Frequently Asked Questions

To assist you in learning more about our club and radio control model aviation in general, we have assembled a collection of frequently asked questions.

Club Membership

A: Because our club and its members are awesome! We are a diverse group comprised of members of all ages and from all walks of life, bound together by a common passion for radio control aviation. Unlike some clubs that ostracize members based on the size, construction material, power source, or use of beginner-safe technology of their aircraft, you won't find that here. If it will fly, and is not a safety hazard, we support your choices. We are all about flying, having fun doing so, and enjoying the company of our fellow members. If you live on the Outer Banks or the surrounding area and want to fly radio control aircraft, then Dare County Radio Control Flyers is for you.

A: The cost of membership is based on your age at the time you apply for membership. Currently, annual club membership dues are $60. For those who are less than 19 years of age, annual club membership dues are $30 per year. In addition to club membership dues, you must also be a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) which requires you to pay annual membership dues to them directly. Currently annual AMA membership dues are $75. For those who are less than 19 years of age, annual AMA membership dues are $15 per year. The AMA does provide reduced annual membership dues for those who are 65 years of age or older, and for other adult household members who become members, so you are encouraged to visit their website for further details.

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A: Yes. Membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is required because our club is a fully-chartered chapter of the AMA and we fully support their work in the radio control aviation community. In addition the AMA also provides its members with liability insurance coverage, which is required to operate radio control model aircraft at our flying field.

A: To begin with, you will receive a subscription to an excellent monthly magazine, entitled Model Aviation. The Academy of Model Aeronautics also provides its members with personal liability insurance coverage, as well as the ability to fly at thousands of AMA chartered club sites. Most importantly, with AMA membership, you have the support of the world's largest aeromodeling organization that works with government agencies to preserve your rights to enjoy this wonderful hobby. For further details, we encourage you to visit the AMA website to see a summary of benefits they provide to their members.

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A: Club membership dues are necessary as they fund expenses incurred for the maintenance and operation of our flying field. These expenses include gasoline, parts, and repair costs for our mower, acquisition and maintenance costs for the club's flying field structures, safety equipment and signage, and other expenses deemed appropriate by a majority vote of our members.

A: No. You may join to learn about the hobby, and use our club's trainer airplane and equipment under the supervision of one of our instructors to learn how to fly. You will need to purchase your own plane and equipment only if you decide to pursue the hobby following the completion of your flight training.

A: No. Although we encourage you to fly, you may join just to learn about the hobby, or to support our club's efforts in promoting radio control model aviation in our community.

A: Absolutely! Although most of our members fly fixed-wing aircraft, we welcome those wishing to fly rotary-wing aircraft, including drones.

A: Possibly. We have a limited number of scholarships for those with the desire to become a club member and fly with us. In return, we ask that you volunteer to mow our flying field at least two times each year and participate in our club events as much as possible. Should you wish to be considered for a scholarship, please contact us so we can discuss it with you.

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About the Hobby

A: Here are a few reasons that come to mind:

  • • It is an exciting hobby that can be enjoyed by both adults and children;
  • • It is available to a beginner for no more than the cost of a video game system;
  • • It provides parents with an opportunity to engage in an educational opportunity with their children that is fun for both to do;
  • • It creates memories that will last forever;
  • • It gets you out of the house and into the fresh air;
  • • It allows you to meet a diverse group of great people that are bound by their shared passion for aviation;
  • • It can be enjoyed even when the weather is poor through indoor activities such as building planes, programming electronics, and designing solutions to engineering problems, and;
  • • It is an activity that has real-world possibilities in that it can spark, foster, and groom interest in aviation or engineering as a career.

  • A: Absolutely! In fact, we encourage our members to include their family in our activities, which includes non-flying events such as cookouts at the field and our annual Christmas party. Our club currently has a number of families who are members and fly together with us regularly. Those that do not, often bring their family members to our activities, and they are always welcome.

    A: There is no minimum age to learn to fly a radio control model aircraft, however our club requires parental participation for minors. Pre-teenagers wishing to fly should exhibit the ability to maintain an attention span of about 10 minutes in order to watch and participate in flying activities.

