The Radio Control Club of Detroit

An AMA Gold Leader Club
AMA Chapter # 368
An AMA Charter Club Since 1953
IMAA Chapter #206


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For Student Pilots

RCCD’s active pilot instruction program takes R/C pilots from “never-ever”, to confident solo flight. You provide the plane, but there is no charge for the instruction. RCCD and AMA memberships are required.

Aircraft Preparation:
The instruction program starts with an inspection of your aircraft at a club meeting, using the inspection sheet included with the Student Manual, to ensure that it is ready to fly. Any suggested adjustments or modifications can then be done prior to coming to the flying field. This maximizes flying time at the field. If you can’t bring you aircraft to a meeting, any of the club’s experienced pilot members can inspect it for you. They can also assist with getting the engine to run reliably.
The following lists just some of the guys who can assist you with set-up:

George Dudek
Russ Hope
Keith Jones
Hank Lawson
Willie McMath
Pete Mlinarcik
Mike Pavlock

Jim Stawski
Ken Sulkowski
Lou Tisch
Peter VanHeusden
Ernie Varilone
Don Veres II
Norn Zielinski

Your instructor may also inspect the plane, but this will reduce his instruction time. He will however give it a final once over and then perform a trim flight.

The Buddy Box System:
The “buddy box” system almost eliminates risk to your aircraft and provides an enjoyable learning experience. Two transmitters are used; one for the student and one for the instructor. RCCD has “buddy box” transmitters and cables for the more popular radio brands. The instructor controls the aircraft to a safe altitude using the primary transmitter. He depresses a switch on his transmitter, transferring control to the student, who then flies the plane. If it gets the plane in an unsafe situation, the instructor releases the switch and saves the plane to fly it back to a safe altitude. The instructor also lands the plane until he feels the student is able to do so safely.

While only an instructor may sign you off as a pilot, you may fly on the buddy box with any member who is a pilot. This may give you additional “stick time” to practice things you and an instructor have worked on. A few words of caution however:

• You must feel confident in the other member’s ability to “save” your aircraft if required. Observe how a member prep’s his own plane and then flies it. Only ask for assistance if you are satisfied that he is safe and competent to help you.
• Some members are not willing to be responsible for a student’s aircraft and decline your request. Please respect their decision.

Instruction Time:
Weather permitting, instructors may be found at the field at any time, however they will give priority to instructing students on Tuesdays during the flying season. For instruction at any other time, or to be sure of instruction on a given Tuesday, students should make an appointment with one of the instructors. If a student just shows up and hopes to get some instruction time (other than on Tuesdays), he or she may be disappointed so an appointment is advised. The instructors volunteer their time and effort. Please respect their need for personal flying time. An instructor’s priorities are:

1. Instructing a student who has made an appointment
2. Instructing a student who did not make an appointment
3. Flying his own aircraft

Other days
1. Instructing a student who has made an appointment
2. Flying his own aircraft
3. Instructing a student who did not make an appointment

As you progress, we encourage you to work with 3 or 4 instructors. You will get different perspectives and you may feel more comfortable with some instructors, based on your and their personalities.

Sign-off as an R/C Pilot:
Once you and an instructor agree you have the confidence and ability to fly safely, he will sign you off as an R/C Pilot.

RCCD Instructor List

The following is a list of the current RCCD instructors. Contact one of them for more information, and an appointment
Instructor Name
Dick Babisch 586-731-0635
Larry Chaltron 586-749-3427
George Dudek 586-997-1490
Tom Franks 313-886-3335
Scott Gilkey 586-786-1265
Noel Hunt  
Phil Laperriere 586-228-9583
John Miklas 586-286-5143
Herb Mills 248-561-8350
Don Veres II 586-778-7362

To make your time as a Student R/C pilot more enjoyable:

• Inspect your aircraft at home to the best of your ability, using the inspection sheet included with the student log.
• Get your model aircraft inspected and corrected if needed before its first intended flight at the field.
• Consider getting flight simulator software for your PC, if you have one. Any time spent on an R/C flight simulator will greatly reduce the learning curve. RCCD has a copy for students to loan. See Note below.
• Read the instruction manual for your transmitter. Instructors can’t be expected to know how all the transmitters on the market function. Especially understand how to enable the “trainer’ function on your transmitter.
• Glow Engines:
............. Read the instruction manual for your engine. Perform the break-in EXACTLY as instructed. Any break-in opinion expressed by a club member is exactly that: an opinion. It may a good one, but it may not. If breaking-in the engine at the field, be considerate and do so where the noise will not intrude. (Behind the west shed if the U-control area is not being used, or well away from the pit area if it is.)
............. Do not adjust the idle mixture until the engine has consumed about 10 tanks of fuel, unless the engine just will not idle. Expect to have a slightly higher idle rpm while the engine is new.
• Electric Motors:
............. Read the instruction manual for your ESC and know how to set its parameters
............. Read the instructions for your battery charger and know how to charge your batteries.
• Bring to the field, the instruction manuals for your: radio, aircraft, engine, ESC and Charger as applicable.
• Review the RCCD Student Manual so you know what to expect.
• If you make ANY changes to your aircraft between instruction sessions, inform your instructor.
• The Instructors volunteer their time. Remember that they like to fly their own planes too.
• Through the instruction process and beyond, the more you put into the club, the more you will get out of it. Join in as many of the activities as your time permits.

R/C aviation is enjoyable and you will enjoy both the learning process and club membership by following the guidelines above.

Pilot Training Program Manual - This document in .pdf format is intended for instructors and student pilots, however it has good information for all pilots.

R/C Flight Simulator Available to RCCD members : Student pilots interested in borrowing the club simulator can do so by contacting Phil Laperriere at 586-228-9583. This is an older version of the Real Flight software and the graphics are not as up to date as the current generation, however, it is a good tool to start developing hand eye coordination before or during flight training at the field. It is also a great opportunity to see if the purchase of a simulator is for you. The simulator is checked out to students for 2week intervals. It can be extended for additional 2 week intervals if another student is not on the waiting list and arrangements are made with Phil. Care for the unit is expected by the students so others can utilize the opportunity.