AMA Clubs and EAA Chapters Team Up to Build and Fly RC Airplanes

BUILDING AND FLYING airplanes, sharing the passion of aviation, and having life-long friendships with likeminded people who enjoy the same hobby as our own, are all characteristics of both Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter members and AMA club members. After all, building and flying aircraft of any size require similar interests, skillsets, and passion. Let us all enjoy this together.

AMA clubs and EAA chapters have a joint program where cross-pollination between members makes it easy to offer youth an opportunity to build and fly RC airplanes locally. Both EAA and AMA recognize the importance of collaborating in their specific areas of common interest, but are now involved in a program where members of both local organizations come together to bring aviation to youth. EAA’s Build and Fly program is an initiative for EAA chapters in the US and Canada to participate in building and flying an RC airplane with assistance from local AMA clubs.

Here is how it works. The headquarters staffs of EAA and AMA teamed up with Sig Manufacturing and Horizon Hobby to produce and provide an RC model airplane kit to local EAA chapters at an affordable price. The kit, transmitter, all of the building supplies, and more, are bundled together and offered to EAA chapters for purchase to provide a hands-on building experience to kids. This is more than a kit—essentially, this is a full program in a box, designed to teach kids to put mind to hand, learn about aviation, teamwork, and ultimately fly an airplane that they created.

Having experienced RC builders to provide RC expertise might not be available to a local EAA chapter, but most EAA chapters don’t have to look far to find an active AMA club near them with experienced builders who want to share their knowledge. After an EAA chapter purchases the program in a box, the chapter and local AMA club come together with kids to build the RC aircraft at a local chapter. The RC build process is a multiple-day work session, where kids assemble a traditional balsa RC airplane kit using chapter and club mentors to guide them.

Participating chapters and AMA clubs can elect to gather once a week for a number of weeks with kids to build the popular Sig LT-40 airplane. Having multiple building workstations, including stations for the fuselage, tail section, and wing, for example, will allow a number of kids to participate in the build process at a single time.

The EAA Build and Fly program package also includes a version of the RealFlight RC flight simulator for kids to learn how to fly RC using a computer while participating in the hands-on RC build program right in the chapter hangar or build location. While some kids are building the ever-popular Sig LT-40, others are learning to fly RC using the flight simulator with a hand-held, RC-style transmitter.

Also included in the package is a Horizon Hobby Vapor indoor RC model that is ready to fly. Kids can experience hangar flying at its best by flying the low-and-slow indoor RC airplane right inside the hangar during the build sessions.

When finished, the kids simply fly the RC airplanes at a local AMA flying field, where RC expertise abounds with AMA member mentors. By having the two organizations participate in the Build and Fly program, both benefit by adding new members from each other’s establishments, as well as introducing kids to scale modeling.

The final component to make this program feasible is finding kids who are interested in aviation. For 29 years, more than 2.2 million kids have participated in Young Eagles programs at local EAA chapters by receiving a free first flight in a fullscale airplane. These kids are perfect candidates to engage in the world of RC building and flying. "Too often, we were asked by EAA chapters how to get kids back to the airport and continue their interest in aviation after a Young Eagles flight. Participating in an RC Build and Fly program is a perfect answer to the popular question," explained John Egan, EAA Chapters senior manager. In the past, we never said the words ‘RC airplane’ at an EAA chapter meeting, but not only are we now saying the words, we are engaging in model airplane building with AMA through this EAA headquarters-designed program," John added.

ama clubs and eaa chapters team up to build and fly rc airplanes
ama clubs and eaa chapters team up to build and fly rc airplanes

The Build and Fly program is a great way to get aviation-interested kids involved in aeromodeling, with the opportunity to actually learn to fly RC airplanes with AMA mentors at a local flying field. Once connected, both the EAA chapters and AMA clubs can offer additional youth programming to continue to bring kids back to the airport and out to the flying field.

The EAA Build and Fly program is an RC model building and flying initiative designed to introduce youth to aircraft construction and the fundamentals of flight. This is a chapter modeling "program-in-a-box" designed for EAA chapters to partner with local AMA clubs to engage Young Eagles participants and other youth. The program is intended to further their passion for aviation.

To learn more and watch the Build and Fly program video, go to To find an EAA chapter near you, go to

ama clubs and eaa chapters team up to build and fly rc airplanes

By John Egan, EAA Chapters Senior Manager

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This appears to be a pretty good way to advance both R C and full size aviation. Hopefully it will show some wonderful results.

John, I’m writing from Reno NV and would like to link the local Reno RC club with EAA Chapter 1361. I’d like to know how other RC clubs have been successful to reaching out to EAA chapters. Thank you for any advice you might have to make this partnership successful.

John, A couple of my fellow Reno Radio Control Club members and myself are interested in approaching our local EAA Chapter to see if they are interested in this partnership. Before we try, we were wondering if you had any ideas about how to make this successful or any examples of what has worked in the past. Is it possible to put me in contact with an AMA club that has been successful in wooing an EAA chapter into joining forces for this great project. Thanks.

Kansas City Radio Control and EAA Chapter 91 have completed one build with 7 students. Most students have gotten to fly. We are planning a second class in the spring.

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