Where It’s Legal to Fly a Remote Control Plane
So you’ve bought or been gifted for Father’s Day, a really nice remote control (RC) plane. You put it together, read all the instructions, familiarized yourself with the radio control mechanism and practiced manipulating the various control surfaces out in the back yard. Now it’s time to take it aloft and that raises one big question you may or may not have thought about before: where is it legal to fly such a thing? A remote control plane is not like a kite that basically drifts in place on the wind. The RC plane is a powered aircraft; essentially a drone, and flying powered aircraft in the wrong place can get you in trouble with the powers that be and might wind up endangering others as well. Below we’re going to take a look at your best options when it comes to places where you can fly your remote control plane.
Finding Friendly Skies
When it comes to flying your remote control plane you have several options.
- Private Land – If you live on a good sized piece of open land you should have no problems flying your remote control plane to your heart’s content. As long as it doesn’t stray over your neighbor’s property. If you’re like most of us though your family doesn’t own 1,000 acres in Texas or Montana, and you’re likely to come to blows with lamp posts, digital TV antennas or trees. It may still be possible however to find someone who owns a large enough piece of land and is willing to accommodate you. If you find such a person thank your lucky stars because it will make your experience many times easier.
- Public Land – Your next option is public land. Football fields next to high schools, public parks, beaches and the like often present ideal conditions for flying an RC plane. But there’s one thing that could bring your enjoyment to a rapid halt in a public space: the public. While most people will take an interest in what you’re doing there’s always a curmudgeon or two about who will complain. And since it’s public land they have a right to be heard. Sometimes you can reach accommodation with such kill-joys. Other times you’ll have to respect their right to enjoy their time in the park without having to listen to drones buzzing overhead. Just keep in mind that if you get into a fight with them the site could wind up being closed to all RC flyers.
- Flying Clubs – It’s often not until they get their own model plane that people become aware of how many others have them and how many flying clubs there are. In any given state in fact there’s likely to be dozens of them. These clubs usually offer very reasonable membership fees and provide you with a safe, enjoyable place to fly your RC plane. The biggest issues when it comes to flying clubs are air traffic congestion and signal overlap. Because many RC planes still utilize the MHz system it’s possible that flyers in close proximity to one another could find their commands overlapping because they’re on the same frequency. No good can come of that. Always talk to others at the club regarding who is using what frequency.
Once you’ve found the right venue for flying your RC plane safety should jump to the top of your agenda. A large, out of control RC plane is capable of killing someone so you must always be aware of your surroundings, the location and flight path of your plane, other people in the vicinity and the weather conditions. The last thing you want is for your flying fun to turn into a nightmare.