About Horizon Hobby Flight School Classes

Being new to the RC airplane hobby, you may wonder what the Horizon Hobby Flight School offers that can help you succeed better than other training methods. You’ll find answers to your questions below.

Who can attend Flight School?

Anyone who wants to learn how to fly radio control airplanes and has an eligible model can register to attend one of our classes. No prior knowledge of or experience with the RC hobby is needed to begin flying radio-control airplanes in Flight School.

Who are the coaches?

Horizon Hobby Flight School coaches are dedicated RC pilots who love helping new hobbyists learn how to fly. They are all active members of their local AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics)-chartered flying club. Most of our coaches are also AMA Introductory Pilot Mentors and some of them hold Remote Pilot certificates from the FAA.

What will I learn?

You'll learn the basics of how a model airplane works and how to operate a hand-held radio control transmitter. Before the class is over, you'll complete a takeoff, a "figure 8" flight pattern, and a landing on your own, under the coach's supervision. You'll gain many important skills along the way — including how to follow your airplane's orientation during flight and how to use its SAFE® flight assistance technology to continue developing your skills after your class ends.

Where are classes held?

Most classes will be held at RC flying fields, which are usually operated by AMA-chartered clubs. Your coach will likely use such a field, and you'll be expected to follow club guidelines even if you're not a member. The coach will go over them with you.

How do I prepare for class?

First, of course, you'll need to have one of the qualifying RC trainer airplanes. Take a few minutes to read the product manual, familiarize yourself with your equipment and complete any assembly that might be needed. Confirm that you have everything required to fly the model — radio equipment, flight battery, charger, and so on.

Before you leave for the flying field, make sure your batteries are fully charged. While the alkaline batteries that power your transmitter come fully charged, the LiPo batteries that power your model's motor are best stored with a partial charge. You'll need to fully charge them prior to class.

We also recommend that you take a moment to read the AMA National Model Aircraft Safety Code.

What do I need to bring to class?

Bring your airplane and everything required to fly it — radio equipment, flight battery, charger, and so on. Bring extra batteries if you have them. Optional supplies that may be useful to have with you at the flying field include:

  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat with a brim
  • Folding chair
  • Tool kit appropriate for your model
  • Spare model hardware
  • Notebook to record what you learn
  • Small roll-up mat

Your mat should be just large enough to cover the ground beneath your model to keep small parts from disappearing in the grass while you work on your plane.

How long does a class last?

Your class may last for most of a morning or afternoon, depending on its size. Expect up to an hour of individual flight instruction from your coach. He or she will inspect and fly your RC airplane first to check that everything is ready to go. Then during instructional flights, the coach may link his radio transmitter to yours, or simply hand you the transmitter. By the time the session is over, you'll complete a takeoff, flight pattern and landing on your own under the coach's supervision.

How do I register for a class?

First you should find a coach near you. Once you've confirmed there is a coach or class near you, you'll need to purchase an AMA 3-month trial membership through Horizon Hobby. The AMA membership is purchased like any other Horizon Hobby product — from a local participating hobby shop or online at horizonhobby.com. With your purchase, you'll receive a registration code. If purchased online, the registration code will be sent to you in a seperate email (please allow 1-2 business days for the registration code email to be sent to you).

When you are ready to submit your AMA membership application and sign up for an RC Flight School class, search for a class using the Find a Class tool. Once you find a class you'd like to attend, click the "register" button for that listing. You'll be taken to a form where you'll be asked for the information needed to complete your AMA membership application and the registration code you received. Upon successful submission of the form, we'll send you an email message confirming your class registration and forward your information to the AMA.

If you have any difficulties with registration, please contact flightschool@horizonhobby.com.

How much does a class cost?

Your Flight School session is included free when you purchase an AMA 3-month trial membership through Horizon Hobby.

What are the benefits of an AMA 3-month trial membership?

During your 3-month trial membership, you'll enjoy the following benefits of full membership:

  • Insurance:
    • $2,500,000 personal liability insurance coverage
    • $25,000 Medical Coverage – AD&D Policy ($10,000 Death Benefit)
    • $1,000 Fire, theft, and vandalism coverage
  • Subscriptions:
    • Model Aviation monthly magazine (3 months)
  • Flying privileges:
    • Ability to fly at thousands of AMA-chartered club sites with appropriate club membership (not included)
    • Fly aircraft with internal combustion engines
    • Fly aircraft heavier than 2 lb
    • Fly aircraft faster than 60 mph
    • Competition privileges
  • Free admission to the National Model Aviation Museum
  • Access to members-only features online

More information can be found in the AMA Membership Manual or at the AMA Website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to join the AMA or a flying club to take the class?

To take the class, you will need to join the AMA by purchasing a 3-month trial membership through Horizon Hobby. However, you do not need to join a flying club. If you are interested in joining a club, ask your coach about flying clubs in your area.

Do I need some kind of insurance?

An RC model airplane can potentially cause serious damage to people and property, so most model airplane clubs require their members to have a liability policy. Because of your AMA 3-month trial membership, you'll be covered by the AMA.

Why are my choices limited to the qualifying planes?

Our goal is for you to succeed as an RC model pilot, and the planes selected for RC flight instruction have proven to be excellent trainers. All of them are equipped with SAFE® flight assistance technology — an important part of the instructional plan used by our coaches.

What happens if I lose my registration code before I sign up?

Please contact Horizon Hobby Customer Service at 1-888-959-2307 (Select option #4 for returns) so we can provide you with a new code.

After finishing the class, can I fly anywhere I want?

This is a good topic to discuss with your coach. Laws prohibit flying near airports, and there may be other restrictions depending on where you live. This is a good reason to join your local flying club — other members can fill you in on where you can and cannot fly RC airplanes in your area.

Will this class tell me all I need to know about RC flying?

It will get you off to an especially strong start, but no single class can cover everything about the hobby. After mastering your first model, you'll probably want to try one that's faster and more maneuverable — requiring some new skills. Make friends with experienced pilots and continue seeking help when you need it. Affordable RC flight simulators like RealFlight® are available, too, so you can practice on your computer whenever you like.

What course of instruction will the coaches use?

Our coaches follow a course of instruction that makes use of the SAFE® flight assistance technology found in all Flight School qualifying models.

What is SAFE® technology?

SAFE technology is an advanced flight assistance system that gives pilots the ability to fly without the worry of crashing due to common mistakes such as orientation loss or over-control. It provides three levels of assistance (Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert). Our coaches will help you adapt the amount of support it provides to your individual learning curve. They'll gradually give you more and more control over your airplane as you gain skills.