It wasn’t long ago that the Spirits of St. Louis R/C club had one of the most active training programs in the country. When interest in the hobby was at its peak, it wasn’t uncommon to have 5-10 new flyers attending our Tuesday Night training night, all on buddy boxes with designated training members. Although the glory days of training dozens of new flyers a year has waned slightly, that doesn’t mean that you cannot learn to fly.
Step 1 – The Introductory Flight:
All you really need to get started is to simply have a passion to learn to fly model airplanes! There are several members of the Spirits that have been designated as “Introductory Flight” certified. What that means is that they have been approved by the Amateur Modelers Association (AMA) to take flyers up (either on a buddy cord between two radios or on a common radio passed between the student and instructor) so that they can experience the awesomeness of model aviation without any investment whatsoever. If you are interested in experiencing model aviation, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make it happen!
Step 2 – Joining the AMA:
If your going to fly your own model airplane and do it safely, you need to join the Amateur Modelers Association (AMA). If your under the age of 19, it won’t cost you anything. If your a little more “kid at heart” than that, it will cost you a modest annual fee, ($75/year at the time of this article). The benefits of a Full Membership outweigh the investment and you’ll enjoy the following:
- Fly any type of model aircraft. (internal combustion, electric, heavier than 2 lbs, faster than 60mph).
- $2,500,000 in personal liability insurance coverage.
- $25,000 in Medical Coverage – AD&D and a $10,000 Death Benefit
- $1,000 in Fire, Theft, or Vandalism Coverage
- Model Aviation Magazine
- Flying privileges at thousands of AMA Chartered Clubs with appropriate club memberships
- Ability to fly in competitions
- Voting privileges
- Access to the National Model Aviation Museum
- Access to members only-features online
- Additional Family Members at a discount
Step 2 – Join the Spirits of Saint Louis R/C Club:
Although you can fly three times as a guest of a Spirits member, to enjoy the field anytime during regular flying hours you need to become a member. Its a pretty simple process, just do the following:
- Download the Spirits Application,
- Attach your AMA membership card
- Write a check to the Spirits of St. Louis R/C Club for $150,
- Bring it to our monthly meeting or mail it to the membership chair.
Step 3 – Find an instructor to help you:
The club has opted to not have a formal training program like we have in years past for the following reasons:
- Many students have varied schedules and locking in a training program on a given night eliminates access to people who work evenings. Many flyers like to fly during the day due to schedule limitations / opportunities.
- The type of airplane power-plant is varied and some students prefer electric / gas / or the traditional glow engines. Different instructors have different skill-sets and specialize in a type of airplane.
There are a number of awesome members of the Spirits of St. Louis that are more than happy to help you get started. Contact us at the link above, come to the meeting, or swing by the field to get started!