Instructables
Picture of Beginners Guide to Radio Control Airplanes
This instructable is intended to familiarize you with the basic workings of Radio controlled aircraft. It is not a complete guide to everything about the subject, its intended to inform the reader on what is involved and help you choose the right aircraft for you.

I grew up around this hobby, my Dad built and sold them back then. Me and him fly them when we get the chance. His airplanes will be pictured here as well as mine. Together we have more than 35 years of tinker time with this hobby.

Its both a relaxing and exciting hobby.
I must also warn you its addictive and don't worry we all crash our aircraft, but if you start out with the right trainer and simulator you will repair and fly again.


First a crash course in what the types of aircraft have in common.




 
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Step 1: Common to all types of RC airplanes-Radio

First before you choose the type of airplane you want to build and fly, lets go over what is common to most RC airplanes.

The radio transmitter and receiver: This is your link to the aircraft never scrimp when it comes to the radio, if it glitches you can crash or worse hurt someone. Radios come with two or more channels, the channels are also not what you think, they are not separate frequencies, instead they are each control. Most airplanes have 4 channels, rudder, ailerons, throttle and elevator. Sailplanes have just two or three. Radio transmitters are also on several radio frequencies and are set by the user by changing the matching crystals in the transmitter and receiver. Unless you have a newer radio that uses ultra high frequencies in the 2.4 gigahertz range, these radio's do not require crystals.
The radio receiver on gas powered aircraft is powered by a rechargeable battery, on an electric it can be powered by the same battery that powers the propeller threw a battery eliminator circuit.
The power is usually 4.6 to 6volts.

I have used several brands, most were good, as long as its a name brand one like Futaba, Airtronics, HiTec, or Tower hobbies (made by Futaba).

Its also a good idea if you plan on having more than one airplane you can get an extra receiver on the same frequency and use one radio with several airplanes. This is what I do, I have a programmable radio with six memories so I can switch between them. I simply bought a receiver for each airplane, much cheaper than another radio.
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NikL8 days ago

what's a trainer?

Pardon my ignorance of the topic, got a project to do and I wanna get into rc planes as a new experience.

nickademuss (author)  NikL8 days ago

Its a plane built for a novice, they are usually slow easy to control, cheap, docile and parts are easy to find. They also usually have their wings mounted on top so they self right a little better.

I was with you until I saw the video and realised you were a girl. Girls don't fly model planes.

ayushgarg2 months ago
Thank you very very much. I love rc planes but I am still pretty new to the hobbie. Please make more instructables on the hobby. I would really appreciate it. I'm working on an rc fokker dr1 triplane. Do you have any tips
infinity1439 months ago
thanks alott nice inspiration.. appreciable efforts.
white dragon10 months ago
Hey!SO...I'm kinda new here and i wanted to build a (foam) delta wing in the holiday and i am sort of struggling with understanding everything like what connects to what...what it does...and what to buy...How to connect it...etc. ...So could you please help...I have viewed some vids of how to make rc planes (Delta Wings) and i dont know what controller to buy....Please help me....Anyone???


PS...I live in Christchurch New Zealand And I cant find any clubs etc...(And I am thirteen. :b

Thanks...
white dragon10 months ago
Hey!SO...I'm kinda new here and i wanted to build a delta wing in the weekend (foam) and i am sort of struggling with understanding everything like what connects to what...what it does...and what to buy...How to connect it...etc. ...So could you please help...I have viewed some vids of how to make rc planes (Delta Wings) and i dont know what controller to buy....Please help me....Anyone???


PS...I live in Christchurch New Zealand And I cant find any clubs etc...(And I am thirteen. :b

Thanks...

