so you want to get started in radio control planes. well here is the good news ...
all you need is a good steady hand and ability to focus and a month or two down
the line you could be helping others getting into the sport... its that much fun
and not so difficult as people may say. but a word of caution... dont even think
of taking your plane up in flight all by yourself without training unless you have
a unbreable heart and oodles of money for each crash... which occour on the first
flight itself putting off most modelers from the sport.
if you are learning to drive a car all by yourself and even if you dont have
anyone around to teach you and once on the roll if u feel you can't manage to
drive atleast you can switch off the car and take your foot of the accelerator
pedal and the vehicle will jerk to a halt harming no one exxcept a lttle
embarrasment maybe. but in aeromodeling you can't switch off or take your hands
off the controls because the moment you do that your plane will crash into the
ground leaving you with a big hole in your pocket and probably no help again to
get started. all i wish to emphasise is that the aeromodeling is not something you
can do "out of the box" . read on to see what you need to get into it.
the plane itself or the model
2. the engine
3. the radio control or simply the radio
the aeromodel : the plane is usually made of a special type of wood called balsa
which is very light and soft. planes are also made of other materials like
fiberglass, plastic (spad) but these are usually heavier than balsa ones hence not
the beginner starts with a plane called the trainer which is basically a model
with good slow flying controlling charterstics. the trainers have their wings
mounted on top of their fuselage which is the main body of the plane.this
configuration is called high winger. the top wing makes it easier for the plane to
stabilise and usually when the plane is turned will give it a tendency to level
out and stabilise because its centre of gravity(cg) is below and towards the
middle of the wing.
the wing of the trainers is also different. the cross section of the wing called the aerofoil which is the view if you slice the wing breadth wise or look at it from the side, has a curved top and a flat bottom. this kind of design gives the plane a good slow flying trait (when i mean slow it means speeds upto 60 kmph)
the front edge of the wing is called the leading edge (le) and the back edge the
trailing edge (te). when the air moves across the wing by virtue of the plane
moving forward, the air across the top has to move a little more then the air at
the bottom of the wing and hence it creates a low pressure while the pressure at
the bottom of the wing remain constant or relative to the top become higher
pushing the wing upwards ... giving it lift andthis is basically the principle
behind flight. of course this is very basic and there are a lot of other
paramaters that govern wing design, however keep this in mind and move forward.
the length of the wing wing tip to wing tip is called its span , the breadth ie the distance between the le and te is called the chord. you must have seen wings that taper or don't not have the same cross section through out their span.
for a beginner trainer the wing span is engine dependent but usually 40/46 sized
engines in india have wingspans between 40" to 60". the length of the fuselage
varies between 36" to 46 "
planes have a stabiliser at the rear which is a small horizontal wing at the rear
of the plane. the vertical fin you see is called the rudder . the stabilser has a
small control surface that moves up-down called the the elevator while the
vertical fin has a control surface called the rudder which moves the plane left or
right. the elevator is the main part controlling the plane to move it up or down.
the wings have 2 control surfaces on the te of both sides that also control the
left and right movement of the plane. to know more about plane design read this
now that you know something about the planes you can go in for an arf that is
almost ready to fly planes as trying to build your own plane is not advised for rc
beginners coz u need something with proven flight qualities for learning.
most trainers will cost you between rs 2500 to rs 4000. don't go in for a fancy
plane as there are sure to be minor or maybe even major scrapes and crashes along
the learning curve. believe me even experts crash so it s ok for you to have them
once in a while.
engines : the engine is your muscle and heart of your plane. choosing one that
will last you beyond your training and next 5 years is an important decision. you
must read introduction to engines for details on how engines work.
in the indian context we usually buy just one engine as they are quite expensive
so it is important to buy an engine that will fit on something beyond your
trainer. the engine should be easy to start and give you good high end as well as
equally good idling charterstics. there are a lot of good engines available abroad
but i have seen most, if not all indian rc modelers prefer os engines. these are
reliable and last you for almost 5 -10 years if taken care of properly.
i would recomend the os 46 fx 2 stroke engine to all as it is the right engine
with almost 1.6 hp runs at around 16000 rpm for most planes with wingspans betn
40" to 56". os 46 also has a cheaper brother the os 46 la which costs about rs.
1500-2000 less but this has bush bearing instead of ball bearings for the
crankshaft of the engine and they become unreliable pretty soon.they also have
plastic parts that break off and also have airleaks. since you are buying just one
buy the fx.
a word about the smaller engines like the 25 / 15 /10 sizes . most beginners may feel that smaller the engine, more controllable the plane or maybe the lower cost may attract them to them. however i would advice you against it . its like buying a luna to learn riding and very quickly outgrowing it.
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