Welcome to the www.remote-island.co.uk radio controlled flight guide for radio control planes.
This guide is intended to answer the question,’ How do I learn to fly a radio controlled model aeroplane'. This guide will provide practical information helping the complete beginner teach themselves to fly our ready to fly (RTF) kits straight out of the box. Please contact us with any questions you have on this guide.
How does a radio controlled plane fly?
A radio controlled model aeroplane achieves flight in exactly the same manner as a full size aircraft. When the wings of a plane move forward the air provides lift. If the plane moves to slow, no lift occurs and the plane falls to the ground. This is commonly known as stalling. The importance of this is that a radio controlled planes needs speed either from a motor or from its natural forward movement, descending and gliding. The forward movement of a radio controlled plane provides constant lift. This lift is regardless of whether the radio controlled plane is upside down, in a turn or even performing aerial manoeuvres. The lift provided doesn’t always have to be straight up. A good example of this is when a plane is in level flight.
Radio controlled planes turn by tilting the wings in the desired direction. Depending on how many channels your plane is capable of controlling affects how this motion is accomplished. Our entry level RTF radio controlled planes are controlled by a two channel transmitter.
A two channel transmitter offers two controllable functions. Channel one controls the throttle and combined altitude gain and channel two combines the left and right directional movement. When the request comes from the transmitter’s control stick to turn left, the left motor simply shuts down and the plane will bank in this direction. Our range of two channel radio controlled planes has the built in ability to automatically level out once the control stick is released. This vastly helps in panic situations, as simply letting go of the controls can stabilise the plane often avoiding a crash.
Three and four channel radio controlled planes accomplish the tilting motion differently. With these aircraft you have three or four controllable functions respectively. Controllable functions are throttle, rudder, elevators and ailerons (four channels only). The tilt is performed with the ailerons or with the rudder in the direction you want to turn. To make the radio controlled plane gain altitude you give an up command to the elevator. The elevators surface angles up, and the air that’s passing over the elevator forces the tail down and the nose upwards.
How to choose your first radio controlled plane?
If you are teaching yourself to fly without an instructor we have found that the best first time planes are electric powered gliders and slow flying park flyers that feature the wing on top of the fuselage. Park flyers are smaller and more responsive than a glider and can either be hand launched or take off from the ground. Our range of entry level models feature affordable tough construction planes for those wanting a taste of RC flight to virtually indestructible EPP foam models which are as tough as radio control planes get. Electric powered gliders can glide straight ahead all by themselves without you doing any controlling from the radio transmitter. If you want to fly without an instructor an electric powered glider plane will fly themselves while you are trying to familiarise yourself with the controls and directional movement of the plane. For the more adventurous beginner we stock a range of three/four channel acrobatic stunt planes which feature a huge wing span to assist in stability. These type of planes are suitable for beginners who have good hand to eye co-ordination and some knowledge of radio controlled planes. We welcome enquiries and are always happy to offer advice on suitability.
Radio Controlled plane first flight checks
When purchasing a radio controlled plane it's important to always read the manufacturer's instruction manual before you do anything. The manuals differ for each radio controlled plane purchased and offer valuable information on setup, maintenance and flying. If you've constructed the plane in accordance with the manual the chances are that your plane is usually ready for flight at this stage. However, it is worth remembering that although your radio controlled plane is a model it still relies on basic physics to fly. For this reason we recommend checking the radio controlled planes weight, balance and centre of gravity before its first flight.
Here is a simple explanation on how to do so:
All radio controlled planes have a centre of gravity that affects the planes balance and therefore it's flying characteristics. Generally the centre of gravity on most radio controlled planes is one third of the way back from the leading edge (front edge) of the wing. The easiest way to test if the balance of your radio controlled plane is correct is to lift the plane up beneath this point with your fingertips. The plane should either be level or the nose pointing downward slightly. If the plane’s nose is pointing upwards you will need to correct the balance of the plane before flying. This is achieved by adding modelling clay or blue tack to the plane’s nose until the plane is balanced correctly.
Radio controlled plane pre-flight checks
The manual supplied with your radio controlled plane outlines any pre-flight checks required and advises how to deal with any problems encountered. We've gathered a list of general pre-flight checks that we always perform before flying our RC planes.
* Check all of the kits pieces are secured properly, specifically the wings.
* Ensure correct motor operation.
* Ensure correct Rudder and Elevator operation (if appropriate).
* Check radio controlled plane and transmitter batteries are fully charged.
* Check the plane can receive signals from a suitable distance.
* Ensure other radio controlled users are not operating at the same frequency you intend to fly on.
How to take off a radio controlled plane
IMPORTANT: Always take off and land into the direction of the wind. Keep the planes movements smooth as overcompensating is the biggest cause of radio controlled plane crashes.
With the above checks in place you are now ready to head for the skies. There are two types of take off to consider. The first and simplest is the hand launch. Often this type of take off is the only method available with some types of RTF models. Ground take offs can be more complicated and we will discuss these later. To Hand launch a radio controlled plane, hold it at face level in one hand. Ensure the plane is horizontal and push the throttle on the transmitter to full power. The plane now requires a firm throw to launch whilst maintaining its horizontal position. It is important to resist the temptation to throw the plane upwards like a javelin; this will make the plane stall. The technique used is similar to that of launching a paper aeroplane. Whilst the plane is climbing keep the throttle at three quarter speed. Let the plane climb gently and allow the plane to gain sufficient height before attempting any turns. This will give you a greater chance of recovering from any mistakes that can be made.
The requirements for a ground take off are a smooth flat surface and that the model has an undercarriage. If you have a two channel plane and it is capable of ground take offs simply point the plane in a straight line into the direction of the wind and push the throttle to full. When the plane reaches the required speed it will leave the ground and head for the skies. If you have a three channel plane, you send an 'up' command to the elevators when a comfortable speed has been reached. This allows the plane to lift off the ground and start its climb. It is important to note that only a small amount of UP elevator is required to lift the plane off the ground. Remember... If you climb to steeply your radio controlled plane will start to slow down which could lead to a stall.
How to land a radio controlled plane
If you've selected a large open space to fly your radio controlled plane, landing will be straight forward. The key to success is until you are confident enough don’t try to land in a specific spot and avoid turns when the airplane is low. Simply let your radio controlled plane glide into the ground straight ahead. The bigger the field for your first flight the easier this task will be.
A few extra tips
*Remember that when the radio controlled plane is coming towards you the controls will be reversed.
*Ensure your batteries for both the radio controlled plane and transmitter are fully charged before each flight.
*When controlling the Radio Controlled plane ensure that any movements from the transmitters joystick or smooth.
*Take a basic repair kit to the field (tape, glue and spares), and of course avoid trees and other obstacle.