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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, the AL-1.

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.

Pre-War Fireball Story

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 the US.

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.

Radio-Controlled 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.

Maynard 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.

RC Airplane Trivia

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 out!

First Person View (FPV) & RC Model Aircraft Flying

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 Types

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.

Understanding 2-Stroke 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.

SmackTalk™ RC

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 ads.

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 and Organizations

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 (USSMA)

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.

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