The term “remote-controlled” aircraft implies that we need some form of electronic equipment to control the model.
This is commonly called a radio or informally known as “tranny.” The transmitter can be a simple device costing around $20 or a sophisticated piece of equipment that can set you back thousands of dollars. Generally said, a transmitter around or just under $100 will do the job. For this price you will get a computer radio with several channels – more on this later.
All modern transmitters are on the 2.4 GHz frequency band and the electronics automatically choose a particular frequency within this band. For this reason, we don’t have to worry about interfering with someone else. In other words, several models can be in the air at the same time.
However, you have to make one decision: should you use Mode 1 or Mode 2.
What is the difference?
Mode 1 has the Throttle and Aileron on the right stick. The Elevator and Rudder are on the left stick.
Mode 2 has the Aileron and Elevator, the two main controls, on the right stick. The Throttle and Rudder are on the left stick.
In Australia and in our club, we mostly use Mode 1. This is also recommended if you do require some initial training.
The signal sent by the transmitter to the receiver is encoded, however, there are several methods to do this. It is, therefore, important to choose a receiver compatible with the transmitter. Usually there is not much choice for the beginner, as most transmitters comes with the correct receiver.
The servo is used to move the control surface of the model aircraft. Signals coming from the receiver are translated into position data and a small electric motor moves the servo arm, via nylon or metal gears, into the correct position.
Models with an Internal Combustion Engine
More on the engine choice in another article, but briefly, an internal combustion engine is a small petrol engine, similar to a lawnmower engine.
Models of this type require a battery to supply power to the receiver and the servos
Electric Motor Powered Models
This type of model also requires a battery to supply power to the receiver and the servos. However, these batteries also drive the electric motor with the help of an electronic speed controller.
Electronic Speed Controller
In simple terms, the electronic speed controller has the same function as the throttle in a car.