I guess after searching the internet for quite some time on “How to build a Radio Controlled Aircraft or RC Plane”, you might have landed on this article. Well, by the end of this article, you would know –
- What are the list of items, tools & electronics required to Build and Fly a RC Aircraft/ Plane
- Where to buy them
- A short description of the items included to help you understand better.
CAUTION: Radio Controlled Hobby/ RC Hobby requires a lot PATIENCE, POSITIVE APPROACH and a NEVER GIVE UP ATTITUDE. Anything can go wrong in any stage at any time. So, if you’re serious about getting started with the hobby be ready to face a lot of failures, crashes and magic smoke. Even the Aviation industry took a century to perfect flight. Don’t worry, you’ll also be airborne with a couple of crashes and experiments too.
The experience of Building, Flying and Racing Radio Controlled Aircrafts can be done individually/ with friends/ with family. Minimum Age Groups is 10+.
Here’s a quick list of items, tools & electronics you’ll need before you start –
- Laser cut aircraft kit or you can choose to hand cut your aircraft with plans and foam sheets.
- Brushless motor
- Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
- Propellers (Lots of them)
- Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) battery
- Li-Po Balance Charger
- Li-Po voltage checker
- 2.4 Ghz Radio Transmitter and Receiver
- Hot glue gun & Glue sticks
- Safety cutter
- Nose Pliers & Screw Drivers
Note: Every item listed is a separate topic/ subject of it’s own. You would need specific quantities of the above listed items. We’ll save them for later and explain them separately. Every new model you choose would require a whole new set of electronics with different specification or you can reuse the one you already have. This article is to brief on the overview and help you get started quicker.
You can pick up your GET STARTED KIT here which includes everything you need in 1 box to Build & Fly your first Radio Controlled Aircraft. Everything in this Kit is reusable across a category of aircrafts. Now, once you have your Get Started Kit, here’s what you should know –
Earlier hobbyist used to purchase flat sheet of foam from god knows where (We suspect Shivajinagar) and print pdf plans, stick those pdf plans together, cut them out, lay them out and then hand cut the parts which would take several hours to days just to cut out the parts before building.
We at GoRadioControl manufacture paper laminated waterproof foam sheets and along with our Laser cutting machine, we produce precisely laser cut aircraft kits which you can build under few hours. Select a kit of your choice from our store.
We recommend the FT Simple Cub or the Tiny Trainer if you are new to this hobby. You have to grow with the hobby, We don’t recommend buying a cool looking Jet or a Fancy Aircraft which might be complex for you to build at the beginning and even if you do, but don’t know how to fly it and even if you get it in air, we guarantee you’ll end up crashing without a doubt.
Start simple, Start small, One step at a time makes a huge difference so be patient and follow this guide to get started without making the mistakes we did when we were just getting started with this exciting hobby.
Ok so this is like the engine for your aircraft to take flight. Check out how it looks, read the specs/ product description and try to makes sense of it. It’s alright if you don’t understand the terminology of get confused on which motor should you choose for you aircraft. Just make a habit of reading product description and when you purchase your Aircraft kit from us, do read the list of recommended electronics and add one-by-one item to your cart to make your shopping experience seamless.
If you’re somebody who doesn’t like math or doesn’t want to scratch your head understanding the details or understand the theory part of it, we’ve got a solution for that too. Power Packs is a collection of all the electronics required for you to build you aircraft and swiftly get started with flying.
All brushless motors come with a datasheet which you refer and some labels/ indicators on the motor to differentiate the class of motors. Few things to keep in mind which choosing a motor –
- KV Rating of the Motor
- Size of the motor
- How many cell battery can the motor handle
- Propeller Size it can spin
How do you think your aircraft flies? Turbo engine? Na….. it’s the Propeller that’s mounted on the motor which helps the aircraft take flight. Usually made out of materials like plastic, carbon fiber, glass fiber and wood, etc. You can also choose propellers with different number of blades for you specific requirement. The community majorly uses glass fiber and plastic propellers which are very affordable. Make sure to buy some extra pairs because you’ll surely end up breaking a lot of them while learning to fly. Different propeller size, number of blades with different KV motors generate different amount of thrust (Lifting power). Make sure to use the right size propeller to avoid overloading of the motor resulting in magic smoke coming out from the motor. Always refer motor data sheets for propeller size and thrust rating.
Every propeller will have some numbers and letter printed on them. Usually the first two number indicate the LENGTH of the propeller in inches and the later two numbers indicate the PITCH of the propeller. There are Clockwise and Anti-Clockwise (The letter R would be printed on it) propellers.
