What about all those new Transport Canada Regulations that started in 2022?

Up until November 2022, all RC clubs in Canada operated under an exemption from Transport Canada’s Canadian Aviation Regulations – CARS Part IX rules governing RPAS operations. RPAS stands for Remotely Piloted Aircraft System which is a broad definition that includes RC commercial and recreational drones, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. The exemption gave us considerable freedom to operate in Canadian airspace without the need to comply with complex regulations that apply to other commercial airspace use. Unfortunately, in 2022 our exemption was revoked by Transport Canada. Since our main field at Thackeray Park is within Class “C” controlled airspace that surrounds Pearson Airport, we are now subject to the extensive regulations imposed by the Transport Canada CARS Part IX rules. This new reality is now here to stay and we must all comply.

Is the field open in spite of all the new regulations?

The good news is that we are open and we can help you get the certifications and knowledge that you will need to fly at Humber Valley. Models under 250g can be flown at our field without the need for any Transport Canada certification or testing. Models between 250g and 25Kg may be flown at our field provided the pilot holds an Advanced RPAS certificate and follows all other CARS Part IX regulations. Our student instruction program allows student pilots to learn to fly with us under the supervision of our RPAS Advanced certified instructors. Or, if you are already a qualified RC pilot and wish to join, we can help you understand what you need to know to become RPAS Advanced certified. Contact our Chief Instructor or other member of the club executive from our Contact Us page for more information.

If I join the club late in the year or just for the summer can I get a fee discount?

No. Even though many members use the field only from May to October, we are open year round and enjoy flying even during the winter. There is nothing quite like the experience of taking off and landing on a fresh blanket of snow using skis or floats. Your membership runs from January 1st to December 31st each year and covers the annual cost of field maintenance, servicing our lawn cutting tractor, the cost of the city permit required to use the park, our MAAC club registration and insurance and the cost of indoor flying at York University in the winter.

Do I have to pay the new member one time joining fee?

This fee applies to all adult members for the first year only. Junior members are exempt from this fee.

How big is the club?

We have about 100 members consisting of about 85 pilots and 15 students.

I am only interested in flying drones or helicopters. Should I join?

Starting March 2020, we created a Drone/Heli pilot category which allows people interested in flying only Drones or Helicopters to become Drone/Heli pilots. You would need to pass a safety test and flight test before you can become a Drone/Heli pilot. Members in this category are not permitted to fly fixed wing aircraft unless they subsequently clear as fixed wing pilots. Drones and Helicopters should mostly be flown on our Helipad, but if the main field is not busy, drones or helicopters can be flown on the main field with the permission of any fixed wing pilots who are present. In other words, fixed wing aircraft take priority over drones and helicopters on the main field. Also, rotary aircraft and fixed wing aircraft are not permitted to fly at the same time, unless there are special circumstances. For a more detailed discussion of our policy with respect to multi-rotor aircraft see our Policy Statement in the Library.

How can I learn to fly?

Humber Valley offers expert instruction to students who want to learn to fly radio controlled fixed wing aircraft. The instruction season starts about the third week of May up to the end of September. Instructors are qualified expert pilots who volunteer their time for free. There is no fee. But there is also no guarantee that an instructor will always be available when you ask. Students can find instructors names and email addresses/phone numbers on the club web site in the Member Section or come to the field and ask any current pilot or member of the executive to help identify qualified instructors. It is up to the student to contact instructors and arrange for a mutually convenient time to conduct training. The best time for student instruction is weekday evenings or weekend late afternoons when the field is not too busy. Sometimes weather and personal affairs limit instructor availability. The best way to learn to fly is to show up at the field as much as possible. And our Chief Instructor now manages a WhatsApp group to allow students and instructors to communicate with each other in real time about field conditions and instruction timing. It all depends on supply and demand, weather, etc.

Can I pay an instructor to teach me?

No. There are a few pay services advertised in the US, but virtually all clubs instruct purely on a volunteer basis. This ensures that instructors assess a student’s flying skills objectively and avoids jealousy between members who may not be able to afford additional fees.

What kind of airplane should I buy?

