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Tech Tip
by Brad Appleby
Appleby Arts

Remote Control Airplanes

I just got back from Flite Fest West, which is a four-day remote control flying event in Vallejo, California. The group that puts on the event is called Flite Test (, and this is the first year the event was held outside Ohio. It was a fun flying event, and they had a large flight line set up to handle beginning flyers and experts, as well as helicopters and racing drone quads.

Flite Test is promoting the sport of remote control flying using a “build, fly, crash and repeat” agenda. They promote low-cost remote control airplanes that are made of foam board that you can get at a dollar store. With the free, online plans from Flite Test and a hot glue gun, you can build an airplane. Some of the planes can be built for about $3 of foam, $1 glue stick and some tape. Add some batteries, servos, an electric motor and a remote control radio, and you are flying. Once you get your radio and electronics, you can transfer them from one plane to the next so that crashes won’t ground you.

Back when I was flying at dry lake, I had to have one remote control radio for every airplane I had, and if someone else were flying and had the same radio frequency, I would have to wait until they were done flying before I took my plane up in the air. Now, one remote control radio can control between one and sixty airplanes. Just last year, at Flite Fest East, a new world record was set for the most fixed wing remote control aircraft in the air at one time and at one place – 300 airplanes flying at the same time on one frequency! Here is a Youtube link:

At the flight event, there was an aircraft war involving sixty aircraft that took off at the same time and flew around trying to crash into each other. After this event, everyone grabbed their planes and glued them back together!

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