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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to find us

Check our Contact page for directions, and a Google Map.

When can I fly?

There are no set times for the field, unless you are flying a larger aircraft (in which case not before 0900 Mon-Fri, and 1100 Sat-Sun). You need a valid MAAC and, unless you are a visitor, you must be a member of the club. You must also have your "A" wings to fly unsupervised. Safety and Etiquette Rules are here.

What's the issue with larger aircraft?

The approaches to the field are on the property if you are flying a smaller plane, but for a larger plane it is easy to stray onto the neighbour's property. We wish to remain on good terms with them, so we are trying to keep the noise and intrusions to a minimum. For this reason, we have flying hour constraints for larger (or noisier) aircraft, and we limit aircraft to 96db at full power, as measured all around the plane at 3 metres distance, on grass. We own a meter, and we will conduct this test if there is any concerns. If you have any doubts, you should contact us to ensure the meter will be available before your first flight. We may also have some suggestions on prop pitch and diameter to resolve any problems.

What are "A" wings?

The wings program is a graduated system, where pilots show greater and greater control of their aircraft. Passing "A" wings allows you to fly unsupervised. Passing "B" wings allows you to fly in airshows, etc. Details of our Wings program are here.

What is "MAAC"?

MAAC is Model Aeronautics Association of Canada. Among other things, being a MAAC member provides insurance in the event of an accident at an accredited field. Details and joining details are available on their site, which is on our Links page.

How do I join the RCAA Comox Valley Club?

See Tom Feenstra for details (membership form, phone and e-mail on Contact page).

How can I keep up to date with what is going on at the field?

Our newsletter will keep you up to date, including the date for the next get together.

I want to learn to Fly

We have certified instructors who can help you out. There are no formal flying hours (unless you are flying a large aircraft). Most of us come down to fly when the weather is good (light winds), and usually late morning or afternoon so the sun is off to the side. You can check with whoever is at the field when you arrive to see if there is an instructor on site. You may be able to set something up with them.

While many of our members put a great deal of time into building very detailed, and often large, aircraft, there are lots of inexpensive, ready to fly, aircraft available. These are are normally battery powered (and the new Lipo batteries are very good). Some even come with a basic controller, so everything you need can be right in the box.

Along with computerized radios (which make setting up an aircraft much easier), some aircraft come with computerized stabilization to assist new fliers. There are also computer based R/C simulators that are quite realistic; they can make a big difference when you are trying to figure out the differences in control inputs between flying away from you and towards you.

If you want some help with a new plane, one of our instructors may help you set it up and even give it a "maiden" flight to test it out (no, they don't buy you a new plane if it crashes). For the first few flights they may "buddy box" with you, which means you both have controllers, but the instructor can instantly take over if you get into difficulty.

If you are interested in the hobby and want some help deciding which way to proceed, come on down to the field (spectators are welcome).

FPV (First Person View)

First person view model aircraft, including quad-copters and fixed wing are permitted at our field. They must be operated under MAAC rules. A summary of the rules is available in our October 2017 newsletter. The full MAAC Safety Document referred to is available in PDF form at this link.

Is it okay to just come and watch?

You are more than welcome to watch the flying. As noted above there are no set times for the field, but weekends are usually busier when the weather is good. Our official Safety and Etiquette Rules are here. Here are a few more points for visitors

First, visitors are generally not allowed in "the pits"; basically, not past the edge of the matting that extends under the row of tables you will see lining the edge of the field. The planes are on the ground or on tables in this area, and builders and pilots are very concerned about visitors milling around and bumping into planes. Of course this is even more of an issue when runups are being conducted. Many of these planes have powerful motors, and you could loose a finger if you got in too close. Also, there is a risk from a badly balanced or defective prop coming apart, as they can fly quite a distance.

Even behind the pits can be dangerous, as sometimes electronics fail, or pilots loose control. Someone in Europe was killed a couple of years ago when struck by a larger aeroplane. There are signs warning about at your own risk, but just so everyone is clear.

Because of the risk of damaging planes on the ground, small children and pets (even if leashed) are generally not welcomed, unless they stay way back. A couple of pilots have dogs, but they take the risk with their own planes.

Pilots are generally quite happy to talk about their planes and the hobby in general, but flying requires concentration. You may see someone beside the pilot when they are flying. This will be another pilot, spotting (watching for other planes in the flight path) or giving some instruction. Visitors should stay well back until the plane has been brought back into the pits and batteries disconnected. Then ask if you can go into the pits and look at their plane or ask questions.

There are directions to the field and a map on our contact page. The land is private, but visitors are welcome. There is lots of parking in the lot at the end of the road right beside the field, and there may be a fire on in the clubhouse woodstove. There is an outhouse, but no running water. Nearest food is at Merville store. Cell coverage is spotty, and there is no Wi-fi. There are a number of bench seats for viewing, and an area where people can set up their own camp chairs in front of the clubhouse.

Who maintains the field?

All work is done by volunteers from the club. We are occasionally looking for volunteers for work parties or events. Notices will be posted at the field. Equipment running costs are paid by club dues.