What is Pattern Flying?
While the most highly skilled radio-control flyers in the world know all about Pattern flying, many other people do not. If you're new to r/c flying, or have simply focused your attention on other aspects of r/c flight (and there are many that can grab one's attention), you may still be wondering what "Pattern flying" all about.
Pattern is a form of radio-controlled flight. More precisely, it's the careful execution of a series of precision acrobatic maneuvers within an imaginary box in the sky — all according to a special set of guidelines. There are 5 classes (or levels of competition) in Pattern, each higher class marked by increasing complexity and difficulty of maneuvers. These classes include: Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, Masters and FAI. The FAI class designates flyers ready to compete in international World Aerobatic Championships.
Guidelines for pattern flight cover things like the size and weight of the aircraft (any plane up to eleven pounds, with a maximum wingspan of two-meters). For more detailed information on the maneuvers & guidelines, see the AMA Regulations for Pattern Flying (free download in PDF format). For the most current rules, visit the AMA site.
Governed by the NSRCA in the USA, pattern flying is actually a world-wide sport. You can find lots of information on the web to help you get a better understanding, but the best thing to do is download the regulations mentioned above, and start practicing the moves.
Central Hobbies is the largest supplier of Pattern R/C products in the world. Since a fair percentage of serious Pattern flyers still like to build their own aircraft (often from either kits or plans), and many others will at least modify their planes to improve control response and overall performance, Central Hobbies works hard to make available the many parts and accessories required for such projects. You'll find that we provide many of the best products for Pattern flying.