Welcome to the fascinating world of radio controlled model aircraft. These are flying models and in some instances are scale replicas of the full-size aircraft. In the case of planes, they are generally constructed from a very light wood known as Balsa wood although other materials such as plywood, fibreglass and expanded polystyrene are also used. Helicopters, being more mechanical are generally constructed from metal, fibreglass and plastic.
The models are powered by small internal combustion engines or electric motors. All models are controlled from the ground by the pilot by means of a radio link to the aircraft. When starting in the hobby it is essential to get the right aircraft and there are a large number of trainer models to choose from. Some come in kit form and require building while others come almost ready to fly (ARTF).
The other essential is an engine and generally speaking a good 40-size engine (0.40 cubic inch) is more than enough for most trainers. The engine size is usually stated in the instructions for each model and in any event, advice can be given at a hobby shop or by Club members. Depending on the model an electric motor may be an option to power the model.
Then there is the question of Radio equipment and again here the Hobby shop or Club members can advise. These days radio gear generally comes as just a transmitter or transmitter/receiver combo with a rechargeable battery and charger.
There is a requirement for Insurance cover, which is provided by M.A.C.I. and arranged by the club.
Certificate Achievement Scheme