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Beginner Builder/Flyer Feeling Very Discouraged

#1
Hello All,

I'm a newcomer to the FT community and to the RC hobby. I've been in aviation all my life but just decided to finally get into the RC hobby. I'm currently putting the final touches on an FT Explorer scratch build and I was super excited for the maiden. So today I decided to figure out where I will make my first flight; and that's where everything went wrong. I realized there's pretty much nowhere in my area (North Metro-Atlanta) that I can fly. All public parks I can find say no flying. There is an AMA club that's relatively close to me but I would have to pay around $200 to join and start flying. I don't really want to invest another couple hundred dollars in a hobby that I still have no experience in.

I'm really just looking for some advise (and maybe some encourage). I don't really know where to fly. Apparently I live within 5 miles of 3 airports. I can't go to any parks. I'm out of ideas at this point and running out of motivation.
 

Userofmuchtape&glue

Posted a thousand or more times
#2
First, welcome!

Second, when ever I go to the City to visit my aunt I am in the same spot as you, and I break the law on every flight down a old drainage valley! :black_eyed:

Third, are you able to travel out of town and find a spot somewhere?

Forth, see if the club has a 3 free flights before joining policy.

Hope this helps!

Abe
 
#3
What about schools on days the kids don't attend? Saturdays, Sundays, holidays? A football field seems like it would work well.
 

slipshift

Active member
#4
Welcome to the forum and the hobby. You could check out some churches with large fields and talk to the pastor. Any farms in your area? The crops should be in and the fields bare. Stop in to ask permission, it wouldn't hurt and the farmer would get a few chuckles watching you trying to fly (that's how I started out). It would be a good idea to join the AMA so you could tell them you have insurance.
Good luck!

Jim
 
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jaredstrees

Well-known member
#5
I usually fly at the local church. They do a lot of youth sports and have some soccer and baseball fields that make a great flying area. Just ask ahead of time and they usually don't mind. They even asked me if I'd be interested in doing a class for them during their summer camps.

Just don't get discouraged, keep looking. Pull up google maps and look at the satellite images for large open areas and go check them out. It will be worth it in the end!
 
#7
Thanks for all the replies and ideas everyone, especially for the map Geeto. I've considered going to a nearby church but I'm pretty new to the area and not sure what's around. Part of my problem is that I am within 5 miles of an AFB which just further complicates things. Worst comes to worst, I'll drive an hour to my parents place and fly on their property I guess. Maybe once I figure things out, I'll bite the bullet and join the local club. Thanks again everyone!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#8
Thanks for all the replies and ideas everyone, especially for the map Geeto. I've considered going to a nearby church but I'm pretty new to the area and not sure what's around. Part of my problem is that I am within 5 miles of an AFB which just further complicates things. Worst comes to worst, I'll drive an hour to my parents place and fly on their property I guess. Maybe once I figure things out, I'll bite the bullet and join the local club. Thanks again everyone!
There ARE advantages to joining the club...Mine has dues that are that high, but they also do things like provide barbecues on Memorial Day and 4th of July, they have camping nights, multiple field areas for helis and fixed wings, they have a solar charging station, and they have trainer planes that belong to the club that you can learn to fly on. And, best of all, you don't have to worry about getting chased off or getting a ticket by flying at an AMA sanctioned field.

I've had people come and harass me for drone flight at one of the local baseball fields, across the street from my apartment; I normally try to go fly either early in the morning on the weekends, or late in the afternoon, when nobody's there. It's not that I don't want people watching me, it's because I don't want to put anyone in danger on the flight line. Well, people see it and don't like it because "it's a drone", and it has a camera on it (Never mind that it's only for FPV, and I'm usually flying it fast enough to just look out the front of the nose and not all over the place, "spying" on people), so they don't want it flown near them. The AMA field provides a place to fly where they can't really say boo to it...
 
#9
$200 seems a little steep, so I would go there a few times and make sure you like the field and the people before you commit. They might also reduce the fee if you volunteer to mow grass ;)
 
#10
Wow I feel your pain. I hate having to drive too far to fly becuase I usually forget something at home. Maybe you could try using google to see if there is any open land in your area. I have lots of lots for fields but they are private and some are fenced. The place I usually fly at is an old baseball training camp.
 

skymaster

Active member
#11
hi there.
did you find out if its an open field. what i meat to say is maybe the 200 dollars is to join the club. but if you don't want to join them maybe all you need is the AMA license. ask if its a private land or is it on state land. the one nearest me its a forest preserve and its open to the public but it requires that you have a AMA license .
 
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#12
I do not advise breaking the law. If your plane is fpv, extend the antenna out your window and just fly from the inside of your house. Nobody will know.
 

skymaster

Active member
#14
Or you can do like Ray k said. talk to the your local high school if they have a football field, ask for permission and tell them what you will be doing.do it when no kids are around asking does not hurt and maybe you'll get lucky and get permission.
 
