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R/C Pilot’s Handbook

R/C Pilot's Handbook

R/C Pilot’s Handbook


by Jeff Junker


Most of the radio control airplane books seem to recycle the same hints, sometimes looking like they were taken directly out of a kit’s instruction manual. Granted, not everyone builds kits so the information would be helpful. But after reading about 15 books, I found one that held my interest, as least for the first two-thirds of its 190 pages.

R/C Pilot’s Handbook, published by Air Age, goes into the theory behind why radio control aircraft do what they do. As a compilation of 24 authors – all of who are fliers – it is divided into six sections: Basic Techniques, Intermediate Flying Skills, Aerobatics, Scale, Racing, Soaring, and Special Interest.

The text is cleanly written, easily understood, and prolifically illustrated. It covers potential problems that might occur and offers down-to-earth solutions that should bring a troubled aircraft down-to-earth in the same number of pieces as when it left. For instance, one area discussed is the “unintentional stall” (translation: an unwanted, flat spin). The author offers a step-by-step, decision tree of possible actions to take: “If one option doesn’t work, try this.” The final conclusion is that sometimes you’ll run out of sky before you figure out which way to push the sticks.

My favorite section was on Aerobatics. (Hey! I can dream, can’t I?) They make it sound so simple, describing maneuvers in an easy-to-understand manner. From the Stall Turn (which I can actually do) to the Rolling Circle (which I will NEVER attempt to try), each “trick” is clearly diagramed.

As to the final third of the book: it deals with soaring, gliders, and sailplanes – none of which have engines. And as to the $20.00 price tag, I’ll let you decide whether it’s worth it.