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Old 04-01-2006, 02:37 AM   #1
AEAJR
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Cool Helping People Learn to Fly

Refill that coffee cup, this is a long one, but hopefully worth it.

Teaching Someone to Fly - Tools and Techniques
by Ed Anderson
AMA Introductory Pilot
aeajr on the forums

Help the new guys. Don't wait to be asked, go over and offer. Some people
are shy and most don't want to be a bother. I am asking you to go help the
new guys. They will be very grateful and you will make a new flying friend.
How bad could that be?

But what if you don't feel you know how to teach someone to fly. I can say
that I have seen some unselfish attempts go bad because the "teacher" didn't
really have any idea how to go about it. That was probably me, far too many
times.

But after a while, if teaching is something you like, you get
organized and start to understand what the new flyer needs. Here is what I
have developed over time. What method you use may be dictated by your
preference or it may be limited by the equipment and resources you have
available. I will share what I typically do. I invite others to share
their approaches and methods so that more people can feel comfortable
helping new pilots learn to fly.

This is being written with new parkflyer pilots in mind as that is where I
have spent most of my teaching time. Most of them have had 3 channel R/E/T
planes with high wings and electric motors. I have also helped a few pilots
with their first gliders. I don't teach glow or gas, so others will need to
fill into those gaps.

I hope this encourages you and gives you confidence to reach out and help
the new guys.

RTFM

I always encourage new pilots to read the manual or documentation that came
with their planes. This is especially true if they have a plane that I have
not handled before. The manuals always have good information and can provide
valuable reference material that can help the new pilot after they leave
your loving care.

If they have it with them I may take the time to go through it with them.
If they come to the field without their manual, I ask them to bring it the
next time. If they don't bring it again, I get annoyed.

By the third time, it shows up, and I go through it with them. So often they are
suffering with a question, and the answer is right there, in front of them.
I have no hesitation to ask them if they checked the manual. After a
while, they know the question is coming, and may come to me with the manual
in hand. I consider that a good sign.

I also direct them to these forums as a source of help. If they are
e-mail users I will e-mail them links to useful sites and sources. I
include a series of links at the end of this discussion.


Terms and Expressions

Throughout your lessons, review terms and expressions. This is a new field,
a new skill and it has new terms and expressions. Some of these have become
familiar to you, but your student will be confused. Review things at every
lesson.

For example, when you say "up" do you mean to push the stick up/forward or
do you mean to pull the stick back to raise the nose of the plane? Tell
them, show them, and explain what will happen on the plane when they do this
on the radio.

When you say left, do you mean the pilot's left, the plane's left ( which
might not be the pilot's left ) or something else? I emphasize that I
ALWAYS mean the plane's left. No matter which way the plane goes, left is
the plane's left. I talk about projecting myself into the pilot seat in the
plane. Once I have that in their minds, then left becomes left all the
time.

What does "give it some down" mean? How much and do they hold it there or
just tap it?

You get the idea.


Check List

I have created check lists that I often give to the students to help them
formalize their routine upon arrival at the field. Full scale pilots use
them, so why not us? If you would like a copy, just ask. I am more than
happy to share them.


Wind

We always launch and land into the wind. I make sure they have a ribbon on
their radio to help them become aware of the direction of the wind. The
wind can be your friend, or it can be your enemy, depending on how you treat
it. I need them to think about the wind.

Always encourage the new pilots to fly in calm air and try to teach in calm
to mild air. Under 5 mph is best. If they have a real floater, even 5 mph
may be too much. Planes like the Slow Stick or the Slo-V, for example, are
great trainers. However, in the hands of a new flyer, 5 mph is practically
a hurricane. Planes like the Aerobird Challenger, the T-Hawk, the Sky Fly
and similar planes can be flown it more wind, but still calm is best. Be
sensative to this and encourage them to wait for calm air if they plan to
practice on thier own. They probably won't listen, so you can plan on teaching
some repair techniques next time.


Frequency Control and Range Check

I want to be sure we have a clear channel, so we discuss frequency
control, setting or taking of pins and the like. If we turn the radio on to
check the surfaces, I don't want to bring another flyer down. I want to
instill this habit early and reinforce it often.

Then we review the radio to be sure we have a common understanding of its
parts and uses. Many new students do not understand the use of the trims,
so this is often a topic of extended discussion. If all this goes well, we
get ready to fly.

This is followed by a radio range check. A range check must be performed
before the first flight of every plane, every time they come to the field.
Often this is described in the manual. RTFM!


