FAQ – beginner

This type of model is controlled by wire lines. The pilot stands in the centre of the control line circle and operates the model. The model stops when fuel runs out, a timer trips or it hits the ground.

When not treated with due respect and caution, any machine can be dangerous. You must always keep thinking “safety”. Our club has strict rules and regulations governing the flying of model aircraft at our flying sites. We comply with the rules and regulations of Model Flight New Zealand (MFNZ) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and are a sanctioned MFNZ club. Check the links page to visit the MFNZ website and to understand it’s function within the hobby.

Check out our ‘Wings’ training program viewable from the ‘Learning to Fly’ page. Another good tool is a flight simulator to practice on and to get a ‘feel’ for what it’s like to fly a model. Simulators include a number of built-in’ models and most include planes, helicopters and multi-rotors.

A flight simulator will cost around $200, but if you crash it won’t cost you any money, saving you plenty in the long run!

Model aircraft fly in the same way as full-size ones do. The big difference being that radio controlled models are controlled from the ground with a radio transmitter. Power can be by electric motor, 2-stroke or 4-stroke glow or gasoline engines, or in the case of an unpowered glider, by using gravity!

In the model is a radio receiver that receives instructions from the transmitter and in turn runs electric motors called servos. The servos move the control surfaces of the plane causing it to react to the pilot’s inputs from the transmitter on the ground.

We have members who built and fly ‘free flight’ and ‘control-line’ models and can arrange for you to chat to these members if you are interested in these model aeroplane categories.

A small number of lucky modellers have taught themselves how to fly remote control airplanes, but they are few and far between. More often than not, a novice pilot will crash and totally destroy his or her airplane without the assistance of an instructor and they won’t be able to recognize what went wrong. Many hours of work can be involved in the construction of a model and it will be lost in a moment of beginner’s indecision. A skilled flyer can help you get past the first critical test and trimming flights without damage to the airplane.

Part of the intrigue of radio control modelling is the construction of your own flying machine, either from a kit or from plans. Seeing your creation in the air adds to the enjoyment. There are, however, other ways of getting into the air. In the past few years, manufacturers have been selling ARF’s (Almost Ready to Fly) airplanes. They come complete with everything needed to get into the air,( a few manufactures include the radio and engine also). The major structures have already been built and finished and it only takes a few hours to put it together. The Quality and functionality of these models has gone up greatly in the past few years, while the price has come down.

Most of the kits available today can be built with little fuss. If you are capable of following instructions, you shouldn’t have any trouble at all. The instructions that come with the kit usually have pictures and diagrams showing you how the parts should go together. Modern model kits are precision cut (laser) and use the best materials. If you have questions about building a kit, there are many experienced model builders in the Club who would be more than happy to lend a hand.

ARF’s and PNF’s (Plug and Fly kits that have motors servos, and in the case of electric models speed controllers already installed) can be operational in just a few hours.

If building a kit or ARF the basic tools needed will include a flat building surface, hobby knife, pins, sandpaper and glue. As you progress in the hobby, you will acquire other tools that help you in your endeavours.

If assembling a PNF model plane little more than a screwdriver is required and quite often these are included with the model!

If assembling helicopters or multi-rotor craft you will also need a soldering iron and various sized screwdrivers and hexdrivers.

Their flying speeds can range from about 20 mph to over 200 mph for a gas turbine powered jet. The speed of an average sport model is between 20 and 50 mph.

A typical sport model or trainer can have about a five foot wingspan and weigh from four to eight pounds. There are single and multi-engine models that can have twelve foot wingspans and weigh twenty pounds or more.

That all depends on the student and how much time an individual can spend with the instructor. A good guide would be four to six months on the average. The more time a student can commit to training, the shorter the period before (he or she) can fly solo and receive their “wings”. Practising on a flight simulator will also help reduce the time frame.

First off, read the rest of the material included in the ‘Learning to Fly’ section of our website and if you would like to know more about joining the club email us on treasurer@wmac.org.nz or learningtofly@wmac.org.nz to contact us about receiving flying training. Alternatively, visit us at the field on a club flying day or come along to one of our club meetings. Refer to the ‘Introduction’ page in the ‘Learning to Fly’ section for more information about club flying days and club meetings.

A 10 channel radio with colour touch screen and turnigy’s own 2.4GHz AFHDS radio system.


I would not recommend buying one of these TGY-i10 radios. If I really needed more than 8 channels I’d go with the FrSky Taranis.

The TGY-i10 custom battery pack could be a problem in the future. No RF module capability is a major disadvantage if you want to use any other system.

Turnigy are not good at supporting technical ie. may require software upgrades and spare parts. I’ve seen some poorly designed Turnigy electronics. They have produced a number of open source products and not released enough information to make them useful or allow support. I suspect this radio will have a limited following and therefore limited support.

I don’t value a colour or touch screen. More gimmick than useful; just another point of failure out in the field. I don’t see the touch screen listed as a spare part.

On the other hand

The Turnigy 9XR-pro has a large following, communities that provide improved software and support, and cheap spare parts available. Hobbyking is just the hardware supplier, and at a good price.

The Taranis is the next step up, providing more channels, additional multi position switches (useful) and controls, and a few other features that improve convenience.

The only disadvantage of the 9XR-pro and Taranis is the programming. It requires quite a lot of patience and research, but this is also what makes them very capable transmitters.  There is PC software that can help with software updates, programming, simulation etc.

  • Fly below 400 feet (120 meters) AGL (above ground level)
  • Stay at least 4KM away from airports and airfields
  • Stay out of controlled air space (can be larger than 4KM from the airport)
  • Fly within unaided line of sight (no binoculars)
  • Fly only during daylight

Apply common sense – stay well clear of people and vehicles – you are responsible for injuries and damage caused.