    A: It certainly can be, however radio control aviation is now more affordable than it's ever been thanks to the technology revolution. A nice beginner airplane and the required equipment can now be purchased for between $350 and $550 through many retailers. You may also be able to purchase previously owned planes and equipment for much less. However, before you purchase any airplane or equipment, we recommend that you consult with our club members who can guide you into making informed purchases. That alone will save you considerably, as our experience will prevent you from squandering money on products that will not meet your needs. Our club members can also make you aware of ways to save you money through a number of on-line retailer programs.

    A: Although building model aircraft is one aspect of the hobby, you do not need to build a plane unless you wish to do so. Some models require hundreds of hours of work and rather advanced building skills. However, there are many airplanes available in Ready-To-Fly (RTF), Bind-N-Fly (BNF), or Plug-N-Play (PNP) formats. Planes that are RTF and BNF typically require attaching parts with a few screws and can often be completed in less than 15 minutes! Planes that are PNP are similar, but a receiver must be purchased separately, installed, and then programmed. Regardless of your level of skills or willingness to build, radio control model aviation offers many planes and options to suit your desire.


    Learning to Fly

    A: Yes, we can! Our club has a number of instructors who can train you to become a radio control pilot. We have the equipment, expertise, and desire to work with you to become a radio control pilot. For further information, we recommend that you learn more by visiting the page at the link provided below.

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    A: Yes! We have a program specifically designed for those who are not club members but want to experience radio control flying just to see if this is an activity that they would like to pursue. This program is called the "Introductory Pilot Program." Full details regarding this program may be found at the link below.

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    A: No, there are no fees! We only ask that you enroll in our Introductory Pilot Program, and after a period of 90-days, you consider becoming a club member if you decide radio control aviation is a worthwhile hobby for you.

    A: People learn at different rates, so it will depend entirely on your commitment and ability to learn. Most students will be able to perform a solo flight after about a dozen flights with an instructor.

    A: Neither club members who are learning to fly or Introductory Pilot Program participants are required to own their own plane or equipment to learn to fly. The club has the necessary aircraft and equipment to train you, and we recommend that you use them. This will provide you with the opportunity to learn about various aircraft and equipment products by speaking with club members and your instructor. This will ultimately allow you to make informed purchases in the future, and thus, save you money and aggravation.


    Planes and Equipment for Beginners

    A: It is a matter of personal preference, however electric-powered planes tend to be more beginner-friendly as they generally require minimal building skills, have a lower startup cost, and can often be purchased as a ready-to-fly package that includes everything necessary to get you into the air.

    A: We recommend a high-wing type trainer aircraft with a wingspan of at least 1100mm. High wing type aircraft typically have lower wing loading which will permit you to fly slower without the fear of stalling. For use on our grass field, we also recommend that the aircraft have large tires as it makes ground handling easier. There are a number of electric-powered ready-to-fly airplane packages available that meet these recommendations, including the E-flite Apprentice STS, the HobbyZone AeroScout S2, the HobbyZone Apprentice S2, and the HobbyZone Carbon Cub S2. All of these ready-to-fly packages include everything needed to fly the plane including a battery, transmitter, receiver, and battery charger. Information about these ready-to-fly airplane packages can be seen at the link below.

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    A: Although modern radio equipment will permit you to control a plane up to a mile away, the Federal Aviation Administration requires you to maintain visual contact with it at all times. To maintain visual contact, you will never be flying at any where near that distance.

    A: The average model at our club will fly in a range of 15 to 60 miles per hour, although some specialty planes are capable of speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.

    A: Although the world record is in excess of 34,000 feet with a special Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waiver, our club requires flying to not exceed 400 feet above ground level. This is the maximum allowable altitude permitted by current FAA regulations.


    About the Flying Field

    A: Our flying field is located adjacent to the skeet range area within the Outer Banks Gun Club at 1521 Link Road, 1½ miles south of the intersection of U.S. Highways 64 and 264 in Manns Harbor, North Carolina. An interactive map showing its location as well as other information about the field is available at the link below.