Checking the Plane

I examine the student's plane along with him or her to review the
parts of the plane to be sure we are using common terms. Then we check
alignment, balance and the setting of the surfaces. Anything that must be
adjusted or repaired becomes an important part of the flight lesson. This
usually leads to a discussion about what should be in the student's tool
box.


Test Flight

I then ask the student's permission to take the plane up for a test flight
to be sure that all is working well. If I can't fly it, they certainly
can't fly it. So many times, the first thing that I learn is that they feel
there is something wrong with the plane. If all checks out, and I can
easily fly and land it. There is no more question about where the problem
lies, and that is important. :o

I talk through the process of checking wind directionand that the take
off will be into the wind. We talk about preparing to hand launch or a rise
off ground take-off. We discuss preplanning the landing, landing into the
wind, as well as the landing pattern and the landing location.

On the climb out I discuss the importance of altitude. A plane belongs in
the air. My recommendation is that you should be above 50 feet when you are
new, about tree height where I live, unless you are preparing to land. Let's
call that one mistake high. I normally teach much higher than that, say
3 times that height, or 3 mistakes high. This makes some of them nervous.
This is something they must get past. Altitude is their friend and will
save their plane. Make them fly high.

During the flight I test the plane's glide and determine at what throttle
setting it will hold straight and level flight. Throughout the entire
procedure I am talking the new pilot through the flight to explain what I am
doing and why.


The Plane Knows How to Fly

At some point, if the plane is properly trimmed, I will set it on a straight
and level course, then hold my hands out wide to impress upon the student
that the plane will fly itself and that it is not necessary to manage and
correct every little movement of the plane. Assuming this is a trainer type
plane, I often put the plane into a gentle turn using the trims and let if
fly for 15 to 30 seconds with no contact with the sticks. This usually
reinforces the fact that we do not need to over control or over manage the
plane. It knows how to fly if we just leave it alone. I have been told by
my students that this demonstration was a real eye opener!

If it has a good glide, I will get the plane high, then turn the motor off
for an extended period of time to impress upon them that their plane can fly
without the motor. We discuss how it responds with the motor on and with it
off.


Landing

Finally I talk through landing procedures, the landing pattern, then I land
the plane. As we do not have a runway at our field, planes will be landed
on grass so we discuss how this individual plane will behave when it touches
the grass. Most will not roll out but will hang in the grass. So we
discuss whether to use landing gear or to remove it and belly land the
plane.

After that we prepare for a first flight together where the student will be
involved in flying the plane. Before we launch, I describe how the flight
will go and what the student will be expected to do and how we will work
together to keep the plane under control.

Normally I launch, reach altitude, get it going level and straight then get
them involved. After a time, I land the plane and we discuss the flight. On
each subsequent flight, if they progress, they take on more and more. I
have had pilots progress to take off and landing in as little as an hour.

I had a 7 year old who, after 20 minutes and two flights could
reliably manage a plane in the air after I got it to height. He flew and I
talked to his Dad, while I watched out of the corner of my eye. And, by
the way, he was flying MY plane. He was pretty good!

Gliding

We spend a fair amount of time gliding so that they do not panic if
the motor cuts out. I want them to understand how the plane's behavior will
change somewhat when the motor is off. There is less air over the surfaces,
so the plane will be slower to respond. Best to learn this under my
guidance than when they overfly the battery and suddenly have to land
without the motor. And, being a sailplane pilot myself, I may teach them to
thermal the plane.

That is about it. Anything beyond that is something
the student must request from me or other members of the club. Once they
can do this, they are solo.

My goal not to make them pattern flyers, it is to get them to the point
that they can launch, climb, fly, glide, keep the plane in front of them,
line up and land safely. I will probably teach them a loop and a tail
stall. Some people need two hours. Some take a whole season. Some give up
and buy an RC car.


SHARING CONTROL OF THE PLANE

I will touch on two methods I have used. I am sure there are others.

Perhaps others will add their own approaches, tools and reference material.
I hope this is helpful both for those who are teaching and those who are
learning.


HAND ON HAND/PASS THE RADIO

Many new flyers are starting on low cost RTF electrics. Many of these
planes fly very well and make good first planes. Unfortunately the radios
don't have trainer/buddy box ports so you can't connect them to a flight
simulator on the computer and you can't connect them to the instructor's
radio to use the buddy system for flying. More on flight simulators and the
buddy system later.

So how do you teach someone to fly without a buddy box?

I am sure there are many methods. Here is one that I have used with adults
and with children as young as 7 years old. Regardless of age or gender, I
follow the same approach.


Hand on Hand

I launch and climb to height. I pull back to about 1/2 to 2/3 throttle.
I get it level and stable and then we begin sharing the flying task.

