so smart,, you figured out how to read this!! Or maybe ya just got lucky??

  6. #6

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    I bought an electric plane from a local hobby shop. I think it was called a Commander II or something like that. I think it was three channels and was not the best thing I could have done - actually it was pretty bad. I am not sure why they even sell these junky planes to introduce people into the hobby.

    Those cheap little training planes are almost useless and really don't teach you much at all. I would never advise anyone to start that way. I was able to fly the thing some, but did not teach me what I needed for regular flying, or take off and landing because you had to hand launch it. I also bought a simulator which really helped me with orientation. Simulators are good for some aspects of learning.

    I researched and found a local club and joined to get trained. I bought a Hangar 9 Alpha 40 trainer and went to the field and it was hard at first getting enough time with any instructors to learn to fly. I felt bad even asking them because I knew I was taking their time up and they wanted to fly. It must have taken me three or four months to finally get soloed.

    That was three years ago. I am in two clubs. I fly mostly gassers now up to 50cc range, as well as several glow, and do fairly good for three years of flying. I even do some instructing on a limited scale. Not too shabby for three seasons of mostly weekend flying.

  7. #7

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    I first saw RC back in the early 60's.....saw it again in the 70's dappled some in the 80's with a glider...trying to teach myself.....
    Then got a rc truck...in the 2000's The wife got me an electric firebird....I did ok sort of....that got me looking into clubs met my instructor and here we go.
    I have paid back by teaching others to fly

  8. #8
    flyinwalenda's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C


    ORIGINAL: scale only 4 me

    Funny,,, I built the Tamiya Porsche 911 Targa,, that thing went through batteries [X(]
    So did the Cheetah. It was built well for the era but the batteries didn't last long. It's still in great shape . Was thinking of converting it to lipo/brushless but looking at the sales on ebay I might just sell it !

    Brian Ray

  9. #9

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    My progression went from the Guillows gliders, to rubber powered models to Cox Control Line to Cox 2 Channel Cessna style plane. About 11 months ago I bought a Hobbyzone Firebird Stratos, got her up in the air, and then bought a HZ Champ, Super Cub and then a Parkzone T-28 Trojan. I now have 14 planes and counting. This hobby is much more gratifying than RC cars which I was heavily into until I discovered RC flight.

  10. #10

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    About 1955 I got a Fire Baby control line plane and learned to fly that. In about 56 one of the big kids crashed his Ring Master and gave it to me and I repaired it. Before that I had been building plastic model planes, all Bipes. I got into building Boats like the Miss Thriftway Hydro Plane. Washington State was a great place to run your 1/2A boats, water in every direction within a mile of the house.Moved to Calif in 1959 and was taught by an older guy how to build Free Flights so I was doing that and control lines. RC was so out of reach due to the cost back then.
    A couple decades ago my nephew was going to stay with us for a couple weeks so I built a two channel Cub and had a club instructor teach us to fly that, no buddy box yet. Then I built a SR Telemaster for the club trainer and with the buddy box learned to fly that.
    I have been building all my life but RC is still new to me, about 20 or 25 years now. I do enjoy building more then flying but I have competed in most types of RC at one point or another. I found IMAA giant scale events more relaxing and fun then competing in things like pattern or racing although racing is a lot of fun if you don't mind loosing a plane once in a while, gives me a reason to build more planes.
    Here in Vegas there isn't a lot of events so these days I just build and fly to relax, keeps my mind working and I don't have the extra money to be hanging out in the casinos or strip joints.
    Drinking and driving are illegal, why do bars have parking lots
    Daisy Air Guns, keeping kids off your lawn for 100 years

  11. #11
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Around 1980 a friend (I think he is a friend) convinced me I needed to fly RC airplanes. I joined a local club and received instruction. The rest as they say is history!
    Takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory
    Sig Brotherhood #131

  12. #12
    1320Fastback's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    I'm self taught.
    4 years ago I walked into a HobbyTown and came home with a HobbyZone Super Cub.
    Quickly proceeded to crash it over and over.
    I made all the beginner mistakes but tried to learn from every error.

