Airfield Models - Radio Control Aircraft Design

Establishing a Specification for a Radio Control Model Aircraft Design

May 05, 2015



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Establishing a Design Specification for a Radio Control Model Aircraft

This is the first and most important step to designing anything.  It is also the most neglected.

A specification allows you to take a vague concept and turn it into specifically what you want.  It should detail everything that is important to include and exclude from your design.

The following specification template is not all inclusive but should give you some ideas as to what a specification can include.

What you are doing is defining what the model should be and especially what it should do as closely as possible.

If you are building a model primarily for flying characteristics, then that is what you design around.

  • Purpose of the model
  • Style Modern, Old Timer, Scale, Sleek, etc.
  • Powerplant class
  • Flight time
  • Stability Should the model be self-stabilizing, neutrally stable or somewhere in between?
  • Airspeed envelope
  • Vertical performance
  • Control response
  • Stall characteristics
  • Construction methods Traditional wood, composite, etc.
  • Control system
  • Landing gear system
  • Break-down for transportation
  • Etc.

With the exception of trainers, surviving a crash has no place on a specification.  Design and build your models to fly very well and expect them to be a write-off in a crash.  If you really want one badly enough again, you'll build it.

There may be problems that need to be solved regarding building techniques or installations that you already know you don't have the answers to.

For example, I might want to build a model having an airfoiled-tube-shape fuselage.  I honestly don't know how I would do that.  The first thought that comes to mind is fiberglass, but it's not something that is worth the expense of investing in all the supplies to get started making molds.  I could turn a male mold from foam, but it would be prone to warping at the thin areas... etc.

The above is a problem that I am going to solve before I even consider any other part of the design.  If I can't solve it then the project is over.

I can also take the attitude that I have supreme confidence in my building-problem solving and my building skills and then go ahead and start building knowing that somehow I'll complete the mission.

 
 

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Introduction to Radio Control Model Aircraft Design
Step-By-Step Radio Control Model Aircraft Design

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Copyright 2003 Paul K. Johnson