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An Introduction


Radio Control Electric Flight


Phil Langton




Information and Guidelines

for entering the exciting world of


Electric Powered R/C Flying



This document is broken into 5 parts

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Understanding power requirements & motors
Part 3 - Understanding batteries
Part 4 - Construction considerations
Part 5 - Conclusions



7.    Associate with other Electric Flyers.

The parameters for flying electric are somewhat different to IC R/C model flying. You can do what I did; muddle around for years making your own mistakes and learning your own lessons, or, you can join a group of electric flyers and watch what they do, listen to their conversations AND ask questions!

Some18 months ago I joined the Australian Electric Flight Association and I have learned more in that time than all of the previous 10 years!

The AEFA have terrific meetings, lots of show & tell, competitions for all levels and a culture of helping one another. I highly recommend you go to your nearest local Chapter.



Obviously there are many rules and tools that are applicable to radio control model flight, however, we mention only those that to us are pertinent to electric flight. We may have omitted some but here are a collection we think you should know about:-
1.    Ohms Law     When I went to school there was a formula that started as … I = E divided by R where I was current, E was Volts and R was, (you guessed it!) Resistance. But, for us it may be easier understood as:
The flow of current = Pressure measured in Volts
                                       Resistance in Ohms
2.    Another part of Ohms Law is … Watts = E multiplied by I
        Or,        Power = Pressure in volts multiplied by Current in Amps
        This is a very useful rule. You may remember in Section Rules of Thumb, Point No.1 we made reference to certain quantities of power (Watts) are needed for certain types of planes and for certain levels of performance! Well, this is the formula you need to use to calculate the power output of a selected motor/propeller/battery combination. It’s quite easy really.


 How long will it Fly?
The Rule is 1 milliamp hour equals 60 milliamp minutes.
The formula is:
 Time of flight in minutes = Capacity of battery times 60 minutes
                                         Amps consumed by motor, radio etc
Example: Take a 1700MiAh battery pack and motor, radio etc current of 10 amps.    

Flight time = 1.7x60
                       =10.2 minutes.
Realize this formula is theoretical and doesn’t take into account throttle useage or other factors, but it is helpful in deciding what battery pack will be suitable for your project.


There are some special items you can use that will help you master the exciting challenge to fly your favourite models by radio control, using batteries for the fuel cell rather than a plastic tank with a liquid fuel therein. So here are some suggestions:-
1.    An enquiring mind.  Yes, you will have to do some thinking, but it’s worth it.
2.    A Digital Multimeter. Electronics Shops sell one for around $15.00. I’ve got a couple of them and they do the job well enough to get started.
3.    A Watt reading meter of some kind. I started with an Analogue Voltmeter and an Ammeter in a box, which I made up myself. But digital instruments that read amps and volts simultaneously are much better. Some even do the Ohms Law calculation for you as well. Clamp meters are better but expensive.  These days you can afford an MPI MX 8100 or an E Flight Meter from your local Hobby Shop. Better still, go for the best and save up for an Hyperion E meter which stores data, programmes speed controllers as well as a host of other useful things..
4.    But you must have some of this gear to do it right.
5.    A good set of scales. You can purchase digital kitchen scales that measure in one gram increments up to 4 kilograms for about $30.
I also have a simple little spring type unit that measures up to 100grams that fits in my pocket. It’s great for selecting balsa in the hobby shop.  In case you think I have gone “tropo” yes I’ve started to measure the weight of each sheet of balsa I use. Do you know some sheets can be more than twice the weight of another otherwise identical sheet!
6.    A soldering iron of around 40 watt power and rosin cored solder.
7.    Access to the Internet. It’s a marvelous source of information. I’ll include a list of sites you will find useful.
8.    A Mentor.  Just as you appreciated an older or more experienced R/C Flyer helping you until you went “Solo” so it is with the transition to Electric Flight. Don’t be proud, make contact with some one you know and respect, who is a competent electric flyer and seek their help. You’ll find they are only too willing to assist.
9.    Join an Association of like-minded Electric Flyers such as the Australian Electric Flyers Association.




So, that’s my introduction to Electric Powered Model Flight. It’s not so hard but you must get an E Meter or something that will give you at least amps and volts. 
You can do it… have a go.

Do ring me on 0411 038 207 if you need help.  I charge you, (or is it challenge you) to get started.
Alternatively send me an email here


 Books, Associations and Internet Sites

Of Interest to the Electric Flyer


Books, Magazines and Associations:

Entering Electrics By Harry Higley(An extremely useful reference.)

        Quiet & Electric Flight International Magazine

        R C M & E  Magazine from the UK.

        Australian Electric Flight Association     Annual Subs only $20

Internet Sites of Interest:

        E Zone


Further help: Feel free to contact Phil Langton – 0411 038 207
for any further assistance or advice.



Disclaimer:  To the reader... please feel free to download, use and copy this Treatise on the understanding that it is for 'private' use only and must not be used in any way for commercial purposes without the writers permission. 
Note also, that the information is a work in process and may be amended at any time should the writer or the Club decide so to do. No responsibility or liability is expressed or implied with respect to the information contained in the Introduction to Electric Flight material.

A copy of this article is also available in pdf format below.

Name Created Size Downloads    
O.S. Engines 2008 Flyer 2008-10-18 104.47 KB 462 Download

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