RC Airplanes



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Timeline of Radio Control


Radio control has a history of just over 100 years. Here is a timeline of some of the important highlights.

Another great contributor to this timeline would be John H. Hammond who is often considered the father of radio control. He held over 400 patents in various aspects of RC including multi-channel rc and secret radio communications.

My thanks to the good folks over at the xenonproject.com. They have a lot of great radio control stuff. Check them out!




Alphonse Penaud launches the Planophere 131 feet in the air, powered by a wound up rubber band and inspires many people to believe that powered flight has potential.

Nikola Tesla designs and builds the first pair of radio controlled boats, demonstrating the vessels to a shocked crowd at Madison Square Garden. Tesla refers to his boats as "teleautomatons."

The world’s first RC apparatus is born. The Telekino is presented by Leonardo Torres Quevedo at the Paris Academy of Science. During this, he demonstrates the ability to remotely control a robot via electromagnetic waves causing it to execute various commands.

During WWI Archibald Low, the “father of radio guidance systems”, creates an aerial drone plane for the Royal Flying Corps, which is radio controlled and intended as a guided bomb.

The model aeroplane flies for its first time in this important era of RC development. We can thank the military for their contribution in remote control technology during WWII.

Walter Good, along with his brother William, is credited with constructing and operating the first fully-functional RC airplane. With the help of his plane, "Big Guff," Walter gives RC enthusiasts a reason to take to the skies. This historic plane is now on display at the Smithsonian.

Gas powered tether cars, a.k.a Spindizzies, are model cars powered by a miniature gas engine. This classic car became popular in the early '40s, but can only be started up to run in circles around the tether pole.

Remote control models gain popularity during the 1950’s, but are limited by battery capacities and must be recharged frequently until the invention of the transistor.

The beginning of RC hobby car racing and production of car “kits”. Pioneers make 1/8th scale pan cars and even 19 cubic inch 2-stroke model plane engines.

Dr. Dieter Schluter, an engineer from West Germany builds the first fully controllable RC model helicopter and is credited as the father of RC helicopter flight.

Companies begin introducing off-road RC vehicles. However, the Tamiya Rough Rider revolutionizes racing due to its die-cast suspension and big rubber tires for off-road areas. The RC buggy was born.

1:10 scale electric cars and trucks gain in popularity and performance causing prices for motors, batteries and tires to soar. To make things more affordable, parking lot races of the 80's were reinstated. 

RC makes a whirring debut as Andy’s fun-loving remote controlled car in Disney/Pixar’s first CGI feature film - Toy Story.

The world's largest RC airplane contest (literally) is held in Florida. Aptly named Top Gun, a total of 125 participants compete over a period of five days.

After 6 years of successful Mars exploration, NASA announces on March 24th the RC instructed exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have vastly exceeded their driving distance goal of just 600 meters.

On July 1, DARPA announces a $33 million dollar contract for Northrop Grumman to demonstrate autonomous aerial refueling using two UAV NASA Global Hawks.

DARPA plans to fund their next phases of research by remotely controlling brain activity using ultrasound. These remote signals affect areas of the brain that regulate alertness and cognition in hopes that it will improve alertness and alleviate stress, anxiety and pain in soldiers.

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies debuts "H-CELL 2.0", the world's one and only hydrogen fuel cell hybrid power-train for high performance hobby grade model RC vehicles.




The Master Scratch Builders: Their Aircraft Models & Techniques (Schiffer Military History)

This book examines aircraft models by twenty outstanding practitioners from around the world, and provides detailed coverage of their often widely varying techniques. Each includes color photos of the featured model, plus numerous detail construction illustrations. Other chapters explain advanced finishing technique, vacuforming, model subject research, and tools/supplies/materials required for this arcane craft. While emphasis is upon aircraft from the two World Wars, the 1920s and 1930s are also represented by military, commercial, civil and racing aircraft. This is not only a book of surpassing visual excitement for the aviation/modelling enthusiast, but an invaluable technique resource.


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