First Lesson

Your first lesson will probably consist of the instructor making the first flight of your model to see if everything is working and making the necessary trim adjustments. Then, one of the first things you will learn is “straight and level”. This is just a matter of being able to fly in a straight line and holding your altitude. As you progress you will be making turns at each end of the field to form a kind of racetrack pattern. Adding turns adds complexity and introduces the need to control the model as it comes toward you. Some people have more trouble than others with this left-right problem. A couple exercises you can do to overcome this problem is:

1. Have your model roll down a driveway while you face it at the bottom of the driveway. This will simulate a model coming toward you in the air.

2. Taxi back and forth on the runway at the model field simulating the race track pattern you would be making in the air.
Another technique to help this problem while your flying is to turn your back to the model and look over your shoulder when it starts flying towards you. This maintains the normal left-right perspective that you have when the model is flying away from you.

Yet another effective technique is to “talk to your hands”. Sounds crazy but it works. Why — When you just look at a model coming toward you and you just react to what you see, often times, if you have a left-right problem, you will react just the opposite of what is correct because of the pressure of having to make a control input immediately without having time for your mind to process the “reverse sensing” phenomenon that is occurring. However, if while your looking at the model coming toward you, you “tell your hand” (in other words establish a connection between your mind and your hand) to turn left or right based on what you see the model needs, you will make the correct input. Why? Because. If you and I go out to the flight line and watch a model coming at us and it is turning away from the desired track, you would be able to tell me instantly which direction the pilot would need to turn the model to keep it coming straight down the centerline of the runway. So, if you can tell a person standing next to you what direction a model needs to turn when your not flying, guess what, you can talk to your hands or your thumbs and tell them what direction to turn “while you are flying” IF you establish this connection between your mind and your hands. Think of this talking exercise as a must for maintaining this important connection. 

After “straight and level” and making a “race track pattern” the next thing the instructor might have you practice is a “figure eight”. This maneuver has you make the figure “8” in the sky thereby requiring you to make a left turn at one end of the maneuver and a right turn at the other end. Believe it or not, it is difficult at first to make right turns, if all you have been doing is making left turns.

During all these maneuvers the instructor is trying to get you to the point that you can make the airplane do what 
you want it to do. Its important that you are able to, 1. maintain altitude, 2. make precise left and right turns, 3. climb and descend, 4. correct for crosswinds and 5. fly the segments of the traffic pattern with precision. The whole idea is that you must be “controlling the model not the model controlling you”

Other areas of emphasis will be safety issues. These include:
1. having the frequency pin,
2. not flying over or behind the pits,
3. takeoff and landing etiquette,
4. not flying alone unless you “have been soloed” by an instructor and taxiing beyond the kill line with the motor running.