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Build a Homemade Model Plane from Plans

Construction plans offer a wide variety of unique radio control planes

Bleriot balsa nose section

Learn how to bash a Bleriot plan here

A quick review of any of the model airplane magazines or vendor websites will show a huge selection of almost ready to fly (ARF) and ready to fly (RTF) radio control indoor aircraft.

ARF and RTF models are so prevalent that one has to look carefully to find an actual model airplane kit these days. However, there is a way ahead for those modelers who wish to build their own homemade RC plane, and that is by building a model from a set of construction plans.

AFRs and Plans

Companies that produce an ARF or RTF model airplane spend a great time of time and money performing market research towards what would be a good candidate aircraft to offer for sale to the public. As a result of the high production costs and aerodynamic considerations required to bring these ARF and RTF models to market, typically only well known aircraft make the selection process.

Using plans to make an RC plane opens up a new world of models for your flying fleet. By applying some building tips you can easily bypass the limited selection of ARF and RTF models and build just about any type of aircraft you desire. These skills also work well for conversion of a Guillow plane to radio control flight.


Bleriot scale RC model airplane

Bleriot scale RC model airplane showing scale electric motor

Scale RC models are perhaps one of the biggest reasons to pursue making a plans built plane. There are many scale aircraft kits available for the indoor flyer.

To have access to the widest variety of scale models, building from plans is the most feasible route. There are literally thousands of plans from the modeling magazines and various websites. Learn how to solve various design problems with a scale model.

See later on in this article how to take any size airplane plan and make a new variant for indoor RC flight simply by reducing the plan size at your local copy center.

Blackburn radio control model airplane

Blackburn RC airplane made from plans

In addition to having the freedom to create a homemade variant of a one-off design, building your own models from plans permits you to make any modification desired to the original aircraft layout. For example, you can experiment with substituting foam for balsa when building the Finch RC plane.

The power of the internet allows anyone to conduct independent research on a plane you wish to build. You may see a prototype modification that adds character or perhaps a unique paint scheme. By building and modifying a plane you can incorporate these specialized features into your final version.

Build different size models from plans

An additional benefit of making a plane from plans is that you can build different sizes of the same airplane. This is an especially helpful capability to have for constructing an indoor model plane.

This approach allows you to have different sized versions of the same model aircraft for various flying venues. For example, you might like the flight characteristics of a plane that is gas powered and has a 60 inch wingspan. Why not reduce the size of the plans and construct the same aircraft with a 20 inch wing span that can be flown at your local gym? View the videos as I designed, built and test flew the Robin.


Finch RC airplane

Finch indoor micro flyer - see here for Silkspan covering methods

This is exactly what I did with my design of the Chickadee. The Chickadee is a 44 inch wing span indoor electric flyer. Chickadee model airplane plans are available here. The Chickadee is a great first time project for someone wanting to build a homemade RC plane, and flies very well.

I liked the Chickadee so much that I decided to shrink the design to a 20 inch wingspan micro model with fuselage dimensions tailored for the ParkZone line of miniature RC electronics.

The result is the Finch. The Finch is an easy to build homemade RC plane than can be constructed over a weekend. And best of all, you can download a free set of full size CAD plans for the Finch here.

You will have no worries selecting the proper motor or RC electronics package by using the affordable ParkZone line of micro components. The Finch is smooth and responsive in flight. The Finch is a perfect project for a first time builder of a micro indoor RC model.

Author: Gordon McKay


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