Guide to Nitro Powered RC Planes

Guide to Nitro Powered RC Planes

Nitro powered RC planes are an incredibly popular form of model RC airplanes that attract hobbyists and enthusiasts alike. These planes offer a unique experience that sets them apart from electric or gas-powered models. With their high-performance capabilities, sleek design, and distinctive sound, nitro powered RC planes provide hobbyists with a truly unparalleled experience. Nitro RC planes use an internal combustion engine that relies on a mixture of nitromethane, methanol, and oil to be combusted and operate the plane’s propeller. The many components of the RC plane, including the fuel tank, carburetor, and glow plug, work together in a complex yet fascinating design that requires constant attention and maintenance. They come in a range of sizes, from small models to larger ones with wingspans of several feet. These planes are also incredibly versatile and can perform aerobatic maneuvers, fly at high speeds, and deliver a unique and superb flight experience. However, nitro powered RC planes do require more skill and technical knowledge to operate and maintain than other models. In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of nitro powered RC planes, discussing how they work, their advantages and disadvantages, and everything else you need to know before getting started with your own.

How do Nitro Powered RC Planes Work?

Nitro powered RC planes work through the use of a small two-stroke engine that powers a propeller. Below are the steps involved in the process:

  • The internal combustion engine is powered by a fuel mixture of nitromethane, methanol, and oil.
  • The engine’s glow plug ignites the compressed fuel, which leads to an explosion.
  • The energy from the explosion forces the piston down, which rotates the engine’s crankshaft.
  • The crankshaft rotates the propeller, which propels the plane forward.
  • These simple yet intricate engines require regular maintenance, which can range from cleaning the carburetor to replacing the glow plug.

Maintaining a nitro powered RC plane requires attention to detail and the right tools and equipment. Fuel, glow plugs, and other parts must be replaced regularly to ensure the engine operates smoothly and correctly. Models such as the HPI Racing Trophy 4.6 and the Traxxas Revo 3.3 Nitro are popular among hobbyists and provide a range of performance and customization options. Online retailers such as Horizon Hobby and Tower Hobbies offer a wide selection of nitro powered RC planes and a range of replacement parts, accessories, and tools.

Can nitro and gas be used to power RC planes?

Yes, RC airplanes can use lower nitro blends of 5%-10% nitro or regular gasoline mixed with motor oil or diesel fuel. However, the type of fuel to be used depends on the type of engine in the RC airplane. Jet-turbine engines use propane or kerosene.

Advantages of Nitro Powered RC Planes

Nitro powered RC planes come with a range of advantages over other types of model airplanes. Below are some of the benefits of nitro powered RC planes:

  • Excellent performance, speed, and acceleration compared to other model planes.
  • Longer run time than electric model planes for extended fun and playtime.
  • Nitro-fueled engines produce a unique sound and smell which adds to the realism and excitement of flying.
  • Nitro engines are capable of powering planes that are larger and more complex than electric models.
  • Simple two-stroke engines are relatively easy to maintain and service, which allows hobbyists to perform repairs and tune-ups on their own.

Nitro powered RC planes have been around since the early 70s when enthusiasts started experimenting with nitromethane fuel. Since then, designers and manufacturers have spent decades refining the technology, creating high-performance engines and planes that offer excellent performance and reliability. According to RC Groups, nitro RC planes have a distinct advantage when it comes to power loading, as their engines produce more power per cubic inch than their electric counterparts.

When it comes to purchasing a nitro powered RC plane, hobbyists can choose from various types, sizes, and models. The table below lists some popular nitro powered RC planes and their average prices:

Plane Model Price Range
HPI Racing Trophy 4.6 $300 – $400
Dynam AT-6 Texan $250 – $300
Traxxas Revo Nitro 3.3 $450 – $550

Online retailers such as Amazon and Tower Hobbies offer a wide selection of nitro powered RC planes and a range of replacement parts, accessories, and tools.

What are the advantages of RC planes?

RC planes have a few advantages, mostly in the realm of recreational flying and beginner level aero flying. One major plus point is that building them can promote creativity and practical skills, especially if done at home. Additionally, RC planes tend to be more affordable than drones. If you’re interested in RC planes, you can visit websites like Hobbyzone or Horizon Hobby for products and information.


Nitro powered RC planes are a compelling option for hobbyists and enthusiasts who are looking for high-performance model airplanes. These planes are an excellent choice for those who prefer the sound and smell of a nitro engine and are willing to invest in the additional cost and maintenance requirements. Nitro planes can be a real challenge to fly, but given time and practice, they offer an immersive and exciting hobby experience.

If you are looking to buy your first nitro powered RC plane, we recommend doing your research and starting with an entry-level model to familiarize yourself with the technology and flying mechanics. As you progress, you can invest in more advanced models and accessories to upgrade your experience.

In summary, nitro powered RC planes are a great choice for those who are looking for something that is more challenging and engaging than electric model planes. These planes come with a range of benefits, including excellent performance, sound, and realism, which make them an exciting hobby to pursue. So why not take the plunge and give nitro powered RC planes a chance? You might just discover a new passion.