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The laws of where you live determine where you can operate your aircraft. For instance, flying in public is usually allowed but in other areas it might be prohibited because of local laws. Wherever you live it’s essential that you check whether flying an RC plane is permitted before you ever take off to prevent yourself from getting into trouble.
Flying in the wrong place can potentially be very damaging to our hobby, especially since the rise of drones and some associated negative press that the hobby has had in recent years.
Some of the most popular places to fly your RC plane is:
- RC flying club
- Privately owned land
- Public areas
Of course you can’t fly your RC plane in all public areas as some places restrict use of RC planes, helicopters, and drones. If you are going to use your RC plane in a public park it is a good idea to check your local laws before you begin.
In this article we will dive more into those three main areas as well as give you some specific things that you should do to make sure you are safe while flying your RC plane.
RC flying club
It could be that you have an RC flying club close to where you live. Becoming a member of a local club is probably the best thing you cando , especially if you are entirely new to the hobby. Use the RC airplane club directory to see if there’s one within a convenient distance from your home.
Consider joining if there is especially if you are thinking of flying IC powered planes. Such airplanes are more involved than your typical electric park flyer, so help from other RC airplane lovers is always a good thing.
If there is a club nearby but you don’t feel like joining, it is still a good idea to pop into their field one day and talk to the members about flying in the area. You should be able to pick up some helpful tips as well as some things to avoid pretty quickly.
If you are able to access private property, then this is probably the best option for you. You can fly on private land without any restrictions as long as you have permission to do so. Private land is certainly preferred over somewhere public because you have the freedom of doing what you like without the worry of being yelled at by a member of the public who doesn’t like RC planes.
Of course you will need to make sure that the private land has enough open area to take off and land but it is also a good idea to not fly over a bunch of trees where you might lose sight of your plane. When you lose sight of your RC plane you are much more likely to crash it and crashing it into a tree adds an entire new level of difficulty.
Your other option is to fly your plane in public areas. Depending on the size and type of your aircraft, suitable locations include public parks, sports fields, ballparks, beaches, open hillsides, and other similar places. These types of places will normally work out the best for you. Always remember safety when flying in a public area, use common sense and act responsibly.
It might seem strange, but not everyone enjoys watching RC planes zooming around the sky. It only takes the wrong kind of person to complain to the local authority, and that location can be quickly and easily be shut down to RC airplane flyers. Always think ahead and avoid making people mad with your flying if at all possible.
Be responsible with the height that you are flying and don’t dive bomb people to avoid a lousy reputation and causing future issues.
Note that the radio control flying hobby has never been under more rules and regulations than they are now. So choosing a suitable flying site is more important now than it has ever been. As more and more people get drones the rules that are put into place for the people who are less conscious how they use them will also carry over into the rules that apply to RC planes.
Whenever you need to take off from your flying location, ensure it’s open and spacious. The size of your plane is essential because it will determine what size area you need to take off and fly in.
When searching for local flying sites, using Google Earth, Google Maps or similar mapping software will help you find an area with tons of green space that you can fly in. Even in crowded cities there will often be large parks that you can use without any issues.
Things to note when flying an RC plane
- Presence of objects such as trees, posts, arches, lights, power lines etc.
- The closeness of the public members to you while you’re flying
- The proximity of houses, schools, offices, shops etc.
- The proximity of roads and highways, remember planes can be a big distraction to some drivers.
The point is you need an ample open space where there is no danger of causing trouble, being a nuisance or risking damage to people or property. On that note, you must check local regulations and laws to see if flying RC aircraft is even permitted in the area that you are planning on flying at. . If it’s not and you take to the skies, then you risk having your plane taken away a fine or both.
Another thing to think about is the position of the sun. You will want to avoid flying across the sun as it makes it impossible to see your plane and if you aren’t careful can cause permanent eye damage.
The sun should always be behind you, so that there is no danger of being blinded as you’re operating your RC plane.
Frequency interference is another critical issue and you can’t assume that there won’t be potential for conflict. Most people are inevitably using 2.4 GHz radios nowadays so if multiple people are using drones, RC cars and planes in one area they could certainly interfere with the controls of your plane.
If there are other radio controlled vehicles around then pay attention to where they are at to avoid your “lines” getting crossed.
RC Flying insurance
Public liability insurance is essential if you are flying your RC plane in public areas. It’s not a big deal if you are flying on private land, and if you join a club then insurance is normally a requirement, but if you are flying from the public property then it’s well worth having it even though it isn’t required by law.
Model flying liability insurance protects you against damages to people and property which can quickly happen if you encounter some unfortunate circumstances. Your national governing body for the model flying body will be able to help you. The following links are for some western counties and can be of great help:
Third-party liability insurance for RC flying isn’t costly and will let you have great peace of mind. Take your time to look into it and contact your appropriate organization for further information.
From the information above, you should be able to find out where you can fly your RC airplane safely. Most people are close to some open land, but you need to think through your flying site and weigh up the merits and demerits of the location. Always be careful and responsible when deciding where to fly.
If you need some information about how to fly your RC plane you can watch the video below.