Getting Started



We are affiliated to the British Model Flying Association, 'BMFA’ for short, which was founded in 1922 and is the Royal Aeronautical Clubs designated official body to control model flying in the United Kingdom. The British Model Flying Association has approximately 30,000 members and 600 plus clubs and, being affiliated to our governing body, 'The BMFA’, we operate within their safety codes for Model Flying and carry third party insurance in the sum of £10,000,000 for each member of our club.


We offer a comprehensive training scheme in line with the BMFA safety codes, and instruct pupils up to display flying standards. In brief, the training schedule consists of familiarisation with the safety codes, theory of flight, left and right hand circuits, climbing and descending, take off and landing, and preparation for the ‘A’ and 'B' certificate (see below).


For the 'A’ certificate it is necessary to carry out the pre-flight checks and start the engine, then to carry out further checks according to the safety codes. Complete a take off and correct circuit pattern, fly a figure of eight, two loops, two rectangular approaches to land, and go around again from under 20 feet, another circuit and an actual landing, take off again and climb to about 200 feet, at which point the instructor will tell the candidate to close the throttle to simulate an engine stopped, and a landing must then be made upon the runway. The model is then removed from the landing area and the pilot will then be asked to answer at least five questions from the BMFA safety codes. All successful candidates will then be able to fly without further supervision. For the 'B' certificate, in addition to the above, the pilot must carry out an outside loop, two consecutive axial rolls into wind, followed by two similar rolls downwind, a stall turn, and a three turn spin followed by at least eight questions from the safety codes. This certificate then allows the pilot to take part in public displays. The club has registered examiners who can test candidates for their ‘A’ and 'B' proficiency certificates.


It is possible to pick up second hand equipment and obtain a complete outfit for as little as £200. To buy everything new, realistically, you will have to spend about £300 to get everything you will need including ancillary items. More sophisticated planes, engines and radio gear will obviously cost much more. It is important that before you purchase any equipment for radio controlled model aircraft, new or used, you seek advice from your model club. This small step will ensure that you do not spend unnecessary money on poor, or unsuitable, or possibly out-dated equipment.


Model flying can be a very competitive sport if you want it to be so, and is recognised as such world wide, and there can be a lot of satisfaction in entering local club or inter club events. Some of our members have been successful in all types of national competitions. In scale competitions the aim is to build your model to look like the real thing and then to fly it in a manner appropriate to the full size machine. Points are awarded by the judges for attention to detail and for the manner in which it is flown. Aerobatic contests demand a very high degree of precision, like consecutive loops superimposed upon each other, vertical manoeuvres either up or down, to be absolutely vertical, rolls to be axial and parallel to the ground, and other manoeuvres too numerous to mention. The GBR/CAA (Great Britain Radio Controlled Aerobatic Association) hold this type of competition on various flying sites throughout the season. There are three classes of competitors, standard, senior and master, according to the pilots' ability. There are also competitions for racing aircraft models, vintage, water planes, and many others. Club and inter club contests can be many and varied e.g. Scale, as above, aerobatic, as above, spot landing, landing closest to a designated spot on the runway, sports competition, set of manoeuvres to be completed in the shortest time, longest glide, usually a short run with power, then stop the engine and glide back to the runway and taking the longest time you can to do so, and many more fun events like this!


Flying is mainly governed by the weather. If it is raining, the transmitter could get wet and the electronics within damaged as a result, and remember, this inevitably means a crashed model! If the wind is stronger than 25 knots or visibility is poor, then flying is not recommended otherwise we fly when allowed by the local regulations. Visitors are welcome, but must provide proof of third party insurance, or the club can provide this if required. Also, pilots who have not been cleared to fly solo must be accompanied by a club instructor or a pilot who holds a 'B' certificate.


The models are generally fitted with radios with 4 or more controls. In 2007 the 2.4 GHz frequency was made available to model aircraft. On this frequency the transmitter selects an unused frequency thus doing away with the problem of pegs and two models  trying to use the same frequency. For someone starting in radio control this is the way to go. The older radio system is on the frequencies within the 35 Mhz band between 34.950 MHz and 35.300 MHz. this frequency is still available These numbers are more commonly known by the designation 'channels 55 to 90'. and these channels may be used at Sale Model Flying Club, although we must point out that this equipment is out of production except for use in small “park flyer” models.


