If you recently got a remote-controlled (or RC) airplane, you’re probably excited to try it out! Unfortunately, RC planes aren’t welcome in all airspaces, and you can’t just fly them as high as you want in any field. So, how do you go about figuring out where is the best place to fly rc airplanes?
You can fly RC airplanes on private land or in designated RC flying clubs. If you’re flying on private land, make sure you have enough space and that there aren’t any poles or objects obstructing the airspace. Make sure to read the federal laws and local regulations before flying.
Where Can you Fly RC Airplanes?
This article will help you figure out how to fly RC planes without breaking any laws or breaking your plane.
Flying an RC Airplane on Private Land
If you happen to live on a lot with wide spaces or have access to someone else’s open field, you can pretty much fly your aircraft wherever you want to, as long as you have explicit permission to do so.
Private land is not always ideal for flying RC planes, however, so you’ll want to make sure that you have the proper flight conditions before taking off.
RC Airplane Flight Condition tips
Before you fly your RC plane on private land, make sure that you’ll be able to fly without damaging your plane or getting in somebody else’s way!
You can injure somebody or cause a serious accident if you don’t know what you’re doing, so making sure you’re flying under the right conditions is important.
Here are the ideal condition tips for flight:
- Clear Weather. If the skies are windy and cloudy, or it seems to be threatening rain, hold off on flying your RC plane until the weather clears up.
- Sun Position. When you’re flying, position the sun at your back, so you’re not blinded as you look up. Never fly across the sun, even when wearing sunglasses. This is the easiest way to accidentally damage your plane.
- Open Space. You’re going to want enough clear space for your airplane to account for unexpected winds or an accidental wrong turn. The ideal size space for new RC flyers is about the size of a baseball field, or about 300ft x 300ft (91.44 m x 91.4 m). If you can’t access a field that big, you may want to look at RC airplane clubs.
- Few Obstructions. Objects that stick high up in the air, such as trees, power lines, and light posts, are easy to hit by accident, so find a place with few high obstructions.
- Proximity To Roads, Houses, Etc. The ideal place to fly an RC airplane is as far from highly populated areas as you can. An RC plane crashing onto a busy road could lead to an extremely dangerous situation. Many states have laws prohibiting you from flying UAS over private property, so find a secluded area to fly.
Flying an RC Airplane at RC Clubs
Maybe you don’t have access to any private land far enough from a road or home. If that’s the case, there are RC clubs all over the world that you should be able to fly your plane at!
RC clubs typically require a monthly or yearly fee of some kind. They usually offer lessons and have a designated area where you can fly on your own.
If you haven’t owned an RC plane before and don’t know where to start, joining a club may save you a lot of headaches and money in the long run.
Look up clubs in your area with this directory on R/C Airplane World. It also includes a list of national governing bodies that regulate RC flying if you need to check your country’s regulations.
RC plane USA flying Regulations
Not all states or towns have laws regarding RC planes or drones, but with drones increasing in popularity, more states are drafting legislation that will affect hobby flyers.
Chances are no law in your state will prevent you from flying anywhere, but in some states, there are specific places above which drones are banned, such as mental health facilities.
For a comprehensive list of state laws that apply to UAS, this resource from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows all the laws from different states that have been passed.
Check UAS Laws in Your Area
The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re flying an RC airplane, regardless of where you’ll be flying, is look up the laws that apply to Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or UAS, in your area.
Different regulations apply to each country, and local regulations may apply to you as well.
Here are the best places to find laws applying to UAS near your location.
Federal Regulations: USA
Look at your federal government’s website. There should be resources directing you to a transportation or aviation regulatory body. Your best bet is to search “drone” or “UAS” on their site. For example, for flyers in Canada, look at Transport Canada’s page on drones and their Interactive Map, which shows restricted flight zones.
If you’re in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration’s page for UAS is the best resource for what you need to fly an RC drone or plane. US RC plane flyers should be flying no higher than 400 feet (121.92 m).
That said, you won’t be able to fly your drone everywhere in the United States, and some areas have lower maximum heights than others. You may also run into temporary flight restrictions, such as if the president were to fly to an airport near you.
Keep in mind that not all airspace is free to RC pilots, and you might see some flight restrictions. If you’re in the US, you can determine what restrictions are in place via the FAA’s B4UFLY app or UAS Facility Maps page.
For US drone and RC plane flyers, the B4UFLY app is an easy and mobile way to figure out the best places to fly.
The app gives you the ability to search for locations or manually move the location pin, so you can check exactly where you want to fly. It will also visually show restricted areas and let you know if there are any temporary flight restrictions in place.
Download the app, or access the page on the web.
UAS Facility Maps
The FAA’s UAS Facility Maps show the maximum altitude that an RC plane can fly in specific areas. You can see flight restrictions and other specifications that will pertain to your RC airplane flight.
The UAS Facility Maps and the B4UFLY app offer very similar information, but the app is designed to work well with mobile devices. It all depends on the layout you prefer.
For more info on the UAS Facility Maps, visit the FAA’s page.
Registering With DroneZone or LAANC
You must also authorize your drone via DroneZone or LAANC if you’re flying in controlled airspace in the US. You can determine which one applies to you by figuring out if your drone falls under Part 107 regulations or the Exception for Recreational Flyers rule.
Part 107 regulations apply to any drone or RC plane that you will use professionally, such as for a videography business or charity purposes. If you’re flying as a hobby or for recreational purposes, however, you can fly under the Exception for Recreational Flyers rules.
There are slightly more regulations for planes that fall under Part 107, so take a careful look to determine which one you fall under. Note that even if you’re a recreational flyer, controlled airspace regulations will still apply to you.