Buying parts for any radio control device on eBay is a question of having a good understanding of how the whole set up works in the first place. It is also important to try and buy the best quality, affordable as skimping on crucial components is a false economy.
The Main RC Aeroplane Elements
Here the subject concerns hobby aircraft and not the military drones or spy planes which can also be classified as radio controlled. The elements of the radio control aircraft are common throughout the price range and all the different types of planes available. They are:
1. The Plane
There is a huge variety of planes on offer some costing many thousands of pounds which are half scale replicas down to balsa models on a very small scale which are much more affordable.
2. The Radio Transmitter
This is carried by the operator and is the central control system that orientates the aircraft and manages its speed and altitude. The technical complexity of transmitters depends upon the scale and intricacy of the model.
The various parts for each component really fall into two categories:
This is any working part of the kit from batteries, flap hinges and aerials to struts, braces, engine parts and cock pit glass.
This concerns anything that is used to enhance the appearance of the aircraft model and includes paint and transfers, roundels and even streamers. Basically this covers other accessories that really add to the enjoyment of the kit.
What to Look Out For
With working parts the most important consideration is that they fit correctly and are compatible with the planes set up. Fitting the right batteries, using the right fuel and making sure all fuel pipes and electrics are well connected and clean is the first step.
When you are selecting parts,, try to buy the best available. This may mean spending more but the investment will be worthwhile. Look out for trusted and well established brands. For batteries some of the better brands include Zippy and Turnigy as well as some of the more broadly known brands like Duracell. The specialist brands for parts include Durafly, which is an international specialist covering parts for all types and levels of models.
Durafly provide parts from wing sets, fuselage replacements and booms down to specific parts such as motor mounts, spinners, propellers, tail wheel assemblies, cowls, motor shafts and engine parts. There is a huge range of other important items such as flight stabilisers, turbine components, nuts and bolts, night flying accessories and horn, hinge and clevis.
When selecting the more aesthetic applications for the model, Durafly has a huge range of transfers and decals, covering film, imitation pilots and plane suits.
There are a number of different types of radio controlled models and they generally fall into five categories. These categories can be split into gliders, planes and helicopters.
- Scale Models
- Beginner/Starter Kits
- Sport/ Acrobatic
The parts and accessories that really matter here are to do with the look and feel of the plane. This hobby revolves around recreating the original aircraft but on a much smaller scale. Take care in understanding the right markings and decals of the aircraft in its original state before investing.
Beginner /Starter Kits
The market here is very broad and care must be taken in order to buy a model that is simple but reliable. A cheap starter kit that doesn’t really work too well is a waste of money. Spend a little more on a good brand and the overall experience will always be better.
The simple rule here is to buy good quality, robust planes. The sport and acrobatic fliers really do put their planes through their paces so it is important that the kit is strong.
Durafly has a wide range of different planes but Extra, Pistol, Sonic and GeeBee are also worth considering. For the traditionalist the Retro series offers some planes that are scale models of more famous names from the past.
Probably the most common and popular form of model aircraft flying the range of Parkfly products and accessories is extensive.
Generally smaller and always battery powered the indoor ranges tend to be a little cheaper and have slightly less power.
A crucial element of the model package, the transmitter is the ‘flight control box’. It is what links the flier with the aircraft and is effectively the pilot of the aircraft. The transmitter communicates with the plane via a receiver, which in turn allows the controller to fly the aircraft with joysticks on the transmitter panel.
Buying parts for the transmitter is generally fairly straightforward as not much should go wrong with them. Damage to the kit is generally on the aircraft when it crashes (particularly nosedives). Unless the transmitter is dropped or badly stored the only element that can let the user down is the battery set. Battery technology has been the key to the radio control flying hobby really exploding over the last few years. The battery is now so much lighter, powerful and more efficient than it used to be. This makes the hobby a lot more satisfactory, there is less damage to planes and the price of flying a radio control plane has reduced enormously.
What’s out there?
The radio control aircraft enthusiast can choose from all kinds of different types of aircraft but generally they fall into three main categories:
Good for beginners, gliders do not require much propulsion, are very light and use the natural thermals in the air to fly.
They can be very cheap and just be made from balsa wood through to more complex and larger carbon fibre, plastic or aluminium models.
Here the range is very broad and as explained above cover various different types of flying and interests. The Scale aircraft are perfect small replicas of modern or historical aircraft. The standard models generally fly with electric or small internal combustion engines. There are jet engine models but these are by far the most expensive on the market.
As with planes these can be scale models of historic machines but the broadest range is in the battery powered in door models, which are great starting kits for kids. The complexities of rotors and create a challenge to flying these more advanced models; they tend to be flown by more experienced enthusiasts. Helicopters are at the most expensive end of the scale. Parts are easy to find but are expensive.
Overall the radio control plane enthusiast would do well to consult the many sellers on eBay on the subject of parts particularly when considering an upgrade of a model. There are always experts out there who have had a range of positive and negative experiences, which will all serve as useful information.
There is as much to be gained by watching others flying their aircraft and talking to them as any other method. In general, buy the best that is affordable and do not buy really cheap parts.. A part that fails and crashes the aircraft badly is much the most expensive investment.
BuyingParts for Your Radio Control Aeroplane on eBay
Use the Radio Controlled Aeroplane Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by brand, model and condition (new or used).
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