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Radio Control Model Airplane Crashes

Don't let these crashes happen to you . . . learn from the mistakes of others!

Model airplane crashes

Don't let this "hard landing" happen to you

No one likes to crash their new pride and joy. . . but model airplane crashes do occur from time to time. The interesting thing is that the vast majority of these model airplane crashes could have been avoided. In short, they simply did not have to occur through proper flight planning or pilot technique.

On this page we'll take a look at a variety of model airplane crashes. Our aim is to determine what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what lessons can be learned to prevent this type of model airplane crashes from happening to you.



As the old saying goes . . . "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing"

Take off model airplane crashes can happen before you know it

One of the most basic items in preventing accidents is taking a moment to look in front of you, and think about what could go wrong as the flight progresses.

As you learn how to fly this is especially important with takeoffs. You need some clear area in front of you and to the sides. In the video at left, the lighting poles offer little to no room for any sort of error. Note the public road to the left. In short, this is a totally unsuitable area to fly a model.

As an added challenge, it looks that this is an early test flight for this model airplane. The pilot was unprepared for the overly sensitive rudder, which led directly large turns, then the roll to inverted dive. If nothing else, this takeoff established some sort of record for one of the quickest model airplane crashes.




Landing accidents can happen quickly for model airplane crashes

Just as take off accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so to for landing accidents.

Large, turbine (jet engine) powered model airplanes are a relatively new addition to the modeling scene, and have had their share of crashes. Be sure that there is a safe separation distance between yourself and the flight line with fast, high performance model aircraft.

As you learn to fly RC, keep in mind that with landing these large, fast models, the pilots have minimum maneuvering capability due to normal landing speeds just prior to touchdown.

t is a real good idea not to be standing on the runway when these model jets are landing. Avoidance of any landing aircraft is the best way to prevent this type of incident from occuring.


Avoid formation model plane takeoffs

As a general rule, three ship radio control plane formation takeoffs should probably be left to the USAF Thunderbirds or the Navy's Blue Angels. Any formation flight needs to be carefully briefed, with a designated flight lead.

Note also the pilots run into challenges with hand launches. In each case, the airplane's center of gravity was too far aft. Always, before any flight, check the airplane's center of gravity is in the correct location. All hand launches should be a gentle toss.

And always, check that the runway in front of you is clear before you begin any takeoff.





Zlin model airplane crashes on takeoff

If a model airplane crashes immediately after takeoff, there is a good chance there is something wrong with the aircraft.

In the case of the video at right, the airplane starts a rather rapid roll immediately after takeoff. The pilot simply did not have enough time to "do something wrong" in this case. There is a very good chance that there was a radio failure of some sort, or the flight controls (ailerons in this case) were mistakenly installed with reverse controls inputs. This can happen more often that you would realize.

The fix: Always perform a range check of the radio system before flight and do a flight control check (moving free and in the correct direction) before each takeoff.


Interesting midair with chase pilot trying to cut the streamer


A popular sport event is trying to cut a streamer pulled by a tow plane. This can be a lot of fun, but the idea is to cut the streamer with the airplane's propeller and not hit the tow plane.

However, with aircraft purposely trying to fly close to each other and with the distances from the ground combined with the small size of the aircraft, model airplane impact is almost an agenda item for this type of event.

If you do seek a "cut the streamer" type of event at a fun fly, consider using smaller, cheaper airplanes. If there is a collision it will be easier on your wallet and safer for the spectators.

Keep in mind on crashes with lighter electric powered aircraft, such as the line of ParkZone aircraft, result in minimal damage. They can take a great amount of nicks and bumps without needed any extensive repairs.

Author: Gordon McKay

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