For adults, I have them stand to my right, off my right shoulder. I have
them reach around my right side to put their right hand on top of mine.

For children and young teens, I will have them stand in front of me. I will
bring the radio in front of them and have them place their right hand on top
of mine. These are usually single stick radios with a slide or lever
throttle. I maintain throttle control to maintain height and have them feel
how my hand moves as I manage the plane. I point out the speed and length
of the motion. I point out when I am controlling and when I am not.

After a minute or two, if they seem to be comfortable, I have them put their
hand on the stick and mine goes on top. I am still in control but now they
feel the stick as we move it. Gentle movement and easy flying is the goal.
If all goes well, I invite them to start to take control.

Once they demonstrate that they can keep the plane level and under control,
I will slowly lift my hand till they have it. I continue to control the
throttle. For some this is a moment of great joy, some panic and some never
even realize I have pulled away.

When it is time to land, I take over and land the plane. Then we discuss
the flight. This is where they usually start to breath again.

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Old 04-01-2006, 02:37 AM   #2
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Pass the Radio

After 2-4 flights, typically, I can climb, level, set the throttle and then
pass them the radio. When it is time, I land. By the third flight I want
to start to teach them how to control altitude with the throttle rather than
the elevator. For many this is easy and for some it is very hard. Unless
we are doing stunts, I teach very gentle use of the elevator except to
recover from mistakes.

Recognizing and recovering from stalls is next. What is a stall, why the
plane stalls and how to handle a stall becomes a key lesson. Many have
trouble with this, but many get it quickly.

These are light planes and a head wind can push the nose up leading to a
stall. This can often be followed by too much up trying to recover, leading
to a worse stall. I try to teach them to be proactive in this situation
and not wait for the plane to stall. The phrase I use is "push to level"
if the nose comes up too much and a stall in imminent. If they do stall, to
use a little down elevator, gain some speed, then "pull to level". I don't
want them depending on the throttle to handle stalls.

Most of the trainers will recover nicely if you let them. So, if they get
into trouble, I teach them to pull back on the throttle and center the stick
to give the plane a chance to recover. In most cases the planes will
recover and they can resume flying. But if the plane is going to crash, cut
the power, Cut the Power, CUT THE POWER!

They can reduce the damage of the crash by about 75% if they hit with the
motor off. For most foam or plastic planes, this is enough to avoid
extensive damage or the need for extensive repairs. This is a good place to
discuss tape and epoxy. For balsa planes or Elapor planes, if something
breaks, we learn about CA.

From this point on we pass the radio as needed. I try to stay close, but
more and more I want them to recover from the bad situation. Mostly I have
to help them if they have trouble keeping the plane up wind. If the plane
gets down wind, then I may ask for the radio to get the plane back over the
field. No need to teach them about searching for a plane in the woods.
That lesson will come on its own.

Take offs are usually hand launch and landings are usually glides or 1/4
throttle affairs into a belly landing as we have no runway. Loops and
tail stalls are the last thing, then they are on their own. For some, this
whole process is two hours. For others it takes a few more sessions.

I try to have a lesson that lasts at least two hours and I have done 4 hour
sessions. In 30 minutes to 1 hour, too little is retained and too little
gets practiced. My goal, and frankly my joy, is to get them flying on their
own. For that they need supervised stick time. With two hours, two
chargers, theirs and mine, and at least 3 battery packs, sometimes also
mine, we can get in a lot of flying. I have had students go totally solo in
two hours. It is rare, but it does happen.

These three channel, high wing planes are pretty easy to fly. If it is a
pusher design, they can take some pretty serious hits without going to the
building table. These quick learners just need a little guidance. They
pick it up quickly and can then go off on their own to practice. We will
usually meet again and again at the field and I am always available for
help.

However most need more than one session and some still need help after five
sessions. That's OK, but at some point either they will get it or I will
try to hook them up with another instructor. Sometimes it is not the student
but the teacher that needs changing. That's OK with me. Not everyone can
work with me or my style and another coach is really the best thing I can do
for them. Usually I put this in the context of "being ready for more
advance lessons". I want them to see this as graduation, not rejection.


THE BUDDY BOX

Probably one of the greatest developments for teaching new flyers is the
buddy box system. I am only going to touch on the difference from this to
the method above. The lesson content is the same.

This is a method by which the instructor's radio is
connected to the student's radio. In typical fashion, the instructor will
take off and get the plane to height. Once the plane is stable, the
instructor flips a switch or holds a button and the student's radio now has
control of the plane. If the student gets in trouble, the instructor
releases the switch and takes control of the plane.

