On Sunday, Thomas and I went to join the Fluvanna County Radio Control Flying Club at the field they use near Palmyra. It was quite a haul for us, about an hour drive, but it was totally worth it!
Thomas got to fly his own plane, not just a trainer, and one of the members, Cliff, stood by him, taking the controls when things were getting dicey, and handing them back to Thomas with tips and advice on flying. He treated Thomas like any other new flier, as far as I could tell, not talking down to him just because he's young, as we'd experience with another group. Or quizzing him on whether he understood why planes fly, how they turn, etc. He just helped him fly it, and that's the whole point! (Though when Thomas was quizzed by the other guy at another club, he did know the answers. :) But he never got to fly anything that day, or even see another plane flying! That's really not very encouraging for a new flier.)
I still haven't flown the plane. :) But Cliff encouraged me to come back in a couple weekends with the whole family, and encouraged me to try flying the trainer plane. This group may say they're laid back, but they also appear to be very organized. They require members to belong to the AMA, Academy of Model Aeronautics, which provides liability insurance coverage, a magazine, and more. It looks like the Park Pilot program would work for Thomas, because his plane is electric and doesn't weight more than 2lbs. Then he'll also need to join the FCRCFC as well, and he'll be set.
Thomas can now make his plane take off from the ground, so that's really exciting! I'm looking forward to going back in 2 weeks to see how we do. In the meantime, we'll be visiting some local parks that have large fields to practice in.
Related Posts: Super Cub and Flying Success