RC Airplane Design

Parts of RC Airplane


The parts of the RC Airplane include,

Fuselage is the main structural element of the RC Airplane or the body of the RC Airplane. The Wing, Horizontal and Vertical Tail are connected to the fuselage. The Engine is also mounted to the fuselage. The fuselage is made up of bulk-heads. The bulk-heads are structural members which give strength and rigidity to the fuselage, support load and weight of the RC Airplane. The Engine bulk-head is made relatively stronger as compared to other bulk-heads of RC Airplane fuselage because it carriers the load of the engine as well as encounters vibrations during engine operation so it must be strong to resist all the loads. The nose gear and main landing gear are also connected to the fuselage. The fuselage also houses all the electronic components necessary for RC Airplane flight including ESC (electronic speed controller) in case of electric RC Airplane, Receiver, Servos, Batteries and fuel tank in case of gas powered RC Airplane. External or internal payloads are also carried inside the fuselage. The fuselage can be used to connect an external camera for example or to carry some payload inside the RC Airplane.

Wings are the main lifting body of the RC Airplane providing the lift necessary for RC Airplane flight. The wing provides lift because of its aerodynamic shape which creates a pressure differential causing lift. If a cross-section of the wing is cut, a shape or profile is visible which is called an airfoil. Airfoil shape is the key to the wings ability to provide lift and is airfoil selection and design is an important criterion in the design of RC Airplanes. The front most edge of the wing is known as leading edge and the aft most edge of the wing is known as the trailing edge. There are typically three kinds of airfoils which are used on RC Airplanes namely, symmetrical airfoils, semi-symmetrical airfoils and heavily cambered airfoils. On the wing are mounted the flaps and ailerons.

Engine is the main power-plant of RC Airplane. The power-plant of RC Airplanes can be electric motor, internal combustion gas engines and jet engines. The engine is mounted on the RC Airplanes and provides thrust to the RC Airplanes. Thrust is the forward force necessary for flight. The engines run a propeller.

Engine Cowl
Engine Cowl is the external covering made of fiberglass or plastic material to protect the engine from debris from the ground during takeoff and landing. The engine also makes the RC Airplane more aerodynamically clean.

The propeller is basically a wing section made of airfoil sections just like a wing but it is twisted along the span. The propeller is mounted to the engine in propeller driven RC airplanes. Jet engine RC Airplanes don’t have a propeller and generates thrust by means of the jet engine.

Horizontal Tail
The horizontal tail or the horizontal stabilizer provides pitch control to the RC Airplane. Elevator is mounted on the horizontal stabilizer or horizontal tail of RC Airplanes. Normally, the Horizontal tail is set at a -1 degree angle of attack (AOA) relative to the wing.

Horizontal and Vertical tail are collectively known as the empennage of RC Airplanes.

Vertical Tail
The Vertical tail or the vertical stabilizer provides the yaw control to the RC Airplanes. Rudder is mounted to the vertical tail or vertical stabilizer of the RC Airplanes.

A spinner is used to house the central hub of the propeller and makes the RC Airplane more aerodynamically efficient.

Nose Gear
Nose gear is a member of the landing gear set on a typical conventional RC Airplane configuration. The nose gear is used to steer the RC Airplane nose to move RC Airplane right or left when on the ground. The servo which connects the nose gear is also connected to the rudder. So, the direction in which the rudder moves the nose gear also follows that direction. During takeoff the nose gear is used to steer the RC Airplane so that RC Airplane is centered to the runway. Without a steerable nose gear it is not possible to maneuver/ move on the ground without manually moving it. With a steerable nose gear the RC Airplane can be moved on the ground.

Main Gear or Landing Gear
The main gear or landing gear are the main landing wheels of the RC Airplanes which takes the entire RC Airplane. Main gear have to be strong and yet flexible enough to provide safe takeoff and landing to RC Airplane. A rigid inflexible landing gear can damage the RC Airplane structure as the entire weight / reaction force would be carried by the fuselage. So, in order to avoid this landing gears are designed to be strong yet flexible enough so they bend slightly during landing or takeoff to disperse the load and provides safe and smooth landing. Landing gear or Main gears consist of a pair of wheels which are generally larger in diameter as compared to the nose gear wheel. The landing gear wheels are not steerable.