Once you have purchased and put together your first RC airplane, you are probably eager to start flying it. Before you head outside, you should learn a few basic things about flying the plane. Taking the time to find out about these basics is important because it can reduce the number of times you crash, which means that your plane will spend more time in the air.
One of the first things you need to look at is the weight and balance of the RC airplane. Chances are that if you followed the directions given to you by the manufacturer, the weight and balance will be fine, but you should still double check the plane's balance. Doing this is important because an out-of-balance plane will be more likely to crash and more difficult to control. To test your RC airplane's center of gravity, you should place the tips of your index fingers underneath the wings where the manufacturer states the center of gravity should be. If the plane is balanced correctly, the nose will either be level or slightly pointed down. If the tail is pointing down, the balance is off, and you'll need to move the motor forward until the plane is balanced.
Before launching your plane in the air, you will want to complete a pre-flight checklist. Always take the time to do a thorough check because missing even the smallest thing can cause problems while flying your RC airplane. Most planes come with a list of things to check before flying them, so be sure to check the instruction manual. You will want to begin by checking the wings and tail to make sure that they are securely fastened to the body of the plane, and check for any loose components inside the plane. Next, you will want to look at the motor operation as well as the control surfaces to ensure that everything is in working order and moving freely. The last thing is the range check, which will tell you whether the plane is responding properly to the transmitter.
Finally, before putting your plane in the air, you will want to perform a test glide, which needs to be done over an area with a soft landing spot in case something goes wrong. While many people don’t think it’s important, doing a test glide will help you get an idea of what your plane will do if the motor quits during the flight. To perform a test glide, you will need to launch the RC airplane from your hand, making sure to launch it from a level position because launching it upward can cause it to stall or crash. After flying the RC airplane, you will want to land the plane by letting it glide to a stop, using only the rudders to control its direction.
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