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What makes a pilot Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced?

Pilot-294

Senior Member
#1
Just wondering how i should classify myself as i havent ever heard it classified. i would like to know how all the classes fall as well so i know when i can say i have advanced to the next level.

As of now i don't have a lot of flight experience but u handle a park zone F4U and an ultra micro Mossie with ease. i fly the corsair pattern and rolls as for the fear of killing my expensive bird (not to mention my favorite) ill save that till i get another plane for more advanced aerobatics. but i have been flying the crap outta that mossie last few times up. stall turns attempted inversion, Immelmann turns, etc, don't wreck often with that (and never with the corsair) landings are fine, no damages to the planes when i land, mostly belly landings, but i find i leave the gear on more often now.

i figure I'm probably still beginner due to a lack of flight time and aircraft experience, and thats ok, but i figured i had to ask more expert opinions.

also throw some planes out there that you think i could be ready to tackle, without being too far out of my envelope haha :cool:
 

pgerts

Old age member
Mentor
#2
There are different levels (certificates) depending on where you live.
Clubs do "normally" require some test that shows that you can start, land, fly level within a defined area and know someting about safety to be allowed to fly without any supervision.
Next level is when you can fly an easy program with some defined areobatic maneuvres.
Another level is when you are allowed to fly with public (on events).
Those different levels are normally divided in types like Gliders, Motorplanes, Helicopters and "Jet".

But the question you asked are supposedly referred to differnet skills needed to fly planes.
Beginner - Bixler type and slow- or parkf lyers
Intermediate - Aerobatic planes (heavier)
Advanced - bigger Scale planes or tricky to fly or extra fragile planes.
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#3
If you aren't in a club setting where it's defined and you are just looking for things appropriate to your skills, then it's really a gut check judgement call. What are you really ready for, and what are you willing to fix?

Sounds like you have the basics down, usually once a person has mastered basic 4 channel flight, can do loops, rolls, basic aerobatics without sweating and most importantly land in a defined area repeatedly, I would consider them to be an intermediate pilot.

The people I consider advanced pilots are the guys with the super agile planes doing things I can't even fully understand yet. Big gassers hanging on the prop, little electrics spinning around like a squirrel on crack etc....

I think it's also a lot about the building and technical aspects, knowing your plane that make someone an advanced or expert pilot. Seems to me that most people get out of beginner pretty quick and spend the rest of their time in the intermediate category. Takes a lot of dedication and time to become an advanced pilot.

Nothing wrong with being intermediate, seems like it's the most fun. I'll probably never be considered an expert or advance pilot but I'm okay with that.

Just my opinion.

As for planes, what are you into? Electric or fuel? Scale or aerobatic? Where do you fly? There are lots of planes for you in every category but you have to narrow it down a bit. Where you fly is a huge concern. Pretty much dictates how big you can go and possibly what type of propulsion you can use.
 

ananas1301

Crazy flyer/crasher :D
#4
I agree with Akflyer!

Also the term of knowledge is something quite important. Very often you see people flying in youtube videos doing funky stuff we don´t understand. I think a good indicator of how far you are in your progress is how safe you can fly. Then how hard your plane to fly is.
If you can fly a Jet I would classify you as being a intermediate up to advanced (dependend on type of jet) as they are seen as pretty hard to fly.
Each plane has its own character points. Planes with dihedral that go slow like the Bixler stuff are easy to fly. next thing up would be something like a Parkzone warbird. (normally warbirds are seen as not very easy to fly but EPO and Parkzone somehow changed that with their planes) Then I´d go for something like a little more acrobatic like the Extra 300. Then finally a Habu.

Of course also building your own planes and increasing your knowledge is another way of your learning progress. Knowing more leads to better reasoning and therefore better flying experiences. (e.g. using Flaps etc.)
 

Pilot-294

Senior Member
#5
thanks for all the replies while i was out of town. after reading this i would probably rate myself at late beginner early intermediate? not sure on what to rate yet 100% but i hope I'm not giving myself too much credit. and as for planes and my flying space, i can find a spot to fly most anything short of giant scale. and I'm not afraid of glow fuel. i want to get into 3d planes soon (just got a um extra 300 3d) something to learn aerobatics with and to push my flight envelope, I'm a huge warbird fan, and scale flying is fun too. i can sometimes fly in gyms and outdoors is my main flight area.
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#6
thanks for all the replies while i was out of town. after reading this i would probably rate myself at late beginner early intermediate? not sure on what to rate yet 100% but i hope I'm not giving myself too much credit. and as for planes and my flying space, i can find a spot to fly most anything short of giant scale. and I'm not afraid of glow fuel. i want to get into 3d planes soon (just got a um extra 300 3d) something to learn aerobatics with and to push my flight envelope, I'm a huge warbird fan, and scale flying is fun too. i can sometimes fly in gyms and outdoors is my main flight area.
It's great to see you challenging yourself. We had a discussion on here somewhere about that being the most important thing to keep the hobby from getting stale. That and flying with friends. Like I replied to your other thread, you are going to love that plane.
 

