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If You cannot get an Instructor

So you live on an isolated farm in the middle of a large continent? No other rc pilots within driving distance? How do you do it?

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1) Choose the Right Airplane
Choose a plane that will be really easy to fly. You want something that is relatively large, as it will be easy to see at distance or altitude.

You also want something slow-moving, as this give you lots of time to react to changes in the airplane. You will also need an airplane that tends to be "self-righting", meaning if it's disturbed from straight and level flight, it will want to return to straight and level, on it's own.

Generally large (72 inch wingspan) rc gliders or powered gliders will fit this description. The designs with "polyhedral" (bent) wings will be stable and self-righting.

Weight is also a factor. Considering building from a balsa wood kit, as these will generally be lighter than most of the ARF airplanes on the market.
Some rc airplanes for the self-teaching pilot to consider

2) Use a Flight Simulator
A great tool for learning to fly is the flight simulator. This is common practice among military and commercial aviation pilots, and is now becoming more common for learning to fly rc airplanes.

If you've not seem a computer flight simulator, it's like a computer game where you control the airplane with a device that looks like a transmitter, or in some cases, using your actual transmitter.

The neat thing is that you can crash over and over while learning to fly on the simulator! This can save you a lot of time and money.

Even advanced pilots use the simulator to practice new moves. It's also great when the weather outside is just too cold or windy to fly. Look here for my review of some popular simulators.


3) File a Flight plan

Many beginner rc flights end as out-of-control crashes. The joy of flight is so great that new (unassisted) pilots tend to stay up as long as possible (which for them is not very long).

That is, until control is lost and an unplanned arrival happens. To reduce this risk, you need to have a plan before every flight. The idea is to plan to land while you still have control.

Then savor the moment, think about what went well and what you might do differently next time. Make another plan, then fly again. For example, if you're teaching yourself to fly an rc glider, don't stay up in the air until you run out of upward rising air.

First slope glider flights could be a straight line, smooth, controlled glide to the bottom of the hill. First thermal glider flights could be simply a straight ahead toss on a flat field. Followup flights could be launch off the high-start, then circle back downwind and prepare for landing.

If you're flying a powered plane, a first flight might just be a fast taxi on the field, a short hop of a few feet, then let the plane settle back down and land. All in a line straight ahead.

Or the same with a throw straight ahead if your aircraft doesn't have wheels. The next flights may involve take-off, turn and do a couple passes over the runway, then a final landing approach.

The idea here is that since you are doing this by yourself, take it slow and easy in baby steps. Keep the "control" in your radio control.