Flight Training

2021 Marymoor R/C Club Flight Training

On Tuesdays from the first Tuesday in May to the Last Tuesday in August.

Weather permitting. Check Facebook for weather update by 3 PM that day.

The Marymoor R/C Club Flight Training program is for new pilots that want to learn to fly. If you are an experienced pilot, have an active AMA membership, and are joining MAR/C, you can instead request a flight proficiency check: New Member Proficiency Check. If you are a new pilot that wants to successfully solo, read on!

Our goal is for all students to enjoy a safe and inspiring training experience.  The information here can be a bit intimidating at first.  Rest assured that we are enthused about helping you, as we have done for many, many new fliers.  We will introduce knowledge to the student at their own pace.  We want every student to succeed.  After all, flying is a lot more fun when we have new friends to share it with!

  • AMA membership (http://www.modelaircraft.org) and MAR/C membership are both required.
  • MAR/C membership is “provisional” (yellow badge) until the student passes a flight proficiency test and gains the privilege to solo.
  • MAR/C conducts a flight training program each year for new student pilots or for returning pilots that need to brush up on their flying skills:
    • Tuesdays 5 PM to sunset (weather permitting), first Tuesday in May through the last Tuesday in August.
    • A new pilot may fly a MAR/C owned trainer with an instructor for one flight prior to joining the training program.
    • We provide a “buddy box” and cord to connect the student and instructor’s transmitters.
  • The club currently supports Spektrum and Futaba brands. 
  • If the student owns a transmitter of some other brand, they must invest in their own buddy box (e.g. a second transmitter) of the same brand, and the connecting cord.
  • Both the primary transmitter and the “buddy box” transmitter must be of a similar vintage and be able to use the same type of cord and connections.
    • Direct any questions that you may have to the following: Flight Training Manager, Brian Burk (425) 269-8936, Brian Kelly (aka BK2) at (425) 417-4272, or Mike Powell at (425) 883-2465.
  • Alternatively, you could arrange privately with a willing club member to teach you to fly at any time of the year.  When the student is ready to graduate from “provisional” to “full” membership, the student must pass the flight proficiency test with a club board member, in the same manner as the training program.

We have a great resource of online training material for you to use to make the whole experience a success. Here are the sections of our MAR/C Ground School:
a) Getting Started in Training
b) Selecting Your Airplane and Radio
c) How Training Works
d) How Planes Fly
e) Flight Training Phases and Your Training Log
f) Phase 1 - Preflight and Taxi
g) Phase 2 - Orientation and Traffic Pattern
h) Phase 3 - Approach and Landing
i) Phase 4 - Takeoff
j) Phase 5 - Advanced Orientation and Aerobatics
k) Proficiency Flight and Quiz
l) Radios and Electronic Speed Controls
m) Your next airplane after training

An additional great resource is the presentation from the club's STEM Day (large download):
STEM Day Presentation

Before purchasing your own airplane and other equipment, please download and read sections a), b), and c) of the MAR/C Ground School.

Contact one of the above MAR/C contacts if you have any questions.  Also, please come visit the field and talk to other pilots, to see the equipment in use and get a feel or the size and capabilities of different kinds of trainers.  You can do this any time, but Tuesday training evenings are the best opportunity.  Deciding what to buy based only on website and advertisements usually results in disappointment.  Buying from swap meets is also risky unless you know exactly what you need.


What is training like?

A MAR/C tech inspector will check your airplane to ensure that it has been assembled correctly and is flight worthy according to the pre-flight checklist found in the MAR/C Ground School 2017 PDF or PowerPoint. Most deficiencies identified by the tech inspector can be corrected quickly at the airfield.

Student pilots will fly with different MAR/C instructors during training.  The instructor’s “buddy box” transmitter will be connected to the student’s transmitter with a special cord.  The instructor can fly the airplane and take control from the student instantly at any time.   

