General Information About R/C

[R/C Links]

[Common Questions and Answers]

[What Do I Need to Get Started?]

[Flying Basics]

Common questions and answers:

How much does it cost?

A lot depends on your budget. You can spend as little as $100 or as much as $1,000 on assembling the basics. Average cost for a complete beginners package runs about $200-$300.

How fast does a model go?

Trainers usually cruise at about 25-30 MPH and can land at speeds as slow as 12-15 MPH. However, there are also unmodified, off-the-shelf airplanes that can deliver speeds of up to 200 MPH!

How far can a model fly?

The range for a modern R/C system is about a mile. However, to maintain control, you need to have your model close enough to tell what it is doing. Even a plane with a 5-6 foot wingspan looks tiny at half a mile.

What happens if I run out of gas during a flight?

Contrary to popular belief, you have complete control even if your engine stops running. You just glide your plane in for a "dead stick" landing. The radio system has its own batteries for power.
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Flying Basics:

Wing Location:

Wing placement, for the most part, falls into two major categories: high wing design and low wing design. In a high wing design, the weight of the model is suspended below the wing. When the model tilts, the model's weight tends to try to return the model to a level position. As a result, high wing models tend to be more stable, easier to fly - and natural choices for trainers. A low wing model is just the opposite: with its weight above the wing, it tends to be less stable - excellent for advanced fliers who want to perform rolls, loops and other aerobatic maneuvers.


If you face the wingtip of the plane and cut it from front to back, the cross section exposed would be the wing's airfoil. There are three major categories of airfoil. The Flat-Bottom Airfoil will develop the most lift at low speeds. This is ideal for trainers and first-time pilots. A Symmetrical Airfoil's top and bottom have the same shape allowing it to produce lift equally when right-side up or upside down. Lastly, is a Seni-Symmetrical Airfoil which is a combination of the other two and favored by intermediates and sport flyers.

Wing Area / Wing Loading:

Wing area is the amount of wing surface available to create lift. Wing Loading is the weight that a given area of the wing has to lift and is usually measured in ounces per square foot. Generally, a light wing loading is best; the plane will perform better and will be easier to control.


Dihedral is the upward angle of the wings from the fuselage. Dihedral increases stability and decreases aerobatic ability.

Landing Gear Location:

Tricycle gear includes a nose gear and two wing (main) gears making take-offs and landings easier. This configuration is ideal for beginners. A Tail-Dragger configuration has two main gears just forward of the wing and a tail wheel at the rear of the airplane.
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What Do I Need to Get Started?

There is no "typical" first airplane. The type of plane is the pilot's choice and should include the factors listed above. In terms of actual equipment, here's a list of a complete flying package:

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(All of the above information was provided by the Tower Hobbies 1996 Catalog)