Just like MITOCONDRIAN which is the power house of the cell, Your LiPo battery is the power house of your Aircraft which supplies the power demanded by the motor. Lipo batteries come in all size, capacities and voltages. Lipo batteries are made up of individual cell. Each single cell can be charged up-to 4.2 V and should not be discharged below 3.7 V. You should always use good quality chargers to BALANCE CHARGE your Li-Pos. Ignoring your Li-Pos while charging, storing, discharging can cause serious FIRE HAZARDS and can set your whole place on fire.
Always read the safety manual for charging, discharging and storing your Li-Pos safely. Do use a Li-Po safe bag for storage. Look for few things in a Li-Po battery –
- What’s the voltage/ Number of cells? 7.4V (2 Cell) or 11.2 V (3 Cell) and so on.
- What’s the mAh? (The storage capacity or think like a water tank)
- Type of Battery? Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Nickle Cadmium(Ni-Cd) etc
- C Rating. (Higher C rating – Higher Performance – Not a good choice all the time)
If you want your Li-Po to survive for a longer time, stay healthy and safe always use a BALANCE CHARGE. These chargers basically charge your Li-Pos safely one cell at a time and ensures the Voltage and Capacity are maintained equal through out the battery. You can also choose a smart charger with multiple features and functions where you can set the Type of battery, Ampere , Speed, Temperature at which your battery is charged. We recommend you watching few tutorials and videos online for the respective smart charger you purchase.
The LiPo Battery Voltage Checker 1S-8S with Buzzer is a quality product available and a special design to measure and display the voltage of LiPo battery packs. This voltage checker can measure the voltage of the battery pack as well as the voltage of every single cell of the battery pack.
This unit also features a handy built-in LED display that will show the voltage of each cell followed by the overall voltage of the pack. Don’t risk your model by flying on depleted batteries, at this price piece of mind flying can’t be any cheaper!
Simply connect the battery balance plug to the leads of this voltage checker, it will show the instant voltage of each cell one by one ending with displaying the voltage of the total pack. The Li-PO Voltage Checker 1S-8S with Buzzer Alarm is equipped with loud twin piezo alarms which will notify you once your cells reach a low voltage or user defined voltage.
Servos basically has motorized heads which rotate upon voltage. The servo head sits on the motorized head and can rotate between 0 – 90 degree or 180 degree. Servos act like steering wheel of a car. It helps you steer your aircraft in flight. The control surfaces of an aircraft (Moving parts on the wings and tail section) are connected to the servo head with the help of PUSH RODS which moves the control surfaces up/ down when the servo head rotates.
The Servos are connected to the receiver directly. The servo has three wires –
- RED – Positive
- Brown – Negative
- Orange – Signal
RC doesn’t stand for Remote Control in the hobby community. RC stands for “Radio Control”. 2.4 Ghz means 2.4 Giga Hertz – It’s the frequency band at which the Radio Controller transmits and receives data just like your radio waves. Short-forms for Transmitter is TX and for Receiver is RX. The TX and RX are an very essential part of getting started with the RC Hobby. So, choosing the right TX & RX is very crucial part as it’ll for several years with you in the journey. Of course, you can upgrade to complex TX & RX with 100s of functions and features as you wish but remember – To mush doesn’t mean it’s a good choice all the time. Start small, Start Simple.
Things to look for before choosing a TX & RX –
- How many channels does it support? (Number of input functions starting from 3 channel to complex 14 channels or more)
- What protocol does is support? (Communication language between TC & RX – PWM/ PPM/ SBUS/ DSM/ Frsky/ Flysky etc)
- What’s the range? (Read the manual of your TX – Expensive TX do provide longer range. But, you won’t be flying your aircraft more than 700m away)
- What features does it have?
- Size of the receiver
- External of Built-In battery
9. Hot Glue Gun, Safety Cutter & Nose Pliers
It’s recommended that you choose a minimum 40W or 80W glue gun for all your builds. Do check if the hot glue gun comes with a temperature controller or will it remain at constant temperature. You don’t want to have a glue gun that melts your solid glue sticks into boiling glue, this will burn your foam and might also burn your skin if it comes in contact. Preferably use a glue gun that dispenses glue at a constant rate and keeps it temperature at a constant degree which comes with a stand.
Safety Cutter needs to be handled with care and caution. Always use a sharp blade for your builds. A dull blade might give you a bad build experience and a poor build quality. Always use a new blade for a new build and keep changing those blades frequently. Also make a habit of closing the safety cutter when you place it around you during the build. Safety around your build area should be your Top Priority.
Nose Pliers & Screw Drivers are hand tools you will use to bend your push rods, screw the nuts and bolts during the build.