Thursday, 2 February 2012

Preparing to start building an RC Airplane.

Greetings Readers!!!

Building an RC Airplane is what I like the most in this hobby. Its great fun in building one and then flying it. Everybody can build an RC Airplane on his/her own. I will cover few important things in this post which you should have in knowledge before starting first time.

First of all, You must have free time before you start building. It can take either a day or even a month to finish building an RC Airplane, totally depending on your skills and "what you are building". Its not necessary to finish the whole plane at once. As I said before, you can build whenever you are free.

Second thing is...Building Material. You can use anything that is workable and what you are comfortable with. There is not any "Big Red Book" which says "Only use what others are using." :D Funny but true. However, Most commonly used building materials are Balsa, Foam, Corrugated Plastic Sheet. Even I know few people who are using Polycarbonate sheets in their builds. Refer to "Important Terminologies in RC Aeromodelling" to learn more about these materials.

On third, Tools. Without proper tools, You will just end up spending more time and energy in your builds. The tools that you will generally be using are Hobby Knife, A pair of sharp scissor, glue, tape, a glue gun, a set of different screw drivers, a marker, a pair of pliers, soldering iron, knife edge reamer etc. Its not guaranteed that you will find use of everything in your very first build, but they are worth having. You can also have a hand drill if you wish to. There are a lot other tools that are not mentioned above but I will keep updating. Below are few pictures showing these tools. Click on picture and it will get you to the details.

Hobby Knife

Soldering Iron (230V)

Knife Edge Reamer

Hand Drill

Fourth, Space. I think its self explanatory and doesn't need my words.

Fifth, a good plan. An RC Airplane plan is basically the scaled paper drawing of the plane. It guides us about the scale & dimensions of each and every part going to be cut out of building material.

In next post, we will be learning more about "Plans", "How to understand them" & "How to make one yourself".
So keep visiting and take care.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Choosing your first plane....

As you have started practicing on the sim, You might want to start looking for a good plane either for a build or to buy a ready made one. Whatever you do, Your choice should be a high wing trainer or glider type aircraft with very simple and relax flying capabilities. Below are few links to suggest you some good planes to start with....

You can find it pretty confusing in choosing which package to go with: ARF, RTF, PNF or Kit.
You can learn about these packages in my previous post "Important Terminologies in RC Aeromodelling".

Bixler EPO 1400mm

Floater-Jet EPO

Piper Cub L4 "Grasshopper"

These three make great choice to start flying. Click the pictures to go to the online store and see their price and specification.

Note: Above three suggestions are for those people who do not want to configure every electronic part of aircraft themselves (However they will have to do a quick assembly which is easy) and just want to start flying for now. These aircraft includes Most of the electronic parts in their offered price.


If you want to get the idea of building an RC Aircraft and configure the power systems yourself. Check out the below suggestions:

 Kit: J3 Cub

Kit: J3 Cub

Kit: Bixler EPO

Remember: Those real life pilots also undergo a long long long training on a very basic trainer plane, They are not offered to fly the more advanced and beautiful jets on the first day of their training. Similarly, You shouldn't choose those advanced jets as your first RC aircraft. They are much expensive and difficult to fly plus they wouldn't forgive a single mistake. As soon as you learn the basic flying with a trainer type aircraft then only you should go for more advanced RC aircrafts.

Another option is to build an RC aircraft yourself. I will cover this topic in upcoming posts. Till then, Keep practicing on the sim and keep looking for the next posts.....

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Important Terminologies in RC aeromodelling...!!!!

Aileron: The control related to "Roll" movement of aircraft. Think of a horizontal axis which is run through the whole fuselage from nose to tail. The movement along this axis is "Roll". (Bank Left/Right)
Ailerons can be found near the trailing edge of main wings of aircraft. Control Surfaces on both side of wings move in opposite direction to achieve "Roll".

Elevator: The control related to "Pitch" movement of aircraft. Think of a horizontal axis which is run through the whole wing from left wing tip to right wing tip. The movement along this axis is "Pitch". (Up/Down) 

Rudder: The control related to "Yaw" movement of aircraft. Think of a vertical axis which is run through the fuselage from belly to top. The movement along this axis is "Yaw". (Left/Right)

Throttle: The control which related to speed of Engine/Motor and so that the propeller mounted on it. It is used to increase or decrease the rotation speed of Engine/Motor.

