How to Fly a Radio Control Aeroplane

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How to Fly a Radio Control Aeroplane

Radio controlled aeroplanes are small, often to-scale aircraft which are controlled by a user on the ground.

They are an excellent alternative to other outdoor activities and can be a rewarding hobby for children and adults alike. Models can be bought ready-made or as a build-it-yourself kit in which can provide additional challenges and entertainment.

Perfect for large open spaces, radio-controlled aeroplanes achieve flight in a similar way as full size aircraft using features such as wing movement. Portable transmitters are used to control and guide the aircraft whilst in flight and moving along the ground.

Various different styles are available on eBay and range from detailed replicas to simpler ‘park flyers&’.

Which Types of Radio Controlled Aeroplane are Available?

Radio-controlled aeroplanes can be bought as ready-made models or as a kit in which can be constructed at home.

Ready-to-Fly (RTF)

RTF models of radio-controlled aeroplanes require little or no assembly upon purchase and come in a range of different styles to suit different users’ needs. These are best suited to beginners – with ‘park flyers’ the best suited for newcomers.

Almost-Ready-to-Fly (ARTF)

Radio controlled aeroplanes of the ARTF variety require a small amount of assembly before being ready to take to the sky.

Plug-n-Fly (PNF)

PNF aeroplanes often require more preparation - which can include buying batteries and transmitters separately. PNF aeroplanes are more suited to experience flyers.

Do-it-yourself kits are also available for experienced enthusiasts that wish to build their own plane from scratch.

Transmitter Variations

Aeroplane transmitters can come with different amounts of channels and each one controls the movement of the plane differently.

Two Channels

A two-channel transmitter essentially has two controllable functions, and are best suited for beginners or less-experienced pilots. One channel controls the throttle and altitude whilst the other determines the left and right movement of the model.

Three or Four Channels

Transmitters with three or four channels have additional controllable functions and are designed for more experienced flyers. These additional channels allow for control of rudder, throttle, elevation and - on a four-channel controller - ailerons (for lateral balance).

How to Fly a Radio Controlled Aeroplane

Once decided on the type of aeroplane to purchase, it is important to follow the correct procedure in order to fly the plane correctly.

Step 1

If assembly is required, ensure the aeroplane is constructed correctly according the instructions provided.

Step 2

Ensure batteries are fully charged.

Step 3

Turn on the radio controller and aircraft to enable communication between the two components.

Step 4

Check the transmission range by moving away from the aeroplane (up to approximately 100 feet) and using the transmitter interface. Make sure the antenna is closed and that the aeroplane responds in the correct manner.  If any undesired movements occur (such as shuddering), the transmitter is not within the correct range.

Step 5

Work out the speed and direction of the wind.

Step 6

Check whether any other flyers are attempting to us the same frequency in the near area.

Step 7

There are two types of take-off and it is important to use the appropriate method to ensure no damage to the aeroplane.

Hand launch

Ground take off

The easiest of the two is the hand launch (with some RTF planes, this is the only method).

Ensure the plane is horizontal and hold it at face level.

Use the transmitter and put the throttle on full power.

Firmly throw the aircraft, maintaining the horizontal position.

Keep the throttle pushed to the three quarter mark as the plane makes its ascent.

Ground take offs are possible if the surface is smooth and flat. The aircraft also required wheels.

Position the plane so it takes off in the appropriate direction (into the direction of the wind).

Push throttle to full (if the aeroplane has two channels, the aircraft will leave the ground when it reaches the desired speed. If it has three or four, press the up command to leave the ground at the correct moment).

Step 8

Gauge the sensitivity of the controls by delicately adjusting them. It is important not to press any controls to hard or for too long.

Step 9

Turn the plane left or right by moving the right stick in the appropriate direction, whilst pulling back on it slightly.

Step 10

Explore the airspace by practising more elaborate movements such the ‘figure of eight’ shape.

Step 11

When landing, be sure not to make any turns at low heights. Larger open spaces are ideal for a successful landing.  Allow the plane to glide by reducing the amount of throttle. At approximately 5 feet from ground level, release the throttle completely. To ensure the safest landing, raise the front of the plane slightly before contact with the ground – this allows all wheels to land at the same time.

Radio Control Aeroplane Flying Tips:

Always take off and land in the direction of the wind.

  • Do not attempt to control the plane below the appropriate height. Attempting movements at a lower height means less time to recover from any mistakes or changes in wind strength.
  • Taking off at too steep an angle could result in the aeroplane stalling. Similarly, always try and keep the aircraft level when in flight.
  • If there are other pilots in close proximity, be sure to communicate with them to avoid any collisions or danger.
  • When facing the radio controlled aeroplane, remember that the controls will be reversed.
  • Always be wary of other people in the area when flying a radio controlled aeroplane.
  • Be sure to have a repair kit to hand in the event of any damage.
  • Always read and consult the instruction manual.

What to Consider When Buying a Radio Controlled Aeroplane

Different radio-controlled aeroplanes can often be aimed at different age groups and interests. It is therefore important to consider various factors when deciding what to buy.

Age Different ages have different requirements when it comes to radio-controlled aeroplanes. Younger users, for example, are perhaps more suited to simpler variations. Be sure to check the products age recommendation.

Interests Radio-controlled aeroplanes can be purchased in a variety of different colours and styles and purchasing one that appeals to the user is important to maximise the fun that can be had.

Space Before purchasing a radio-controlled aeroplane, ensure there is enough space in which to use and store it safely.

Price Be sure to shop around to find the best possible price when looking to purchase a radio-controlled aeroplane. If purchasing with eBay, do compare products from different sellers and take into account how much time is left on an auction – a great deal could be just a moment away.

Where to a Buy a Radio Controlled Aeroplane

It can difficult to purchase radio-controlled aeroplanes on the high street and the option to buy may be limited unless it is a particularly specific store. A wider range can be found online, however, giving the buyer access to the whole market and providing them with options that are within budget.

eBay has a large selection of bouncy castles that cover a broad range styles and needs. By typing in “radio controlled aeroplane” or “RTF” into the search tool, a broad range of products will be shown. In order to refine the search, include additional preferences if they are required:

  • Price Range
  • Style
  • Condition (if applicable)
  • Specify additional extras

Buying radio controlled aeroplanes from eBay can be less expensive than buying through brick and mortar stores – and equal in quality. The advantage of buying on eBay is the wide selection and the flexible payment options which make the whole shopping process easier for the customer.

When deciding to go ahead and buy from eBay there are a few tips that will ensure a smooth and safe transaction:

  • Always read the item description carefully and any conditions that come with it.
  • Are the delivery conditions acceptable? If it is a ‘collection only’ listing, make sure it would be possible to travel to collect the item from its location.
  • Be sure to ask the seller a question if there’s any doubts over the product. 
  • Review the seller and their feedback rating in order to ensure that this is the best possible source to purchase the item.

Visit the Buying<Tips page for more information.


Radio controlled aeroplanes are an excellent way to have fun outdoors for hours and are a great opportunity to engage in a new hobby.

Many can include additional features and the broad range of styles mean there is something for all age groups. Different levels of experience are also catered for – with aeroplanes that range from beginner aircraft to large kits with additional functions.

When browsing, take into account this guide and consider the appropriate radio controlled aeroplane and equipment. Decide which type is the most suitable and shop around online to find one at a price that is within a suitable budget. Make sure to read reviews of the product as discovering other people’s first-hand experience is always invaluable.

eBay will generally provide many radio controlled aeroplanes at an affordable rate and if deciding to go down this route, then take the recommended precautions and use PayPal to ensure a safe transaction.

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