Monday, December 13, 2010

Remote Controlled (RC) Airplanes

Flying has always been a passion and history is replete with examples and man’s quest to fly. Even the famous artist and painter Leonardo da Vinci had imagined building a helicopter like machine when no one has even thought of any machine that could fly on its own. The Wright Brothers’ adventure finally made it possible for man to fly and since then man has been flying to frontiers undefined. From earthly travel to space adventures, a dream has finally come true.
While airplanes are bigger and costly to own and fly, a large number of hobbyists around the world make small remote controlled airplanes and quench their thirst of flying machines in the air. As I mentioned in the introducing the blog, as far back as 60s, a friend of my elder brother and one of my brothers would join hand together in assembling an airplane from a kit consisting of ready to assemble parts made of balsa wood and thin paper. They would then go to the air strip of Lahore Flying Club and fly their assembled airplane with the help of remote controls. That’s was long ago but the hobby is one of the most liked around the world even till date.
The remotely controlled airplane allows people of all ages to quench their thirst of flying small airplanes. Now the airplanes are much improved, made of alloys and have longer ranges and endurance.

The hobby starts from choosing a plane for you. Well this is not easy as one has to see his pocket in doing so as RC Airplanes are not easy to make both in terms of finances and your ability to piece together various parts from a readymade kit. One can buy ready to fly (RTF) airplanes, which are costlier and expensive but handy for those who cannot assemble the many part together or buy kits that could be assembled at home. The RTF airplanes cost in the range of $100+ and the cost increases with the increase in the size of the plane and its endurance.
Then there are Almost Ready to Fly (ARTF) planes, which require a little assembling of a few major parts, like the fuselage, tail plane, wings and the landing gear. With little technical knowhow, one can assemble these ARTF kits and enjoy flying.
Almost similar to ARF kits, are the Almost Ready to Cover (ARC) kits where one has a choice to change the outer covering by painting it with different colours. This provides a choice of having a “different looking” airplane when flying in a place where others are may be suing the same kit.
And finally the Build it Yourself Kits. Well these are for avid lovers who want to piece together every bit of the plane with their own hands. This allows a sense of achievement for the hobbyist as he has actually “made” the plane. For such hobbyists, there is such an accompanying joy when finally the machine runs and takes off. I have seen the glittering eyes and expression of joy on the faces of my brother and his companion when their efforts brought fruit and the airplane flew.
There is much more to flying airplanes. Now even people make machines which can take men into air as well. We will talk about it and much more about the hobby in time.
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