Most RC plane hobbyists start out with an electric RC plane. The electric RC plane offers an affordable and easy way to start flying radio controlled aeroplanes. The electric RC planes can be categorized in many ways, but in general, there are five kinds of electric RC model planes around:
- Park Flyers
- Indoor RC Planes
- Micro RC Planes
- RC Glider Planes
- (Bigger) Electric RC Planes
Park flyers are smaller RC planes that were created to enable flying when there’s not too much space to fly around – like a park.
However, even a park flyer still requires a space equal to a football field for enjoyable flying, so keep that in mind when choosing your plane.
Park flyers are made of various materials, like balsa wood, depron and higher quality materials like EPP or elapor foam. One of the most common models is the Cessna, common plane turned into RC version: Cessna 182 electric RC plane (Cessna models exist in all electric RC plane “classes”, including the smaller park and micro flyers).
Typical park flyer weights less than 1 pound (of slightly more) and has a wing span of 2-3 feet. With the light-weight, the park flyers can’t stand any wind and thus, require calm weather.
Indoor RC Planes
Indoor RC plane is an electric RC plane that is spesifically designed to be flown inside. But not inside your standard house, but bigger halls and buildings like school gymnasiums and indoor sports arenas.
Indoor RC flying is great when the weather conditions would prevent flying outside – wind, rain and freezing weather won’t stop flying. An indoor RC plane weights-in at both sides of a pound and cannot be flown in any kind of wind.
With all indoor planes, it’s recommended to learn the flying basics outside, without the danger of hitting walls (it’s not uncommon for a beginner to fly to the walls or ceiling even in a bigger hall).
Most indoor RC planes are capable of flying outside as well, even the micro planes, as long as there is little to no wind around.
Micro RC Planes
One subcategory of the indoor RC planes are the micro RC planes. Micro RC planes are not as common as micro helicopters for example, but these tiny RC models have grown into a whole new hobby.
Micro RC planes range from cheaper and smaller versions of the bigger electric RC planes to tiny replicas of the WWII fighters and modern jet planes. Micro RC planes require some airspace to be flown around, so even these are not necessarily suitable for a small flat.
Electric RC Glider Planes
Electric RC glider plane refers to a glider or sailplane that has an electric motor. Some refer to all radio controlled glider planes as electric planes as the planes have electric gear in them, even if they don’t come with an electric engine.
All RC glider planes are flown in the same way, utilizing wind and the rising air currents, both thermal and slope lifts. The difference between a pure RC glider and a motored RC glider is the way they are launched.
A pure RC glider is launched by throwing it by hand, towed manually or with another RC plane or with a bungee. The motored electric RC glider is launched and taken into the air with it’s own engine. When the plane has climbed high enough using the engine, the electric engine is cut off through the RC radio transmitter.
The motored electric glider planes have a folding propeller. The propeller works like a normal propeller when carrying the plane to heights and when the throttle is cut, the blades fold back to the fuselage sides. With the propeller folded back, the plane avoids wind drag for the flight.
When the plane has climbed up, engine is cut off and the propeller has folded back, the electric RC glider plane is just like any RC sailplane / glider, and is flown using and trying to find the thermal and slope lifts, just like the real, non-RC glider planes. A 2-3 channel radio controlled glider plane is often referred as the best and easiest option for a beginner to start flying radio controlled aeroplanes.
(Bigger) Electric RC Planes
These are the electric RC planes that are more and less the same as the RC planes with combustion engines. Bigger electric RC planes weight-in anything from couple of pounds up to 10 – with more weight, these heavier electric RC planes can handle a little wind too.
On the 3-10 pounds weight range and packing the modern brushless engines and Li-Po batteries, bigger electric RC planes are more and less equal to the nitro and gas planes (although nitro RC plane fans will of course disagree here).
The required flying area for these larger RC aeroplane models is equal to the combustion engine planes. As a ready-to-fly package, a bigger electric RC plane offers a whole lot of fun as long as there’s enough space to fly around.
The distinction between the park flyer and non-park-flyer varies based on who’s talking and the manufacturer – for example, the Easy Star -plane (the blue-winged one on the picture there) weights about 3 pounds and is sometimes referred as park flyer, which is probably the correct classification, although it does pack some characteristics of the bigger planes.
What Kind of Electric RC Plane Are You Using?
Many RC hobbyists have all kinds of planes, but still one plane or plane type is often the favorite…
Which is your favorite RC model plane type?
Are you into micro RC planes or indoor flyers? Or is flying outside the only true way to go?