It is very important to begin with a suitable model, and anyone wanting to join the hobby is highly recommended to visit one of the club flying sites, to see and learn what activity suits them best before buying. Members who have learned to fly can often be persuaded to sell on their first model at a knock down price, which offers a significant benefit to the beginner in getting a suitable model to learn with, for a low initial investment.
A typical fixed wing aircraft model suitable for the beginner will have a high wing, low stall speed and have stability designed in. Electric powered models also frequently have pilot assist systems for absolute beginners, which can be reduced in steps to help the trainee pilot advance with confidence.
Like most things, to watch an accomplished RC Pilot put a model through its paces makes flying look very easy.
Unfortunately for the beginner holding a transmitter for the first time it can seem daunting, everything seems to happen very quickly, and most times the model ends up heading for the ground for no apparent reason.
To assist the beginner in getting experience and confidence, the club operates an instructor system.
The beginner can schedule a meeting with our instructor, and bring along his model and radio transmitter.
Note. Most instructors carry Spektrum radios that can be operated with a wired, or wireless buddy system. This means the instructor and student each have a radio transmitter bound to the students’ model. The instructor can take control of the model, or hand control back to the student with the press of a switch.
the instructor will brief the student, and begins by checking the model over completely including the position of the centre of gravity, then sorting out any problems, installing the battery and running up the engine (with an internal combustion engine, he will tune it), and if all is well, he will make the initial test flight of the model.
After landing and resolving any problems which may be evident, the model is fitted with a new battery or refuelled, then flown by the instructor to a safe height, and control is handed over to the student, should the student get into trouble the instructor will take back control and recover the model.
This process continues until the student attains good control over the model in the air, they then progress onto landings and finally take offs. This can take weeks or years depending on the individual, amount of flying, weather etc. There is no charge for instruction the only condition being membership of the club.
This system works quite well and in fact the club does not permit beginners and novices to attempt to fly on their own, until they have attained a certain standard of competency and passed a basic flight test known as the M.A.C.I. ‘A’ Cert. (M.A.C.I = Model Aeronautics Council of Ireland, the national body to which Cork Model Aero Club are affiliated).
The reasons for this are two fold, firstly a model aeroplane in inexperienced hands can be dangerous so the primary reason is safety, secondly, it is surprising how many prospective modellers lose interest with the hobby because of the frustration of crashing model after model as they attempt to fly them on their own.
Many novices think they can ‘go it alone’ but this nearly always results in damage to, or the destruction of the model, a lot of frustration and an expensive introduction to aeromodelling.
After succeeding with the basic flight test, it is possible to move onto the M.A.C.I. ‘B’ cert. standard through a more complex flight test. Attaining the ‘B’ cert. standard entitles the pilot to fly at public displays given by the club.
After pilots have mastered their fixed wing skills, they may choose to move on to model helicopters (which are much harder to fly successfully than fixed-wing model aircraft).
A separate set of skills and training program is required for racing quadcopters, and many Cork Model Aero Club members begin directly with this type of aircraft. The club operate a dedicated training and safety assessment for members wishing to fly this type of aerial vehicle in competition.