The length of the take off run will vary from plane to plane, but generally speaking most rc airplanes take off in a short distance; just a few metres for many. If you want a more scale-like take off with a longer ground run, use very little elevator and let the plane take off naturally.
Once the plane is airborne, maintain full power and continue a smooth climb out (not too steep), and commence a turn before the plane gets too far away.
The hand launch
Hand launching your rc airplane is simple enough but it’s perfectly normal to feel uneasy the first few times you do it.
As for a take off, a hand launch needs to be done into wind to maximise the lift under the wings, as well as the airflow over the control surfaces.
Hold your airplane at head-height, in whichever hand you feel most comfortable with, and have the transmitter in your other hand with your thumb on whichever stick it naturally falls onto i.e. it’s going to be one stick or the other, depending on which hand the Tx is being held in.
With motor power at its maximum, take a step forward and at the same time give the airplane a firm push out of your hand. It’s important that you launch it firmly so that it’s above stalling speed when it leaves your hand. If you don’t push it enough, it could stall and crash before your feet!
It’s also important to try and keep the airplane level, and don’t point it upwards much. If you do launch it with a very nose-up attitude, the same thing is likely to happen – a stall and a crash.
As soon as the plane has left your hand, get that hand onto the transmitter as quickly as you can so that you’re immediately ready to initiate a climb (i.e. apply some up elevator) and make any necessary corrections to the plane’s flight path as it leaves your hand.
*NB: maximum power for a hand launch might result in ‘torque roll’ as the plane leaves your hand; this is when the plane typically rolls to the left, in reaction to the torque force of the motor. Depending on which plane you have, you might find that launching on, say, 3/4 power is more comfortable and less likely to produce the unwanted roll. It’s just a case of trial and error really.