New to the hobby?

Learn to Fly Ad

Thinking about a new hobby?

Well we may be biased, but we believe model flying is one of the best! There are so many options available and this is a hobby that you can keep progressing in as you achieve different flying levels / standards.

Whist you’re having fun learning how to fly you will also discover the friendly and sociable side of this great hobby.


So where do you start?

At Southend Radio Flying Club we offer training courses as part of your membership. Our courses cover all types of aircraft and First Person View extensions. During training we use the buddy box system – this is the safest method of active learning. Your transmitter is connected to your instructor’s, by cable or wireless, which allows your instructor to regain control of the model quickly and enables you to repeat flying particular manoeuvres, e.g. take off, landing, figure of eights & taxiing.

Every model pilot starts with a trainer aeroplane. These are well balanced, high wing planes. They have forgiving flight characteristics and are more stable at slower speeds than other aircraft allowing you to learn the basics of flight and aircraft control with ease.

If you would like to fly helicopters, multirotors and autogyros you will also start with a basic training model. Training aids are essential as you learn how to hover, balance and progress onto moving the aircraft around until you are competent with manoeuvres such as circuits and figures of eight.

Flight simulators are a great way to get extra stick time in and build knowledge of how actions on your transmitter affect the aircraft.

Choice of Power

Electric or Internal Combustion (I/C)

This choice is entirely your preference. Electric motors, speed controllers and batteries are now equivalent in terms of power and reliability to I/C engines. Flying times and flight characteristics are the same for both and the total financially is also very close.

Electric powered models are cleaner – as you don’t have the fuel residue – and are quieter but can have a longer down time between flights whist you recharge your batteries. Treated correctly, electric motors require low maintenance.

Internal Combustion (I/C) engines (Glow/Nitro & Petrol) naturally require slightly higher maintenance, compared with electric motors, but have faster turnaround times on the ground. You just refill the tank and check your receiver battery has adequate charge to perform a safe flight. The downside is the fuel residue, but that can be easily wiped clean.

These are only a few pros and cons to both types of power systems. It is up to you when all is said and done, but remember – if you can’t make up your mind – there’s nothing wrong with operating both!

What comes after I have learnt to fly? Do I need to take a test?

Being a British Model Flying Association (BMFA) affiliated club, our flight training courses follow the BMFA Achievement Scheme syllabuses and schedules. The type of test you take depends on your skill level and aircraft type.

Each test consists of practical and theory parts – alike to driving – a flight displaying a schedule of manoeuvres and a safety and theory questionnaire. The schedule and questionnaire are based on regulations set out by the BMFA & Civil Aviation Authority. Once you have passed your test, which is taken at our airfield, you are permitted to fly solo. Then you can progress onto more challenging aircraft, perfect your flying skills, learn aerobatics and continue through the achievement ratings set out by the BMFA.

We are happy to advise! For more information please contact us or visit our airfield. For more details on the various tests, ratings and relevant syllabuses and schedules available click here.

Here are a few helpful links:

Fixed Wing – Internal Combustion

Black Horse Excel 2000

Irvine Tutor 40 II

Ripmax WOT 4 Mk. 2

Seagull Arising Star V2

Seagull Boomerang V2

Seagull de Havilland DH.60 Gipsy Moth

Seagull Maule Super Rocket

Seagull Westland Lysander III

Super Flying Model TRI-40 II

Fixed Wing – Electric

Ares Gamma 370

Ares Gamma 370 Pro

Dynam Cessna Sky Trainer

ESky Sport 150

Seagull E-Pioneer

ST Model Discovery


Thunder Tiger Raptor E550

Thunder Tiger Raptor E700

Thunder Tiger Titan X50

Micro Shark


Various Multirotor Models


Various Autogyro Models

Flight Simulators

Multiflight sim

Multiflight sim plus


DCL The Game