How To Perform a Preflight Check on a RC Airplane

For serious hobbyists who invest in remote control planes, performing a preflight check is absolutely essential. Remote control planes are quite expensive and you wouldn’t want to watch your investment topple to the ground just because there were loose parts that you didn’t screw on properly. Read the preflight checklist below to help you go through the process for the first few times. Once it becomes a part of your routine, you can do away with the checklist.

  • Check the frequency of the radio club. Clear the frequency that you will be using by checking if there is anyone else using that specific channel. Let your fellow club members know that you are the one assigned to that channel by marking it with a pin or whatever tool you use to designate your frequency.
  • Check the transmitter, including the battery pack. Check the battery pack of your remote control plane to see if you are supplying the correct voltage for it. Most remote control planes use a 9.6-volt battery pack. Check if your battery has ample charge, as well. Turn on the plane’s transmitter to do the checking. You should also check the battery of the receiver.
  • Double-check the screws and joints. Inspect the interior and exterior of the plane for loose joints and screws. Pay close attention to the wheels and wings of the plane since these are the parts that come out often. Have your tools nearby in case you need to do some last minute tightening.
  • Check your aileron stick, propeller, elevator stick and the rudder. Inspect the rudder, which should be free to move to the right. If you use a plane that has a tricycle-style landing gear, your plane’s nose should turn right if you turn the rudder right. Check the opposite direction, as well. Your plane’s elevator stick’s movement should be in sync with the movement of the actual elevator. The same goes for your aileron stick.
  • Check the fuel engine. The fuel engine of your plane should be filled accordingly. It is better to have more fuel than necessary since you can always save it for future trips. The plane’s carburetor should open up nicely. When you move the throttle to low, the carburetor should close and the engine should stop running. Inspect the exterior of the plane if there are leaks from the fuel tank.
  • Check the radio system’s range. To avoid loss of control due to the plane going out of range, check your club and your plane’s radio system. Pull back the transmitter’s antenna to the shortest possible range and walk around 100 feet away from your RC plane and test the controls if your plane still receives the signal.

Immediately correct any fault that you see–whether it is a minor fuel leak or some screws missing in action. Go with your gut instinct when you sense that there is something off with your plane. Do a last visual inspection of your remote control plane before sending it out. Remember that your remote control plane costs at least $200 and you wouldn’t want to damage that just because you skipped some items in the checklist above.


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