Types of model airplanes

Learning all about airplane models

Building and flying model airplanes are fascinating activities. More than 2 million Americans are model airplane enthusiasts. More than 100 manufacturers produce the tools and materials use in making these airplane models.

Value of Model Airplanes

Model airplanes are by no means the exclusive interests of hobbyists. Many uses have been found for models by industry and by the armed forces. 

The airplane manufacturing industry uses exact scale models of new type airplanes for testing purposes. If any defects are discovered in the airplane model, they can be corrected before the full-scale airplane is put into operation. The wind tunnel test is an example. It is performed on all models. In this test the model is subected to the same stresses and strains that the real airplane will meet.

Models are important also in industries other than airplane manufacturing. For example, the motion picture industry uses models to depict airplane crashes, aerial dogfights, and similar scenes.

Scale models of all known airplanes are extremely helpful in teaching aircraft identification. Radio-controlled flying models serve as targets in gunnery practice. Other flying models are used to test performance and maneuverability of new aircraft types.

Types of Model Airplanes

There are two general types of model airplanes: non-flying and fying.

1) Non-flying models

They are usually built to be exact replicas of actual airplane types. These models may be made of wood such as balsa or pine, or plastic, or any other material. Non-flying models make excellent toys and decorative objects.

2) Flying models

They usually fall into three classes. These are: free flight, control line, and radio control.

Free-flying models cannot be controlled from the ground. They remain in flight  until their power is exhausted. They may be powered either by rubber strands or by some kind of engine. Gliders are free-fying models with no power source.

Control-line models are regulated in flight by a wire line. One end of this line is fastened to the model. The other end is held by the operator, or "pilot." By holding fast to his end of the line, he is able to keep the model flying in a circular and controlled. He may "maneuver" the craft by means of special attachments inside it and on his  end of the line.

Radio-control models do not have control lines. A model of this type carries a small radioe receiver, while the operator holds a small radio transmitter. Radio signals are sent from the transmitter to the receiver. When received these signals regulate the model's controls. By means of these signals the operator can put the airplane through many maneuvers.

Powered Model Airplanes

All fying models, except gliders, carry some form of power source to keep them aloft. This power may be furnished by tightly wound rubber strands. It may also be provided by a miniature engine.