8Make your first test flight. The best tip we can give anyone is not to try this alone. You will increase your success rate by at least 100 percent if you ask experienced pilots to help. Many senior members at RC
clubs will gladly step up to be instructors; they will help you avoid damaging your model
and will greatly speed your learning process. Ask for help—the airplane you save will be
For the very first flight, instructors will first check to make sure everything about your
model airplane works properly and they will go over the basics of controlling your model.
They will then make the first takeoff and bring the model up to a safe altitude. Once they
have the model trimmed, they will give you the controls and talk you through the flight.
Many clubs can provide a “buddy-box” system to make flight training a lot easier, but flying
high allows plenty of time for instructors to take the radio from you and recover the airplane
and bring it back to straight-and-level flight. After a while, when the batteries start to lose
power, instructors will again take control and land the model safely. Over time, your stick
time will increase until you are ready to fly unassisted.
7Practice ground handling. Before you can fly your model, you’ll need to get some experience taxiing it on the ground to get
used to its response. Before you actually start driving your
model around the flying field, be sure to communicate your
intentions to anyone else who might be there. If you don’t
have an instructor yet, use a helper who can be a spotter
for you and keep track of what’s happening around you.
You don’t want to interfere with anyone who might be
taking off or landing.
Learn to adjust and advance the throttle slowly. Don’t
jam it forward as this will increase torque quickly and cause
your model to swerve. On the ground, you will steer the
model around using the left “rudder” stick. Again, make
corrections slowly and in small amounts until you get the
feel of how your model handles. Practice traveling to the
right and to the left. Make smooth, wide turns to change
direction, and if your model starts heading in the wrong
direction, pull back the throttle and stop. Go over to the
model, reposition it, and start again. Once you get the
knack of ground handling and taxiing, you’ll be ready to fly.
9Make triM adjustMents. On either side of the radio control sticks are small tabs called “trim tabs.” You use these to adjust your model’s controls slightly while in flight. When you first center your control (as mentioned
earlier), you should be sure the trim tabs are in their centered neutral positions; when you
are in the air, you can then tweak the model’s attitude. After takeoff, climb to a safe altitude,
throttle back slightly to about half to two-thirds throttle, fly into the wind, and bring the
model into straight-and-level flight. Then neutralize the control sticks (place them in their
center positions), and see what happens. If the model wants to climb, apply several clicks
of downtrim (pushing it forward); if the model wants to lose altitude, add some uptrim.
Check the model’s response, and adjust the needed trim settings in small increments.
Repeat the process again until the model flies along a straight path, not climbing or diving.
Repeat this process for the ailerons. Bring the model into a straight-and-level flight path
into the wind, and check the wingtips. If the model wants to bank to the left or right, apply
opposite trim until your model flies “hands off,” staying in straight-and-level flight with no
corrections needed. The transmitter at right shows the placement of the four trim tabs.
10 Tips for a Be TTer-flying airplane