Don’t have a perfectly manicured runway for your backyard flyer? Don’t sweat it, you can easily hand launch your plane to get it in the air. Here are five easy steps to perfecting the technique. Remember to always launch your model straight into the wind. Don’t throw your model downwind (with wind at your back) at a high nose-up angle; this will cause the model to stall, lose lift and hit the ground.
Step 1: Turn on your transmitter and receiver and add a few clicks of up-elevator trim.
Step 2: Grasp the model in your strong hand, and hold the transmitter with the other so you can advance the throttle with your thumb as soon as the model is in the air.
Step 3: Take a step or two forward, and toss the model forward and slightly upward with its wings and nose up or level.
Step 4: As soon as the model is clear of your launch hand, smoothly bring your hand down, and grasp the control stick.
Step 5: Never take your eyes off the model. If the model starts to climb excessively, add a touch of down-elevator. If it banks sharply and begins to veer off course, use some rudder and aileron input to keep it on a straight climb with wings level. Don’t begin a turn until your model is at a safe altitude of 50 to 75 feet.
For low-wing, sport or scale designs, the single-handed “overhand” pitch won’t really do. You either have to grasp the plane’s fuselage behind the wing (which is often too far aft of the balance point), or you can hold the plane from above the wing and launch it underhand in a nose-high altitude at a 20-degree angle. Holding the fuselage too far aft usually causes the model to pivot nose down during the launch. A far better and safer way is to have a friend hold the plane with two hands (one in front of the wing and one aft), so it can be launched sidewinder style, not exactly overhead.