A Look at Radio Controlled Airplanes

A lot of RC airplane enthusiasts have a dream of seeing the full size replica of their favorite plane flying.  However, it isn’t easy to copy the precise dimensions of the full size version and make it into what you want. Even if you know how to use CAD software to draw and design the airplane, in order to make it stable, you have to also know the aerodynamic principles. That is always the first step for flying any model airplane. Before ever attempting to build and fly your very own model, you need to have your skill set up to at least intermediate. You will need to then chose a trainer full scale type of airplane.

The trainer airplane has built in stability in the design.  The wings are rectangular and have a constant chord. The wings are also located above the fuselage, helping it to have pendulum stability.  Generally, the landing gear is also a tricycle type.  This does not mean that the stability will be the same when the airplane is scaled down, though.  Those sort of airplanes do not fly well at all when you copy the same dimensions on your scaled down model. Like stated before, the aerodynamic designed has to be considered. This is known at the “Scale Effect” on the plane.  You are not able to scale down the viscosity of the air of the air molecules. This will create a different behavior. Many factors, such as the wing are and location, the location of the horizontal and vertical stabilizer, and the design of the airfoil all play a huge role on the stability of the airplane.

scale-rc-airplanes12It is essential to completely redesign the airplane. In order to achieve stability on the miniature dimensions, you have to redesign it based on the Reynolds number as well as the lift and drag coefficients. This is the reason that many of the kits have specifications that are for 30% to 40%.  This number is the percentage copied from the original, full sized airplane. Many times, things like the stabilizer was changed on the model. Other times, it is the wing are or the airfoil type to help with the stability.  The larger the model, the easier it is to copy the behavior and the exact dimensions of the full size airplane.  Because of this, 1/4 scale model airplanes tend to be quite popular with people that are serious about their RC airplane models.  Unfortunately, because of the cost and set up and the inherent dangers of the larger plane, only those with a lot of money can have these.  They require a large field to fly in and a lot of fuel.  They are only for the most serious RC airplane collectors.


Aviation Museums

By going to an aviation museum, we are able to take a journey into the past to see the aircraft that were used back then. The museums will generally include military, commercial, and private airplanes in their collections.  As with all other forms of transportation, aviation has seen a lot of change over the years.  By visiting an aviation museum, you are sure to have a deeper appreciation for where they have come.

dsc_8131-1024x768Some of the museums are well known while others are not.  This is mostly because of the type of aircraft on display. The Planes of Fame Air Museum is in Chino, California.  This museum has over 150 aircraft from different times in the military.  They sponsor air shows that draw in large crowds throughout the summer.

In Birmingham, Alabama is The Southern Museum.  This is a wonderful aviation museum to explore, especially if you enjoy learning about women in aviation and their role in flight. There are a lot of displays about women aviators and how they helped the early success of aviation. It’s a great way to show young girls how women can make an impact in society, even in areas dominated by men.

There are quite a few aviation museums all over the world to explore. You can easily find them by searching online.  You may even be surprised to find one near you.  If you are traveling soon, you could possibly squeeze in a couple of hours at a local aviation museum.  They are both educational and fun!

Non profit organizations own and operate most aviation museums. There is typically a small charge for entrance but that money is needed to help pay to keep the museums open.  Some of the museums are able to generate decent money to stay open due to the large volumes of visitors they receive every year.

For the most part, the aircraft at the aviation museums have been donated to them instead of purchased.  They are put in the museums as a way to honor the aviation field while on display.  They can also serve to remind visitors of what can be done by creative minds and a little ingenuity.  The advances we see today in aviation would not be possible without those who took a chance in the past.