RC Aircrafts Guide
Flying model airplanes began as early as 1871 when Alphonse Penaud flew a rubber
band powered flying machine called the Planophore in France. The model flew 181
feet in eleven seconds and is said to be the inspiration for the Wright brothers’
interest in the possibility of flight. Once the Wright brothers successfully flew
from Kitty Hawk, model airplanes began making an appearance in earnest. However,
it was not until the late 19th century that radio-controlled model aircraft
began to gain popularity.
Hydrogen-filled airships that were electronically guided were flown as a music hall
act using a simple spark-emitted radio signal that directed the airships to navigate
around the auditoriums. In the 1920s and the 1930s, the British Royal Aircraft Establishment
built and flew a pilotless monoplane and other radio-controlled aircraft were developed
during WWII. In the United States, pioneers Clinton DeSoto and Ross Hull built and
flew several large radio controlled gliders at public demonstrations in 1937. An
early RC event during the 1937 National Aeromodeling Championships attracted
just six participants and three entrants were unable to get their models off the
ground. Still interest in RC airplane models continued and began gaining in popularity
in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Technology has brought many changes in radio-control capabilities. Model airplanes
have come a long way since Penaud’s rubber-band powered flight in 1871. No one could
have envisioned at that time that a radio-controlled model airplane would make a
successful transatlantic flight or that the use of radio-controlled aircraft models
would be the topic of debate surrounding federal rulings. Today radio-controlled
aircraft range in size from micro helicopters to giant scale warbirds and endless
variety in between. One thing is certain, thanks to the enthusiasm of those who
already know the excitement of modeling radio-control aircraft and the efforts of
these individuals as well as associations and organizations around the world, RC
aircraft designs, and technology, will continue to bring exciting changes to this
sport and attract new enthusiasts year after year.
Alphonse Penaud (1850 – 1880)
In 1871, Alphonse Penaud flew a rubber band powered flying machine called the Planophore
in France. The design and successful flight of this early model flying machine earned
Penaud the title, The Father of Flying Models.
GERALD (JERRY) NELSON:
RC Aircraft Manufacturer, Pioneer, and Innovator (PDF)
This is an autobiography of Gerald (Jerry) Nelson who started plane modeling in
1946. Gerald Nelson produced the first commercial ready-to-fly radio control model
and designed the fully acrobatic aluminum aircraft with a wingspan of 100 inches,
Tuskegee History on a Hangar 9 RC Mustang
This page from the Model Airplane News- Electric Flight blog features a short video
of Marty Nelson and his scale model Tuskegee. The unique feature of this model plane
is the collection of signatures from fourteen Tuskegee airmen and women on the top
of the wing.
Model Plane Hobbyists Navigate Through History
Military officers from Fort Belvoir, VA are active model aircraft enthusiasts who
build and fly a wide range of designs. They have a natural interest in historical
warplanes and fly scale models nearly every day. Some of their favorite models include
WWII planes such as the P-40 Warhawk, Lockheed P-38, and the F40 Corsair.
This is the history of the Jim Walker fireball U-Control model airplane. Jim Walker
introduced his balsa wood model plane in the summer of 1940 at National Model Airplane
meet. The plane was powered by an Ohlsson .23 gas engine and controlled by long
lines. RC model planes were in the very early experimental stages at this time.
Academy of Model Aeronautics
With over 150,000 members young and old, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)
is the largest model aviation association worldwide. The AMA sanctions more than
2,000 competitions across the country each year and certifies both national and
international levels. The AMA also charters over 2,500 model airplane clubs throughout
Extreme Flight Championship
For the past ten years, the best of the best radio control modelers have met to
compete in freestyle extreme flight championships. If you think you have what it
takes to compete at top levels, visit their website for a listing of known maneuvers
and guidelines to present a video application for next year!
Team Flying Circus
This site hosts news, articles, reviews, and forums of interest to anyone with a
passion for radio controlled aircraft. Registration is free and provides you opportunity
to connect with thousands of large-scale RC plane enthusiasts.
Model Airplane across the Atlantic Ocean
In 2003, at the age of 77, Maynard Hill successfully launched an eleven-pound RC
model airplane on a thirty-eight hour, 1900-mile trip across the Atlantic from Newfoundland
Canada to Ireland. This epic journey began in 1926 and was the culmination of a
lifetime of model airplane passion that evolved from balsa and glue to the use of
the latest technology.
Hill the Man (PDF)
These documents further detail the accomplishments of Maynard Hill. In addition
to the successful launching of a RC model airplane that crossed the Atlantic, Hill
held twenty-four other RC model records. Further details concerning the RC model
that made the transatlantic flight are also found in this report.
Run Ryder RC Helicopter Community
For news, photo galleries, forums, marketplace and connecting with RC helicopter
enthusiasts this is the community you should check out. Registration is free and
you must be registered to access forum discussions.
