Electric Model Airplanes: The Urge To Fly

With the craze of manned airplanes more than a 100 years old now, fidgety fingers are now turning their attention to unmanned aircraft - electric model airplanes. These battery-operated replicas of classic airplanes that have seen their share of blue are all the rage, judging by the number of remote-controlled or RC airplanes. Once the domain of the unemployed rich, the sport of electric airplane modeling in now within the reach of middle class mortals; the number of RC airplane races held in the country every year speaks volumes about this trendy hobby.

Unrestricted Airspace

From early explorers of the horizons to the mach-minded machines of today's supersonic world, the proliferation of electric model airplanes is nothing short of phenomenal. Every manufacturer that can get their hands on airplane designs and aeronautical engineers has jumped into the fray, leaving the public with a vast choice of flight-capable model airplanes at affordable prices.

Subsonic Sentinels

Although the miniature mimics of flying metal monsters are still subsonic, their look and feel, along with their detailed, scaled designs lead us to believe that they are guardians of much more. And they are too; if you look at them as representations of your inner urge to be free, then there really are no limits. A quick look at the basic models available will clue you in on what's out there, beyond the horizon.

The First Flap

If you're thinking of getting into the electric model airplane racket as a hobbyist, then you might do yourself a favor and start with the Hobby Zone Super Cub LP RTF (ready to fly). You can easily master the basics of flying a remote controlled airplane, including throttle, pitch and steering. It has a really cool function called Anti-Crash Technology. This will actually alter any potentially disastrous flight path that you might take, such as a steep dive – with this kind of an instructor you'll be an ace in no time.

Assisted Flight

Another great buy for beginner RC pilots is the E-Flite Apprentice 15e. With the help of a qualified club instructor, this should help you get your wings in no time. The flat-bottom wing reproduces the characteristics of gentle flight making it the perfect electric model airplane to learn the basics with; and before you know it you'll be pulling out of steep dives and looping the loop like a WWII veteran.

Types Of Electric Model Airplanes

Apart from the Ready To Fly electric model airplanes, there are also the Almost Ready To Fly, or ARF (also ARTF), and the PNP, or Plug-N-Play. These are not recommended for the tenderfoot, as they need quite a bit of input before they can be taken out for a spin. However, once you've had at least a hundred flight hours, you might just be ready to take on one of these temperamental birds.

As Simple as 2-3-4

The advantage with the Super Cub is that it only has 3 channels: motor, rudder and elevator; although there are simpler 2-channel models for the complete novice, the 3-channel ones are recommended if you want to graduate quickly to the 4-channel pro models, with aileron control. Starting with a basic 4-channel like the Apprentice may be tougher in the beginning (which is why an instructor is required), you'll quickly be able to get up to speed on all the basic controls that higher models come standard with.

The Acid Test

So if you're ready to go out and conquer the skies with your electric model airplane, take the test and see if you're as hot in the air as you are on the ground. Who knows, you might just be the next high flier at your local RC aircraft championship race.