Someone might have told you that you need an instructor to teach you how to fly RC airplanes. Not Really... The guy who gave you that advice probably learned to fly all by himself. And spent time in the shop gluing parts back together! You CAN learn to fly by yourself...just plan on going to the hobby shop a LOT! (Or buy a simulator!)

1. UNDERSTANDING HOW AN AIRPLANE FLIES. Here’s how airplanes fly: When the wing moves forward the air lifts it. Too slow, no lift and it falls out of the air -- it stalls. So, it needs flying SPEED either from a motor and propeller, or by descending and gliding. The wing is lifting all the time it's moving forward -- whether it’s upside down, in a turn, inverted, or doing acrobatics -- there is always lift from the wing even though the lift might not be straight UP as it is in level flight. The airplane makes right or left turns by tilting in the direction of the turn so that some of the wing’s lift is angled partly to the left or right. To turn an airplane you tilt the wings with the ailerons or with the rudder in the direction you want to turn. To make the airplane go UP you give an UP command to the elevator. The elevator surface angles UP and the air that’s hitting it blows the tail DOWN and the nose UP. When the airplane goes UP it slows down. If it goes too slow the lift stops and the airplane falls -- stalls.

You turn an airplane differently than a car or a boat: when you tilt the airplane’s wing in the direction that you want it to turn, the airplane will continue to turn as long as the wing is tilted in that direction. But you will NOT be holding the control stick in the direction of the turn (as you would on the steering wheel of a car) -- you will have the control stick near NEUTRAL during the turn. To STOP the airplane from turning you move the control stick in the opposite direction from the turn so that the wings level out. "Beginner's" airplanes have a built-in tendency to automatically come back to level flight if you let go of the control stick.

2. Pick out an airplane that can fly all by itself without you controlling it. DO NOT pick a low-wing, aerobatic airplane. The best choices are SLOW FLYERS or HIGH WING TRAINERS that use electric motors or small gas engines for power. If you want to fly without an instructor these type airplanes will fly themselves while you are trying to figure out how to make them go some other direction. You need this stability while you learn how to fly. The second best choice is a powered airplane that has the wing on the top of the fuselage and which is advertised to be a good training airplane.

3. Make SURE that these following things are correct BEFORE each flight:

A. The balance point MUST be where the airplane’s designer intended. Don’t be afraid to add lead weights to either the nose or the tail to MAKE the airplane balance where it is supposed to. If you think that the required weight to achieve the correct balance point (sometimes called "CG" -- Center of Gravity) is too much, YOU’RE WRONG! -- USE WHATEVER WEIGHTS ARE NECESSARY TO MAKE THE AIRPLANE BALANCE WHERE IT’S SUPPOSED TO! If the airplane is TAIL HEAVY, not only is it DANGEROUS, but almost IMPOSSIBLE to fly!

B. The wing must not be warped, and it helps your flying if the wing should have something called "washout". Fasten the wing onto the airplane. Set the airplane on a table and walk off to the rear of it. Look back at the airplane from an eye position where you can see just a bit of the BOTTOM of the entire wing. If you see MORE bottom wing surface on, let’s say, the left wing, then your airplane will tend to turn left even when you have the aileron or rudder control in neutral. Remove that warp before you try to fly the airplane.

"Washout": this is an intentional and desirable warp of the wing near each wing tip. Usually this warp is done to the outer 20% of the wing toward each wing tip. From the rear of the airplane you should see a little more of the BOTTOM of the wing near both wing tips. Why is this "washout" good? It helps the outer parts of the wing continue flying straight ahead during the beginning of a stall. This means that your airplane will stall straight ahead instead of rolling over on its back or side when it stalls and that rolling over might be impossible to recover from.

4. Choose a BIG flying field for your first flights. DO NOT try to fly in your street even if the airplane is capable of flying in such a restricted area. You will need lots of open and unobstructed space for your FIRST FLIGHTS.

5. If you hand launch your airplane throw it hard and throw it STRAIGHT AHEAD, not up.

6. If you take off from a ground roll let the airplane build up so much speed on the ground before you signal "UP" elevator, that you KNOW that the airplane has enough speed to fly. When it leaves the ground try to climb at a VERY SMALL ANGLE, not abruptly upwards which could cause loss of airspeed and a stall.(THIS IS THE #1 REASON FOR FIRST TIME CRASHES! THINK "REAL AIRPLANE!")

7. Give very little UP elevator as your airplane starts to take off. Most beginning modelers try to climb too steeply which makes their airplane slow down, stall, then crash.

8. Don’t try any turns until the airplane is very high. Mostly climb straight ahead with only gentle turns.

9. Practice gentle turns high in the air before you try to land. Practice "landings" while high in the air so you get a good idea of the airplane's stalling (fall-out-of-the-sky) speed. If the airplane stalls just give a bit of DOWN elevator and the airplane will be flying again.

10. When the airplane flies TOWARD you, turn your body a bit so you can imagine "right" and "left" from the airplane's point of view. This will prevent you getting confused about which way to turn your airplane. After a few flights, you should be able to stand in one place

11. Don’t try to land in a specific spot, avoid turns when the airplane is low. Just let your airplane glide into the ground straight ahead. THE BIGGER THE FIELD FOR YOUR FIRST FLIGHT, the greater will be your chances for success.