If you think an RC airplane is the best thing since sliced bread, then you’ll love flying one😄.
Like any other hobby you pick up, flying an RC airplane requires practice and patience. But in the end, nothing beats the satisfaction of mastering controls and performing stunts with it.
So, where can you learn these cool flying tips and tricks? Well, here, in this article!
You’ll find everything you need on how to fly an RC airplane and performing aerobatics with it. So, when you’re done reading, you can take your aircraft out and show-off all the new things you’ve learned.
Let’s get right into it!
Learning the controls of an RC plane
We know you can’t wait to start flying your RC plane. But you won’t be able to take-off, let alone stay in the air if you don’t know the controls.
Most RC planes have either three or four channels, and this determines the controls you’ll find in it. If you have a 4-channel plane, then you’ll find the following:
For a 3-channel plane, you’ll get either aileron or rudder controls.
- Throttle: Your RCs’ throttle controls the speed of its propellers. In some RC airplanes, the motor power (as it is referred to in electric planes) is also used to control the rate of descent or climb.
- Elevators: There are two elevators hinged at either side of your RC plane’s tail. They control the altitude. So, if you want to move the plane’s nose up to the sun😗, then all you have to do is deflect the elevators upward.
- Ailerons: The ailerons are attached to the wings of an RC plane. They control the roll (bend to the left or right) of the plane. These controls come in handy when you want to perform stunts. So, tough luck if your 3-channel plane has a rudder instead😞.
- Rudder: The rudder is on the fin of your plane. It is a vertical stabilizer that controls the direction of the plane without bending it. Don’t muddle it up with ailerons.
The elevator and aileron controls are on the right stick of your transmitter, while the rudder and throttle are on the left stick.
The step-by-step process of flying an RC plane
It’s time for the fun part 💃! But first, make sure you check the controls we’ve listed above. You won’t want to be scrambling to master them while in the air.
Another thing to note is the orientation of the plane. When your RC is heading towards you, left controls makes it go to the right and vice versa.
How to take off
Getting your RC plane into the air is pretty easy, and you only need two controls: the throttle and elevator.
First, advance the throttle for a while by moving the left stick up. Let the plane pick up some speed on the ground. Then after a few seconds, use the elevator to get the plane up. Release the elevator once it gets into the air, and that’s it! Isn’t that like ABC?
Practice taking off a couple of times, and you’ll see how fun it is. However, we must warn you not to use too much of the elevator at once. Your RC plane will crash.
How to make turns and fly on a level plane in the air
So, you just got your plane in the air, and you love every bit of it. But don’t get carried away just yet.
For this step, you’ll only need to use the right stick (elevator and aileron controls) on your 4-channel RC plane. Make a left turn by moving the right stick to the left. This makes the left aileron go up, while the right one stays down.
Then, return the right stick before completing the circle to stabilize your aircraft. Finally, apply just a little of the elevator to make the nose of your RC plane stay up.
If your RC doesn’t have aileron controls, then you’ll have to make do with the rudder to turn. Apply a little of the left rudder control to make the plane tilt along the vertical axis. Then, stabilize the plane by applying the elevator from the right stick.
How to make figure 8 and 9
The next bit is just as easy as every other thing we’ve talked about. However, if you’ve not mastered the previous steps, then you won’t be able to make figures in the air.
If you’ve noticed, the steps we’ve talked about are supposed to be done on the horizontal plane. So, the figures you’ll be tracing out at this stage will follow suit. We think it’s best you stick to this plane as a beginner if you don’t want your RC plane to nose-dive like a paper kite😅.
Here’s how to make figure 8s:
- Make a left turn: Do this with your ailerons and elevator. That’s pretty easy now, right?
- Move along the diagonals: Again, you’ll need your right stick to get this done. Return the control stick when the plane is at 45 degrees from the turning point.
- Make a right turn: You’ll need the same controls to get this done. However, this time, apply the right aileron by moving the right stick to the right and then stabilize your aircraft with a little elevator.
- Move along the diagonal: Round it off, by moving along the diagonal to your starting point.
For figure 9, first, move in a straight line along the horizontal plane. Then turn with your right stick to the left. Don’t return the stick until you’ve made a complete circle.
How to land your RC plane
Unless you want to keep your RC in the air until it drops like a meteorite💥 (we are sure you don’t want that), you have to master the proper way to land.
