A two channel, electric RC glider plane with elevator and rudder controls is a great choice for the first radio controlled plane. After you’ve built up your skills, you can move on to more advanced, more complex radio controlled aeroplanes. RC glider planes are often also referred as RC sailplanes, because flying one is like sailing in the air, using the wind and the lifting currents.
It’s common that one starting their radio controlled plane hobby with a RC glider plane, will not even “move on”, because RC glider planes are very cost-effective because there’s no need for fuel and unpredictability of the wind keeps every flight challenging and fresh.
Why a Radio Controlled Glider Plane?
One of the reasons why even experienced hobbyists enjoy radio controlled glider planes is the amount of flight time one can get without extra costs. With fuel or gas RC motor, the tank of a radio controlled plane might only last for 10-15 minutes. In an electric RC glider plane, without a motor, the flight time is only limited by the size and capacity of the batteries of the receiver, resulting in several hours of flight time with one charge.
At the same time you will avoid the fuel costs and don’t have to clean the fuel mess etc. Thus, a radio controlled glider plane is very convenient choice and an electric RC glider plane will let you enjoy the fun of flying radio controlled aeroplanes for a long time.
Different Kind of Radio Controlled Glider planes
Gliders are available with or without a built-in motor. They come in various designs and wingspans.
Motored Radio Controlled Gliders
In case the RC glider does have a motor, the motor is used to get the RC glider plane airborne, not for the actual flight. Thus motored gliders don’t need wind to raise up, but they have motored propellers instead, which allow climbing up from flat sites.
After the throttle is cut, the propeller shuts down and in most planes fold back to lie alongside the fuselage, eliminating wind drag from the flight. After the motored propeller has been used to climb the plane up and shut down, motored glider is flown just like a pure glider, via thermal & soaring descent flight.
Pure RC Glider Planes
RC glider plane doesn’t necessarily have a motor at all and this kind of radio controlled glider is more common and often referred as RC sailplane. Instead of using a motor, the pure RC gliders plane are launched in to the air by towing with winch/another plane, catapulting with a bungee, or launched by hand like this Minimoa Sailplane:
Minimoa Launch, original photo by hyper7pro
After the launch, pure RC glider plane are flown using the air currents produced by a wind blowing into a slope, creating a lift above, called a slope lift, or a thermal lift, generated by the heat of the earth, a sun warming up the ground for example.
Launching by hand from the top of the ridge is done by throwing the glider outwards into the slope lift. A glider can be thrown into a thermal lift as well, but launching from the top of the hill is the easier and usually the more efficient method. Towing the glider by hand or winch is pretty much how one would fly a kite. Bicycle makes the towing easy and fast.
Large radio controlled aeroplanes can be used to tug tow the glider aloft, pretty much like the real glider planes, releasing the glider by a RC servo operated mechanism. This kind of towing requires quite a bit of organizing, but it creates great collaboration for a RC flight club as the RC pilots with different planes can work together and everyone is having fun.
Click here to get your own RC glider plane from eBay
What Kind of Radio Controlled Plane is Your Favorite?
There’s something about radio controlled glider planes that I like a lot; flying in the wind like an eagle, hanging up there for ages. And no flight is never the same… What about you?
Is a RC glider plane a radio controlled plane you don’t feel like flying?
Or are you a slope soaring RC sailplane fan like me?