Initially, the instructor will perform all take offs and landings.  The instructor will transfer control of the aircraft to the student when it is at altitude and flying straight and level.  At first, the student will not be able to fly the airplane very long before the instructor needs to make a correction.  As experience is gained, the student will be able to fly the plane with fewer corrections.  Eventually the student will progress to approaches, landings and takeoffs.  The student will also learn how to recover from adverse situations such as being upside down.  

A log book is used to document the progress of each student.  In the final steps of the program, 2 instructors observe 2 flights that are required to be successful without any corrections by the instructors.  The last flight is a solo flight without use of a buddy box which must be successfully completed without advice from the instructors.  Each graduating student receives a certificate attesting to their proficiency and receives a full membership card to replace their provisional card.

Your Checklist to Get Ready!

  •     First, visit the Tuesday free instruction flight (or visit the field anytime).
  •     AMA membership.
  •     MAR/C membership (apply as soon as you have AMA number).
  •     FAA registration.
  •     Read sections 1-4 and Phase 1 of section 5 in the Ground School.
  •     Purchase your plane and transmitter AFTER reading section 2.
  •     Read instructions for your plane, charger, and batteries.
  •     Assemble your plane according to the instructions.
  •     Come to training night with your batteries recently charged. 


Notes on Selecting Your Own Airplane

The following thoughts are also covered in Section 2 of the Ground School.

An airplane specifically designed for training (and usually called a “trainer”) is the best type for student pilots to use.  Trainers generally have a wing that mounts on top of the fuselage and wing dihedral (wing halves form a slight “V” shape when viewed from front or back).  This type of airplane has a tendency to fly level when the control sticks on the transmitter are released.

Your airplane must have four control channels (throttle, aileron, rudder and elevator) to be used in the training program.  Additionally, your transmitter brand must be either Spektrum or Futaba to be compatible with the buddy boxes that the club instructors will use.  If you use another brand, you must bring your own buddy box (an extra transmitter) and cord.

Size does indeed matter.  Smaller airplanes are of course less expensive, but more difficult to see in the air and their wheels are too small to conduct takeoff and landing on our grass field, even though it is mowed very short.  Smaller or lighter airplanes are more affected by wind and turbulence and more difficult to fly in windy conditions.  That great looking, inexpensive, and probably small airplane you found online or at a garage sale might not be the best thing.  We strongly encourage all students to go with tried and true airplanes like the ones below.

We strongly recommend electric powered “ARF” (Almost Ready to Fly) airplanes that are intended for training.  Here are some notes on two airplanes we like for this purpose:

The E-Flite Apprentice has an electric motor and includes everything required to fly the airplane, even the transmitter. List price is approximately $300. It is recommended that a second or third flight battery be purchased for as well. This will allow a pilot to make 2 or 3 flights.  Charging of the battery used for the first flight may be started soon after the airplane lands and it can be used for the third flight.

The wheels on the apprentice are too small for taxiing, takeoff, and landing on a grass field.  We recommend replacing them with light-weight 3-inch diameter “park flyer” wheels available at the hobby shop.


The ParkZone Sport Cub is also an excellent choice.  It does not come packaged with a transmitter, so you will need to buy that separately.  This gives you the option of buying a more capable transmitter than the one that comes with the Apprentice, which can be a good investment if you are confident that you will grow with the hobby. 


All suggestions:

In addition, you should:

  • Purchase at least 1 additional flight battery.
  • Purchase a battery charger that can accept household power, for easier use at the MAR/C charging station at the field.  The hobby shop can make good recommendations here.  Buying one online without advice can be quite confusing.  Alternatively, purchase 2 additional flight batteries instead of one, and bring 3 batteries fully charged to the field.
  • Purchase an inexpensive “battery checker” that you will use to see how much battery power remains at the end of a flight.  Understanding good care and use of Lithium-Polymer batteries is essential to avoid ruining them.
  • Get a durable box to store and transport your transmitter in order to protect the antenna and switches.