Electric RC Airplanes are now available in all types and sizes. Here we describe many of the different models available and also help you in selecting the components required for a successful model.
Electric RC airplanes have come a long way and are now accepted as an integral part of the hobby. I believe it is now possible to fly any type of RC airplane, with electric power. From the smallest indoor model to the largest scale or 3D aerobatic airplane, it is definitely possible! Please bear in mind that the very smallest and the very biggest will not be inexpensive!
However, in the most popular sizes of airplanes, electric power is definitely here to stay and some modelers will fly nothing else!
The advantages are many and I list a few of them here-
Let us take a look at the many types of electrics that are available-
If you are a scale airplane enthusiast and would like to fly in the winter, then this could be for you!
The photo shows the E-Flite Nieuport 17 250 ARF flying in a gym. These little models can be a lot of fun!
Many types are available and construction is usually from foam sheet.
For more details on scale indoor RC planes, including photos and videos, visit this page.
Many Giant Scale, 3D Aerobatic pilots keep there reflexes sharp, during the winter months, by flying indoors. These types of electric RC planes can also to flown outdoors, as long as the wind is low!
The photo shows a typical example of this kind of indoor RC airplane.
These models are generally of all foam construction and can be assembled very quickly. Wing spans are around 30-35" and they can weigh less than 6 ozs.
Visit this page, Indoor RC Airplanes, for more information.
A little larger and heavier model than the indoor type. As it's name implies, these electric RC airplanes can be flown in a park or sports field. The airplanes are small enough to carry in your car, completely assembled and ready to fly. Many modelers do just that and fly whenever the opportunity presents itself!
The photo shows the Great Planes Sopwith Camel. This model as well as other park flyers are explained on this page.
This class of model are generally easy flying and are usually the next model to buy, after you have mastered the beginner RC airplane.
These models are good transition flyers. If you have learnt the basics and wish to progress to your first low winger, then these are the models to consider.
Take a look at this page for full details of RC sport parkflyers.
Now you can fly 3D maneuvers in your local park! These electric RC airplanes can be built-up or constructed of foam. As with all 3d capable models, they are super lightweight and high powered.
The Parkzone StrykerF-27Q is very fast (80+MPH) and capable of some extreme RC aerobatics. This is definitely NOT a beginner RC plane! Fast reflexes are definitely required here.
Visit this page for more information.
Parkzone models are usually of all foam construction and many come complete with radio and are truly ready to fly. With many of these electric RC airplanes it is just a case of attaching the wing, charge the batteries and go fly!
The Parkzone range of models is quite large, with beginner airplanes, Warbirds and many scale models.
Electric ducted fans are also available.
All are complete and just need the batteries charged to be ready to fly!
I am defining "mid-size" as the next step up from park flyers. This size of model should be flown at the club field. Weight can be up to 6.5 lbs and motor size could be a Power 25 or Power 32.
The photo at left shows the E-Flite DHC-2 De Havilland Beaver. This is a good example of this class of model.
As well as scale there is a wide range of sport and 3D aerobatic electric rc planes, in this size range.
To learn more regarding mid size electric RC planes, and details of my experience building and flying the De Havilland Beaver, visit this page.
The cost of electrics for the larger electric RC airplanes has now come down to reasonable levels. It is practical to consider a 60-90 size airplane for electric power.
The photo at left shows the Hanger 9 P-51D Blue Nose 60 ARF.
With a wing span of 65" and a weight of 9.5 to 11 lbs, this model is no light weight and is complete with flaps and retracts.
Models of this size generally feature power set-ups of 1KW or more.
For more information and more examples of RC electric planes (Large), visit this page.
The field of micro RC airplanes is a fascinating one that grows every week with more exciting models available.
Scale RC planes as well as 3D aerobats are all available,
Take a look on this page for more details.
The photo at shows the E-flite Power 32 Brushless Outrunner Motor. This is typical of a modern electric RC motor.
Brushless motors have almost completely replaced brushed motors. Their superior power and efficiency make them the obvious choice for powering your latest electric RC airplane.
Please note that E-flite use the approximate equivalent glow engine capacity to number their motors. Thus the "32" is approximately equal to a 0.32 cu.in. glow engine.
For more information on RC electric motors, including how to select the correct size for your project, visit this page.
This photo is of the E-flite 60 amp Brushless ESC (Electronic Speed Control.)
These units are required to control brushless RC motors in today's electric RC airplanes.
For more details on electronic speed controls and how to select the unit for your project, visit this page.
The lithium polymer (Li-Po) battery is the latest technology to be offered for use in electric RC airplanes. They offer the best Power to Weight ratio and continue to improve in efficiency.
The photo shows the E-flite Li-Po battery. They are available in many sizes and configurations.
For more details on lithium polymer batteries, visit this web page
How to select RC Battery Chargers for every application. The ideal RC charger for NiCd, Liipo, NiMH and even Pb batteries!.
For more details on the types of RC battery chargers available-visit this page.