This step is often the most ignored when learning how to fly an RC airplane. However, if you don’t get it right, you’ll have to buy a new one from all the crash landing you’d have done to your old one. So, here’s the proper way to get it done:
- Reduce your altitude: No airplane moves from a high altitude straight to the ground, unless they’re crash-landing. So, start by moving the right stick downwards to reduce the elevator gradually.
You’ll want to approach the runway at an angle of about 10 to 20 degrees. But if you think you’re going uncontrollably, then stay in the air and start from the top.
- Reduce the throttle: Next, start reducing the throttle once you’re getting close to the ground by moving your left stick downwards.
- Make the touchdown: Your RC plane should still be moving even when it’s on the ground. That’ll make it easy to steer it back to you.
Whew! Wasn’t that fun😀?
Aerobatics: Fun stunts to try out
If you’re feeling like a pro and you want to try out some skills, then we have a little something for you. Here are some stunts and their controls that you can try once you’ve mastered the basics.
Picture how you roll from side to side on your bed after a long day🛏. That’s pretty much the first stunt we have for you, except you’ll do the roll in the air with your RC plane.
To get this maneuver, first move on a straight line. Then use the right stick to apply the right or left aileron. Finally, release the stick and apply the elevator to get your RC plane stable again.
This maneuver is pretty much like the first. However, this time, you need to stall the wing before doing the roll. So, how do you stall a wing🤔? Well, use the rudder! It also works to flip it over quickly.
Apply the rudder using the left stick until you see one of the wings in front of the other. Then, use your right stick to apply the aileron in the same direction. It’s that simple.
The next cool stunt to try is the tailslide. It involves flying your airplane in the vertical plane. So, you can tell that this is a pro flyer move.
To nail the tail slide, first, pull your plane to a straight vertical position using your throttle and elevator. Then, increase the elevator until the plane tips backward a bit. Next, apply and release the down-elevator to make it flip over the vertical axis.
We know what you’re thinking. Aren’t we doing everything in 3D😑? Well, yep. But this maneuver is just a name for one of the most extreme stunts you can try with your RC plane. One of its popular skills is hovering. For this, you have to put your aircraft in the vertical plane and suspend it in the air.
Flying the N
Another unique move you can try when flying is to trace out the N. You have to move the plane horizontally. Then, apply the elevator and throttle to take it up. Next, reduce the elevator when flying at about 45 degrees and then take it up to vertically again. Trust us, you’ll feel good if you can nail this move.
Tips and Tricks for flying RC planes
- If you don’t understand your RC’s orientation, then here’s a tip for you. Turn your body to its direction when it passes you.
For example, if your RC zoomed past and you can’t determine the direction it should go to make the spin, then tilt your body frame towards the direction it passed. It’ll become much easier that way.
- Use small controls. Don’t fiddle with the joystick.
- Try stunts when you’re sure you can take off, stay in the air and land.
- Don’t try any skill, if you sense it won’t end well. There’s no shame in getting things wrong at the start. In fact, you’ll likely crash your plane more times than you expect. But always try to prevent it by not doing too much at the start.
- Make sure your aircraft is in good condition. Not checking all the parts of your RC is a recipe for disaster😫.
- When flying in strong winds, make sure you take off as quickly as possible. Also, don’t apply the elevator control too much or try stunts.
- Another tip for flying in the wind is to always keep your hands on the sticks. The wind can take your aircraft with it, so you have to be prepared to save the day.
- Make sure you analyze your flying skills to identify the areas you’ve figured out and those you need to work on.
Where can you fly RC planes?
You can fly your RC plane in almost every public place like parks and open fields. But busy areas, private properties, and government buildings are off-limit.
What type of RC plane should you use for my first flight?
We know we’ve talked a great deal about stunts and maneuvers. So, you might be thinking of getting an aerobatic plane. However, trainers are the perfect fit for first-timers.
How much wind is too much for RC flights?
There’s no stone-written rule to when you can fly your RC plane. However, we think flying when the wind is moving at 10mph or more is a bad idea.
Can you get into a competition with other people?
Sure! There are many competitions and clubs for RC enthusiasts. You just have to find one that’s in your area.
Flying an RC plane is a cool hobby to pick up. So, we’re sure you can’t wait to start practicing the skills we’ve highlighted in this article. Before you rush out with your RC plane, make sure it’s in perfect condition.
Don’t kick yourself if you aren’t getting some skills. Instead, keep on practicing.
Break a leg 🤞!