Shooting from the skies with a drone has been a fad in recent years, and many who tried to conclude that controlling the transmitter of the drone is quite a trick to master. Then there is the model airplane. Here the transmitter control is even more complicated, requiring some trained skills in understanding its construction, control and repairs; and the technical challenge to be overcome is bigger than that of the drone! And so, we embarked on a journey to Tai Shu Ha Road West in Tai Tong, Yuen Long, with the aim of discovering the allure of the model plane — and secretly, we wished we had some time afterwards to visit the famous local lychee orchards in the area!
We soon arrived at the HKMC International Model Aviation Centre, where there is an impressive lineup of airplanes to welcome us: civil airlines, private aircrafts, fighters and even jets. “Only those who truly love aviation would be flying a model airplane,” says Nam Gor, Chief Marshall of the Centre.
The model aircraft is usually remotely controlled by radio waves, and driven mostly by either a petrol- or electricity- propelled motor or engine. There’s a chance that you will encounter a glider or sail plane – one that has no engine and is entirely driven by the principles of aerodynamics. What is most fascinating about the model aircraft is its versatility, diversity, and its resemblance to the real McCoy. “The principles of controlling a model aircraft is the same as that of a real plane, and to some extent it is even more difficult to remotely control it. Beginners need to spend time to familiarise themselves with the means and the maneuvers, as well as learning the methods of assembly and repair.” Nam Gor adds that crashes are a common phenomenon for novice “pilots”. Skill and expertise will come, but only with perseverance and practice, as in many other sports.