RC Airplanes



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Some of the basics of how a
Remote Control (RC) Airplane works

This is a short tutorial with pictures that shows you the basics of how a Remote Control airplane works. I go over the theory of how the whole set up operates including a look at the actual mechanics of the airplane and the use of the hand-held controller. There are lots of different controls and controllers and they will vary but in this tutorial I take a look at a pretty standard set up and it will give you a good understanding of how RC airplanes work.


And here is a video I made showing this airplane coming out of the box and some short footage of me launching it off.

The controls on an RC airplane are pretty much the same as on a real airplane. This makes sense because you have the same thing (An airplane), it is just the size that is changed. There are four major controls in an RC airplane:

  1. Throttle
  2. Elevator
  3. Ailerons
  4. Rudder.


Basic Controls of an RC Airplane


An explanation of the Controls

1. The Throttle: This affects the speed of the airplane. The more throttle you apply the faster the airplane will go. This also affects the climbing and descening speed. Applying more or less throttle will cause the airplane to descend or climb faster. This is important to know because it means that the other controls are not the only thing that affect take off and landing.

The three next parts: Elevators, Ailerons and Rudder control three movements of the airplane called "Pitch, Roll, and Yaw". I explain these parts and these three movements.


Pitch of an airplane

Roll of an airplane

Yaw of an airplane


2. Elevators: These control something called "The Pitch" of the airplane. Changing the angle of these elevators will control whether the airplane goes up or down. Now, its important to realize that if the elevators go down the airplane will go down and if the elevators go up the airplane will go up. This is because the elevators control whether the nose of the airplane goes up or down. The picture below explains this concept.


Elevator is down

In this picture the elevator is down. This will force the nose of the airplane down and the airplane will descend. Conversely, if the elevator is up the plane will ascend.









3. Ailerons: These are not on all RC airplanes. And they are not needed, many RC airplanes work just fine without them. And, if you are a beginner you don't need them. They can just make it a little bit more of a challenge to operate. The Ailerons control the roll of an airplane.

4. Rudder: The rudder controls the Yaw of the airplane. This is what turns it to the left or right.


Yaw of an airplane

This picture shows how the rudder moves. The motions of the rudder will control the Yaw of the airplane.








Let's continue with this and look at a common hand held controller for an RC airplane


The HobbyZone Sports Cub S RC Airplane

  • Everything you need to fly RC today
  • SAFE technology from Horizon Hobby
  • Recovery with the pull of a trigger with Panic Recovery mode
  • Proportional 4-channel control with working throttle, rudder, elevator and aileron
  • Steerable tail wheel for easy ground control


E-Flite Apprentice S 15e RTF Beginner RC Airplane with SAFE Technology

SAFE technology is a revolutionary leap forward in flight control and training. Key Features SAFE technology provides spatial awareness and flight envelope protection The ideal beginner's choice when learning to fly with an instructor Quick, easy assembly Lightweight and durable Z-Foam construction Powerful 15-size, 840Kv brushless out runner motor installed-flite 30A Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless ESC installed Large, easy-access battery compartment Wide-stance tricycle landing gear Nose wheel steering for better ground handling Powerful 3S 3200mAh 20C Li-Po battery included-Po balancing DC charger included Optional E-flite Apprentice S Floats (EFLA550), available Safe Technology Information Needed To Complete Nothing! Everything you need to get flying is included in the box. Overview The E-flite Apprentice S 15e RTF airplane is the most intelligent RC airplane ever offered by Horizon Hobby. At its heart is groundbreaking SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology that makes RC flight incredibly easy, even for the least experienced user. Its combination of spatial awareness provides flight envelope protection which adds a degree of security never before available, while its smooth flight capability battles windy conditions so that all you feel is control that's crisp and responsive. Multiple levels of flight envelope protection are provided that can be reduced or removed as your skills progress, yet the "panic" feature is always there to instantly return the model to level flight if you ever lose orientation.