General Info

There are many “flavors” of aeromodelling. Some of the members of the Northern Connecticut Radio Control Club (NCRCC) are new to the hobby and are in varying stages of learning to safely operate their models. They are using trainer-type aircraft to build their skills. Most of our members are sport flyers and come to our field to just “poke holes in the sky”. Still other members enjoy competing in specialized areas of aeromodelling such as pylon racing, scale, helicopters, aerobatics, indoor flying, soaring, etc.

This section of the NCRCC website provides a high level overview of various aspects of aeromodelling. At the end of each of the categories listed below are web links (in bold red ink) to educational material associated with that area of specialization. However, the best way to learn about areas of specialization is to speak with modelers who participate in that aspect of the hobby.

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Trainers

Model aircraft designated as trainers frequently have construction characteristics to maximize slow, stable, and forgiving flight such as a greater amount of dihedral, flat-bottomed airfoil, squared fuselage, etc. Their ruggedness enables greater ease of repair as circumstances may warrant.

RCU discussion forum regarding beginners

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Sport Flying

Once a model pilot has demonstrated competence with his/her trainer, the next evolutionary step would include advanced trainers and subsequently sport flying aircraft. These model aircraft have construction features, flight characteristics, and power sources that are more advanced than basic trainers making them more challenging to fly but offering a greater range of flight capability.

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Pylon Racing

Pylon racing helps to satisfy “the need for speed” coupled with advanced flying skills under pressure as 2 to 4 models scream around three pylons in a 10-lap race to be the first to cross the finish line. Points are accumulated based on placement in multiple racing heats. Models are designed for the highly accelerated pace and competitors are bracketed into multiple classes to ensure racing among pilots best matched with skill and experience levels.

NEPRO , NMPRA , RCU discussion forum regarding pylon racing

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Electrics

An area of aeromodelling that is markedly growing is electric-powered aircraft. The technology behind batteries has made quantum leaps in durability, ease of charging, etc. not to mention advancements in motor technology. Select electric motors are now able to provide sufficient thrust to lift very large scale models. Pilots utilizing electric motors relish the simple and easy clean-up at the end of the day when compared to nitro-fueled and gas-fueled aircraft. Electric models range in size from park flyers through to giant scale.

LiPo Safety , RCU discussion forum regarding electrics

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Indoor Flying

The primary (but not sole) source of power for indoor flying is electric motors. Some of these types of models are free-flight although most are radio-controlled. Models that fly indoors are frequently of a smaller scale because they fly within a confined space. Nonetheless, many are quite aerobatic and, when throttled up, will move rapidly.

Indoor Flying , RCU discussion forum regarding indoor flying

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Scale

Scale models are miniaturized versions of full-scale aircraft. This aspect of the hobby strives to balance a modeler’s attention to detail in his/her building and finishing skills with his/her ability to fly the model as closely as possible to replicate the full-scale aircraft’s flight characteristics. A panel of independent judges score static judging while the model is on the ground and then score the model’s flight performance while it completes a series of defined maneuvers.

RC Scale Builder , RCU discussion forum regarding scale

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Soaring/Gliding

While many glider pilots enjoy a slow and graceful presence in the sky “sniffing” for thermals with their sailplanes, others revel in slope soaring and combat with models that are built for the rigors of that type of flying. Aeromodelling with this type of aircraft ranges from scale, to thermal soaring, to cross-country soaring, etc. Gliders can be hand-launched, winch-launched, self-powered, or aero-towed behind a powered aircraft.

AMA soaring competition rules , RCU discussion forum regarding soaring/gliding

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Pattern/Aerobatics/3D

Pilots who choose to pursue this niche of the hobby seek to maximize perfection of flight while performing a pre-defined series of maneuvers. The crispness of these maneuvers are evaluated by independent judges who assess the pilot’s flying ability irrespective of wind or other conditions. The flight is judged from take-off through landing.

National Society of Radio Controlled Aerobatics , RCU forum regarding pattern flying , RCU forum regarding 3D flying

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Helicopters

Radio-controlled helicopters, flown for the first time in the late 1960s, can now perform maneuvers not even possible with full-scale helicopters. Helicopter (rotary aircraft) flight is multi-dimensional and unlike fixed-wing aircraft flying. A new pilot begins the learning process by mastering hovering and then building additional flying skills. Helicopter models are most frequently sport-quality but also have areas of sub-specialization including scale and aerobatics.

RCU discussion forum regarding helicopters

RCU discussion forum regarding beginning with helicopters

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Control Line

Control line model airplanes have been a part of the aeromodelling hobby since virtually its beginning. The control line pilot is “connected” to his/her model through at least two lines that control the planes vertical motion. Some advanced control line models have an array of lines that activate flaps, throttle, retracts, and other characteristics of the model. These models are flown in a circular motion with the pilot standing in the middle with the control handle.

AMA site regarding control line flying

General information on getting started on control line flying

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