Getting Started
In RC Planes

If you are new to rc model airplanes, this section is for you. Getting started in rc planes is not as difficult as you might think. This section will introduce you to the ins and outs of this wonderful hobby as well as the lingo of model rc airplanes. Many of the people that get into RC modeling are pilots at heart. They have a great interest in general aviation. Flying RC model airplanes gives you an opportunity to experience that thrill while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground.

Where to Start?

The best way to get started in RC planes is to visit a local bookstore or your neighborhood newstand and browse through some of the many model airplane magazines that are published monthly and are are jammed packed with articles on best rc airplanes to start with and tips and tricks to help you work smarter and keep your baby in top flying condition. Because it gives you a lot of information about what's happening in the R/C world and the best models, my favorite is Model Airplane news.

Your library may also carry some of these. The next step in get started in rc planes is to go to your local hobby shop and ask the people there for help in selecting your first model. Find out whether there is a local flying club in your area so you can have a place to hang out with other modelers and fly your plane.

Finally, you should join the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) in the USA. They have lots of good information to help you get started in rc planes. Taking these steps will help ensure you get a good base for starting in our hobby.

Prior to getting started in r/c planes at most clubs, you'll be required to join the AMA, because along with your membership, insurance coverage is also supplied. They publish a monthly magazine ( Model Aviation) with some useful information on rc contests and events throughout the United States.

The organization that handles this in the UK is the British Model Flying Association (BMFA). This body is delegated by the Royal Aero Club and are responsible for all aspects of flying model airplanes in the United Kingdom.

Get Ready For Ground School

In order to be able to successfully fly a model RC plane, you need to learn some of the basic parts of the airplane. These terms are the same ones used for full size airplanes. The main sections of the airplane are the Fuselage, the wings and the tail section.

Fuselage Section

Lets talk about the fuselage section first. This is the main structure of the aircraft to which everything else is attached.


The wing provides most of the lift needed to fly the airplane. As the wings move through the air, the shape of the wing causes the air that flows over the top of the wing to move much faster than the air flowing below it. As a result, less pressure is created on top of the wing and more pressure is created below the wing. A higher pressure underneath the wing pushes the wing upward creating lift.

Flight Control Surfaces

Just like the real airplanes, models depend on control surfaces to maneuver and fly, the basics being the elevators, ailerons and rudder. Some of the more sophisticated ones might have spoilers and flaps and leading-edge wing flaps.

Elevators - control nose up or nose down attitude (pitch axis) of the airplane. This, in a nutshell, is how it works. When the pilot pitches the nose up (pulling back on the stick), the wing angle is changed as related to the airplanes forward movement. As the angle of the wing is increased (This wing angle is known as the angle of attack (AOA)), more of the lower wing surface is revealed to the oncoming air and an increase in engine power will cause the airplane to climb. Increasing AOA too much without a corresponding power increase will result in a stall situation.

Ailerons – These are located on the trailing edge of the wings near the wingtips. These surfaces will roll the model to the left or to the right. If the aileron stick is moved to the right, the model will roll to the right because less lift is produced on the right wing. This can be explained as follows. When a right roll input is intoduced, the right aileron will move up into the airstream and the left aileron will move down. Therefore the airflow rushing over the right wing no longer flows smoothly, creating less lift on that wing causing the model to roll to the right. It works the same way for the left wing.

Rudder – Rudder inputs will control nose left or nose right attitude (yaw axis) of the model airplane. If left or right rudder inputs are introduced, the nose of the plane will move to the left or to the right.

Rudder inputs are used to counter the effect known as adverse yaw when turning the model. This is the tendency of the right extended (down) aileron to produce drag on a left hand turn causing the model to want to turn to the right.

Aerodynamics – The four aerodynamic forces at play on a model are lift, drag, thrust and gravity.

1. Lift – The result of airflow over the curved upper and lower wing surfaces. It is the force that keeps the model in the air.

2. Gravity - This is the force exerted on the model that pulls it down.

3. Thrust - Thrust pushes or pulls the model forward.

4. Drag - the opposite of thrust, drag is created by the friction of model against the air as it moves forward.

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