Stuck indoors, have to stay 6 feet away? Sick of it? Maybe it’s time to join the throngs of radio-controlled flyer enthusiasts.
“The earliest examples of electronically guided model aircraft were hydrogen-filled model airships of the late 19th century. They were flown as a music hall act around theater auditoriums using a basic form of a spark-emitted radio signal. .
During World War II, the U.S. Army and Navy used radio-controlled planes called Radioplanes as artillery target drones.
Various scale sizes of RC scale aircraft have been built in the decades since modern digital-proportional, miniaturized RC gear came on the market in the 1960s. Everything from indoor-flyable electric powered RC Scale models, to “giant scale” RC Scale models. Scale size ranges can run from 20% to 25%, and upwards to 30 to 50%. Some can replicate some of the actual flight characteristics of the full-scale aircraft they are based on, and continue to be built and flown, in sanctioned competition and for personal pleasure, as part of the RC scale aeromodelling hobby.
Since the 2000s, the hobby has grown steadily in popularity. There are kits to build everything from gliders to jets. Jets can be very expensive and commonly use a microturbine or ducted fan to power them. Most airframes are constructed from fiberglass and carbon fiber. For electric-powered flight models which are usually powered by electric ducted fans, the aircraft may be made of styrofoam. Inside the model, wooden spars reinforce the body to make a rigid airframe. They also have kevlar fuel tanks for the Jet A fuel that they run on. Most micro turbines start with propane, burn for a few seconds before introducing the jet fuel by a solenoid. These aircraft can often reach speeds in excess of 320 km/h (200 mph). They require incredibly quick reflexes and very expensive equipment, so are usually reserved for the expert.
Kits come in types such as ready-to-fly (RTF) where the airplanes come pre-assembled and usually only require wing attachment or another basic assembly. Typically, everything that is needed is provided, including the transmitter, receiver, and battery. RTF airplanes can be up in the air in just a few minutes and have all but eliminated assembly time (at the expense of the model’s configuration options.); Almost ready-to-fly (ARF or ARTF) airplanes require final assembly typically including engine and fuel tank installation (or electric motor, speed controller, and battery), servo and pushrod installation, control surface attachment, landing gear attachment, and sometimes require gluing the left and right wing halves together), Bind-N-Fly (BNF) aircraft are similar to Ready to fly aircraft, except they do not come with a transmitter. Because they do not come with a transmitter, they must be bound to one instead. This is desirable for flyers that already own a transmitter. Like RTF aircraft, Bind-N-Fly models require minimal assembly; and Plug-N-Play (PNP) electric RC airplane has the motor, ESC and servos installed but is missing the transmitter, receiver, and motor battery pack (& charger). In other words, the airplane comes 99% assembled just like an RTF one does, but you need to supply your own transmitter, receiver, and battery pack. Plug-N-Play radio control planes are the perfect answer for aeromodellers who want to buy and fly more than one RTF RC plane but don’t want to have a separate transmitter for each one”.
It’s the perfect hobby for getting outside and staying 6 feet away!
They have F-86, F-101, F-104, and F-4 models too.
The National Model Aviation Museum located in Muncie, Indiana hosts the world’s largest collection of RC aviation history. They display models from every era of RC donated by the RC community around the world.