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R/C Airplane Information

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Defense Hill Modeler's Association (DHMA)


Click here to read about the Defense Hill Modelers Association and our field.


The purpose of our club is to promote the flying of Radio Control Model Aircraft and to have fun Safely and Responsibly. The many other activities we undertake are geared to these objectives. Another of our objectives is to assist newcomers to this hobby through advice on:

  • planes to learn with
  • radios and other equipment needed to get started
  • An instruction program to get your plane in the air so you can learn to fly. This booklet will give you some basic information about flying and also about our club, such as where and when we meet, where we fly, and how you can obtain assistance.



The first people you meet in this hobby will most likely be the owner of the Hobby Shop. The right guy behind the counter can steer you to the right plane and engine combination and radio plus the basic accessories you'll need to get started. This booklet is made available to you in this Hobby

Shop for these reasons;

  • because of the cooperation of the owner, to whom we are grateful and
  • because our club feels that they have the experience and expertise in the use of R/C Aircraft and they are competitive with other Hobby Shops and in many cases, with catalogue companies, this competence and competitiveness benefits us as the customer. So we try to give this shop a fair amount of our business. We hope you will as well.

For us to help you out in choosing the right plane to begin with we will start with a bit of advise, forget for now, the idea of fancy Warbirds, Aerobatics Planes with break neck speeds etc... To borrow an old phrase, "you have to crawl before you can walk". Remember, even the greatest of Aces started out in Trainer Aircraft and so should you. A Primary Trainer will be easier to deal with as you keep your trials and accomplishments on an even level. Look for a Trainer in the .40 engine (Displacement) range. It should be a high wing airplane, which will offer the best stability in flight for the novice. Your trainer should also have a flat bottom wing airfoil (the cross section shape of the wing) so it can fly slow enough for you to keep up with. Also the wing should have a generous amount of "dihedral" (the up-ward "V" angle of the wings, when viewed from the front). This "basic" type of trainer is more forgiving of pilot error than any other type. Lastly make sure you choose a plane with tricycle landing gear, tail draggers take a bit more skill in landings and takeoffs so you'll want to avoid them for now. There are two types of Trainer kits to choose from;

  • ARF (Almost Ready TO Fly) (AW-means "all Wood") These planes are great if you don't wish to put in a lot of building time on your first plane. They come 90% complete right out of the box, and most kits come with much of the hardware needed to complete the plane. If you wish to get in the air sooner than an ARF might be for you.
  • Kit Planes. These planes come unassembled with pre-cut balsa pieces and roll out plans, from which you build the plane from scratch. Most Trainer kits are fairly easy building but take more time than ARF's and you'll have to apply the covering your self. Kit planes are more involved but a good building job raises heads and you'll feel great flying a plane you've built from the plans up.



You'll need a .40 size engine, as well, but don't get anything to fancy first time around. Something in the $70-$100 range will do. Even the lower price engine will last a long time with just a little care. Radio Start out with a four-channel radio for now. Don't bother with all the bells & whistles, etc... Of 5,6, and 7 channels till later as you become more experienced. They have options you don't need just yet.


OK, lets assume you have everything ready to go, plane, engine, radio, all the other niceties like fuel, a fuel bulb, a 1.6 volt battery to start the glow plug, a glow plug clip, and a chicken stick to flip the prop for engine starting, your radio and receiver batteries are fully charged and now your going to head for the field at your local school and take her up, right?



This is why many newcomers to the sport quit right off the bat, because they try to fly on their own and there is only one outcome a crash, with the loss of your plane and perhaps injury to a bystander. Its a 99.99% sure thing so don't even think of attempting it. Flying R/C aircraft is not hard! It just takes some time to develop the skill and control and there’s, only one way to get it and that’s with time and help.


Crashes will happen. They happen to the novice and the expert as well.

In most cases damage can be light and easily repairable. Those choosing the kit planes always have the plans to fall back on and your hobby shop is well stocked with balsa and light plywood. "CA Glues" (we know them as super-glue) is the glue of choice for building and repairs and can quickly turn a disaster into a miracle. ARF's can be repaired too but when the damage is severe, it may pay to get another kit. Fly your Trainer as often as possible, remember practice makes perfect. It will all come naturally, as your reflexes become trained and with enough practice you could start that Warbird or aerobatic hot rod you were thinking about.

  Thanks from DHMA!