The advantage of this method is that the student can actually fly their
plane with a real radio under real conditions and the instructor has the
opportunity to save the plane, thus avoiding crashes. This is a very
effective tool and is commonly used as part of club training programs.

Typically it is best to have the instructor's and student's radio be of the
same brand. This way you can use a buddy cord/trainer cord that is
defiantly compatible between the two radios. However there are combinations
of brands that will work, if you use the right cord. For example, Futaba
and Hitec radios can generally be used in combination, if you use the right
cords. I have seen Futaba/JR cords as well. Whatever you use, be sure that
it is approved by the radio makers, otherwise you risk damaging the radios.
If you have a buddy/trainer port on your radio, the manual probably lists
approved cords.

There are also dedicated buddy boxes. These are not operational radios, but
rather shells of radios. Their sole function is to be the second control. Using one
of these the student will often retain the radio and the buddy box so they can
present it to whichever instructor is available.

If you are adventurous and willing to explore the make up of buddy cords,
this is a resource I have seen many people reference:
http://users.belgacom.net/TX2TX/somr-gb.htm

This FAQ from Futaba may be helpful in learning more about the buddy box
approach to flying.
http://www.futaba-rc.com/faq/faq-training.html

I am not going to go into an further detail on the buddy boxes and training
methods as I have rarely used this method. The reason is that most of my
students don't have radios that were capable of using this method. So we
had to use the hand on hand and pass the radio method above.


THE FLIGHT SIMULATOR

A flight simulator, running on a personal computer, controlled by the
student's actual radio system has go to be one of the best aids available for
learning to fly. It is not a teaching method in and of itself, but it is a
great practice tool. It allows the new pilot to get a feel for the radio
and to begin to establish the hand/eye coordination needed to fly an RC
plane. I am not going to go into flight sims except to
encourage all new pilots and trainers to get a flight simulator and use it
as part of your learning/teaching process.

Here is a thread on getting started with FMS, a free flight simulator:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3893

In Conclusion

So, broadly speaking, that is the approach I use. There is a lot more
content that is shared with the student, that is not my point. The approach
and methods are what I was trying to share. But, of course, your mileage
will vary. Whatever you do, please take time to help the new pilots. Offer
your time and your good council. You will enjoy the experience and make a
new friend in the process. So, what could be so bad about that?

Clear skies and safe flying!



Resources:

6 keys to Success for New Flyers
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18

Tips for instructors
http://www.palosrc.com/index.php?opt...d=41&Itemid=50

Suggested steps to be taught
http://www.arcconline.com/flight-instruction3.htm


Flight Schools
http://www.rockcityrcflyingschool.com/


BOOKS

Basic Flight Instruction Book
By: Andrew S. Rosz
http://www.radiocontrolmodelaircraft.com/bfibook/bfibd.htm

Long Island Silent Flyers
www.lisf.org
Eastern Soaring League
www.flyesl.org
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Old 04-01-2006, 03:24 AM   #3
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Excellent info Ed. I need to figure out where we might put this as an faq/sticky or something.

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Old 04-01-2006, 03:50 AM   #4
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Why not another forum. Call it something like tutorials, feed your brain, or some such. Lock the forum. Add to the forum as you see fit when good how-to, tutorial or tips are posted to their relevant original forum?

Or you could make them stickies in the beginner's forum.

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Old 04-01-2006, 04:00 AM   #5
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Personally, I think you shoul remove all the stickies from the Beginners forum and create a bunch of articles on different "How to fly" topics.

For some reason, people just skip right over stickies, but articles seem a little more special.

"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."

-Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo
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Old 04-01-2006, 04:21 AM   #6
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Maybe what twmaster suggests is a good easy way to do this. A single forum loaded with FAQ's, how to's, etc. Locked up. The only way info gets in there is by a mod/admin moving it there. once in there only the original poster can update it and reply to it. Good?

within that forum I could even make subforums (i.e. Beginner FAQ's, Motor FAQ's, etc)

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Old 04-01-2006, 04:43 AM   #7
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Now if you can just get people to actually read stuff like that -before- they go off and post simple questions that the FAQ/Tutorials etc cover...

Perhaps you could call the forum something like Newbie central, or begin here, etc. yadda yadda yadda.

I'll shut up now.

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Old 04-01-2006, 10:40 AM   #8
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I think Sticky threads are good. People don't go off to the FAQ section just as they don't go off to the manual. If it is that valuable, then it needs to be in their face.

Admin, if you think it deserves to be sticky, make it so and I would suggest you leave it in this section, at least for now. Let's see what the response is.

There are plenty of stickies in the beginner forum. My goal here is to catch the experienced flyers and encourage and help them reach out to the new guys. Only the ones who are actually looking for help in being an instructor will visit the FAQ.