Most nowadays are either two stroke or four stroke internal combustion engines using glow plug ignition, and the size of the motor will depend on the size and type of aircraft The most common type that will power most trainers and sports models is the '40' sized two stroke, an engine of 6.5cc developing something like one horsepower. A four stroke of similar size develops less power than its two stroke equivalent, although it has more torque. However it is also much more expensive to buy. On large models petrol engines are often used, but all models that are heavier than 20 kilos must, by law, possess a valid exemption certificate which is provided by the Civil Aviation Authority for that particular model and for designated pilots. However, all models over 7 kilos must be fitted with a ‘failsafe' device, and this function must be demonstrated before flight., this function is standard on 2.4 GHZ radios

Electric powered model are now an alternative glow plug engines. There are a range  of engines from very small low power suitable for light weight  “Park fly” models to large scale & aerobatic models. The motors are  “brushless” & the batteries are Lithium Polymer (Lipo), giving power & endurance.

For beginners the very light weight model are not suitable to learn on, the model needs to be about 48” span & have a 300to 400 watt motor, also it needs to have wheels (not a powered glider).  For an electric powered model you will need several battery packs, it is possible to recharge batteries at the field but charge times are usually about an hour , so limiting the flights you can make in the day.


'Noise' is the main reason that clubs lose their flying fields, and there are many people who are genuinely bothered by the level of noise that is generated by model engines. To make an honest attempt to keep the noise at an acceptable level, all engines use silencers and the latest type of efficient propellers and  are monitored to ensure that the noise level complies with the Department of the Environment sound level of a recommended maximum of 82DbA at 7 metres.


Firstly, visit your local flying club or model shop to see what facilities and help is available from them. Under no circumstances try to 'go it alone' model aeroplanes are not difficult to fly once your model is trimmed to fly correctly but expert tuition will probably ensure your model is not destroyed on its first flight!


Sale Model Flying Club has been in existence since 1974 to promote the sport of building and flying of radio controlled model aircraft and encourage the youth in and around the area to become involved in a sport, but primarily to encourage the safe operation of the sport by all its participants. The membership is mainly adult, but has a junior membership .. The club has been flying for the whole of that time on land leased from Trafford Borough Council at Banky Meadow, in Ashton-on-Mersey. The club flies all types of powered aircraft and gliders of all shapes and sizes. Some of these models are exact replicas of real planes and fly in the same way as their real counterparts.

Within the club are a number of internationally respected and proficient people including a model aircraft world record holder. During the hours set aside for flying, there are always qualified flying instructors on hand to show visitors or potential model club members the rudiments of this most demanding sport. These instructors will, over a period of time, take budding pilots through a course of lessons which in due course will enable them to fly a model on their own with safety. When the instructor feels that the pupil is ready for it, he will suggest that the novice takes the club flying test which, when passed will entitle the member to receive a certificate issued by our governing body, The British Model Flying Association. This certificate is the first stage towards even higher qualifications and is recognised world-wide.

To make a start in the sport, the bits and pieces required will cost (realistically) about £300, although it is possible sometimes to purchase good and reliable used equipment, but, before you buy anything, speak to an instructor who will give you free, unbiased advice on your intended purchase. We suggest a visit to the flying field before you set out to buy your equipment will enable you to decide your best course of action as there is as you might expect, a 'right way' and a ‘wrong way' to go about starting! The area is very well supported by excellently stocked model shops that are always there for advice and help.

Since early 1992, the 'British Sports Council' has recognised aeromodelling in all its' forms as a sport, not a 'hobby', and this will help us all in the future, it may become an Olympic sport one day!


Purchase a ready built model, these are A.R.T.F (almost ready to fly). This should be four channel .

  • Any of the ARTF (Almost Ready To Fly and ready covered) trainers

Engines: Any '40-46' sized engine, the Irvine and the OS ranges are probably the most powerful, and reliable - the others are not quite so powerful. Remember you can always 'throttle back’ but you cannot fly an under-powered plane! Smaller planes and engines are not 'good buys', more difficult to fly, and unlikely to be used for your next model as most models are designed around the '40-46' sized engines.

Radios: Futaba, JR , Spectrum, Hitec are probably the most common 6 channel with rate switches are very strongly recommended.

The transmitter should be on Mode 2, that is with the throttle on the LH stick, the reason for this is that most of our instructors fly this mode.