bicyclemonkey

Flying Derp
Mentor
#7
If you fly very often anyone will move out of the "basic/beginner" category fairly quickly. I think it kind of breaks down like this:

1) Mastery of a four channel high wing trainer.
2) Mastery of a four channel low wing trainer.

After you've mastered a low wing four channel trainer type plane and can take off, fly and land consistently, you're probably intermediate.
 
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Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#8
I would generally agree with that. When I stated earlier that an intermediate pilot can do basic aerobatics, I'm pretty much limiting that to loops and rolls. Things like knife edge, hovering etc. are more mid intermediate skills. If you can fly around and land your UMX Extra then I would consider you an early intermediate pilot.
 

bicyclemonkey

Flying Derp
Mentor
#9
Only thing is that the UM planes are so light that even a .40 size trainer is going to be a WAY different flight experience. A hard landing will do nothing to an UM plane but could be very damaging to a large traditional trainer.
 

Pilot-294

Senior Member
#10
Definitely beginner then, basic aerobatics are all I can do at the moment, but I can definitely fly and land consistently with my parkzone corsair so I would consider that basic mastery of the simple controls I'm now trying to incorporate more difficult aerobatics with it, trying some inverted a time or two. but at least I have not crashed more than once, and it was only the maiden. I do feel like I have advanced at a fast rate, I more or less had one or two flights on a larger nitro high wing (unsuccessful) and skipped straight to the park zone corsair. Havnt crashed it yet Besides the maiden (not saying I won't) but I feel like it has come extremely naturally and it's a blast. I don't know if it's normal to go that way or not haha but I'm loving it!
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#11
Only thing is that the UM planes are so light that even a .40 size trainer is going to be a WAY different flight experience. A hard landing will do nothing to an UM plane but could be very damaging to a large traditional trainer.
Very very true. The risk isn't there. But, at the same time, the mastery of the controls is the same. Learning to roll the plane in the right direction when it's coming at you or inverted is the same, learning to recognize the orientation of the plane is the same etc. Plus the bigger the plane the better they fly. The biggest difference is the wing loading of a big trainer is higher so you have to carry more speed, but if you compare the UMX 300 to a big 300 the differences are less.

The best trainer I've ever seen is the Sig LT40. I ran my brother's out of fuel and did two more laps around the field like a glider before bringing it in for a feathery soft landing. While the risk is higher and the repairs longer and more costly, the flight characteristics of a good plane aren't that different from the ultra micros.
 

Pilot-294

Senior Member
#12
Only thing is that the UM planes are so light that even a .40 size trainer is going to be a WAY different flight experience. A hard landing will do nothing to an UM plane but could be very damaging to a large traditional trainer.
I agree the um are super easy and fun, I don't have an ultra micro corsair I'm flying the z-foam park flyer. I'm hoping the flight characteristics are a lot like a low wing trainer so that I'll be ready for something bigger next.
 

bicyclemonkey

Flying Derp
Mentor
#13
You are getting your basics down and learning your orientation with the UM's. Those planes will spoil you they're so easy to fly. Like AK said, the Sig LT40 is a great high wing trainer, I actually used a Sig Seniorita which is build for electric from the get go. Nitro Planes has the Seniorita in and out of stock for $79...if you catch them while they're in stock, definitely get one, even if it will be a while before you build it. Either one is the perfect balsa high wing trainer and perfect for a first balsa plane.

http://www.nitroplanes.com/90a268.html
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#14
Haven't tried the seniorita but it looks like the Lt40. Either way, they make the greatest trainers on the market. Anyone looking for a first nitro model couldn't possibly ask for a better plane. So far I think Sig is one of the greatest manufacturers. I love my four star from them.
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#16
I almost bought a rascal 40 off craigslist this summer, but I need to finish rebuilding my four star. Looked like a great plane though. I really want to build a Rascal 110 and put a gasoline engine on it and the put it on floats. Add a drop box, cameras etc. What a great platform. A really good looking plane too.
 

bicyclemonkey

Flying Derp
Mentor
#18
Ok, your going to be fine if you've been flying the big PZ Corsair. If you can fly it with no probs youll be alright. It even says in the product description it's intermediate level. I'd say your there.