PMAC FAQs

 

Q:  Do I need to register with the FAA to fly my model at PMAC?


A:  All pilots who intend to fly at our field must comply with all current PMAC, Local, State, and Federal rules and regulations pertaining to the activity of model aircraft flying. Although there has been much discussion and various sources of information regarding this topic, the FAA currently states you must have an FAA registration number on you model and on your person to fly any remotely controlled model if it weighs 0.55 lbs. and up to 55 lbs.,. For the most recent information regarding this issue use these links.

  1. http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/gov.aspx

  2. https://registermyuas.faa.gov


FAA App: Search “b4ufly”  on your mobile devices app store.



Q:  When can I train?

A:  Students can train any time the field is open and they arrange to meet with an instructor.  Thursday evening 6 pm - dusk is set aside for training only and several instructors will be available and one or more club planes are available for demo flights.



Q:  How much does training cost?

A:  Several PMAC members volunteer their time to train new members, so the cost is zero. These instructors are experienced RC pilots who enjoy flying and enjoy teaching others.  After you solo and gain some RC experience, contact the Chief Flight Instructor about becoming an instructor yourself.



Q:  Can students train in PMAC owned and maintained trainer aircraft?

A:  Yes and no.  PMAC training planes are intended to demonstrate RC flight to potential students who have yet to purchase their own aircraft.  Students can fly PMAC aircraft for several/many flights when buddy boxed to a club instructor who remains pilot in command.  Students are not to take off or land PMAC planes nor should they make low approaches.



Q:  When should I join AMA?

A:  Before you train with PMAC, you need to be covered by AMA insurance to fly at PMAC.  PMAC flies on land owned by the State of Michigan controlled by the DNR and our lease agreement requires all pilots to be covered by AMA's insurance. AMA offers several types of memberships depending on your age and type model. They also offer a 60 day Intro Pilot program which provides insurance coverage to registered students for up to 60 days when flying with a PMAC Intro Pilot instructor.  Intro Pilot Students must join AMA after those 60 days to train at PMAC.

You can find all the info you need to join AMA at their application center.



Q:  What type of AMA membership do I need?

A:  Full AMA member - No restrictions on type of aircraft that you fly other than established by the Official AMA National Safety Code

Park Flyer Member - Can only fly park flyers or quiet-powered models that meet the class definition.  Internal-combustion-powered models cannot be flown with this membership.

Definition of Park Flyer aircraft:  Aircraft are limited to 2 pounds in weight and speeds of less than 60 mph.  The quiet, slow-flying park flyer aircraft allow them to fly in areas in which traditional-style models are not allowed to fly. This opens up the possibility of new fields in both outdoor and indoor venues.

More info at http://www.modelaircraft.org/parkflyer.aspx



Q:  When should I join PMAC?

A:  At least before your first solo.  Once you are committed to the sport/hobby by purchasing your aircraft and you enjoy the flying and fellowship at PMAC, it's time to join.  But definitely you should join the club before your first solo.  Complete our PMAC Registration form when you are ready.



Q:  What will I learn on my first lesson? The next? The one after that?

A:  Students learn at their own pace but PMAC instructors follow a common lesson plan that begins with an introduction to safety instructions and flight controls then progressing to controlled flight, approaches, landing, take-offs, and eventually solo. You can find details at 2018 PMAC Student Handout.



Q:  Can I train on a Park Flyer (small low performance electric) plane?

A:  The short answer is yes but we urge you to get a .40 or .60 size trainer. If you train on a Park Flyer you will be restricted to flying only Park Flyers until you have received further training in higher performance models.  Our experience is that most people move up to the bigger planes soon so we think it best to train in a 40 or 60 size trainer.



Q:  What does PMAC's Five Up - Five Down policy mean?

A:  The 5 consecutive take-off and landing policy is a long standing tradition at PMAC.  It is similar to a "final exam" administered near the end of a RC pilot's training program.  That is, after the instructor is confident that the student is capable of flying the model aircraft safely, then the student must demonstrate five consecutive "perfect" take-off and landings.  The word perfect is somewhat subjective but means at least the following:

  1. Most important - The student demonstrates excellent safety judgment during all aspects of the entire 5 up/5 down demonstration including starting the plane, taxi to take off & departure, flying, approach & landing, taxi to pits, and shutdown.


  1. The instructor did not have to take control of the plane during the demonstration flights.


  1. Each take off was relatively smooth and relatively straight.


  1. Each landing was relatively smooth and relatively straight without killing the engine due to a hard touch down




Q:  What's this dead stick landing requirement?

A:  At times our models lose power while in flight.  If a glow or gas engine is set too lean or if you run out of fuel, the engine quits.  Even electric powered aircraft can have battery or other issue causing loss of power.  Therefore, PMAC teaches students the safe procedures to follow if your aircraft power fails which is referred to as "Dead Stick".  All students prior to solo will be given the flight experience of at least one simulated dead stick landing where the power will be reduced to idle and the student is expected to get the plane to the field safely.



Q:  What does it mean to solo?

A:  Solo means alone, think of the first solo in a full scale aircraft when the student actually flies alone as pilot in command.  During the RC first solo, the student is not connected to a buddy box and the instructor is not standing at the student's side.  If the instructor feels they must do either, the student is not ready to solo.  With that said, the instructor should watch the student solo from a safe distance and stand ready to assist if necessary.