National Society of Radio Controlled Aerobatics (NSRCA)
The National Society of Radio Controlled Aerobatics, also known as Patterns within
the United States, promotes the building and competition of precision aerobatic
planes. The NSRCA has been a huge supporter in advancing the technology of precision
model airplanes and works closely with the AMA and other organizations to promote
model aircraft in all phases.
Part of the Fun Trivia site. This section contains trivia about RC model airplanes.
You can also click a link at the top of the page to take a quiz all about RC model
planes. How much do you know about your favorite pastime? Visit this page and find
First Person View (FPV) & RC Model
FPV radio control flying involves the use of a wireless video system small enough
to mount to a radio controlled aircraft. You will then ‘see’ the view as though
you were onboard your plane using a monitor or video goggles. This site gives you
all the information you need to get started in this exciting addition to RC flying.
Different RC Aircraft
This page contains links to products and informational guides; it also provides
a good overview of the wide variation in the types of RC aircraft that are available.
Sound and Model Aircraft Noise
How loud is your airplane? In this article, the mechanics of sound is discussed
in detail. Examples of sound levels for individual planes and the challenges sound
presents on a field with multiple planes in flight are also examined.
RC Engines Made Easy
This article discusses the two and four stroke glow engines. A good explanation
of the glow plug and general engine process is given. There are additional articles
of interest here on RC model engines for large-scale aircraft and professional competitive
flying. You can also view videos on the Nitro engines from this page.
Converting RC Gas Engines to Electric Motors
New technology now makes it possible to fly any size RC aircraft with an electric
motor. This article discusses the things you need to consider when converting a
RC gas engine to an electric motor.
RC Model Aircraft
Motor Control (PDF)
Microchip technology is changing the way RC modelers control their planes. This
report describes the design of microchip speed controls appropriate for RC model
airplanes up to a six-pound weight limit.
Model Gas Engines
This article explains the differences in a 2-stroke RC gas engine compared to a
garden tool engine. In addition, differences between a 2-cycle gas or nitro engine
are also compared.
RC Aircraft Electric Motors
This article examines the advantages and disadvantages to using an electric motor
to power a RC model plane.
The World’s Largest RC Plane
This B-29 is the world’s largest radio control plane. It is so large it takes two
people to fly it! Watch the video and see this amazing model plane in action.
RC Warplane Plans at SPAD Combat
SPAD stands for Simple-Plastic-Airplane Designs. This site is set up to share simple,
free airplane designs, tips, and ideas. You must register to download plans and
join forums. Registration is free.
For anyone interested in RC 3D aerobatic flying, this is a great educational resource.
Bobby Watts and Bert Kammerer are experienced 3D pilots with a passion for sharing
tips and information through monthly videos. Videos are for sale. However, the prices
of these videos are very reasonable! (Many under $5). By charging a small price
for their instructional videos, they avoid the need to clutter their website with
Radio Control Association of Central Florida
THE RCACF is a very active RC modelers group dedicated to promoting RC model flying.
They host a junior pilot program with trained instructors that help youngsters get
off to a great start in what could be a lifelong passion. They have a great flight
field and meet every second Saturday of the month in addition to hosting community
programs and shows.
Responses from Congressmen Regarding AMA Petition to FAA Rules
While final rulings have not yet been determined, this is a positive step towards
protecting the freedom of RC modelers to fly without restrictions from the FFA.
There is a link here to add your name to the petition.
Civilians using Drone Aircraft
The LA Times article examines the real possibility of civilians using drones for
profit in areas such as real estate. This is one example of the complications involved
in the ongoing attempts for the FAA rulings to restrict drone use as well as RC
model aircraft in some areas.
Unmanned Aircraft System
Regulation Review (PDF)
This 2007 statement and policy review specifies the difference between model aircraft
and unmanned drones (AC 91-57). This authority gives hobby RC modelers the right
to fly RC model aircrafts but does not extend that authority to those using drones
for commercial or business purposes. This information is on page 8 of this document.
FAA Bill Issues Protection for Radio Control Model Aviation
This March 2012 update reported by Control Chat, discusses protection granted RC
model aviation under the new FFA rules.
International RC Aircraft Clubs
Flying RC aircraft is a passion shared by individuals worldwide. Here is an extensive
listing of international RC clubs and organization.
Radio Controlled Combat Association
Are you a WWII RC plane enthusiast? Then this is the association for you! The RCCA
is dedicated to all aspects of RC combat planes. They host competitions, share information,
and support the fun of RC combat events in a safe and family friendly atmosphere.
U.S. Scale Masters Association
This association has a mission to support the advancement of scale aircraft modeling
across the country. They bring people of all ages together to learn about aviation,
RC flying, scale realism, sportsmanship, and host competitions at local, regional,
and national levels.
Giant Scale Warbirds Association
This is a national, non-profit association for enthusiasts of WWII giant scale warplanes.
They co-host twelve fly- ins per year bringing together warbird fans from across
the nation. Visit their site for details.