That is why I put it here. I ask you to leave it here a while and watch.

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Old 04-01-2006, 03:19 PM   #9
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Stuck!
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Old 04-02-2006, 06:45 AM   #10
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Great useful info for newcomers.

Glad you made it a sticky!
 
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:50 PM   #11
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Thumbs up Great info

Ed,

As I stated on the "other" site, excellent information! This should be the first thread every newbie reads when they want to learn RC flight.

Keep up the excellent work.

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Old 04-13-2006, 01:07 AM   #12
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Yes, I suppose reading how one would teach would be helpful to one who is learning. Good point!

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Old 05-02-2006, 06:05 PM   #13
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I guess there is a difference between "teaching" and "introducing" r/c. When I lived in town, I introduced a LOT of people to r/c with my own model; the Dragonfly, a Tex Newman( I think?) design. 6' span, looks just like a big f/f rubber job, mine used a 1cc diesel for power, 2 channels. I let anyone who wanted fly the thing, and many came off the Dragonfly to master their own aircraft with no further instruction from me!
Once I was letting a guy put in some stick time, and turned to answer a question; a nervous voice said "something's wrong", and I turned back to see the Dragonfly in a near-vertical dive (which was ~16mph). I said, "let go the sticks", which he did, model pulled out, and kept flying... "Oh, you pull BACK for up elevator..." and he had no more problems. It flies slow enough so that the student NEVER finds himself "behind", or in trouble that isn't cured easily.

I have an electric-powered one nearly ready to go, and I expect no difference in performance. Plans should be available from Bill Northrop Plan Service, of Model Builder fame...
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:31 PM   #14
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Something I believe that has been missed is there are two types of pilots/trainees. Ernie Huber (helicopter fame) and myself have gone over this and he came up the two types.
The first student is called a "sticker", and the second is called a "freezer". A sticker student usually takes a while to react to the situation and but when he does, it's usually a "big stick movement" in the "wrong" direction.
This is very hard for the instruction to overcome, until he realizes what the student is doing.

The freezer is named exactly for what he does..... nothing. He will just "freeze" and watch the model hit the ground.

Of course they are other types of students, but these two are very well defined, and require the instructor to find out in a hurry.

Ask the old guy how to fly the plane....... He's still alive!!
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Old 05-04-2006, 01:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
Refill that coffee cup, this is a long one, but hopefully worth it.

Teaching Someone to Fly - Tools and Techniques
by Ed Anderson
AMA Introductory Pilot
aeajr on the forums

Help the new guys. Don't wait to be asked, go over and offer. Some people
are shy and most don't want to be a bother. I am asking you to go help the
new guys. They will be very grateful and you will make a new flying friend.
How bad could that be?

But what if you don't feel you know how to teach someone to fly. I can say
that I have seen some unselfish attempts go bad because the "teacher" didn't
really have any idea how to go about it. That was probably me, far too many
times. But after a while, if teaching is something you like, you get
organized and start to understand what the new flyer needs. Here is what I
have developed over time. What method you use may be dictated by your
preference or it may be limited by the equipment and resources you have
available. I will share what I typically do. I invite others to share
their approaches and methods so that more people can feel comfortable
helping new pilots learn to fly.

This is being written with new parkflyer pilots in mind as that is where I
have spent most of my teaching time. Most of them have had 3 channel R/E/T
planes with high wings and electric motors. I have also helped a few pilots
with their first gliders. I don't teach glow or gas, so others will need to
fill into those gaps.

I hope this encourages you and gives you confidence to reach out and help
the new guys.

RTFM

I always encourage new pilots to read the manual or documentation that came
with their planes. This is especially true if they have a plane that I have
not handled before. The manual always have good information and can provide
valuable reference material that can help the new pilot after they leave
your loving care.

If they have it with them I may take the time to go through it with them.
If they come to the field without their manual, I ask them to bring it the
next time. If they don't bring it again, I get annoyed. Usually by the
third time, it shows up, and I go through it with them. So often they are
suffering with a question, and the answer is right there, in front of them.
I have not hesitation to ask them if they checked the manual. After a
while, they know the question is coming, and may come to me with the manual
in hand. I consider that a good sign.

I also direct them to these forums as a source of help. If they are
e-mail users I will e-mail them links to useful sites and sources. I
include a series of links at the end of this discussion.


Terms and Expressions

Throughout your lessons, review terms and expressions. This is a new field,
a new skill and it has new terms and expressions. Some of these have become
familiar to you, but your student will be confused. Review things at every
lesson.

