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Old 09-12-2021, 08:39 PM   #1
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How do you not freak out when flying?

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Any tips on staying relaxed when flying? I get nervous sometimes flying a $300 foamy. To the guys here that fly $10K plus planes and jets, what's your secret? Mentally I would be so worried about losing so much money in a crash.
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:00 PM   #2
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Re: How do you not freak out when flying?

Hutch, If your NOT prepared to Crash, DON'T FLY find another Hobby! That's the attitude I have had for the last 47+ years flying Model Airplanes.

Do you fly by yourself or with a group? This hobby is WAY more fun when you can share it with like minded people.

I fly IMAC and 8 years ago I had a Mid Air with my $4K 35% Yak vs a $8K 42% Extra. Both Aircraft Totaled. We both looked at each other and said we couldn't have done that if we tried. Shook it off and moved on to the next aircraft. 4 years ago had a Radio Glitch and planted another 35% Yak into the Soo River. Never recovered the 110cc motor, exhaust, prop or spinner, total about $2K - Still Flying.

There are some lucky guys who never crash. I'm not one of them but still hard at it in the hobby and will be for LIFE!

You just have to come to terms with "Every time you fly, you might crash.

If you are teaching yourself, join a club and get some help. Lots of great guys and gals, in this hobby willing to help out.

Are you a member of the Burlington Club? Great bunch of knowledgeable people there.

Just fly and enjoy yourself. If you worry about crashing all the time your Fun Factor diminishes rapidly. If you OBSSESS on it, you WILL crash!

Stay Frosty!
Jim Daly #IAmIMAC
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Your Friendly Neighborhood X-SE ZD, now DZD
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:11 PM   #3
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Re: How do you not freak out when flying?

Stay in your comfort zone. I never get relaxed while I'm flying, but I know my limits and capabilities also. I never think about crashing either. Flying requires concentrating on the plane at all times, so crashing shouldn't even be a thought. If your scared to fly then that's another issue. Cheers Floyd
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Old 09-12-2021, 10:24 PM   #4
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Personally as long as the plane is trimmed out and a reasonable distance from anything solid (including the ground), I’m good. The more familiar you are with a model and it’s characteristics, and with the maneuvers you’re putting it through, the less nervous you’ll be. Generally I’m most nervous/least confident when landing (trying to make gentle contact with an unyielding surface), and when test flying a new plane.
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Old 09-12-2021, 10:31 PM   #5
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Re: How do you not freak out when flying?

Hutch... Over the years I have watched this issue "ruin" many a great pilot. Its just human nature that some people are more prone to be affected by this than others. I rarely find myself nervous to fly anything of mine or other people planes (instructing or test flying) because I accept the fact that despite my best efforts and skill - the flight might be the last one for the plane.

Also (and more importantly) - I trust that baring any malfunction or defect with the plane, I have the ability to put it back on the ground safely. I think that this is the most important item to keep in your head.

If you can accept the fact that the plane might not come back "assembled", but you know that the ability to bring it back "assembled" is in your skill set you will not be nervous to fly it. I know for some this is easier said than done. I have instructed many people with very good skills that didn't "believe" in thier ability and have watched it create all sorts of issues. Most of my instruction with these folks involves coaching to have them believe in their own ability.

It's important for everyone - from the "greenest rookie" to the "World Champ" to believe they can do it.
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Old 09-12-2021, 11:35 PM   #6
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I can only speak for my own experience. The more practice the easier it becomes.

When I got into this hobby i could barely fly 10 minutes without having a heart attack. After a while and a few years it takes a lot to get me worked up in regards to airplanes. Seams like I want to find the next new thing to keep me excited/neverous. Helicopters

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Old 09-12-2021, 11:56 PM   #7
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Re: How do you not freak out when flying?

I'm a pretty casual flier, takes me a while to try something new. Two things that took me the longest to get over. First, turns in towards me. Outward turns are more comfortable, but I just keep practicing them. The other, and this may sounds weird, going straight up always bothered me for some reason. Don't know why, what am I going to do, crash into a cloud?
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:01 AM   #8
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Re: How do you not freak out when flying?

If the plane is good to be airborne and you are feeling off then have a friend beside you for moral support And don't forget the very last thing an RC pilot does before his flight is pull up his pants.
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:28 AM   #9
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Re: How do you not freak out when flying?

The following are my own thoughts on this gleaned from a greater span of years than I sometimes like to think aboot, (yes, I was conflicted the first time offered the Senior Discount at a Dunkin Doughnuts. I thought, "Great, I get the discount, but then, I get the Seniors version. Holy Crap! Already)?

This is one where more experience equals greater comfort and enjoyment. Unfortunately that sometimes comes at a price, ie. in the expense of a model lost or damaged and needing repair.

It can be said that you need to mentally "Write Off" a craft before you even fly it, but my only advice along that line would be that if an aircraft makes you apprehensice of uncomfortable then it is likely beyond your current skill level and may take a bit of practice with something less aggressive till you are ready.

Sometimes increasing skill takes a challenge. Best way I know of is to find an instructor that can try out the craft first, do the initial trial and trim and let you know of any specific habits to watch for. I have done this more times than can count in over 35 years of instructing.

Depending on your skill level another current advantage not available when I started are some pretty sophisticated PC flight sims, ones that use the standard transmitter format. Those can teach you the hand/eye skills for different aircraft and orientation without risk to a real AC.

There are also different versions of stability and recovery systems that can tame a nasty beast. The next statements can confirm their usefulness.

I have to admit I have not lost a plane in a very long time, but even that can be moot. I spent almost a year modding and updating a Great Planes Gee Bee:

I had seen Delmar Bengamin fly one here at our field and just loved the look of that fat beast. Unfortunately it proved to be just as unstable as full size and wiped itself out on the maiden not too long ago due to a spectacularly bad pitch tendency. Found out after the fact a stab system would have at least made it controllable enough to land successfully. What makes it a bit silly is I have several different systems sitting unused while I learn how they work and how to program them correctly.

Yes, I feel bad about it, but not much to be done since nothing my own experience or skills would have helped, and I have flown some nasty beasts over the years. One, the T/T Rare Bear, sits on the shelf while I try to come up with a better horizontal control system.

Yes, to sum it up this hobby can be rewarding and enjoyable. There can also be some regrets, but you can try and minimize this by asking for help from someone with more experience and skill. I'm positive there will be those willing to help you along.
I know there's money in aviation........I put it there!
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:46 AM   #10
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Re: How do you not freak out when flying?

Accept that a certain level of nervousness is normal - you cannot fight normal human physiology. Excitement and nervousness really exhibit the same feelings and sensations - just part of being human.

Don't fly above your capability and practice practice practice. The nervous reactions calm down with experience.

Even though I have flown in more than 50 competitions in the last 15 years I still find that I sometimes get the shakes in front of the judges. I sometimes have to remind myself that with all the flights and practice the overwhelming likelihood is that I will get the plane back on the ground safely and in one piece. I remind myself to breath, enjoy the experience.

Truthfully my $5K planes are somewhat easier to fly than many $300 foamies - bigger wings, more stable, less affected by wind, they go where I point them. I also don't fly ten different planes. I fly the same two planes all the time and I get to know their characteristics and how the behave in the air. That increases my comfort level.

Remember we do this to have fun - if for some reason it is not fun then time to find something else to enjoy. First and foremost, it is normal to be a little nervous, accept that and turn it into excitement.
Bill Teeter
IMAC Assistant Regional Director Ontario
IMAC NCFR Judging Instructor

Last edited by Billpilotca; 09-13-2021 at 03:47 PM.
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