FLY-RC Magazine Building for Beginners – Part 1

Words by Scott Copeland

For those new to the RC airplanes, all I can say is that “You’ve got it easy!” At no other time in the history of radio control aircraft has “the fruit” hung so low. The ARF and ready-to-fly market is enormous with offerings that range from micro-size indoor planes to giant-scale monsters. The cost of radio gear is extremely reasonable and the reliability of 2.4GHz has made radio interference a thing of the past. Not to sound like a grumpy old man, but back in my day, you had to earn your RC wings. When I got started 30 years ago, one not only had to deal with unreliable and heavy radio gear, but you also had to BUILD your creation from scratch! It was always a tremendous leap of faith to subject your new model to the RC fates and it was an accomplishment indeed if your project survived to fly again. If by chance your new creation suffered a mishap, you also had to know how to repair it rather than just order a new part online.

Left: The plans for this ACE P-51 Mustang don’t show the top and bottom sheeting of the wing in order to clarify the structure beneath. Also note the fiberglass reinforcement tape represented by the crosshatch pattern. Right: The rudder outline of the 1/4-scale Concept Models Fleet biplane is made of laminated balsa strips. This is how we will make many of the surface outlines on our VSP as well.