Fuselage: The whole body/frame of aircraft.

Wings: The wing is responsible to generate lift force. that is how an eagle floats in air, without pumping her wings up and down.

Horizontal stabilizer: The horizontal tail surface which is coupled with Elevator control.

Vertical stabilizer: The Vertical tail surface which is coupled with Rudder control. 

Flaps: This can be found on the main wings near ailerons. But these control surfaces moves in same direction to increase drag, Lift and slow down the aircraft. It is useful to decrease the speed during landing approach.

Leading Edge: The front most edge of main wings.

Trailing Edge: The rear most edge of main wings.

Wing Tip: The left or right most end of main wing. Left Wingtip is the left most while Right Wingtip is the right most end of wing.

Wing Span: The width of wings from one tip to another.

Wing Area: Either upper or lower surface area of wing including the portion hidden inside fuselage. 

Airfoil: The shape of wing's cross section. This is how wing looks while seen from either left or right wingtip.

Angle of Attack: The angle of wing with the horizontal axis while seen from left or right wingtip.

RTF: Ready-to-Fly.

ARF: Almost-Ready-to-Fly.

PNF: Plug-&-Fly.

Kit: The package which needs to be assembled by buyer. All the Electronic parts or power system should be purchased separately and not included in offered price.

Balsa: A kind of wood which is light in weight but strong. It is very easy to work with if you have right tools. Mostly available as sheets and strips and comes in many sizes.

Foam: A very light, fragile but workable building material. There are various type of foam available today. Such as, Depron, EPO (expanded poly olefin) & EPS (expanded polystyrene). Depron is the most commonly used foam to make foam RC airplane models. It is hard to bend but easy to Cut, Glue, sand and tape. It cracks easily on an impact.

The EPO is very flexible, (almost impossible to break by bending) so easy to bend. Thus it is widely recommended for beginners they crash too much. It needs reinforcements to make strong structures.

The EPS is generally what we call high density thermocole. This is mostly used in disposable cutlery, plastic models, CD and DVD cases etc.

Fan Fold Foam (FFF) is also a kind of foam. There is no big difference in Depron and FFF. The FFF is called so just because it comes in 3/16 inch thickness, 4ft wide and 50ft length. This much of a length is not a practical thing with the storage and transportation point of view. So, these sheets are sold fan-folded back and forth various times into 4ft x 2ft size.

The RC airplanes made up of foam are commonly known as "Foamies."

Corrugated Plastic Sheet: These are plastic sheets with straight hollow lines running across the whole length between two walls of thin plastic. That is why it is also called twin-wall plastic. In RC aeromodelling, these are called as coro or coroplast. It is a very strong material and barely needs a reinforcement. The RC airplanes built using coro sheets is known as "SPAD (Simple Plastic Airplane Design)".

Polycarbonate sheet: It is very hard, smooth and mostly transparent material. Like the coro sheets, these too have straight hollow parallel grooves running across the whole length. Not a widely used material but worth knowing.

These are few important terminologies in RC Aeromodelling that you should know. I will keep adding more as soon as they click in my mind....
So, Keep looking....

Lets get started!!!

Now that you have finished thinking about all the aspects (Remember? Money, Time & Dedication) and you have decided to finally get into RC hobby, The first ever thing that you might do is just "Start flying". Curious???
look for a good RC flying simulator. It is must if you are on your own in this hobby. What "Simulator does is, it provides almost the same environment as on your flying field. You can practice flying a wide variety of airplanes and helis even without having to leave your seat. It is really helpful to train yourself for RC flying without even having a real RC plane. Crash as many times you want without a single damage to anything. Just practice more and more on the sim (We use sim for the word simulator). You can find good deals on famous online RC stores. Just Google "RC Simulator", I couldn't possibly post the direct links because they are too many.
A good RC sim is that which includes the more and more aircrafts to fly, which comes with everything like transmitter, USB chord, sim program and so on. Also it should have a facility to change wind speed as well. Don't worry on this one too much as most of good RC sim comes with the wind and climate changeability. There are some freewares as well that you can use such as: FMS, RCDeskPilot etc. These are freewares, they cost nothing but you still have to manage transmitter on your own to start flying on the sim. Flying with you key-board doesn't make sense while you are learning to fly. It doesn't provide the feel that comes with a real RC transmitter. However you can use key-board as you play games, This will help you understand the orientation of an RC plane in air. But for practice, Buy a good simulator transmitter, You won't regret.

