The term park flyer denotes a class of small, primarily electric powered radio controlled aircraft, so named because their size enables some of them to be operated within the confines of a large public park. Some are slow and docile enough to fly within an enclosed area such as a gymnasium or even a living room; while others require the open space needed for larger models due to size and/or speed.
Because of their size and relative ease of setup, ready-to-fly park flyers are among the most popular class of RC aircraft for beginners and advanced pilots alike. Advanced electronic and material technologies have even brought forth high-performance, park flyer sized "3D-flyers", or fully aerobatic aircraft capable of extreme high g manoeuvres and even nose-up hovering. Once the exclusive realm of giant scale, 3D flight is now possible both indoors and out with certain park flyer aircraft.
Park flyers have created an inexpensive and convenient way for beginners to get involved in the hobby of RC flight. The modern materials used in the simple construction of these aircraft make field repairs possible even after significant crash damage. Their small size and quiet operation make it possible to fly them in residential areas. It is advisable to first learn how to fly at a club, and that way individuals have a better ability to assess suitable flying locations if wishing to fly at their local park.
A parkflyer called the SQuiRT has been named "America's parkflyer" due to its travels around the United States of America traveling over 26,000 miles and being flown by over 700 different pilots. This is known as the The Wings Across America 2008 adventure.
The trade-off is that a model with low flying speed is more susceptible to wind and turbulence. Some park flyers cannot be flown in anything more than a light breeze: typically a wind speed of > 50% of the flying speed is the limit (although experienced pilots may enjoy flying with a negative ground speed).
A note on safety: some 'park flyers' (especially small delta-wings) can fly at an appreciable speed. These can cause injury to passers-by in an accident. Pilots should consider what might happen if they lose control or have radio failure and fly into a person/dog/car/building; therefore keep at an appropriate distance.
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