How NOT to make friends at the flying field

Jan 24, 2012 14 Comments by

Ok with tongue firmly set in cheek, here are some not so set in stone rules to live by if you want to enjoy the hobby and make friends at the club flying field.

Step one is to keep everything in perspective. Hey man! This is a freakin’ hobby and is suppose to be fun! People don’t need pressure at the flying field, there’s plenty of that in the real world. If you always find yourself compelled to show everyone what you know and point out what they don’t—chances are you’re already one of the hated guys.

The next thing is don’t try to be Joe Cool at the field! Don’t fake it. Being yourself, no matter what pops up is a good plan. Even when you’re not on the flying field.

Remember, neatness counts! No! Your airplane doesn’t have to look like a WRAM show winner, but neither should it look like a leftover from the latest club auction. Try to improve your skills with every noew plane you build and try to make it look as nice as you can. And what your pit area? It shouldn’t be spread all over the place. If you last flew from station 2, why is your radio on the picnic table and your starter box at station 4? Nobody likes a slob!

Watch the clock. Nothing gets people’s dander up more than a sky hog. You know, the guy who just has to take every possible opportunity to be in the air flying his plane. Really unless you are always helping someone learn to fly, this is a sure sign of a lack of common courtesy and a lack of team spirit. Remember, less air time means more face time with other club members.

Reach out! Ok, so you’ve been a member of the club for more years than most other members have been alive. If you don’t want to be viewed as one of the less valuable dinosaurs in the club, try reaching out and help newer members learn the ropes! No, this doesn’t mean yelling at them every time they make a mistake. How about after they land and gather their thoughts, offer them a drink of water and chat a bit about what makes a good (and better,) RC pilot.

Rules for everyone? If you’re the kind of guy that thinks rules apply to everyone else but not to you, then there is a good chance, this whole story is about someone exactly like you. It’s that old “do as I say, not as I do” attitude that trips people up. It’s all about keeping every one safe and increasing that all important fun factor that got everyone into the hobby in the first place.

Try to be socially acceptable. Demonstrate common courtesy and some average social skills. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but when someone comes over and asks a question, don’t just stand there and give ‘em your ”old” one-word answer. You might be happy being the grumpy old guy but it’s not a good plan for helping the club and your hobby grow.  

Finally, to really be the least hated guy at the flying field, try working with everyone and give something back to the club before you try to change things. Be a volunteer and help with events that bring some coin into the club. Don’t grumble at all the meetings about what you don’t like. Join in and help make it better by getting involved. 

Note: The thoughts and comments voiced here are not necessarily those of this website, or of the person who posted it–and who shall remain Anonymous  :^)

Featured News, Gerry Yarrish

About the author

Model Airplane News is the #1 RC aircraft magazine. More readers trust Model Airplane News to provide them with the latest information and newest product reviews than any other RC publication. Published by Air Age Media, the largest multi-media company dedicated to enthusiasts of radio-control planes, helicopters, cars and boats, aviation and diecast collecting, Model Airplane News is distributed around the world.

14 Responses to “How NOT to make friends at the flying field”

  1. Dell Shannon says:

    Probably one of the most well written articles regarding this issue. I would have to say that most of the ones that have been disliked, did at least a couple of the mentioned things in this article. I know the one I always disliked was the guy that flew for 15 minutes landed and refueled then headed right back in the air before anyone had a chance to grab a spot. I also have seen several spread themselves all over the pit area, and I will admit it does get a bit irritating. Well written!

  2. Ken Casser says:

    Excellent article! I’d like to forward this to all my club members. I’ve often said that you can’t legislate good behavior, but you can sure suggest it.

    • russell bachman says:

      hi ken, i red the article in model airplane news–how not to be at the flying field good article, my name is russell bachman, i am a senior citizen an have been into flying for a couple years with a few friends and have been thinking about starting a club here in our small town. could you give me a few pointers as what to do? i would appreciate it , i love to fly and have even got into building a few of my own planes now. my latest is the ag wagon–small scale–39″ body 46 in wingspan. anyway would like to hear from you.

  3. Jim Meagher says:

    I whole heartedly agree with this article. An rc club is not only a place to learn to fly, but, also a social club. I used to belong to an rc club in Illinois, for 15 years. And, there was always a certain senior sourpuss, who could afford the latest and greatest aircraft. When anyone would approach him and ask questions about his new plane, his response was always a negative/arrogant one. It put everyone in a bad mood. He was asked to leave the club. On the other hand, when you reach out and help others, its always a win/win for everyone.

