Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 08:27 am GMT -7 Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 08:27 am GMT -7Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 08:27 am GMT -7

Are you designing your own model airplane? Here are some quick tips from my first book.




The best airplane designers find elegant solutions to the many challenges of designing a model airplane. It is not an easy problem! But that is what makes it so much fun. Even after spending hours working out a design on paper, I normally end up building multiple prototypes. There are just too many unknowns that don’t become apparent until you actually try and fly your creation.

Let these best practices guide you to success. I originally published this list in my first book, RCadvisor’s Model Airplane Design Made Easy, which quickly became an RC best seller. They are all as true today as they were two years ago when this book first came out.

Don’t let the simplicity of the words fool you! There is a lot of wisdom contained in this short list.

  • Define Your Goals – Keep the design well focused.
  • Mission First – Forget about design purity.
  • Not Too Much Innovation – So you can get the bugs out.
  • Don’t Sweat The Details – Focus first on the overall design.
  • Keep It Simple – Plan to build and throw out a prototype. You will, anyway.
  • Keep It Inexpensive – Because you will crash a lot as you get the bugs out.
  • Keep It Clean – Streamline it or eliminate it.
  • Low Weight – Build to fly, not crash. If in doubt, leave it out.
  • High Aspect Ratio – For efficient wings.
  • Thin Airfoil – About 5% in the smaller models.
  • High Voltage – Better power efficiency.
  • Motor 10% – Use an electric brushless motor that is about 10% of the all–up gross weight.
  • Battery 15% – Similarly for the LiPo battery.
  • Large Propeller – One place where size matters.

Now, go forth and build!

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