Q: Why do I need AMA membership?

A: The Academy of Model Aeronautics provides support for clubs and individuals including publication of various periodicals, educational support, regional and national competitions and essential club and individual insurance coverage.  The AMA sponsors the International RC Helicopter Association's yearly jamboree (IRCHA) at their headquarters in Muncie, Indiana.  It is the largest helicopter event in the world, drawing more than 2000 pilots from all over including most of the professional pilots and a wide array of vendors. It is an event not to be missed at least once in an RC helicopter pilot's lifetime. 

Q: How do I become a member and what are the requirements?

A: Click on the Membership link for answers to all your membership questions.  

Q: How hard is it to learn to fly rotary wing aircraft?  Is training provided?

A: Flying remote control rotary wing aircraft is definitely challenging since helicopters are inherently unstable.  However, with support from knowledgeable pilots, "buddy box" instruction and the use of a computer based RC simulator, anyone can master the basics.  One of the great benefits to membership is the wealth of knowledge and skill available from more experienced members who will help you learn proper building, setup and flying techniques.

Q: Can I fly as a guest?

A: AMA membership is mandatory for anyone flying at our site, regardless of BAR membership status.  We invite all AMA members to join us for up to two visits as a guest pilot.  Club membership is required for subsequent visits.  

Q: What are the dangers of RC heli flying?

A: Responsible RC helicopter flying is safe and fun.   Proper aircraft setup and sensible piloting behavior are essential.  Our members are always free to assist a new pilot with pre-flight checks.  Flying site rules must be followed at all times including flying within the boundaries we have defined.  No alcoholic beverages are allowed and pilots must not fly after recent alcohol consumption.  Accidents can occur so knowing and following the rules is mandatory and obtaining help from more experienced members is encouraged.  In this way, we ensure a safe environment for all. 

Q: What heli should I start with?

A: There are a large variety of helicopter models and kits available, ranging from the mall kiosk throwaways to high powered precision aerobatic machines.  The smaller micro electric helicopters that are now widely available can be very nimble and precise flyers and are attractive because they seem less expensive.  However, they are very quick and can be very difficult to learn on because of this.  Their very small size makes for difficult building and setup.  So for many, a mid-sized helicopter is the best starting place for optimal price/performance balance. 

Q: Electric or nitro power?

A:  A recent explosion in battery technology has revolutionized the RC helicopter industry.  Previously, the best cost/power/performance/flight duration was found in nitromethane/methanol fueled glow-type internal combustion engine powered helicopters.  More recently, however, there has been a huge shift towards lithium-polymer battery powered machines.  The flight times are bit shorter, but overall, the costs are now similar and the ease of setup and maintenance with superior reliability and power have led many of us to abandon our nitro-powered machines!  However, there are still those of us who love the smell of nitro in the morning...(and having oil covering everything).

Q: How high and how fast do remote control helicopters fly?

A: Remote control aircraft will remain under radio control long after they are no longer visible to the naked eye.  Rotary winged aircraft competing in high speed events have been clocked as high as 125mph!