  4. Kelly Collin says:

    I agree! I am an avid R/C photographer. I attend as many local events as I can through out the year, including some not so local. If someone asks you a question about your plane, it’s because they are interested in what you have done. If it’s me, you might be lucky enough to get your picture in a magazine. It pays to be nice, especially to the photographer.

  5. Bill Creelman says:

    Do not break in an engine at the field where everyone has to put up with the noise. Do not go rocketing around the airspace (box) with your big quarter scale gasser when there are smaller planes in the same airspace (.45s & 60s) Do not make loud, deprecating remarks describing the awkward behaviors of newbies. Help them with suggestions instead.

  6. Bill Collydas says:

    Very nice article in deed. Everything that was said here is true and you can find it in every club across Canada and US.
    Nobody can do anything about it.
    Is in the character of the person. If that person is arragant, smartass or whatever he will always be that way.
    Is in his character. Is a form of defence.
    That’s my opinion. I deal with the public everyday and I’ve seen those types before, rich or poor makes no difference.

    Cheers

  7. Bill Collydas says:

    Very nice article for sure. I agree.
    But you have to remember one thing that you find those kind of people in everyclub across Canada and US.
    It doesn’t matter if he has money or he’s poor he will be that way no matter what Is in his character.
    Is a form of defence. Beleive me I know I deal with the public every day.
    The sarcasim, arrogance, and know it all will be there.
    That’s one mans opinion.
    mine

  8. Jim Worm says:

    I had been to a club field where the club flew in a county park. I took my nephew early one morning to see some of the planes fly, and may be pique his interest. When I arrived, the parking lot had a few cars, and a few fliers, and so I parked, and was about to get out of my car when a club member pulled up, and told me that I should not park in that lot, because they were expecting a lot more members later! This was a county park, and a parking lot shared by the nearby baseball field. There were no signs that said it was “for flying club members only”. We just left. My nephew did not want to take up the hobby. I wonder why?

  9. Jim Worm says:

    I have been to a club field where the club flew in a county park. I took my nephew early one morning to see some of the planes fly, and may be pique his interest. When I arrived, the parking lot had a few cars, and a few fliers, and so I parked, and was about to get out of my car when a club member pulled up, and told me that I should not park in that lot, because they were expecting a lot more members later! This was a county park, and a parking lot shared by the nearby baseball field. There were no signs that said it was “for flying club members only”. We just left. My nephew did not want to take up the hobby. I wonder why?

  10. Joe Amoroso says:

    I Ken,

    As one of the older guys in our club I just want to say that we are very lucky that most of our members are here for the fun as well as the flying experience. If I wasn’t extended the respect and patience that my teachers gave me I probably wouldn’t ever been in this great hobby for the last 30 years. I only regret that I can’t get to the field and our meetings more often.

  11. Don Gerhardt says:

    Nice article. I visited the flying club near Evansville IN in Warrick County. Everyone was very nice. One member let me fly his electric plane with a dual control box once it was in the air. This was the first time I was able to successfully fly a radio controlled plane. Around 1953 I bought a control line P-51 when I was 10. I had no one to help me. I could only get it to fly for about 20 ft before I would crash. I plan to give model airplanes another try because of the helpful club member. Does anyone know of a good technical book that explains the parts of a model electric airplane?
    Don Gerhardt, NC

  12. FourDollaRacing says:

    Do as I say….not as I do?

    The underlying issues with this article are obvious to me.

    Model AirPlane News works with distributors and manufacturers, to promote the latest-and-greatest products, without the need to pay for these products. No stake in the promotion means no objectivity in the articles.

    And, it is only in a local hobby shop’s best interest to promote their own sales, and not fun flys or races. Airplanes are sold to beginners, beyond their skill level, just for the sale.

    Meanwhile, one person’s ulterior motives will ruin a club’s camaraderie and fun for the entire group, while the airfield sits empty. Armchair pilots only vote at the meetings, while the actual pilots are already flying in the real world.

    The bitter truth about this article, is that models are rarely manufactured in America, anymore. And, general aviation is being outsourced, as well. The grumpy old men, are dying breed, and won’t die soon enough, as far as most are concerned.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish….

  13. MidnightSunRc says:

    A good article about a tricky subject. For me this hobby is part flying part a social event. But thats me and we are all in it for our own purposes, some want to have a nice day at the field flying and talking and some want to show off.

    Asking questions and get good answers are also part of the culture at a good club, at least in my opinion. Lets face it, everyone has to start somewhere and even the best has asked questions to learn new things. So let us peomote a more social environment at our flying fields and we will all have much nicer day.

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