    My planes now range from a 80's pattern and a 80's Cox to new foamies and FPV.

  13. #13

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    I was in my second year of high school and used to hang out at a local air port where I washed and cleaned planes.  One of the owners lived just up the street from my house. One day I was going by his house and he invited me into his garage. There were air planes of all kinds hanging from the rafters. Well before I left he gave me one of his modles, a beautiful Piper tri-pacer with a single escapement for rudder. I had to save all summer and finally scraped up enough to buy a McCoy 35 to mount in it. I hand launched IN high grass and it took all summer to be able to keek it in the air. true pride.

  14. #14

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    In the 60s my dad gave me a Cox .049 control line Corsair. He promptly crashed it for me. I fixed it, and continued to crash it. Then got the PT-19 and finally learned. Proceeded to kit built McCoy .35 sized planes up until after high school. Married, kids, all gone now and self taught rc back in the early 90s. That was a very expensive way to learn. Now I'm into giant scale, warbirds, sport and such, no 3D. And I'm one of the clubs instructors.
    Edwin

  15. #15

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Taught myself@ age 11..... After a few years of racing bolink r/c cars ( with a futaba aircraft radio ), I became pretty good with the sticks. My father built a sailplane, bought a hi-start and off to a field we went. Early saturday morning approx 36 years ago, my palms were sweaty and knees were a shaking, but off it went. Not very smooth but did end up with a successful landing. Did about ten flights that day and each got better. 36 years later, still flyin, teaching and lovin the sport.

  16. #16
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Self taught. Started in 1972 with the Cox F-1 trainer (dad smashed it to pieces). I then picked up the Cox PT-19 trainer and did pretty good for years with that. In 1983 I got tired of getting dizzy and had a little extra cash so I purchased the CG Eagle 63. Took some time but I was able to teach myself the hard way to fly RC. I've been flying off and on ever since.
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    Cub Brotherhood #34, Mustang Brotherhood #29, Glow Brotherhood #64

  17. #17
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    I taught myself. I built a Falcon 56 and after many rebuilds, I graduated to a Top Flite Headmaster, followed by a Tidewater Super Pronto. I have an original Falcon 56 and a Super Pronto on my building shelf. Good Luck, Dave
    If the screw ain\'t loose then things ain\'t normal.

    Dave Agar
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  18. #18
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    1958 I bought my first plane, a Sterling Ring Master. Saved my money and got a McCoy Redhead .35. Crashed and rebuilt it and crashed it again. Another guy that was in his early 20's taught me how to fly it. Flew control until 1970 and started flying RC. Another modeller and good friend, Joe Gross taught me to fly RC with a R C Nobler. (bad choice) But I learned to fly it and moved on to better planes. Over the last 54 years I've built and flown a lot of different planes. Everything from C/L, FF, rat race, scale, pattern and fun flying. I love building and flying. Most scratch build now, and fly what I build.

    Frank
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  19. #19

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Let's see in the 70's I flew control line. Then graduated high school and then spent ten years in the Marine Corps. during the last year or so in the service I built a Pilot QB 20H. I then returned to Michigan and met back up with my best friend (I flew control line with him) He sold me a small 3 channel Citabria. Went to Toledo April 88 and bought a new radio and got my AMA and then joined the local club.

    He taught me on Citabria with no buddy box after we got it together and our work schedules synced up. Early May 1988 been flying with him ever since.

