Introduction to Aeromodeling


About the WRAMs

The Westchester Radio Aero Modelers, Inc., the not-for-profit club that brings you this site, is one of the leading organizations in R/C, the radio control hobby. In addition to the private pursuit of modeling by our individual members, we operate one of the leading trade shows each year and we have introduced a program aimed at encouraging the involvement of youngsters in modeling. The latter effort aims to encourage parents and other adults to help kids out with support in getting started and in encouraging an absorbing and healthy new interest.

Our main focus is on aircraft modeling, but we encourage you to also try the related hobbies of model cars and boats. Our members are simply hobbyists who would like to encourage others to follow their path and pursue a wealth of fun and knowledge.

What Everyone Should Know, Including Parents

RC can be a terrifically sophisticated hobby. It will allow you to build and fly virtually any aircraft ever designed. But it is also an absorbing pastime that can be as leisurely and relaxing as you wish. Parents should know that it is a hobby that is incredibly worthwhile to support. Youngsters who learn basic skills of modeling are well on the way to a lifetime of achievement and learning, because in this hobby one area of knowledge and understanding leads to another. But more on that later.

Notes From The President  of the WRAMs

Psychologists may never agree as to which comes first, the inquisitive mind, or exposure to a challenging educational experience that "grows" the mind into an imaginative, creative, ever-searching, problem-solving machine. Most would agree, however, that all things being equal, stimulating, exciting educational experiences early in life set the tone for future success.

From the building of the most rudimentary hand-launched glider to the designing, building, and flying of a sophisticated radio control aircraft, model aviation stands head and shoulders above virtually any other hobby as an exciting tool to teach the patience, perseverance, technical skills, and mental and physical disciplines necessary to succeed in today's hi-tech, demanding society. Never have we needed these skills more than in the highly competitive world environment we have today.

It should come as no surprise that model aviation was the hobby of choice for many of our highly successful commercial and military pilots and astronauts. However, what may come as a surprise is how many successful persons in virtually every career category, from carpenter to brain surgeon, were exposed to this hobby in their formative years. The skills and disciplines learned in this hobby will enhance an individual's performance whatever the career path.

Model aviation, unfortunately, receives little exposure and remains a largely hidden hobby to the general public today. The WRAMs for more than 30 years have dedicated themselves to the advancement of the hobby and bringing it to the attention of the broadest audience possible through our WRAM Show, the longest-running and largest modeling show on the east coast and our "Hat in the Ring" Youth Aviation Program, both of which are explained in detail later in this Net page.

We invite you to read on and explore the wonders of this hi-tech hobby. However, I must warn you to be careful. The excitement is catching and you may find yourself addicted for life.

Getting Started

The age of a youngster ready to start an interesting new pursuit is probably best determined by his or her parents. In most cases, a child of about 8 years can begin to absorb the needed information and to develop the hands-on skills for steady progress.

For many kids, the thrill of building or even just assembling a model that flies is something never forgotten. Too many kids spend countless hours watching TV or in other passive efforts when instead they could be having a wonderful action-filled time while learning a lot all at once.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course, like the starting age for modeling. One of today's champion aerobatic R/C fliers began to hone his skills at the age of 5 (with a lot of help from his dad, as you can imagine). In any event, for those who can handle a computer, learning to fly in virtual reality is certainly possible. There are terrific RC flight simulators that use the same controls as real RC fliers do and anyone of any age can operate them with perfect safety.

A Word About Safety

Safety is often considered a bore, but it is absolutely crucial for anyone desiring a long and happy life no matter what you like to do. Practice it always and encourage your kids and young acquaintances to do the same. There is an old axiom in aviation that says, "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." Once safety becomes a habit, confident judgments become easy.

Success In Modeling (And Maybe Life Itself?)

We are getting a little philosophical here, but forgive us for observations that we are convinced are true. The one attribute we have seen in people who succeed, no matter what their natural or acquired endowments may be, is Determination.
Any pursuit can be frustrating at times, but if you have the drive to succeed it will mean more than having the IQ of a genius or having a rich and benevolent uncle.

The Way To Become a Champion

One last bit of general observation and that is the value of dedication. If you have watched the habits of people who excel you know that they are the ones who put in an extra measure of work. They are there early at a contest, making sure their equipment is working flawlessly. If they are racers, they follow a regimen of practice, experimentation, and tune-ups that might bore the socks off the rest of us. Excellence comes easier for some people but, all things being equal, the people who become champions have top-notch focus and stick-to-itivity. A great U. S. Navy fighter pilot, David McCampbelI, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor and downed 34 enemy planes in WWII, returned from one mission with only enough fuel for ten more minutes of flying. Asked about the low fuel after the sortie in which he downed nine planes, he said "I wasn't worried. I had drained the tank a half-dozen times to make sure I had the readings on the gauge down pat."