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Learn To Fly

Over the years many people have been interested in flying Radio Controlled planes and helicopters only to have that interest smashed when they crash on the first flight attempt. Unfortunately the old adage of “what goes up must come down” comes into play in a big way here. While there are the rare few out there that are born naturals who can fly a plane/helicopter without instruction, the vast majority of people who try to learn to fly on their own usually wind up learning to repair more than learning to fly. And this can be very discouraging to most people and they just give up. So that’s where a club and an instructor come into play. Here at LAFFS we utilize a buddy box setup to instruct new students to fly. With the buddy box the instructor has the “real” radio in his hands while the student has a “dummy” box in his, with both boxes connected by a cord. To allow the student to fly the instructor must press a button or switch in order for the student to have control of the plane/heli. When the student gets into trouble the instructor simply releases the button and once again has control of the airplane, thus saving it from crashing. By using this system the student can advance through flight training without the worry of having their plane/heli crash, which makes the entire learning process much more enjoyable. Take a look at our FAQ below to answer more of the questions you may have about learning to fly.


LAFFS Airplane Instructors LAFFS Helicopter Instructors
Ken Isaac – (580)536-1603
Ron Hipp – (580)351-4268
Bob McFadden – (580)481-0127


RC Flight Instruction FAQ

What will I need to get started?
The most important thing you are going to need is your plane or helicopter. There are many planes and helis on the market designed specifically for beginners to learn to fly with. They are usually designed to be more stable and easier to fly than more advanced planes. If you are unsure about what to get it would be best to simply hold off on your purchase until you can consult with one of our instructors. They are more than happy to take the time to get you into a trainer package to get you started with. But if you already have a trainer that doesn’t mean you will have to get something else. If you already have a trainer our instructors will work with you on the trainer you have.

In addition you will need to purchase fuel, a way to transfer the fuel to your plane, and a method of starting your plane. Once again, you don’t have to have these materials when you show up, our instructors will show you what you need to get to get you into the air.

How much does it cost for instruction?
Nothing. That’s the easiest way to put. LAFFS instructors do not charge for teaching people to fly. They do this as a labor of love in order to give back to the hobby that they enjoy so much.

How long does training take?
This is a hard question to answer as every person is different. The amount of time can vary anywhere from 3-4 flying sessions up to months or years. It just depends on the student. But the average time to learn to fly is around 5-10 flying sessions.

How many times will I fly each “session”?
On a normal flying day students will get from 3-5 flights in each session. This is usually dictated by the amount of battery power in the plane, with the session ending when there is not enough power left to safely fly the airplane. But even with that fact aside the number of flights in a session will be limited in order to not “overload” the student. There is just so much that can be learned in one day and often the instructor will cut short sessions when the student hits the “overload” level. When students get overloaded they start making mistakes and getting frustrated. Flying is supposed to be fun, so we don’t push students too far in one session.

What are heli “training gear”
Training gear on helicopter is a setup on the helicopter that makes it more difficult for the heli to tip over and damage the rotor blades. This gear usually consists of dowel rods in an “X” shape with lightweight plastic balls on the end of the dowel rods. The entire setup helps to keep the heli from tipping over when it’s set down “not so perfectly”. As students progress in training the gear can be removed when they feel comfortable enough.

Where do I get the buddy box at?
The instructors at LAFFS have most of the major brands of buddy boxes, so you shouldn’t have to get one yourself. But make sure to check with your instructor to verify that they indeed have what is needed.

Do I have to join LAFFS to learn to fly?
At this time we do not require members to join LAFFS until their training is completed. BUT, in order to do this the student must utilize our Intro pilot program. On the Intro Pilot Program the student must complete a AMA student pilot form which needs to be submitted to the AMA by your instructor. In addition, you must fly with the assigned LAFFS Intro Pilot Instructor. If you wish to use a different instructor that isn’t on the Intro Pilot Program you must join both the AMA and LAFFS before you will be allowed to continue to train.

Do I have to join the AMA to learn to fly?
This is the same thing as joining LAFFS above. If you use the AMA Intro Pilots at LAFFS you will not have to join AMA until after your training is completed.

What is the AMA Intro Pilot Program?
The AMA Intro Pilot Program allows students to train with an AMA Intro Pilot instructor without having to join the AMA prior to learning to fly. While training the student is covered by the instructors AMA insurance.

What if I damage property or hurt somebody?
All people flying at the LAFFS field must have liability insurance to cover them in the event of an accident occurring. AMA membership gives pilots a liability package that will cover then. Students training with Intro Pilot instructors will be covered by the instructors AMA policy.

Should I use a flight simulator?
Many instructors like to use simulators to speed up the process of learning. If you have a RC flight simulator please let your instructor know so that he can work that into your training. Many times an instructor will send the student pilot home with “homework” to do on the simulator. He will give them things that need to be worked on before the next flying session. But by no means is a simulator necessary to learn to fly RC.

Why can’t I just learn to fly using a flight simulator?
Because the simulator doesn’t teach the student. Students can actually pick up bad habits from a simulator that can cause the pilot to crash at the field. Also, the simulator can’t teach a student things such as tuning an engine, setting up their plane, and safety procedures. A simulator should be used as a training aid and not a primary instruction tool.

How often can I train?
How often you can train depends on you and your instructor. You should at a minimum be able to get 2 sessions a week from flying on the weekends alone. But if you work out with your instructor there is no reason at all that extra sessions can’t be done during the week. Make sure you ask your instructor how often he is going to be available.