For example, when you say "up" do you mean to push the stick up/forward or
do you mean to pull the stick back to raise the nose of the plane? Tell
them, show them, and explain what will happen on the plane when they do this
on the radio.

When you say left, do you mean the pilot's left, the planes's left ( which
might now be the pilot's left ) or something else? I emphasize that I
ALWAYS mean the plane's left. No matter which way the plane goes, left is
the plane's left. I talk about projecting myself into the pilot seat in the
plane. Once I have that in their minds, then left becomes left all the
time.

What does "give it some down" mean? How much and do they hold it there or
just tap it?

You get the idea.


Check List

I have created check lists that I often give to the students to help them
formalize their routine upon arrival at the field. Full scale pilots use
them, so why not us? If you would like a copy, just ask. I am more than
happy to share them.


Wind

We always launch and land into the wind. I make sure they have a ribbon on
their radio to help them become aware of the direction of the wind. The
wind can be your friend, or it can be your enemy, depending on how you treat
it. I need them to think about the wind.

Always encourage the new pilots to fly in calm air and try to teach in calm
to mild air. Under 5 mph is best. If they have a real floater, even 5 mph
may be too much. Planes like the Slow Stick or the Slo-V, for example, are
great trainers. However, in the hands of a new flyer, 5 mph is practically
a hurricane. Planes like the Aerobird Challenger, the T-Hawk, the Sky Fly
and similar planes can be flown it more wind, but still calm is best. Be
sensative to this and encourage them to wait for calm air if they plan to
practice on thier own. They probably won't, so you can plan on teaching
some repair techniques next time.


Frequency Control and Range Check

I want to be sure we have a clear channel, so we discuss frequency
control, setting or taking of pins and the like. If we turn the radio on to
check the surfaces, I don't want to bring another flyer down. I want to
instill this habit early and reinforce it often.

Then we review the radio to be sure we have a common understanding of its
parts and uses. Many new students do not understand the use of the trims,
so this is often a topic of extended discussion. If all this goes well, we
get ready to fly.

This is followed by a radio range check. A range check must be performed
before the first flight of every plane, every time they come to the field.
Often this is described in the manual. RTFM!


Checking the Plane

I examine the student's plane along with him or her to review the
parts of the plane to be sure we are using common terms. Then we check
alignment, balance and the setting of the surfaces. Anything that must be
adjusted or repaired becomes an important part of the flight lesson. This
usually leads to a discussion about what should be in the student's tool
box.


Test Flight

I then ask the student's permission to take the plane up for a test flight
to be sure that all is working well. If I can't fly it, they certainly
can't fly it. So many times, the first thing that I learn is that they feel
there is something wrong with the plane. If all checks out, and I can
easily fly and land it. There is no more question about where the problem
lies, and that is important. :o

I talk through the process of checking wind direction to that take
off will be into the wind. We talk about preparing to hand launch or a rise
off ground take-off. We discuss preplanning the landing, landing into the
wind, as well as the landing pattern and the landing location.

On the climb out I discuss the importance of altitude. A plane belongs in
the air. My recommendation is that you should be above 50 feet when you are
new, about tree height where I live, unless you are preparing to land. Let's
call that one mistake high. I am normally teach much higher than that, say
3 times that height, or 3 mistakes high. This make some of them nervous.
This is something they must get past. Altitude is their friend and will
save their plane. Make them fly high.

During the flight I test the plane's glide and determine at what throttle
setting it will hold straight and level flight. Throughout the entire
procedure I am talking the new pilot through the flight to explain what I am
doing and why.


The Plane Knows How to Fly

At some point, if the plane is properly trimmed, I will set it on a straight
and level course, then hold my hands out wide to impress upon the student
that the plane will fly itself and that it is not necessary to manage and
correct every little movement of the plane. Assuming this is a trainer type
plane, I often put the plane into a gentle turn using the trims and let if
fly for 15 to 30 seconds with no contact with the sticks. This usually
reinforces the fact that we do not need to over control or over manage the
plane. It knows how to fly if we just leave it alone. I have been told by
my students that this demonstration was a real eye opener!

If it has a good glide, I will get the plane high, then turn the motor off
for an extended period of time to impress upon them that their plane can fly
without the motor. We discuss how it responds with the motor on and with it
off.


Landing

Finally I talk through landing procedures, the landing pattern, then I land
the plane. As we do not have a runway at our field,, planes will be landed
on grass so we discuss how this individual plane will behave when it touches
the grass. Most will not roll out but will hang in the grass. So we
discuss whether to use landing gear or to remove it and belly land the
plane.