Go to a good hobby shop that specializes in RC flying and listen to their advice. We recommend students start with a high-wing .40 size glow or electric trainer. In the early days of RC and up to 15 years ago, flyers had to build their own planes from kits or plans. These days almost all students start with an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) plane

If I buy an electric plane, can I charge my batteries at the field?

Yes. If you fly electric, we have a 12 volt charging station in the sun shelter at the field which is powered by solar panels.

How long is an average flight and how far away can I fly my plane?

Flight time varies with engine size and size of your fuel tank or battery capacity. A .40 size engine will run for about 15 minutes on an 8 ounce tank. An equivalent size electric trainer running on a 2200-3000 mAH (Milliamp Hours) battery could fly for 10 -12 minutes on half throttle. You should normally fly for about 10 minutes to be sure you don’t run out of fuel or battery capacity in flight (called a dead stick). Your transmitter can control the plane for a distance of about one mile. However, the limiting factor is how far you can clearly see the plane and judge its altitude and direction. You should normally fly in a box about 200 meters long and 100 meters deep and 90 meters (300 feet) high (Transport Canada regulations set the model aircraft height limit to 90 meters).

What is a buddy box and do I need one?

Yes. Buddy boxes are mandatory for students at Humber Valley. A buddy box is a second transmitter box (without the electronics) connected to the live transmitter through a wireless link or an umbilical cord. The Instructor uses the master transmitter while you use the buddy box (slave transmitter). The instructor can give you control and take it away the moment you get into trouble and save your plane to fly another day.

How do I know if my plane is built correctly?

When you buy or build a new plane you should bring it to the field and have it safety checked by an experienced pilot before an instructor will fly with you. Beginner built planes will usually have several deficiencies that need to be corrected. We have seen planes with 10 things wrong, just based on lack of experience. But that’s what the club is for – to help you build and set up your radio and control surfaces correctly and fly safely.

How can I learn more quickly?

The best way to learn is to come out to the field often, talk to pilots, watch what they do and ask lots of questions. Advice is free and there is lots of it at the field.

Is a computer flight simulator a good investment?

If you can afford it, a simulator is a great learning aid. Make sure you get a simulator specifically designed to simulate RC flight. Simulators today are 100% realistic and will give you a big head start on flying skills. They are also great later on for comparing flight characteristics of different planes or trying a new maneuver on the simulator before trying it in the air.

How do I become an RC pilot?

Our instructors will teach you basic maneuvers and safety. When you can take off, perform basic maneuvers, and land safely, you will be given a flight test and if you pass you will be awarded your “wings”. Then you can fly solo at the Humber Valley field.

Do I have to get MAAC insurance?

Yes. You must get your own MAAC insurance and you must have it to fly at our field. Contact MAAC at www.maac.ca or at 905-632-9808.

Can I fly my plane by myself?

No. Not until you are cleared as a “pilot” by an instructor. MAAC safety rules state that you will not be covered by insurance if you fly on your own before you are trained by a qualified pilot. Therefore even if you have MAAC, you will not be covered by liability insurance if you hurt someone or damage property with your plane. The reality is that if you try to fly on your own, without expert assistance, you will likely crash your plane within 5 seconds of takeoff. Please govern yourself accordingly. If you attempt solo flight at Humber Valley’s field before you have passed the flight test and received your wings, your membership will be revoked since your actions could cause the club to be sued for damages.

What are the flight limitations?

Our airfield is in a controlled Class “C” airspace because of its proximity to Pearson Airport. Based on that, all Transport Canada CARS Part IX regulations regarding RPAS apply. Flying models over 250g and under 25Kg require you to hold an Advanced RPAS certificate issued by Transport Canada. Contact our Chief Instructor or other club executive for more information.

What else do I need to know?

Our club is run on volunteer basis. You may be asked to help cut the grass, repair the geotextile runaway, the shelter, or any other simple maintenance task to keep our club nice, clean and enjoyable for everybody. Please join us and donate a little of your time to make our flying field better.

How do I join?

Joining is easy if you are reading our website, please click here for our How to Join page which is posted in the Club Info Tab. All the required information is listed there for you to join. You can submit your application and make your payment online. But if you do not wish to use the online process, you can still download an application form from the Library Section of our web site and mail in the completed application and cheque to the address on the form. The treasurer will mail you your member card. You will be given the password for the member section of the website and the field gate lock combination.