Q: Do I need to be a member of a club?
A: No, but membership offers a number of advantages. Clubs use registered flying sites and experienced members can help you get off the ground. Members of clubs are affiliated to the National body, Model Flying New Zealand, which offer substantial third-party insurance cover when flying from an approved and registered club site.
Q: Can I teach myself to fly a model?
A: You can, but it is likely to be a frustrating and expensive exercise. Better to have the assistance and advice of an experienced model flyer who will check your model for balance, alignment, structural integrity, and correct installation of flight controls before test flying it. Members will also advise on safety rules.
Q: I would like to have a model Spitfire as my first model, can you tell me where I can buy one?
A: Everyone aspires to owning and flying a true scale model Spitfire, but it is better to start off with a simple trainer model. A simple trainer built in balsa wood or foam will get you off the ground much more cheaply and is more than adequate on which to learn the rudiments of radio control. Seek advice and guidance from an experienced modeller.
Q: Which is better, a model with an internal combustion engine or an electric motor?
A: Both have their place, advantages and disadvantages. A model with an internal combustion engine demands more gear and accessories and quantities of properly mixed fuel. Modellers convey this gear, fuel, a starter battery, a starter motor and sundry tools in a field box. An understanding of ic engine starting, adjustment and operation is also necessary.
An electric powered model demands only a fully charged and matched battery, a charger and suitable battery to renew the charge of the airborne one. Typically, the engine is started and run using the throttle lever on a radio control transmitter. An added advantage of electric power is that it is clean.
Q: How much does it cost to own and fly a Radio-Controlled model?
How long is a piece of string? Cost depends upon a number of factors. There are several ways of entering the hobby, scratch build from a plan using balsa wood and ply or, from a prefabricated kit, alternatively buy a ready-made and equipped model ready to take to the air. The cost will depend upon the chosen model, whether it is a sport model or a scale replica, the level of complexity and the detail. Add the propulsion chosen, an Internal combustion engine or an electric motor and a suitable battery, or batteries. Finally, a radio control system, a transmitter and a suitable receiver.
The ultimate is of course the gas turbine or jet engine, the purchase of which demands a good lottery win.
Thus, the cost will depend entirely upon your choice. A scratch built basic trainer ready to fly could probably be acquired for about $400. An Almost Ready to Fly (ARF) bought from a dealer would probably work out at about the same price. At the other extreme are gas turbine (jet), sport or scale, fully equipped with technology and equipment, would probably set you back around $20,000! The choice is yours.