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    A: Yes you can! We are always happy to have visitors, so if you see us flying and would like to watch, please feel free to do so. However, we do ask that you park in our field's designated parking area and, in the interest of safety, that you remain clear of any posted areas that are used for preparing or flying our aircraft. Information about field access and parking is available at the link below to assist you.

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    A: Members of other AMA-chartered clubs may use the field as a guest only if accompanied by a member of Dare County Radio Control Flyers. In addition, proof of valid AMA membership is required. Should you desire to do so, please contact us to determine the dates and times a member plans to be at the field.

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    A: We generally fly on Saturdays, although flying is permitted any day. For specific dates and times of club flying events, we recommend that you consult our club calendar.

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    A: No. Our field is not suitable for either turbine-powered jets or model aircraft whose weight is exceeds 55 pounds.

    A: Yes, but only if you have a visual spotter observing the entire flight. The Federal Aviation Administration requires that the pilot or an observer maintain a visual line of sight of a model aircraft at all times while in flight. Since FPV does not permit visual line of sight operation, a visual observer is required.

    A: The flying field does not, however because we are on the grounds of the Outer Banks Gun Club, we may use their very nice indoor restroom facilities. Although these facilities are within walking distance, we recommend that you drive to them in your vehicle in the interest of safety because to do so, you must cross the end of the runway while flight operations are underway.

    A: Unfortunately, we have no equipment to charge batteries. Should you desire to charge batteries at the field, we recommend bringing a charger and utilizing your vehicle's electrical system while its motor is running.


    Safety and Legal Requirements

    A: The safe operation of model aircraft at our flying field is our paramount concern. Our club's flying field operational and safety rules may be found at the link below.

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    A: With the exception of possibly a small Ultra-Micro (UMX) aircraft, you should never consider it due to safety concerns to persons and property. A model aircraft crashing, regardless of the cause, can damage property, and could seriously injure, maim, or potentially kill a person. In the case of the smaller UMX aircraft, the danger is much less, however we still recommend flying only at a field specifically designated for model aviation. In addition to the safety concerns, you also need to understand that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) controls the use of all airspace in the United States. As such, you must always comply with their regulations. These include aircraft marking, pilot registration, altitude and line-of-sight restrictions, and in the near future, remote ID broadcast module requirements. In addition, the FAA from time-to-time may issue Temporary Flight Restrictions (TRFs) for certain areas, while flying in other areas, such as national parks, is strictly prohibited unless specific permission is granted. To add to this confusion, some states and even some local communities have further restrictions about utilizing public property to conduct flight operations. In the interest of safety and to ensure you are flying legally, we only recommend flying at field specifically designated for that purpose.

    A: The process to register as a recreational use pilot is a two-step process, but it is both easy and inexpensive. You must first take an online test, then complete the Federal Aviation Administration's online registration application. Further information about the test and the registration process may be found at the links below.

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    A: Yes, because it's law. Failure to do so could result in you being prosecuted by the federal government, resulting in fines or imprisonment. Please understand that the FAA's requirement to register radio control aircraft is relatively new and was a response to so many people purchasing and flying drones without any regard for safety or laws that existed.

    A: Yes it does. The Federal Aviation Administration requires that the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) registration number of the plane's owner be applied to an outer surface of the aircraft. To meet this requirement without detracting from the appearance of the aircraft, you can apply the UAS registration number with a small decal or sticker, placed on a lower surface. Other than the requirement that the UAS registration number be placed on an outer surface, there is no specified location or size requirement, so the number can be small but must be legible. We typically apply this number to the lower surface of the cowling, or between the landing gear.

    A: Currently there is no requirement to equip radio control model aircraft with a remote ID broadcast module, however it will become a requirement on September 16, 2023. After that date a remote ID broadcast module will be required unless the plane is flying within an FAA-Recognized Identification Area (FRIA).

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    A: No, provided the club receives approval as an FAA-Recognized Identification Area (FRIA). The application process to do so opens on September 16, 2022. At that time the club will submit the necessary application to be designated as a FRIA.


    Questions Not Covered

    A: You may contact us by e-mail, text, written correspondence, or telephone and one of our club members would be pleased to assist answering any questions you may have.

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