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Flight School

The DCRC Flight School operates two programs for those interested in learning to fly radio control model airplanes. For those who are curious but not certain that they want to commit to the hobby, there is the Introductory Pilot Program (IPP). For those who are already serious about RC flying, there is the DCRC Help & Training Program.

Introductory Pilot Program

DCRC, in association with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), offers curious newcomers the chance to try RC flying without a significant up-front commitment.

At intervals during the spring, summer, and fall, DCRC hosts IPP sessions. These sessions are on Saturdays and run from 9 to 11 AM. Check the Club calendar elsewhere on this site for specific dates. 

The Club provides the planes and other equipment for IPP activities. Participants get a ground school briefing to introduce RC flight principles. Each participant is then paired with an Instructor Pilot and given a hands-on experience flying a Club trainer.

IPP participants are limited to two sessions. After two sessions, those interested in continuing must graduate to the Help & Training Program.

Help & Training Program

Those who seek flight instruction and those who want help with airplane and transmitter setup and configuration are welcome to attend DCRC Help & Training sessions. The sessions are held late in the afternoon of a designated weekday each week from late April or early May to the end of September at the Club field in Boyds. During 2021, the sessions are scheduled every Wednesday from 5 to 7 PM.

There are two requirements for participants attending the Help & Training sessions. First, they must be DCRC members (which requires that they be AMA members as well). Second, they must provide their own airplane and all the equipment necessary to receive flight instruction.

The required equipment list for those seeking flight instruction is below. The listed gear is known to work together and is familiar to all the Instructor Pilots, so it provides the best platform for training. The Apprentice is a high-wing, tricycle-gear trainer powered by an electric motor and battery. Replacement parts are readily available. Its flight characteristics make it an excellent first plane. Two transmitters are needed because all flight instruction is given using the buddy-box technique. Both the student and the instructor hold transmitters during flights, and the instructor can take control at any time. Two batteries reduce the need to wait while a battery charges, while three make a rotation which insures that the student is ready to fly as soon as an instructor is available. Consult program staff before making a significant purchase not on the list. The Club reserves the right to refuse to provide instruction or help for airplanes, transmitters, and other gear not on this list.

Required equipment for DCRC flight training

  • E-flite Apprentice 15e or STS airplane*
  • Spektrum DX6e or better transmitter for the Instructor buddy-box
  • Spektrum DXe or better transmitter for the student buddy-box
  • Onyx KX80 AC/DC battery charger or equivalent
  • E-flite 3200mAh 3S battery (2 required, 3 recommended)

*the stock radio receiver in the Apprentice has stabilization and maneuver-limiting functions, so it is necessary to replace it with a different receiver. The Club sells suitable replacement receivers at cost and will help the student with installation and configuration.

The Goal

The ultimate goal of the DCRC Flight School is to help those new to RC model airplanes, or who are returning to RC flying after an absence, gain sufficient technical and pilot skill to be able to enjoy the hobby on their own. Once program staff agree that a student is ready, he will be encouraged to demonstrate his skill during a Pilot Proficiency Test (PPT). On successful completion of the PPT the student becomes a Rated Pilot, and receives the gate lock combination so that he can use the field without supervision.