Q:  Do I need to join AMA and PMAC before I solo?

A:  Yes.  Refer to FAQ's When Should I Join AMA? and When should I join PMAC?  Complete PMAC's 2018 PMAC Student Handout when you are ready.  You can find all the info you need to join AMA at their application center.



Q:  After I solo can I continue to attend the Thursday night sessions to seek additional training and advice from PMAC instructors or must I make other arrangements?

A:  A - After solo, new pilots are still welcome to Thursday sessions for a "couple of weeks" for a safe harbor to gain experience.  Once the pilot is comfortable flying alone they should respect that Thursday is for students, not experienced RC pilots

B - PMAC instructors and all members in general stand by to support any member on any day of the week.  Please seek advice from more experienced pilots anytime you have a RC question.



Q:  When I want to change to a new or different plane after solo, what should I do? How about stepping up in aircraft size or engine power?

A:  PMAC does not have a type rating policy but it makes sense to safety and to your pocket book to seek advice from an experienced pilot when you move up to a bigger, faster, more expensive aircraft.



Q:  Does solo in a glow plane entitle me to be solo also on electrics? Vice versa?

A:  Although ground safety is very different, safety in the air is similar.  Therefore solo is solo but refer to another FAQ:.  When I want to change to a new or different plane after solo, what should I do?  PMAC does not have a type rating policy but it makes sense to safety and to your pocket book to seek advice from an experienced pilot when you move up to a bigger, faster, more expensive aircraft.



Q:  Can I use my wife or a friend who doesn't fly as my spotter?

A:  Yes.  Our lease requires that a spotter be present for all flights.  The spotter must be a responsible person 16 years of age or older.  The spotter does not need to be a PMAC member, an AMA member, nor a RC pilot.



Q:  What does it mean when you say my plane stalled but I still hear the engine running?

A:  The aircraft stall and an engine stall are not the same thing!! In fact, the engine has nothing to do with the "aircraft stall"!

The airplane's wing stalls at a particular angle of attack.  That’s the whole story.  The stall is not a function of airspeed, although we commonly practice stall entry at low airspeed, nor is it a function of attitude, although we generally associate the stall with a nose up attitude as a result of our training sessions.  A stall happens because the angle of attack of the wing—the angle between the chord line of the wing and the relative wind—has exceeded the critical angle.

Stall recovery - How is it accomplished? Reduce the angle of attack.  If we’re right side up, we move the (elevator) stick forward to lower the nose.  If we’re upside down, we pull the stick back and lower the nose.  If we’re in a normal, upright turn (such as turning from downwind to base or base to final), we ease the stick forward to reduce the angle of attack in relation to the relative wind.  In any situation, what we do to recover from the onset of a stall is reduce the angle of attack below the critical angle that is producing the stall.  At the stall itself, of course, the nose will drop as we lose lift and control response, but unless we are performing a stall on purpose we’d like to recognize its approach and solve the problem before it occurs.

The arrival stall, sometimes described as a descending, turning stall, results when a RC airplane pilot, normally at low level, possibly on final approach or turning base to final, allows the airspeed to decay and some yaw to develop.  Some typical scenarios for the arrival stall are turning harder to correct for an overshoot of the extended runway centerline; turning to avoid obstacles, birds or other aircraft; attempting to stretch a glide to the runway by raising the nose and not applying power, gusty wind conditions; and/or distraction resulting in airspeed decay.

An accelerated stall is frequently entered from a level turn and results from, as with all stalls, too high an angle of attack.  The added factor we must consider with an accelerated stall is the increased wing loading or load factor resulting from acceleration.  In a turn, we are accelerating and the loading on the wings is increased by a function of the angle of bank.

Without beating the math to death, a 45 degree bank, level altitude turn produces a 1.41g loading; a 60 degree bank, level altitude turn produces a 2g loading and a 75 degree bank, level altitude turn results in a 4g loading.  We can look these values up and save ourselves some effort, or we can work them out ourselves. We can derive them either mathematically or geometrically.  Mathematically, we find that G = 1/cos ? (where ? = the angle of bank).  One divided by the cosine of our angle of bank is the “G” force.  The stall speed, also increases by the square root of the “G” force, or load factor on the aircraft so that, in a 60 degree bank level turn our stall speed increases by the square root of 2 which is 1.41.  If your normal, non-accelerated stall speed in level flight is 20 miles per hour, your stall speed in a 60 degree bank level turn will be 28.2 miles per hour.  For a 75 degree bank level turn, your stall speed will be 40 miles per hour!!

Have you ever seen (or experienced) an RC airplane appear to have "loss of controls" as the pilot turned from base to final?  A lot of time, that "loss of controls" was due to an accelerated stall due to increasing the angle of bank on the plane and pulling harder on the elevator to tighten up the turn and being to slow to do it successfully!!  Keep the accelerated stall in mind the next time you are flying at your "normal" approach speed and start to overshoot the runway.   Also, remember to increase your "approach speed" when flying in gusty winds to avoid a stall due to "loss of airspeed" if the winds decrease as you come in on approach and landing!

AMA Gold Club Leader Charter  #367