RC Plane Parts: All That Need To Be Known

RC Plane Parts in Overview

Understanding your RC planes better means knowing every RC plane part. This involves not only being aware of how, say, a plane motor looks like but also the details of how it functions. Practical knowledge on these things will enable one to maximize the RC plane’s potential. With better understanding, you can make the best out of your RC plane.

Every RC plane part is unique in its own right. Each deserves notable mention and discussion. With that in my mind, this article will cover most vital RC plane parts significant for every successful RC plane flight. However, the article will not attempt or pretend to be complete.

Building Appreciation in Knowing Each RC Plane Part

It cannot be accentuated well enough that knowing every RC plane part’s form and function will serve you well in the long run. That makes sense actually. Really, it does. One cannot appreciate the whole unless one has a concrete and sound grasp of the entire system’s components. It may sound very philosophical and profound. But believe me, the core and essence of learning how your RC plane works through understanding each individual RC plane part is plain and simple. And very rational, if I may say the least.

RC plane parts work harmoniously with each other to get your RC plane up in the air. Each RC plane part either complements the function of the other or supplements the other part’s work. One cannot exist and function when the other is faulty or is malfunctioning.

RC Plane Part Availability in the Market

It comes without question that these days, many RC plane models have become available in the market. Really, really available, if I may add.

From the shelves of every RC hobbyist store come RC plane models for sale. There are those innovative and business-minded enough to sell RC planes to their friends, relatives, and folks. These people are fortunately seasoned with experience and have business credibility at their belts. Therefore, that is one good area for RC plane distribution.

Moreover, RC plane shops found online are increasing in number day by day. They have extended their online scope and customer range so well that more and more enthusiasts have become allured in buying RC plane parts and models in the Internet. This goes to show that the Internet has turned out to be a viable platform for enterprise and business transactions. It goes without wonder why a myriad of advertisements have flocked the online scenery and have taken advantage of the networks that the Internet offers.

Social media has opened as well several opportunities to further advance the distribution of RC planes to the next level. One click of “Like” button in Facebook consequently leads to ramified communications among friends. One post in Twitter results in the spread of product information among members in the community. Because of that, social media has made the RC plane hobby very popular. It has become a catalyst of information spread and product advertisement. The process is most likely analogous to how domino tiles are linearly linked to each other and pass a slight change to the next domino tile. A chain reaction in other words.

RC Plane Part 101

One needs to remember that your RC plane is just a “scaled-down” version of any full-sized aircraft. Or in simple talk, a miniature aircraft version. So where does this lead us? Components found in full-sized aircraft have their corresponding equivalents in any RC plane. This means that the mechanisms that interplay when “real” plane parts operate are also the means by which your RC plane parts function. They may be different at some points, but they are of the same basic principle.

Of course, a stunning number of designs and plane configuration exist. However, different RC planes boil down into commonality as regards parts. Given below are the various RC plane parts you need to know about. These are the most common RC plane parts you would most likely encounter, and purchase perhaps:

  • Power systems
    – Engine or motor
    – Battery and recharger
  • Engine cowl
  • Wings
  • Fuselage
  • Propeller
  • Empennage (horizontal tail and vertical tail)
  • Control surfaces
    – Ailerons
    – Elevator
    – Rudder
  • Landing gears
  • Radio systems
    – Transmitter
    – Receiver
    – Servo

Power Systems

Engine or motor. The engine or motor serves as the heart of your RC plane that supplies power to run the propeller. It is normally located at the front of your RC plane.

This powerhouse may be either an electric motor, an internal combustion gas engine, or a jet engine depending on the type of your plane. Electric types are preferred nowadays because of their cost, low demand for maintenance, and availability of lithium polymer batteries.

Among the forces that make flight possible is thrust. Thrust is the mechanical force that enables aircraft to move forward through the air. This force is used to overcome the drag of your RC plane. The primary function of an engine is the generation of thrust. The motor does this by means of a certain propulsion system. As a rule, bigger RC planes require greater amount of thrust. Because of the greater thrust requirement, bigger planes thus need bigger engines to meet the power demand.

Battery and recharger. The battery provides power to all the electronic components contained in your RC plane.


The engine cowl has a protective role in your RC plane. It deters dust and ground debris from getting inside your motor unit during takeoff and landing. This external covering is usually made of fiberglass or plastic. Since the motor is found at the front of the RC plane, then so too is the cowl.


No one can ever imagine an RC plane without wings. When one is to visualize a plane in his mind, I bet it always comes with the wings. No surprise here. Obviously, the wings are what brings the plane up in the air.

But how do wings contribute to flight? This question needs a lengthy explanation, but concisely, wings do so by generating what is called lift to keep the plane in the air. Lift is the mechanical aerodynamic force that counteracts the plane’s weight. Every part of the plane generates lift, but the wings are the principal producers.

The wings are so important that their size, design, type, and location greatly influence flight.


The fuselage is considered the body of any RC plane. Overall, the fuselage carries all electronic parts and wirings and is the main structure where most parts are connected. The following elements are joined to the fuselage:

  • Wings
  • Horizontal tail
  • Vertical tail
  • Nose gear
  • Main landing gear
  • External camera (in some planes)

The fuselage also houses the following:

  • Electronic speed controller (in electric RC planes)
  • Receiver
  • Servo
  • Batteries
  • Fuel tank (in gas-powered RC planes)
  • External or internal payloads


Technically, propellers are just vertically mounted rotating wings. We normally see them as just spinning things at the front part of your RC plane. Converting engine power into thrust is the propeller’s forte. Again, thrust is important to move your plane forward through the air.

As mentioned earlier, the motor drives the propeller. Due to that, the propeller is typically affixed to it. However, some may be mounted on the nose, tail, or wings. Your RC plane may have one or more propellers.

Horizontal Tail

The horizontal tail is often termed the horizontal stabilizer. This part’s name is derived from its “stabilizing” role that it plays. It keeps your RC plane stable in the pitch axis during flight. Now what is pitch? In RC plane physics, pitch refers to the rotation around the side-to-side axis. It is the up and down movement of your plane.

The elevator is attached to the horizontal plane.

Vertical Tail

The vertical tail, or the vertical stabilizer, on the other hand keeps your RC plane stable in the yaw axis. Yaw refers to the plane’s movement to either left or right.

The rudder is attached to the vertical plane.

Basic Control Surfaces

Before continuing further, one should note that there are three axes of movement relevant to RC plane. These are the pitch, yaw, and roll. We have already tackled pitch and yaw, so this leaves us with roll. Roll pertains to the plane’s movement wherein your RC plane is turned upside down and then right side up again.

With these axes come the parts that specifically control them: ailerons, elevator, and rudder. Collectively, the three are called the control surfaces. These are the RC plane parts that cause the plane to move to a certain direction when they are moved into specific positions.

  • Ailerons. Ailerons control the roll.
  • Elevator. The elevator controls the pitch.
  • Rudder. The rudder controls the yaw.


The landing gears’ job is to support the plane, especially when on ground. Due to such supportive role, gears need to be strong. However, in order to diffuse the load during takeoff or landing, gears need to be flexible also. Flexibility affords landing gears the ability to bend slightly.