Model Flying New Zealand promotes and manages model aircraft flying in New Zealand.

We run national competitions, help modelers to compete overseas, support fun fly-ins and rallies, develop safety guidelines, produce a magazine (four times a year) called Model Flying World. We supply insurance for members, encourage clubs and liaise with Government bodies, the Civil Aviation Authority, Radio Frequency Services and other organisations.

In short, we do our best to see that you can fly your model in as safe environment as possible and enjoy this fun sport and hobby!

How to get started in Aeromodelling

Starting out in this hobby can involve a fairly steep learning curve in terms of equipment purchases, knowledge of where and when you can fly and then the skills needed to adequately and safely control an object moving in three dimensions.

Far and away the optimal path to achieve these things is to join a local club. There are currently 88 Model Flying Clubs throughout New Zealand. Most of these have their own facilities and a range of flying sites that are sanctioned by the authorities. Fellow club members can provide instruction in all aspects of the hobby and make your path to success so much simpler.

By joining one of these affiliated clubs you well then also become a member of Model Flying New Zealand and enjoy the benefits provided by the national organisation!

Click on the link below to start your journey.

What model do I start with?

A lot of modelers began with rubber power, free-flight, or foamy slope soarer models.. either as kids or adults! These are still a good way to begin and to learn the fundamentals of flight. Others begin with powered Radio Control models, which is the most common type of model aircraft in New Zealand. If you do this you should aim to join a club in your area and seek advice from modelers who can help you get started with the least amount of pain!

Flying Radio Control can involve a fairly steep learning curve, often the best place to start is a simulator which come in hugely varying variety, from free cell phone apps through to VR, from slope soarers to FPV racing.

New technology has allowed learner flyers to be assisted in the learning process using smart receivers which include sensors. One system in particular, is known as SAFE®. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope and is made by Spektrum. There are other systems available but this system is the one most common at our club. A number of E-flite RTF planes come with a SAFE receiver. One in particular is the E-Flite Apprentice which is 1.5M in wingspan (there is a 1.2M version too) which use rubber bands to connect the wing to the fuselage. This helps in a crash to allow the weight of the wing to move forward thereby causing less damage to the fuselage and/or wing. There are different modes of assistance depending what skills the learner flyer as achieved. If you are interested in going down this path, we advise talking to a club member who can help set you up to learn to fly this way.


These can either be built from a kitset or purchased as an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) model. Sometimes the radio gear is supplied with an ARF model, and will be labelled RTF ( Ready to Fly )

There are many types of trainers on the market. A trainer will normally be characterised by a high wing monoplane with some dihedral in the wings for stability in the air. Elevator, rudder and throttle controls will be necessary.

Park Flyers

Parkflyers – Small, light weight electric models often constructed of foam – are a popular facet of model aviation, offering a fun and relatively low cost entry into the hobby.

Model Flying New Zealand’s membership consists of many members with hangars full of parkflyer type models, which are fully covered by Model Flying New Zealand’s liability insurance whilst operating legally in public parks. Model Flying New Zealand actively works with local councils in approving parks for
model flying.

Radio Control

A Radio Control set is often the first thing a modeler will purchase, most modern systems have the ability to control multiple models, and so the radio gear is really an investment in your modelling future. Often bargains can be found in the second hand market.

The RC system involves a transmitter radiating a signal to a receiver in the aircraft that then sends the signals to actuators called servos that control the moving surfaces and throttle of the model. You can control anything from 2 through to 100s of functions, with gear ranging from very cheap and simple through to very complex systems that nearly run their own programming languages.

What kinds of Models can I fly?

Free Flight

Models which may be powered by gas, rubber or be a glider. Once they are launched the modeler has no control over the the aircraft! Free Flight is nearly an art form.

Control Line

Two wires are connected to the model to control the vital control surfaces while the model flies around in a circle. There are aerobatic, speed and team racing competition classes.


Helicopters can be incredibly challenging to fly, just like the real thing! They are available as kits through to Ready To Fly options.


Jets, or Turbine, models are impressive. Miniature versions of the real thing, often drinking kerosene or Jet A1 just like the real things. They are fast, sound amazing… and are certainly not for beginners!


The models are usually built from plans with balsa and ply and covered in light weight materials like silk or tissue, powered by glow, diesel or electric motors. Can be radio controlled or free flight.

Park Flyers

This more recent branch of aeromodeling consists of electric powered, radio control models which are small, light and safe enough to be flown in parks and fields. If you do fly in parks, be aware of other park users and you should check the local authority bylaws on using parks.


Multicopters, commonly referred to as Drones, are a relatively new facet of the hobby. MFNZ supports many clubs racing FPV multicopters, its incredibly fast and requires super human reactions to pilot them around tight courses.

Powered RC Models

The range of powered models is vast, including sport, scales, aerobatic, 3-D and pylon racers… equally as diverse is the power systems, from gas to glow to electric.


These are usually slow, light models made of materials such as Depron, foam, balsa and film. Powered by electric motors, Co2 or rubber, and can be flown by radio control in the confined spaces of a hall or gymnasium.

Gliders & Sailplanes

Sailplanes range in size from under a metre to 7 or more! They are launched from a hillside, flat field by winch or electric motor in the nose, or even hand launched.. The pilot then flies in search of lift to extend the flight.