TV Remote Controlled Paper Planes




About: Hi, I'm Tamas. I like to build all kinds of electronic gadgets, hope you'll like my ideas. I'm not so active on the site these days, so sorry for the late replies. (Oh, and sorry for my broken English in the...

I love everything that flies. In my childhood I made a lot of paper airplanes, but they have a huge problem. After some minutes they fall down. So now I designed a small device that allows you to control the speed and the height of your airplane with a TV remote control. If you press any button on the remote the small motor starts to rotate the propeller and the plane accelerates. This thing can be suited to any paper plane, The weight of the full gadget is 9 grams.

The power source is a small Li-Poly battery that can power up the circuit for about 10 minutes. It takes some time until you'll learn to fly, but isn't so hard. I've had a lot of experience with this circuit. This control unit can be used for others too, can drive LEDs, motors, relays or anything. Can be used for a home-automation project too.

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Step 1: Tools and Parts


  • soldering iron
  • cutting tool
  • glue
  • crafting tools or rotary tools


  1. small Li-Poly battery
  2. a piece of PCB
  3. electric micro motor with propeller
  4. 100uF cpacitor
  5. 100 ohm resistor
  6. 220 ohm resistor
  7. Red LED
  8. BC557 transistor
  9. IR reciever 38kHz
  10. straws
  11. valcro
  12. and a plastic piece

These parts are very cheap so you can build this project from less than 6 bucks. You can replace resistors with another, but the value can't be higher than 470 ohms. So let start building!

Step 2: Prototyping and Experiments

This step isn't so important I just took some pictures about the prototyping of the circuit. I made 5 different circuits, then chosed the circuit that can drive a small signal LED and the motor. In the next step you can see the diagramm of this circuit.

Step 3: The Plan

Following this circuit diagramm solder together the parts.

But how it works?

The IR reciever accepts the signals from the remote control. The capacitor filters the frequency of the 38kHz signal so your LED won't blink. This is very important. The BC557 transistor amplifies the current of the output then drives the motor and the LED.

Step 4: Soldering

You'll need to design the circuits as small you can, or the weight will be too big. My one is a little bit bigger than a coin. This is an ideal size.

Step 5: The Plane

Fold this paper airplane by following the pictures.

Step 6: Center of Gravity

Get a needle and a pencil, because we'll need to find the center of gravity of this plane. You'll need to situate here the control unit. I think you can see clearly everything from the pictures. Hang the plane from the needle and draw straight down. And repeat this three times.

Step 7: Calculating the Distance

The distance between the CU (control unit) and the CoG (center of gravity) is 0.5 cm. With the formula D1xG1=D2xG2 we can calculate the distance between the CU and the motor. For me this is 4.05 cm.

Why is this important?

-If we just make a random distance the plane will fall down because isn't in balance.

Step 8: Build the Frame

Cut a straw with a 4.05 length and glue to the plastic piece that will be suited on the plane. Glue the motor on this straw.

Step 9: A Little More Building

Fix the CU on the plastic piece then the velcro on the other side. Glue the valcro on the battery too. Connect them then charge up and test it.

Step 10: Testing

If you press any button the TV remote control the motor starts to spin very fast. Generates a very cool wind. the LED doubles as a battery level indicator and as a signal indicator. If the battery is charged up the LED blinks, but if not lights dimly. Now equip on the plane.

Step 11: Equip on the Plane

Just take the CU and slide the plane in. Cut a small space for the propeller and your plane is ready to fly.

Step 12: First Fly

Drop the plane and when it descends press a button and it will fly like a bird. On the third picture and on the fourth picture it flies very neatly.

If you liked this give a kindly vote for me and thanks for watching! ;)

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169 Discussions

Asad Ullah 333

Question 5 days ago

Plzzzzz if you have your video of making plane plzsend it to me


Question 8 months ago on Step 10

Which type Of remote are used


Question 10 months ago

what kind of motor use can you give me motor details?

Hiya bud

2 years ago

how long will it fly


2 years ago

how we will connect it to the remote ??


3 years ago

Hi, I met your great article by viewing a similar article in Instructables. I thought that the original is yours. Therefore I ask a question to you.

It seems that the PNP transistor is connected in the un-usual direction against current in the diagram in Step3. Something important is attempted in it?

I tried the diagram in attached picture below. It works well. It contains only LED but not motor and 5V power supply instead of 3.7V. Because I don’t have either an IR receiver working with 3.7V or a small motor working with a little current.

May I ask you to tell me why the un-usual direction was selected? Thank you.


3 years ago

Very nice and simple where did you got the motor and how do you charge the battery


3 years ago

from where did you brought small dc motor any online store or local electronic store.
if from online website please give the website address(i lives in india).
i am trying to make it would you also give the voltage rating of the electrolytic capacitor used in this circuit.


3 years ago

no entendi muy bien alguen me explica


3 years ago

Felicitari! Foarte ingenios!

1 reply

3 years ago

Really nice work , I like it
and I'm planning to make one soon ,
I would like to know if I could make it take turn ?
I mean using micro actuators or something ?

1 reply

4 years ago on Introduction

Hi I've built it but at the motor arrives just 0,5v ant it runs very slowly. also the led doesn't blinks

3 replies

Reply 4 years ago

Hmm, try to use a smaller resistor at the base of the transistor.

I am having the same problem. Is the resistor at the base the 100 ohm or the 220 ohm?

I did discover that the remote I was using was sending a very slow RF pulse so I switched it out and saw some improvement, but it is still too slow.