We've received some notes and comments from several members lately concerning several issues.
- The cable gate must stay up at all times - even while we're flying. This is a park requirement to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the area, especially when the soccer parking is full. Some members have suggested some signs with this and other basis rules.
- Non use of the frequency board. All 72 MHz transmitters MUST use the frequency board. Post your card in the board as soon as you start to set up if no one else is already using your channel. Beginners need to be made aware of this.
- We now have have park flyer (27 MHz) and 2.4 GHz SS slots on the board and some members have indicated that there has been confusion as to whether it's safe to turn on their equipment given the mix of transmitters on the flight line. Please communicate frequently with all flyers to check the channels. Be sure to brief any new people on the proper use of the board and handling their transmitter. It makes sense that this issue is more common this year; records show that at least three quarters of our members are using spread spectrum radios.
If This Is Your First Radio-Controlled Airplane…
An especially important issue for so-called "park flyers" and "backyard flyers":
Your model probably operates on one of the 72 mhz band "aircraft model" frequencies allocated for our use by the Federal Communications Commission. There are other frequencies in the 75 mhz band set aside for "surface models" such as cars and boats. It is a violation of federal law to operate a car or boat on a 72 mhz frequency, or a plane on the 75 mhz band. Furthermore, if two models closer than about 3 miles from each other try to operate on the same frequency, they could "jam" each other's controls, causing one or both models to crash. For example, if your back yard was within 3 miles of another flying site, and someone else was flying their model on the same frequency as your backyard model, you could cause them to lose control and crash. That could result in property damage, personal injury and even death! Meanwhile, they could cause your model to crash as well, also possibly causing more injuries, property damage, and death. Check with AMA and your local hobby shops to find all the local clubs in your area, then contact those clubs and verify that your intended flying area is a safe distance from other flying sites. When you go out to fly, watch for other flyers in your area and check that your radio's frequency doesn't conflict with theirs. If you take this responsible sort of approach, not only will you save your fellow RC modelers a lot of trouble, but you might make some new friends as well!
R/C models are not toys. They are real airplanes, and they obey the same laws of physics. The only significant differences are that they don't weigh as much as the "big ones", and the pilot is standing on the ground instead of sitting in the cockpit. They still need to be built and flown with the same care and respect that you would give a full-scale aircraft.
You would not think of trying to teach yourself to fly a full-scale airplane, and it's just as unrealistic to try to teach yourself to fly an R/C model aircraft. Yes, it can be done, but life is too short for you to force yourself to repeat the same mistakes the rest of us have already made. Get a good instructor, you will learn much faster, spare yourself much grief and repair time, and you will probably still have an intact model when you're done!
The control inputs a model needs are essentially the same as a full-scale aircraft's. However, the pilot is not actually in the airplane, and so the orientation skills required are different. If you are an experienced full-scale aircraft pilot, don't assume you can fly a model. There are differences. Once again, Get a good instructor! You'll be glad you did.
Check with your local hobby shop for an instructor and for contacts with the local clubs in your area. You can also check with the Academy of Model Aeronautics ("AMA"), the national organization that regulates and promotes model aviation in the USA. If you're outside the USA, other countries typically have an equivalent organization, all of which ultimately report to the FAI in Paris, France. Find your appropriate national organization, they will be a tremendous source for help and information.
Many thanks for your cooperation.