Note: The sim transmitters are different as they are only used with simulator. Don't buy a real Radio gear (Transmitter/Receiver which is used when you are flying in real) for now as you have to study a lot before investing money in parts. Both sim and real Transmitter looks almost same and like one below in picture.
Don't call yourself trained until you can make successful landing approaches, and fly without crashing in hard wind condition. Practice more & more on "Landing" as it is the most difficult part in RC flying. Pre-decide some flight pattern, follow it during flight, and try landing at specific runway or spot. Doing this activity in sim helps you a lot. Here is a quick example of flight pattern,
 I hope you enjoy on the sim. Experience how things happen to react in air!!!
Good Luck.

How do I decide "If I am ready"...

When it comes to you to decide whatever you want, You should think about every aspect of life before stepping in to this hobby. What this kind of hobby basically demands is Money, Time and Dedication (Always remember these words). The word "Money" matters because this is the only thing that will keep you fed-up with your resources. RC Aeromodelling requires many resources to be available in your reach like Building material, Electronic parts, Measuring equipments and a wide space to build and repair your aeromodels or keep them once they are completed. Not only this, but you should also take this to considerations that "Would you be able to save some of  money out of your monthly income for your hobby". For just an idea, Estimated cost that a beginner has to have invested is $175 to $225. This much money will just get you started and you would have to invest more & more to continue further if you want to have a new RC aircraft. Note that I am using the word "Invest" because the money spent in the hobby like this worth's a lot fun further and further. Its not like buying movie tickets, enjoying movie once and forget it!!! Think about it like, Aren't you going to display your aircrafts in the drawing room or going to fly them every weekends? Yes, With good maintenance these machines live long. Please think about your financial budget carefully before stepping into this hobby but also don't forget, There are more things which should have our attention paid more prior than this hobby. I mean, "This is just a hobby, so deal it like a hobby".

"Time" is what people tell me as a reason for not having any hobby. And its true! Even I, myself have to manage my time for this hobby. I am an student and I have to keep up with the studies as well with this hobby. So, guys! think about it, take your time, and ask yourself "Would you be able to give this hobby enough time once in a week or whatever, even after spending a good sum of $$$...?" You can go flying in the weekends, but if you are into building or repairing your RC aircrafts, You will sure need extra time. Remember you can't make a day 25hrs long, Right??? If you can't decide it straight-off, Here is a simple activity that you can practice to get your answer. Try to save some time out of your regular working day (1 hour a day is enough to keep track with your hobby), do this for a week or two until you get the answer of a simple question.(Simple question means much !!!) "Do you have time?"

"Dedication" is the key word in a hobby like this. If you get bored of things very easily. Be sure that you would have to fight yourself in this one. Basically, a hobby like this needs "Patience". Think of what "Right Bros" did after repeating failures on their first flying machine, They were so dedicated to their work that they started again over and over and finally "Human beings got to see first ever Flying Machine in the world." This could happen with you as well. "History repeats itself again & again." All I wanted to point out is, You should also have the level of dedication and patience as the Right Bros had. They wanted to see their invention in air on its own, at all and so do you. After all this is a matter of flying related to aviation which is a knowledge which comes by experiences, no matter it be good or bad. So, prepare yourself to put the best of you in to your hobby with dedication, Be patient, experience this hobby, You will fly someday.

Friday, 9 December 2011


Aeromodelling is a hobby in which one builds and flies the model aircrafts by using the materials like Foam, Wood, Carbon Fiber etc. These model aircrafts may or may not be the exact replica of the original one in their look as well as operations. Some modellers prefer to build on their own design while some prefer building scale models. There is a third category of aeromodellers which prefer to buy a Ready-Made version of aircraft, assembling it and fly. The letters "RC" stand for "Radio Controlled". To fly an aeromodel, the pilot has to have his/her control on the machine all the time during its flight. That is where the Radio (word generally used for Transmitter and Receiver system)becomes most important thing in this hobby. It totally differs person by person to build whatever type of aircrafts with whatever flying abilities...