<Note: we will only accept rechargeable sets with welded or soldered battery packs,in the model.

Essential items: One gallon of fuel with 5% nitromethane will allow your engine to run better. Also, one good quality glow plug clip ,( the 'battery on a stick’ type we don’t recommend as they can fall off into the prop when starting,)  and two 10x8 or 1Ox7 'APC' Propellers (for this size of engine). These propellers are probably the only ones which reduce the noise level of model engines sufficiently and this is now a CRITICAL factor at our flying field.

Also one of the following alternatives:

One 2-volt glow plug battery, one 2-volt charger, (and a method of transfer of fuel from container to the model). This can be done by modifying a 'Fairy Liquid' bottle, we call it a 'squeezy bottle'. This alternative is the cheapest but you will quickly supersede it as you progress and you then have a redundant 2-volt charger as well!


One 12 volt battery, one 'power panel' which feeds the glow plug electronically at 2 volts and also provides 12 volts for the electric starter (which may be purchased at a later date). This also includes a fuel pump for transfer from the container to the models fuel tank. Note: this can also be charged from a car battery charger.

At the end of the flying session you will need something to clean the model down, this can simply be a squeezy bottle with water and a few shots of washing up liquid, and a cloth.

TOTAL COST: APPROX £300 (new). Used equipment (particularly radios) may be suspect and REMEMBER ANY malfunction means a crashed model! HOWEVER, equipment bought within the club (if available) is probably OK. YOUR MODEL SHOP will advise you further in other items you need to buy, such as fuel tubing, tanks, hardware etc. You may well be given different advice on what to buy if you go to another club, model shop or individual. Please accept that this is only OUR method of carrying out your training, and the one WE have found to be the best for US.

PLEASE TRY to follow the above course of action if you have not yet bought anything! If you have already made your purchases, then don't worry, we can still teach you, but it might take a little longer. During the construction/assembly of the model try to bring it to the flying field frequently so that we can check it over for you, as it is much easier to correct mistakes during the building of it, than when it’s finished. It can also be very disheartening for you to find you can’t fly on the day (usually due to safety considerations) because the fault is too serious to be corrected on the field, (although we will always try to help you get flying if we can!)




It is of the utmost importance that you follow these instructions before you arrive for your first flight. The following rules apply to you before your arrival at the field for your first flight:



  1. NOTE: Charge your radio overnight for at least 10 hours the night before you come flying, even if you have not flown since the last time you charged it.


    You cannot harm the battery cells, and you are assured of a full charge each time. REMEMBER if your batteries go flat during flight, it WITHOUT DOUBT MEANS A CRASHED MODEL and more to the point, if 'going flat’ occurs in the vicinity of the people on the field it could mean a nasty accident, and anyway, charging your cells is cheap compared to losing a model.


  1. There are various other rules to follow at the field for the safety of all, including you, and these are written down on the information sheet you will have with your membership, but are also included here for information.

    If you have the inclination to try to fly on the local park or on a neighbour's field... DON'T

    There is a good reason for this, SAFETY. If you fly in a non-designated area you are in danger of having a crash caused by some Tom, Dick or Harry doing EXACTLY the same thing in a nearby field. The range of modem radio sets is in excess of one mile so the other flyer could be there without you even knowing it, and causing each other problems. You would be held responsible, as you 'don't know about the guy in the next field' do you? On top of this, you could be close enough to OUR flying field to make us crash, and that would not make you too popular with us either! So even if you think you are experienced enough to 'go it alone', PLEASE don't in the interest of safety for everyone.


The use of Unwelded cells in the model battery (receiver) is NOT allowed

These are prohibited in our Club because they are KNOWN TO FAIL due to poor contact in the battery holders, and as this ALWAYS means a crashed aircraft, which could hurt someone too, this is why we prohibit them.


In any event you will find it is a further false economy to use the wrong type, because you will soon spend the additional cost of two rechargeable welded packs cells (about £30 including charger) in dry cells to ensure your plane does not 'run out of juice' as you might call it! The messing about you have to carry out to recharge loose rechargeable cells is also unwanted, as you cannot buy a charger of that type that will charge all TWELVE cells at the same time!

If you have any questions, or don't understand anything, then please ask an EXPERIENCED flyer as we do not wish you to be disappointed in your chosen sport! GOOD LUCK!