For any beginner or newcomer to the world of RC flying i.e. radio control flying gaining primary knowledge of their RC airplane device like how it is constructed, what are its technical features and how they work, and most important major RC airplane controls of your RC device? This will help the flier to become a skilled pilot and it is equally important to acquire the most out of your model. Hereby with this article, we will discuss the RC airplane controls and their functioning in detail.
Primary controls of RC airplane:
The different models of RC planes have different controls. The basic RC plane will have one or two control whereas more versatile planes may have four, five, and six or in few models more than six controls. The functions which control the RC plane are technically called channels. The number of control will be referred as a number of channels.
RC planes controls are similar to any real plane and they also perform similarly. Basically, any RC plane has four primary controls. These controls are rudder, elevators, throttle and ailerons and they perform different functions. The control surfaces of any RC planes include the elevator, ailerons, and rudder.
Where these controls or channels are located?
These are the hinged sections of wings, fins, and tail i.e. flying surfaces. Each control surface enables the movement in different directions. The movements by control surfaces modify the airfoil figure of the whole flying surface. These lead to change the volume of lift or downforce of side force which is created by that flying surface. The movement of the control surface is termed as a throw or also called deflection.
What are the functions of these controls or channels?
The throttle on an electric RC airplane is also called motor power. This controls the speed of the engine of the RC plane and thus how slow or fast the propeller rotates. The airplane will go faster when more throttles are applied and the plane will go slower when fewer throttles are applied. This also affects the speed at the time of takeoff and landing. This works by shifting the amount of fuel and air that goes into the combustion chamber of the engine
Many basic electric RC planes may not have a throttle; they may have just on/off switch instead. These kinds of planes have electronic speed control (ESC) that controls the power supply to motor through your Tx stick movements.
When electric RC plane is in the air throttle controls forward speed and the rate of climb and descent due to the different amount of the lift which is generated at a different speed.
The elevators control the horizontal pitch of the RC airplane. The elevators are the attached section of the horizontal stabilizer at the rear and they are the only major control surface.
The Changing the degree of angle of these elevators controls the upward and downward movement of the plane. If the elevators go up the airplane will also go up and if the elevators go down the airplane will also go down. In simple words, it controls the position of the nose of the plane upward or downward.
The upward or downward deflection of these elevators leads to change the volume of down force which is generated through tailplane. Other than required to climb or dive elevators also affects the airspeed of the RC plane.
The basic function of the ailerons is to control the roll of RC plane. Ailerons work through the change the volume of lift generation over the wings of the plane.
Smooth airflow over the wing surface is disrupted by the upward movement of ailerons and these reduce the lift slightly on that wing and vise a versa. As a result of this, the RC plane tilts and therefore rolls toward the side which has less lift.
When elevators and ailerons are applied together RC plane is pulled round into a banked run; the upper elevator causes the nose to pitch around in that direction and the ailerons cause the RC plane to roll.
It is not necessary that all RC planes have ailerons. They can make it more challenging to operate if you are a beginner. Ailerons are mainly used in all aerobatic drills that require a rolling motion.
The rudder in the RC plane controls the Yaw of the plane. It basically turns the plane to the right or left. It is the hinged section of the vertical stabilizer that is fin at the rear.
Moving the rudder to the right will cause the plane to turn right and vise a versa. When the rudder has applied the nose of the RC plane will point to either right or left, the rudder alone may not make a plane roll like ailerons can do.
The rudder is also very important on the ground, to control your RC airplane tracking straight during a takeoff run or landing roll, in case your plane is not having a steerable nose or tail wheel.
Besides these major controls, there are some other useful controls which help RC plane work smoothly like retracts flaps, and channel mixing.
There are also some other controls generally found in advance models of RC flying. They are flaps and retract also known as retractable landing gear.
• Retractable landing gear:
Retracts are the retractable landing gear which folds away into the wings or fuselage of the airplane once the plane has taken off. The retraction of the landing gear is operating by the flicking of a switch on the transmitter, generally either on the 5th or on the 6th channel. Retracts can be operated mechanically though servo which is driven by compressed air or recently through electric worm-drive.
• Flaps of the plane:
On the trailing edge of each wing, flaps are located. They are useful to generate more lifts when the flying speed is slow and at great deflection, to slow down the RC plane close to landing by causing extreme drag.
Flaps are operated with a toggle switch or in some planes with rotating the dial on the transmitter.
• Channel mixing:
Two individual channels can be mixed to act together through computer or radios. A small amount of rudder is applied by default when you operate the ailerons this is an example of channel mixing. The main purpose is to produce a clean turn and prevent the effects of adverse yaw.
• Proportional RC airplane controls:
Proportional controls are related to your radio control system. It is how the movement of the stick of the transmitter leads to proportional movement of control surfaces of your RC plane. You will find proportional RC system in all the RC toys except the cheapest one. Non-proportional RC systems have either on or off or left or right functions only. Proportional controls provide accurate control.
• Control surface mixing:
Some RC airplanes with a big delta wing and without tailplane do not have individually controllable surfaces. In such a models control surface mixing is made through automated RC transmitters that have mixing potential. The majority of modern radios have at least necessary mixing.
The main root of control surface mixing is that it must ensure that individual control surface must be able to work collectively with its associated surface. General control surfaces that are mixed one consist of elevens, ruddervators, flaperons and spoilerons. You can find other kinds of RC device control mixing, but the most common that you can find are the same as mentioned above.
These are some general operating controls of RC planes. The control functions vary from one simple RC plane model to latest fully featured RC plane model.
To know your RC airplane controls is very important for you to enjoy your RC plane model to its fullest and get the most out of the RC flying hobby. You must have primary knowledge how your RC plane will be operated how it will respond to remote or transmitter inputs.