The remote control airplane was only $30 at Harbor Freight
. I put it together in about 20 minutes, on the living room coffee table, during my two-year old son's nap time. It was much easier to assemble than the complicated and expensive gas powered RC plane I built as a teenager, but it was also palpably cheap. The battery charger doesn't have a light, so I read the instructions carefully to figure out how to tell when the batteries are fully charged. The answer: "When they start to feel hot."
A few weeks later there is a calm Sunday morning. My wife pushes the stroller while I carry the bright yellow plane down to the empty soccer field. The air isn't completely still, but the small gusts are only enough to rustle the leaves of the trees at the edge of the field.
I show my wife the arm motion to launch it, and then I push the stick all the way forward to full throttle. She tosses it, just right, into the air. I had trimmed it beforehand but it immediately begins to veer right. I nudge the stick left and keep the throttle high but it banks hard and loses lift, and before I can back off on the the throttle the plane flies hard into the pavement at the edge of the tennis courts. My son and I run over to inspect the damage. The wing and the body are in pieces.
I feel a little sorry for myself, and have the thought that I'm not cut out for RC airplanes. I remember how more or less the same thing happened the last time I tried to fly an RC plane I'd put together, when I was a teenager. And in the midst of my disappointment and self-recrimination, I notice that the innards - the RC receiver, battery, props, and motors, are all intact. I get out my leatherman and free them from the wreckage. It occurs to me that boats are easier.
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Acquire an inexpensive remote control airplane with two electric motors that can be controlled independently. Remove the motors, battery pack, and radio receiver from the plane.