Remote Control Planes: A Guide to Building, Flying, and STEM Education

Remote Control Planes: A Guide to Building, Flying, and STEM Education

Remote control planes, also known as radio-controlled planes or model aircraft, are miniature airplanes that are controlled by a handheld remote control. They’ve been around for over a century, with the earliest models dating back to the early 1900s. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that remote control planes really began to grow in popularity among hobbyists. Today, remote control planes are more popular than ever, with enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels enjoying the thrill of flight from an entirely new perspective. Whether you’re interested in building your own plane, participating in competitions, or simply exploring the skies for fun, there’s never been a better time to get started with remote control planes.

Types of Remote Control Planes

There are several types of remote control planes, each with its own unique characteristics and capabilities. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Gliders: These planes are designed to glide through the air without the need for a motor or engine. They are typically lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them an ideal choice for beginners or younger pilots.
  • Trainers: Trainers are designed to help pilots learn the basics of flying remote control planes. They are typically more stable and forgiving than other types of planes, which makes them a good choice for novice pilots who are still learning the ins and outs of remote control flight.
  • Sport Planes: Sport planes are designed for more advanced pilots who want a more nimble and responsive plane. They can perform complex maneuvers and fly at higher speeds than other types of planes, making them an ideal choice for pilots who want a more challenging flying experience.
  • Scale Models: Scale models are replicas of real-life airplanes, designed to look and fly just like their full-size counterparts. They are often built by experienced pilots who are passionate about recreating the look and feel of classic planes or modern aviation marvels.

When it comes to choosing a remote control plane, there are many factors to consider, such as size, weight, power source, and maneuverability. Some popular brands and products in the remote control plane market include:

Brand Product Description
HobbyZone Carbon Cub S+ 1.3m RTF A versatile, easy-to-fly plane that features advanced stability and safety features for novice pilots
Blade Inductrix FPV HD A compact, indoor-friendly plane that comes equipped with a high-definition camera for first-person view flying
E-flite Opterra 2m Wing BNF Basic A sleek, efficient plane with a folding propeller and durable foam construction for extended flights and smooth gliding

What is the best RC plane for beginners?

If you are a beginner searching for the best RC plane, there are some excellent options you can choose from. Among them, the E-flite RC Airplane Turbo Timber 1.5m BNF is considered the best one. Other notable options include the EFL Valiant 1.3M BNF Basic, E-flite UMX Turbo Timber BNF Basic, VOLANTEXRC Sport Cub 500 Parkflyer, and VOLANTEXRC 4-CH RC Airplane P51 Mustang. These planes are designed to provide maximum flying stability, durability, and control for beginners.

Building and Flying Remote Control Planes

Building and flying remote control planes can be a rewarding hobby that allows pilots to express their creativity, test their skills, and connect with fellow enthusiasts. Here are some tips and considerations to keep in mind when building and flying remote control planes:

  • Choose the right materials: When building a remote control plane, it’s important to choose materials that are lightweight, durable, and easy to work with. Balsa wood and foam are popular choices for plane construction, while carbon fiber and fiberglass can add strength and rigidity to key components like wings and fuselages.
  • Follow safety protocols: When flying remote control planes, it’s important to follow basic safety protocols to ensure that you and others are not put in harm’s way. Always fly in designated areas away from people and property, and follow local regulations around noise and airspace restrictions.
  • Practice your skills: Flying remote control planes takes practice, so be patient and don’t feel discouraged if your first few attempts don’t go as planned. Start with simple flights and progress to more complex maneuvers as you gain confidence and experience.

Remote control planes can be used in a variety of settings, from casual backyard flying to high-stakes competitions. Some interesting facts about remote control planes include:

  • The world record for the largest remote control plane was set in 2012 with a model of the Antonov An-225 Mriya, which had a wingspan of over 28 feet!
  • Remote control planes have been used for scientific research, such as studying the behavior of birds in flight and testing aerodynamic principles in wind tunnels.
  • The Academy of Model Aeronautics is the largest governing body for remote control planes in the United States, with over 165,000 members and nearly 2,500 clubs nationwide.

For those interested in building and flying remote control planes, there are many resources available online and in-person, including:

  • RC Groups: An online forum with over 1.5 million members, offering information, advice, and community support around all aspects of remote control planes.
  • National Model Aviation Museum: A physical museum located in Muncie, Indiana, showcasing the history and evolution of model aviation, including remote control planes.
  • AMA Flight School: An online training program developed by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, offering educational courses and resources for all levels of remote control pilots.

Can you build your own RC plane?

Yes, you can build your own RC plane! All you need are the main components of a plane: the body (fuselage), wings, rudder (or ailerons/elevator), wheels, motor, and radio transmitter. Building RC airplanes has become easier recently because of less expensive radio equipment and more efficient batteries and motors. For more guidance, you can refer to online resources and websites such as Flite Test or Hobbyking that offer a wide range of DIY RC plane kits and parts.

Remote control planes can be used as a fun and engaging tool in STEM education, allowing students to explore and learn about aerodynamics, physics, and engineering principles. Here are some examples of how remote control planes can be incorporated into the classroom:

  • Design challenges: Students can be tasked with designing and building their own remote control planes using specified criteria, such as a maximum weight limit or specific wing shape. This can help students develop problem-solving skills and gain practical experience with engineering concepts.
  • Data collection and analysis: Students can use sensors and other technology to collect data about their remote control planes in flight, such as altitude, speed, and temperature. They can then analyze this data and use it to better understand the principles of aerodynamics and physics that govern flight.
  • Programming and automation: Students can learn about programming and automation by using software and hardware tools to create and control remote control planes. This can help students understand the basics of computer science and robotics while also honing their airplane design and flight skills.

There are several websites and products available for educators interested in incorporating remote control planes into their STEM curriculum. Here are a few examples:

Website/Product Description
STEMfinity An online retailer specializing in STEM education materials, including remote control planes, kits, and instructional resources.
Flite Test An online community and resource center focused on remote control planes and model aviation, offering video tutorials, DIY guides, and other educational materials.
Blockly for MBOT A graphical programming environment designed to teach students the basics of coding and robotics, with a focus on remote control planes and other vehicles.

By incorporating remote control planes into STEM education, students can gain valuable skills and knowledge while having fun and engaging in a hands-on learning experience.

What are the active learning methods in stem?

Active learning methods in STEM involve students engaging with educational materials through action-based methods such as group work, hands-on projects, and problem-solving activities. This allows students to actively apply the concepts they have learned and to develop transferable skills. Examples of active learning methods in STEM include project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, peer-to-peer learning, and flipped classrooms. By actively engaging with the material, students are more likely to retain information and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.


In conclusion, remote control planes offer a fun and exciting hobby that has gained popularity among enthusiasts around the world. Not only do they provide hours of entertainment, but they can also be a valuable tool for STEM education, allowing students to learn and apply principles of physics, engineering, and aerodynamics in a real-world context. Whether you’re a seasoned model aircraft hobbyist or a teacher looking for a unique way to engage your students, remote control planes are worth exploring. With the wide range of options available today, from beginner-friendly setups to custom-built models, there’s something for everyone in the world of remote control planes.

Remember to always prioritize safety when flying, and to follow any regulations or guidelines in your area. With proper care and attention, remote control planes can provide a fulfilling and rewarding experience for years to come. Whether you’re interested in building, flying, or teaching with remote control planes, the possibilities are endless – so why not get started today?