Home Getting Started
Getting Started
Your First Flight

Ask one of the experienced pilots to check out your model (Frequency, C of G, Aerial, etc) and then to launch it for you and set the trim adjustments. DO NOT just hurl it off the slope yourself, because you WILL crash it !
Once the model is trimmed and the pilot is happy that there is nothing radically wrong with the way it handles, you can take over and get the feel of it.
If things start to get out of control, don't wait until it's too late to give the transmitter back to the guy who launched it for you.
You will soon get the feel of the plane and how it responds to your inputs.
When it's time to land, ask someone to help you. Landing is probably the hardest part of slope flying and takes a while to get used to.

Here a few tips to remember during those first flights:

- Be gentle on the sticks and your plane will fly better.
- Never turn with the wind (towards the slope), always turn into the wind (away from the slope)
- Try not to end up above yourself or behind yourself or you will end up getting blown over the back of the slope.
- Make gentle turns, Sharp movements cost speed & height ( something you need while learning)
- Try to stay above the horizon, and you are less likely to get into trouble
- Ask for help if you are not sure - Nobody's going to laugh at you ! We all had to start at one time.
- Have Fun! As you learn, you will get to enjoy it more & more, but it takes time
- Don't be afraid of crashing! (at some stage you are going to crash, repairs are often easier than they look).


Your First Radio


Most beginners start with a 2-channel AM Radio and I would advise this to most beginners because of the relatively low cost (R500 for a complete set-up). Nicads (rechargeable batteries) are normally not included with 2-channel sets but most people I know run them on normal dry-cell batteries anyway.

The most popular 2-channel sets on the slope are Futaba and Sanwa. 2-Channel radios Transmit in the 27 MHz range. It would be wise to check our members page to see who has which frequency before you buy, so that you can avoid a conflict if possible. Most RC shops will let you pick a channel from the ones they have available.

All 2-channel currently available have servo reverse settings which allow you install your servos in the model and then set the direction of the servo arm afterwards.

Remember to put foam padding around your receiver to protect it from damage when the inevitable happens.

A Correx (estate agents board) servo tray will also go a long way in protecting your servos from harsh impact shock.

Check the aerial length ! Even right out of the box, some receiver aerials are too short. A good rule of thumb for 27 MHz is 1 meter.

Once your receiver voltage drops, a short aerial can cause problems such as interference and loss of range. I have seen plenty of good planes go down due to this factor and it is something that can be easily avoided.

If you do have extended the aerial, make sure that you solder the joint or if possible solder the new aerial wire onto the PC board in the receiver.


A 4 channel FM Radio is less susceptible to problems such as interference and range, however that is an additional cost factor involved. There are 2nd hand sets available through the Cape-Ads, etc. However be careful when buying a 2nd hand set, unless you have a good idea of it's history.
Some 4-channel sets have the advantage of being programmable, so that you can set rates, end points and mix channels to make a plane perform better.


Your First Model

The absolute beginner would be best off starting with an EPP Bee; this is a two piece Styrofoam wing that is virtually indestructible. The Bee will take about four hours to assemble from start to finish and only requires a two channel radio.New they cost in the region of R1000, but can be picked up second hand for less than R500. A good bit of advice would be to add a LMA (lost model alarm) to your wing. This will save you a day’s walk just in case you loose sight of your wing while flying.


The Bee is extremely stable and forgiving when recovering from a stall, as well as being very light, these models make excellent trainers and serve to teach you the basics principles of flying model aircraft. They fly well in light conditions and are controlled by a 2 channel (entry level) Radio. Control surfaces are Ailerons for left and right (yaw) and elevator for up and down (pitch). These controls are how ever combined into dual purpose Elavons as the model has no fuselage.

Note: These models take no time to build, and are well worth the effort and normally last you well past the stage when you graduate to an all out aileron & rudder “Glass Ship”. The bee is also used to Dog Fight with fellow pilots, which is a great way to hone your finger skills on the radio. Basic wings can also be built from Corex at next to no cost.