Diynitesh12 months ago
I love electric
There are also many groups of enthusiasts of the RC airplane and these groups are all over the country. Contact one of these groups or join one is the best way to learn about the hobby.
Oh thank you! :-)
Wow! Could you go into a little more detail about your Dads biplane. Thanks
nickademuss (author)  The Aviator1 year ago
Check out the weed wacker powered cub I built, its like it with two shorter wings, and a bigger motor....
aehall19761 year ago
There is also Phoenix R/C  which is comparative to Real Flight.
rule1 year ago
Use spellcheck everyone.
mclancer1 year ago
Very informative instructable, I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the large amount of basic info, and the links are a great start.
ashwini111 year ago
Hey do we have to do any programing while conecting electronics to transmiter and reciever...??
nickademuss (author)  ashwini111 year ago
as in changing trim settings? the remote has slider switches next to the controls you simple touch them to change the trim...
which do you prefer gas or electric? I came across an old max os 60 cc motor and am thinking of building an airplane.
Here are some pics of my engine.
DSCN1831.JPGDSCN1832.JPG
can you post an instructable that tells us how to make an airplane that drops a payload
you would need a five channel radio and reciever. Then you would hook up a servo to a payload container via controller rods that attach to the container. When you pressed the button on the radio the servo would release the payload. This is pretty simplified. you would have to do the rest of the thinking on your own.
Define "Payload".
exercise that gray stuff...
just build the 8ft wingspan cub, but with more power, and 2 flaps in the bottom with servos.
piky022 years ago
hey im building a jet from bolsa wood (can never get the spelling right on that word) and i got 2 edfs that are 85mm wide quite powerful but i need 2 edfs in one servo slot also its going to be around the f22 design got any ideas?
nickademuss (author)  piky022 years ago
just get a "y" cable to go from 1 open radio channel to two, it will work well for what you want to do, the same way you can hook two servo's up to do ailerons
ahhh man thats given me a blown mind i didnt think about the ailerons thx man big help
nickademuss (author)  piky022 years ago
twin engine gas aircraft use the same control method. Their RPM matched by either control arm adjustment or needle valve...
link?
as i can see heli's are easier to fly but not as exiting as airplanes
I think you have that the wrong way around, airplanes fly themselves to a certain extent, and you just have to tell it where to go. Helicopters on the other hand don't want to fly, it's a constant struggle just to keep them in the air, let alon get them to do what you want !
akshay.r2 years ago
nice..........
lesizz2 years ago
What a great hobby!
Since you're a photographer, have you experimented with mounting a miniature camera on an aircraft?

It seems to me that something modeled on a P-38 would be a hot aircraft with it's 2 engines.
madwheels372 years ago
Thanks a lot man. It's nice to have someone go over Everything. I am a beginner. I went to an air show, visited a club twice, and went to the hobby shop maybe 3 times. I also have a small car and a few air hogs, along with my new syma s033g. It's a coaxial heli, but like it okay, except for the 27mhz. Lots of wrecks cause it just gives out. I think my neighbor is a ham radio guy. Anyway, i have ran out of ink trying to print out as much stuff as I can on my printer twice! And went through a ream of paper. I have spent weeks on the net searching all about rc stuff. Any more vids, hints, tips, tool diy stuff, all would be greatly appreciated. Love hearing about all of it. --Ray
floidzzy2 years ago
hi, am floidzzy....am new here i hope to make new friends here so as to share ideals.... you can send me a mail on floidzzy@yahoo.com
Thermals or a good slope with a prevailing wind.

Slope lift means you can keep going for as long as your batteries can.

More reliable than thermals, easier to find too. :-)

I have to admit, a glider is such a stress-busting way to start, no noise, no dirty exhaust to clean, no refueling, just pitch up and launch.
nickademuss (author)  Kelticpaddler3 years ago
I live in utah now, so I will be hunting some slopes :)
Utah? You lucky man.

Take a look at this guy making the most of slope lift...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xo6N6_9rNQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TwOKtv8PnY

Enjoy :O)
bowmaster3 years ago
You left out turbine powered planes!! I guess exceeding 200-300mph is two much for you.
nickademuss (author)  bowmaster3 years ago
I left them out because I dont have any, and they dont allow them at allot of AMA fields in my area, in face never seen one in person, maybe when they get cheaper, I will...
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