The ORCC offers free flight training to members who wish to learn to fly powered aircraft, gliders, or helicopters. We do encourage members who are trained by our club to remain as club members after they complete their training, enjoying, and perfecting their new hobby with us and helping our club continue to thrive and grow the hobby. We’re Ottawa’s first RC club and our club has been active since 1956.
Becoming a Qualified RC Pilot with the Ottawa Remote Control Club
1. Join both the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) and the ORCC.
2. Contact the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) to get your questions answered.
3. Get the equipment you need and ensure that the CFI knows you wish to train.
4. You’ll be notified when training begins and ahead of each session thereafter.
5. Arrive at training with your model ready to fly and your batteries charged.
6. Spend training sessions learning as much as possible and asking questions.
7. On your own practice on a simulator learn the MAAC Safety Code and ORCC rules.
8. Successfully complete your flight test and open book safety-related quiz.
9. Congratulations, you are a MAAC Qualified Pilot and a valued ORCC member.
The effort you invest learning will largely determine how long your training requires.
Now, here it is in more detail. The Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) is your primary contact and can be reached at ORCCCFI@gmail.com. If you are interested in learning to fly helicopters, contact our lead helicopter instructor at ORCCHeli@gmail.com.
As a student at ORCC, we will teach you to fly, and we will prepare you to complete the related knowledge requirements so that you have the broadest piloting rights available in Canada to fly RC models. Let’s look first at the flight training and we’ll then discuss the knowledge requirements.
The Flying Portion of Flight Training
If you are considering taking flight training with us, we encourage you to contact our Chief Flying Instructor (CFI). He will be able to answer your equipment and training questions before you go out and invest in equipment.
Like aspiring pilots learning to fly full-size aircraft, basic flight training for models requires a training aircraft. Avoid fighter replicas, electric ducted fan (EDF) models or a slick 3D helicopter. Companies will advertise some of them as trainers, but remember, they are selling them, not learning to fly with them.
Today almost everyone learns to fly with an electric powered model. Training models that use an internal combustion engine are available and completely acceptable, but for those not used to tuning internal combustion engines, electric powered models are far easier to prepare for flight and maintain. The most popular model aircraft among students now is the E-flite Apprentice. On the helicopter side, the Align 450 is a good choice. Both are conveniently available in Ottawa at Great Hobbies, as are spare parts. Spare parts availability is crucial for training models for obvious reasons. There are other options worth discussing with our CFI or lead helicopter instructor.
The flight training season begins in May once the weather is favourable and runs through into late fall. Tuesday evenings at our club are set aside for helicopter training and Thursday evenings for fixed wing flight training. Both start at 4:30pm and run through until dusk. ORCC has several skilled and qualified flight instructors so students can expect to fly a number of flights each training session.
Safe flying is emphasized throughout training. Every student will be required to prepare and inspect their model ahead of each flight. You will be taught what you must do and why you are doing it. Safety is a large part of full-scale aviation and it’s equally relevant with models.
As a student you will have a qualified instructor beside you every flight, likely with the equipment to take control of your model if you get into difficulty during a flight. Your instructors will teach you the proper use of each of the model controls and the maneuvers you require to fully control your model and do so safely. Maneuvers you will master as a student include taking off, landing, flying straight and level around the pattern, conducting low passes down the runway, performing figure 8s, performing flat turns (cross controlling), and safely returning to land if you have a loss of power (dead stick landing).
Flight training duration varies greatly among students, with some demonstrating the necessary skills within a few sessions of training while a few may spend over a year. However, most students should be able to complete training in one season if they attend most of the sessions. One effective way to improve your learning curve is with practice on a good flight simulator (e.g., RealFlight, Aerofly). An investment in a flight simulator and dedicated practice using it markedly assists transitioning to flying models. It’s worthwhile. Crashes on the flight simulator cost you nothing to repair.
The Academic Portion of Flight Training
The advent of drones and unqualified individuals flying them dangerously has had an impact on RC flying in most countries. Governments have responded by increasing the rules affecting all RC flying.
In Canada now, model aircraft of all types are referred to by the Federal Government as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and the pilots of models weighing more than 249g must adhere to Part IX of the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs). Importantly, members of ORCC and most other RC clubs in Canada are exempt from these regulations because our clubs are chartered clubs of MAAC. This exemption does require individual membership in MAAC and a commitment to respect MAAC safety rules while participating in the hobby.
Once we have trained you as a qualified pilot you can fly independently at our field and elsewhere as allowed, so it is important that you know the rules you must observe. We provide each student with an overview of the MAAC Safety Code information and the ORCC safety related information you must know. During the training season, when you are ready, you will complete an open book quiz to confirm your understanding of the MAAC Safety Code and ORCC safety issues.
With successful completion of the open book quiz and your demonstrated ability to fly your model you will become a MAAC qualified pilot able to enjoy our great hobby.
Self-Taught and Past Pilots Returning to Flying
Anyone who hasn’t been a continuous member of MAAC since 2019 will need to complete a flight test and the open book quiz that are now requirements for those coming into the hobby. The difference between your situation and that of someone new to the hobby is likely to be in the amount of flight training, if any, you require ahead of attempting your flight test. Your focus may well be on learning the MAAC Safety Code and ORCC safety requirements that are now required. We’ll focus your training to your specific needs.
Qualified Pilots Joining from Other Clubs
MAAC qualified pilots who are joining ORCC from another club must make arrangements with the CFI to go over ORCC safety rules and learn the no-fly areas ahead of flying at our club. Either the CFI or someone he delegates will work with you to find an early opportunity to do this.
After becoming a Qualified Pilot
We encourage every pilot who earns their Wings to see that a starting point. With the freedom to fly when convenient, practice as much as possible to build up your skill set.
Club members can assist you with recommendations for your next airplanes and choices of related equipment. Members are encouraged to seek out instructors to assist with the test flights of new airplanes, or when you decide to move up to larger/faster airplanes. Across the club there is an immense pool of knowledge and talent to assist you as you progress in the wonderful world of RC aviation.
Becoming an Instructor with the ORCC
If you love to teach people and are an accomplished pilot, why not aspire to become an instructor with the ORCC. We can always use more instructors and teaching others to fly can be one of the most rewards parts of this hobby. Here are the minimum qualifications to be an instructor:
1. Must be a member of ORCC
2. Must have been a MAAC qualified pilot for at least two years
3. Must participate as an assistant instructor for one full flying season
4. Must have thorough knowledge of MAAC and club safety rules and regulations
5. Must have good knowledge of radio control, batteries and proper maintenance of RC aircraft and systems
6. Must have good general knowledge of aerodynamics
For more information, please contact the ORCC Chief Flying Instructor, Alan Nixon. He can be reached at ORCCCFI@gmail.com.