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#15
Central Jersey

Hi Bravo94 and everyone! I hear ya! I am in the same situation here in Jersey. I wanted to build and fly a plane as a kid, and did not even know it was possible until I discovered a whole world of electric remote controlled flight a month ago. FliteTest made is better for a beginner with their foam plans and power packs, and I made my first plane last week. Guess what, it's still sitting idle in my bedroom and I've grown increasingly frustrated over this week trying to find a way to maiden it. Even I would prefer not to invest a lot of money in a club membership. I'm moving from the area in July 2018, and would end up paying for more than a year worth of membership and initiation fees for such a short time. Plus going through formalities like a month-long training dependent on availability of an instructor, and written exams to be able to fly a foam plane for fun. I still tried to get in touch with a local club, but still haven't heard back from them. School fields, I'm wary of, as I don't want any trouble. Hope something works out for us!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#16
Hi Bravo94 and everyone! I hear ya! I am in the same situation here in Jersey. I wanted to build and fly a plane as a kid, and did not even know it was possible until I discovered a whole world of electric remote controlled flight a month ago. FliteTest made is better for a beginner with their foam plans and power packs, and I made my first plane last week. Guess what, it's still sitting idle in my bedroom and I've grown increasingly frustrated over this week trying to find a way to maiden it. Even I would prefer not to invest a lot of money in a club membership. I'm moving from the area in July 2018, and would end up paying for more than a year worth of membership and initiation fees for such a short time. Plus going through formalities like a month-long training dependent on availability of an instructor, and written exams to be able to fly a foam plane for fun. I still tried to get in touch with a local club, but still haven't heard back from them. School fields, I'm wary of, as I don't want any trouble. Hope something works out for us!
Try going to your local field and asking them for permission to fly as a guest. Most fields will let you fly as a guest there, provided you're an AMA member. The reason for that is that you carry insurance with the membership, should your plane crash and do damage or something similar. They want liability insurance, and that membership is saying you're insured, regardless if you move.

I was able to fly earlier this year when I went to visit my in laws in Northern California; I took my drone, went to a local field up there, and asked if they minded if I came in to visit and fly. They were ecstatic that I came up from San Diego, and wanted to get out and fly - they knew what the bug is like when you get bit. I didn't have to be a member to do that guest flight there, but the club president said I was welcome to come back and fly anytime I was up in the area - he understood I was just a visiting member who wanted to experience a new flying area.

Most of the people at these fields want to see new blood coming in. Yes, they want membership fees - that's a reality. They want to be able to pave their runway, or put up solar panels for charging stations, or pay for porta-potties onsite to be cleaned on a regular basis. And, as was mentioned, maybe go out and cut the grass/trim trees/stripe the runway/build tables at the field. It may be that they give you a break on your membership. My club has what they call "Palomar Dollars" where you can earn discounts on your membership dues by working out at the field, doing maintenance. Might be worth checking out, or discussing with the club members to see if they're willing to give you a break as a new pilot?
 
#17
That's really cool that they let you fly as a guest! I have a busy schedule so taking the time to work for a discount is not possible. I did ask if they could prorated the fees though, haven't heard back yet. As.for flying as a guest, I don't think they'd allow that for a newbie without real world experience (I have been practicing on the Phoenix Sim). The park itself allows non-members to fly, except that they have the same requirements - prior training, experienced pilot. So, the only way I can get that is joining the club and completing their course. I'd do that too, if an instructor gets back to my request. Still waiting.

Unrelated, I can only imagine how much fun it would be to fly the sea duck. There's a wide river near where I live but the banks are all built up with private houses, and parks with rules.
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#18
I fly my Tiny Trainer at the school near my house after school hours. They don't seem to mind at all and the admin has watched a few times with no issues. The 5 mile rule around airports is a hard to enforce rule also, especially when your only burning a battery or two and flying below tree tops. Not that I'm condoning law breaking, but park flyers, come on, no big deal. Now 1/4 scale is a different story. Common sense should be observed of course. I live right on the 5 mile limit for an airport, but there is no way a plane would ever enter the school zone unless he was crashing as it's in a valley surrounded by 100 foot trees.
 
#19
True, I just assumed electric park flyers could be flown anywhere until I read all the rules and sign boards. I guess a mighty mini would be better? I ended up investing in the C power pack though. The 40" span ones are quite conspicuous and wouldn't want to fly a C pack into anything. I had no idea how much power those motors have until it drilled a hole in my closet door. Uh oh.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#20
That's really cool that they let you fly as a guest! I have a busy schedule so taking the time to work for a discount is not possible. I did ask if they could prorated the fees though, haven't heard back yet. As.for flying as a guest, I don't think they'd allow that for a newbie without real world experience (I have been practicing on the Phoenix Sim). The park itself allows non-members to fly, except that they have the same requirements - prior training, experienced pilot. So, the only way I can get that is joining the club and completing their course. I'd do that too, if an instructor gets back to my request. Still waiting.

Unrelated, I can only imagine how much fun it would be to fly the sea duck. There's a wide river near where I live but the banks are all built up with private houses, and parks with rules.
Well...Here's the thing. When I went up and flew in Northern California, it was only the 5th time I'd ever put an actual drone up in the air. However, I'd logged in over 40 hours of flight time in Liftoff, so I definitely had a bit of stick time. :) They didn't mind, partially because I was 1) flying on a weekday, rather than a weekend, when it would have been packed, and 2) I was flying lower and not over the runway area, where most of their planes flew. I think that might have helped me. All that said, they were open to guests, and it really didn't hurt at all that I asked. Worst case scenario, I would have just gone up and watched the flights, gotten to know some of the people, so that if I came back, they'd be willing to chat with me.

As for the instructors, my experience with a lot of them is that they're more willing to talk to you on a face-to-face rather than via email. The thing with a lot of the clubs that I'm noticing is that it's not so much a young person's hobby - everyone who seems to be doing it as of late is 60+. I think that I'm the 5th youngest person in my club, and we've got something like 100 members, and I turned 40 this year. I say this because the instructors might be of the mindset that email and text messages are too "newfangled" for them. It may not be the case; they might be tech savvy. But they might not check it as much as we do, and putting a face to a name might be better for them. I know that's kind of how it is with my club...