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Hardware for Flying Model Aircraft

May 05, 2015

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Airfield Models ( for Flying Model Aircraft

There is a vast assortment of hardware used in a model aircraft. Most people find what works for them and continue to use the same type hardware in the majority of the models they build and fly.  However, some situations will require unique solutions.

This series of articles will broadly cover types of hardware, provide some guidance and you can decide for yourself what will work best in your application.  In almost all cases, there is more than one option that will work.

In This Series

From the Glow Engine Series



Hardware made by the major manufacturers is almost 100% reliable if it is used correctly.  In many cases you have options of what to use, but choosing the wrong hardware causes the reliability factor to drop significantly.

Additionally, even if the hardware does not fail, it may cause binding or other problems that can result in the demise of your aircraft.

For example, a pushrod that does not align properly with the control horn will bind if a linkage is used that does not allow for the misalignment.

One thing to be very careful about is the hardware included in kits and especially Almost-Ready-To-Fly aircraft.  In many cases, the manufacturer feels that in order to market their model, they must provide a complete hardware package.  To decrease costs, they provide hardware that is substandard.

I do not intend to give you the impression that all hardware included in kits is junk.  Reputable kit manufacturers will not provide hardware that does not work.  Sometimes using the included hardware is a matter of personal preference and other times it should be discarded for reasons of airworthiness.

For example, Sig kits used to come with thick poly hinges.  I never liked these hinges even though there was nothing wrong with them.

On the other hand, each of the handful of ARF aircraft I have assembled has without exception needed almost all of the hardware to be replaced.  It was junk that I simply would not trust not to fail.

Examples of poorly chosen hardware:

  • EZ Connectors on either end of a control surface pushrod
  • Cheap styrene clevises (they can break easily kiss your plane goodbye)
  • Brittle music wire and threaded rod (usually black wire included with imported ARF's)
  • Tube-In-Tube pushrods that bind (usually pneumatic tubing)

Again, it is not only the type of hardware that determines reliability, but also the quality and how it is used.

In This Series

From the Glow Engine Series



How-To Articles for Model Builders
Model Airplane Engines

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Copyright 2004-2005 Paul K. Johnson