After that we prepare for a first flight together where the student will be
involved in flying the plane. Before we launch, I describe how the flight
will go and what the student will be expected to do and how we will work
together to keep the plane under control.

Normally I launch, reach altitude, get it going level and straight then get
them involved. After a time, I land the plane and we discuss the flight. On
each subsequent flight, if they progress, they take on more and more. I
have had pilots progress to take off and landing in as little as an hour. I
had a 7 year old who, after 20 minutes and two flights this chid could
reliably manage a plane in the air after I got it to height. He flew and I
talked to his Dad, while I watched out of the corner of my eye. And, by
the way, he was flying MY plane. He was pretty good!

Gliding

We spend a fair amount of time gliding so that they do not panic if
the motor cuts out. I want them to understand how the plane's behavior will
change somewhat when the motor is off. There is less air over the surfaces,
so the plane will be slower to respond. Best to learn this under my
guidance than when they overfly the battery and suddenly have to land
without the motor. And, being a sailplane pilot myself, I may teach them to
thermal the plane.

That is about it. Anything beyond that is something
the student must request from me or other members of the club. Once they
can do this, they are solo.

My goal is not to make them pattern flyers. It is to get them to the point
that they can launch, climb, fly, glide, keep the plane in front of them,
line up and land safely. I will probably teach them a loop and a tail
stall. Some people need two hours. Some take a whole season. Some give up
and buy an RC car.


SHARING CONTROL OF THE PLANE

I will touch on two methods I have used. I am sure there are others.

Perhaps others will add their own approaches, tools and reference material.
I hope this is helpful both for those who are teaching and those who are
learning.


HAND ON HAND/PASS THE RADIO

Many new flyers are starting on low cost RTF electrics. Many of these
planes fly very well and make good first planes. Unfortunately the radios
don't have trainer/buddy box ports so you can't connect them to a flight
simulator on the computer and you can't connect them to the instructor's
radio to use the buddy system for flying. More on flight simulators and the
buddy system later.

So how do you teach someone to fly without a buddy box?

I am sure there are many methods. Here is one that I have used with adults
and with children as young as 7 years old. Regardless of age or gender, I
follow the same approach.


Hand on Hand

I launch and climb to height. I pull back to about 1/2 to 2/3 throttle.
I get it level and stable and then we begin sharing the flying task.

For adults, I have them stand to my right, off my right shoulder. I have
them reach around my right side to put their right hand on top of mine.

For children and young teens, I will have them stand in front of me. I will
bring the radio in front of them and have them place their right hand on top
of mine. These are usually single stick radios with a slide or lever
throttle. I maintain throttle control to maintain height and have them feel
how my hand moves as I manage the plane. I point out the speed and length
of the motion. I point out when I am controlling and when I am not.

After a minute or two, if they seem to be comfortable, I have them put their
hand on the stick and mine goes on top. I am still in control but now they
feel the stick as we move it. Gentle movement and easy flying is the goal.
If all goes well, I invite them to start to take control.

Once they demonstrate that they can keep the plane level and under control,
I will slowly lift my hand till they have it. I continue to control the
throttle. For some this is a moment of great joy, some panic and some never
even realize I have pulled away.

When it is time to land, I take over and land the plane. Then we discuss
the flight. This is where they usually start to breath again.
I have gone to my local club, and talk about being an out cast is putting it mild. I try to ask question's, but no one seem's to have the time. I thought about joining, and all they said was how much it would cost (which is no problem). But no one offer's to help, so screw it, I am flying it cost me a few buck's more, in part's but I did learn! Now I am on to heli's.
Enough of me but I am happy some one like you is out there for other's. I hope other's will read this and give a small hand!

Later Bry
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Old 05-04-2006, 02:33 AM   #16
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Thanks Bry. Glad to help any time!

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Old 05-04-2006, 05:24 AM   #17
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Bry,

It is possible that they didn't want to invest too much time in you if you weren't going to be around. Sadly, the only way to find out is to join.

"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."

-Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:20 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by bry2254 View Post
I have gone to my local club, and talk about being an out cast is putting it mild. I try to ask question's, but no one seem's to have the time. I thought about joining, and all they said was how much it would cost (which is no problem). But no one offer's to help, so screw it, I am flying it cost me a few buck's more, in part's but I did learn! Now I am on to heli's.
Enough of me but I am happy some one like you is out there for other's. I hope other's will read this and give a small hand!

Later Bry
Bry,

You can't be an outcast if you are not in the club.

They are not YOUR local club unless you are a member. Until you join the club you ARE on the outside. The club is there to help club members. If you are not a member, why would you expect them to help you?

