Choosing a safe location to fly model airplanes is important.
There are a lot of possibilities depending on what kind of
airplane(s) you have and particularly the laws in your country
and any regulations relating to local facilities. Taking these
into account, you can check out your local RC flying club, the
park down the street, a vacant lot, or even a public sports
complex. For varying reasons, not all of these environments are
safe for flying your model airplanes.
Most RC airplane pilots that are serious about the hobby get a
membership at their local flying club. The cost involved with
joining a club varies from one club to the next, but the dues at
most clubs are reasonable and the best reason for doing this is
to gain the advantage of the insurance cover available. Many
clubs have strict safety rules that govern the way you can
operate your RC models. It is not uncommon to have the "pit"
area completely separated from the landing strip, and often
times there is space set aside just for pilots to stand while
their model airplanes are in the air. With this total separation
of the flying field, accidents to bystanders and spectators from
crashing planes are greatly minimized.
Some RC enthusiasts find that flying model airplanes at the RC
flying club site is too time consuming. They want to go flying
in their spare time without having to pack up a bunch of
equipment and drive to a remote location. Electric "Park Flyer"
model airplanes can easily be flow in any mid sized park that
has relatively few trees or obstructions. Most airplanes in this
class are fairly slow, and weigh much less than a glow powered
model. Since parks usually have people in them, it is a good
idea to either wait till the park is sparsely populated or find
yourself a corner of the park where your flying activities will
not endanger anyone else. In any case, you need to check on the
local regulations and make sure your personal insurance covers
any risks as you are unlikely to be covered by any club
One location for flying RC model airplanes that is often
overlooked is the parking lot at the local mall. This
environment is best suited for small electric powered aircraft,
and only at night when the lot is empty of vehicles. Most
parking lots of this nature have light posts that keep the area
fully lit, 24 hours a day. Since smaller RC model airplanes can
safely fly under 40 feet, even while doing tricks and
aerobatics, a bit of midnight flying at the mall is something
every pilot should try at least once.
Many cities have large public sports complexes that can be
great for flying small to mid-sized RC model airplanes. The best
time of day to check out a sports complex for a possible flying
location is the middle of the day when most children are in
school and not using the sports areas. Local regulations may
prohibit you from flying any gas powered aircraft here, but
there are usually no restrictions for electric powered models.
Since it is not safe practice to fly model aircraft over a crowd
of bystanders, it's best to wait till there are no sports
activities going on before taking to the skies. No matter where
you choose to fly your RC model airplane, always be wary of
others around you and check out the local regulations.
Bruce Bird returned to modelling after a lifetime in
professional aviation. Stunned by the choices of model airplanes
on offer, he set about researching the possibilities for his own
use and then published the result in his ebook Model Airplane
You can also find his blog here