  20. #20
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    In 1980 at the young age of 12 I had a sudden desire to get a glider. This was San Diego county, so there were ample slopes to fly from. Being 12 and this being 1980 radios were stupid expensive so I got the "well that is a big purchase so we'll see." Not more than 2 weeks after that my mother came home and said "guess where I just got a job?" Turns out she had just got a job at Kraft as an engineer. She was able to get a 2 channel radio for $50 right off the line and a NIB Bridi Soar Birdy from one of the other engineers (one of many freebies from that job.) After my father and I were done building it we went out with that same engineer to learn to fly it. The wind was non existent that day so he handed me the controls and said "this is up, down right and left." He then threw it out over a large field and I steered it around for a moment and landed somewhat smoothly and he declared me ready to go it alone. A few days later my father and I went out to a large slope and tossed it down the slope. It started to rise and I flew it for 15 minutes that first flight. Since then I have gone from slope to .049 to large glow to electric with some time managing a couple hobby shops and on into full scale and the Air National Guard (maintenance not flying.) Flying and airplanes have been a part of my life since that day and always will be. I regret not one minute I spend on aviation.
    The three most useless things to a pilot, the sky above you, the runway behind you, and the fuel on the ground.

  21. #21

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    In The summer of 1977 I was working at a small town resturant as a dishwasher and walked out to dump the trash and in the back of the managers station wagon was a cool looking Sig Citabra. I asked him about it and he invited me to go out and watch him fly it. I was hooked and saved all sumer and spent roughly $250.00 for a Hobby Shack Aero Sport Two radio and a Pilot ARF which I tried to power with a Cox Black Widow .049 engine. I ended up replacing it with a Cox Tee Dee .049 and it was a blast to hand launch and guide through the air. The following year I was able to graduate to a Sig Kadet and I was really hooked then
    Michael J

  22. #22

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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Trial-and-error, augmented by a lot of reading. I wasn't really aware of the existence of model clubs, and I knew no-one else who flew model planes.


    Used to stop off on the evening commute, with a 2-channel powered glider. Learned that the best thing was to "let the aeroplane do the flying", if you know what I mean. That was a great period, for me, because the business of learning lent such intensity to the experience. A bit like courting.

    My venue was the ex-American base which is called Stoney Cross, in the New Forest. That's on the South coast of England. (Lightnings, Liberators, Marauders, amongst others)

  23. #23
    drac1's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    My dad used to fly in the 70's and early 80's. He taught me to fly in 1996 on a self designed .20 size trainer. 3 Saturday afternoons and i was flying solo and I still have that trainer.

    I now fly various types of sport, scale and large scale aircraft with my main focus being pattern.

    I test fly all my own planes and instruct and test fly other club members models.
    There is no such thing as too much power.

  24. #24
    KaP2011's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    I was driving down Hwy. 441 in central Fl. in 1991. Saw some planes buzzing around, the local club was having a fly-in. There was a kid about 10yr old flying around like he had been doing it since birth. I thought if he could do it so could I. I went to a hobby shop in Ocala and bought an early ARF, a Royal .40 engine and a basic JR 4ch. radio. I remember the first time I started the engine it nearly ate me alive. It was on full throttle because the servo was reversed. Very early one morning I took the plane to an un-finished sub-division out in the country. I started the engine and began learning to taxi, the next thing I knew, the plane popped up into the air. I nearly had to clean my pants. I managed to gain some altitude while turning in a circle. Everything seemed to be ok until I flew thru the sun. After gathering up the remains I decided I needed help. I went back to the club I had been to earlier and talked to some of the guys there. One of them gave me a kit of a Gobee.40 and told me when it was ready to fly to call him. I called him two weeks later. Met him and a couple of others at the field, they checked out my plane, took it up for trimming then landed it. I refueled it and the guy took off a second time, gained some altitude and handed me the radio. He said "just do what I tell you". On that first flight I learned how to take off. After refueling again, he got the plane up high and handed me the radio and went over and sat down in the shade. He talked me thru a landing and that was the last time I had an instructer. Over the next 3 or 4 years I crashed and re-built that Gobee .40 6 times. The rest is history.
    KaP2011
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  25. #25
    5skyhawk172's Avatar
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    RE: How Did You Learn To Fly R/C

    Back in 1968 I taught myself to fly a Carl Goldburg 1/2 A Skylane / OS Pet 09 and best of all a Citizenship Single Channel Galloping Ghost.  Those were the days!
    AMA 50764
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    My parents didn't put me in time out, they whooped my ass!
    Sig Kadet Brotherhood #5
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