Some clubs, ours for example, have members who will help non-members for a VERY short time. I am one of those people. It is my experience that people are more likely to join if you reach out to them. But not everyone is so generous with their time.

Even I will only provide a few tips, a little advice, etc. I might give a guy an hour of flying lessons, IF I like him. But if you ain't joining, don't expect me to focus on you. I, and the other club members are focused on club members, not anyone who wanders in off the street.

As an outsider, which is what you are now, what do you expect from the club?

As a club member, what is it you would expect from the club? What is it you want from them?

If you are not on the team, don't expect the team to support you.

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Old 05-04-2006, 03:08 PM   #19
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To expand a bit on what Ed said, a club should offer just enough help to make it clear that they are worth joining. It should also be obvious that they help each other.

Membership to my local club was only $35, plus $60 or whatever that AMA gets. That is the cost of one good ARF kit, and you don't even have to buy electronics.

However, if you sense that they are not your type of people, don't join. There are a a lot of clubs around, unless you're in the sticks.

"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."

-Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

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Old 05-04-2006, 04:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
If you are not a member, why would you expect them to help you?
Is this a question to the postee, or is this a statement as in; "Why would you expect them to help you, they don't owe you the time of day!!"

There a world of difference between the two.........

Ask the old guy how to fly the plane....... He's still alive!!
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Old 05-05-2006, 01:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
Bry,

You can't be an outcast if you are not in the club.

They are not YOUR local club unless you are a member. Until you join the club you ARE on the outside. The club is there to help club members. If you are not a member, why would you expect them to help you?

Some clubs, ours for example, have members who will help non-members for a VERY short time. I am one of those people. It is my experience that people are more likely to join if you reach out to them. But not everyone is so generous with their time.

Even I will only provide a few tips, a little advice, etc. I might give a guy an hour of flying lessons, IF I like him. But if you ain't joining, don't expect me to focus on you. I, and the other club members are focused on club members, not anyone who wanders in off the street.

As an outsider, which is what you are now, what do you expect from the club?

As a club member, what is it you would expect from the club? What is it you want from them?

If you are not on the team, don't expect the team to support you.
Maybe some one to just say hi, bull for a couple minute's, not much more than that!
P.S. The team does not get better with out new blood ! New blood is alway's a plus, and usually with a lot of interest, or they would not be out at the flying field trying to fit in.
Later & Thank's Bry
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Old 05-05-2006, 01:54 AM   #22
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Smile Thank's to all

I guess it was just my experience, sorry to open a can of worm's and make any one angry. It was just my experience, let's just let it rest and move on.
I like this forum, and would like to keep in good standing's.
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Old 05-07-2006, 03:49 AM   #23
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Default New guy on the block.

Just registered ten minutes ago. Flew glo 15 years ago and am just now getting back to flying. I decided to go with electrics but really know nothing. I've done some reading in Quiet Flyer and on the Internet just to find out I really don't know anything. I'll start with a couple of easy question. I hope the answers are easy too.
1) What do I look for when matching a motor with the ESC with the battery (Li Poly only)?
2) If a plane will run on 3S Li Polys, is it a simple matter to put 3S2P Li Polys in to get more flying time?
3) What source is good for learning about Watts, Volts, and Amps, their relation to each other. Increasing one will do what. Too much of something will do what, etc?
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Old 05-07-2006, 04:36 AM   #24
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Rogman: Go to the Beginner's forum here and read the stickies at the top. Ed's done a pretty good job of putting things together.

"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."

-Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

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Old 05-07-2006, 05:53 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Rogman View Post
Just registered ten minutes ago. Flew glo 15 years ago and am just now getting back to flying. I decided to go with electrics but really know nothing. I've done some reading in Quiet Flyer and on the Internet just to find out I really don't know anything. I'll start with a couple of easy question. I hope the answers are easy too.
1) What do I look for when matching a motor with the ESC with the battery (Li Poly only)?
2) If a plane will run on 3S Li Polys, is it a simple matter to put 3S2P Li Polys in to get more flying time?
3) What source is good for learning about Watts, Volts, and Amps, their relation to each other. Increasing one will do what. Too much of something will do what, etc?
Welcome to electric flight.

1) Look to the directions that come with the kit/ARF for recommendations on the motor. The motor may come with the plane.

2) You can go 3S2P or you can go for a bigger 3S1P depending on weight, shape, etc.

3) As suggested by a Jeremy Z, visit the beginner forum and this forum and read the sticky threads. You will find all kinds of helpful info including info about volts, watts, etc.

Electrics are simple if you follow the directions and the mfg recommendations. It can get a bit tricky when you decide to strike out on your own to figure things out.

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