Radio Control Glossary

RC (Radio Control) Glossary


Found on the trailing edge of each wing panel, they work in opposite directions to bank the airplane about the longitudinal axis. To roll right; the right aileron is raised, decreasing lift, and the left aileron lowers, increasing lift.


The cross section (profile) of the wing.


A model that is almost completely built and covered, requiring little work to complete. The remaining work usually consists of assembling major components, and installing the radio equipment and engine or motor.


Bind-n-Fly; a model airplane with preinstalled engine/motor system, DSM2/DSMX receiver and servos installed but does not include the DSM2/DSMX transmitter, receiver, battery or charger.

Buddy Box

This refers to linking two transmitters together by cable for the purpose of flight instruction. The instructor has a button or switch on their transmitter which is used to transfer control to the student. Releasing the switch returns control to the instructor.


The amount of electric charge a battery can store, measured in milliamp hours (mAh).

CA (Cyanoacrylate)

Rapid curing instant glue for hobby use. It is available in various viscosities and cure times.


A single energy or charge-storing unit within a pack of cells that form a battery. Each cell has a voltage rating that is combined with the other cells' voltages to form the overall battery voltage rating.

Center of Gravity (CG)

Center of gravity is the balancing point for the aircraft. This is an important step in model plane set up. If you have a nose heavy plane it can sometimes make the elevator seem sluggish, a tail heavy plane is more sensitive to elevator movement and can be rather twitchy, but some planes and pilots prefer a slightly tail heavy set up for their particular style of flying.

Control Surface

These are the moving portion of the aircrafts wing, fin and tail-plane. Ailerons, Elevators, Rudder as an example.

The movable sections of an airplane that are used for control. The primary control surfaces are the ailerons, elevators and rudder. Secondary controls include flaps and spoilers.

Charge Jack

The plug receptacle of the switch harness into which the charger is plugged to charge the battery (if so equipped).


The receptacle of the switch harness or transmitter into which the charger is plugged to charge the battery.

Control Surfaces

The moveable part on the wing and tail that causes the aircraft to roll (aileron), pitch (elevator) or yaw (rudder).


An enclosure that generally covers the engine, a moulded fairing, or round cowling, that increases the appearance of the model and can also direct the airflow over the engine for cooling.

Deadstick Landing

A type of landing forced by engine failure, often through depletion of fuel or battery. The aircraft must glide to a landing without propulsive power.

Dihedral (1)

The upward angle between a wing or stabilizer and a horizontal reference line. Surfaces that are angled downwards are said to have anhedral. Surfaces with more than change of angle are said to have polyhedral.

Dihedral (2)

The degree of angle (V-shaped bend) at which the wings intersect the plane (or fuselage) is called dihedral. More dihedral gives an airplane more aerodynamic stability. Trainer planes with large dihedral may dispense with ailerons and use only the rudder to control the roll and yaw.

Drag (1)

Anything moving forward through the air will encounter resistance, this resistance is known as drag, in simple terms, the more cluttered an airplane is, bi-planes, fixed landing gear etc, the more drag, the sleeker, smoother airplane, a jet for example, has less drag.

Drag (2)

The force on an airplane or object that resists its motion through the air.


Describes the uneven up or down movement of a control surface, most commonly used on ailerons where the up going aileron has greater movement than the down.


Digital Spread Modulation, the very latest method of transmitting RF signals to a receiver, using the 2.4GHz band.


Forms of 2.4GHz spread spectrum radio control protocols proprietary to Spektrum.

Dual Rates

A two or three-position switch on the transmitter which can be set to select different control throws for flight controls. An example would be increased control surface travel for aerobatic maneuvering.


The hinged control surface on the horizontal stabilizer which controls the airplane in pitch.


Modeling glue that consists of a two-part mix, comprising a resin and a hardener, mixed together in equal proportions this makes extremely strong glue. Available in various cure times.


Located on the trailing edge of the wing, the flaps are lowered to generate additional lift and enable the aircraft to fly more slowly, which also decreases take off and landing distances.


The point during landing in which the pilot levels the plane out with a small amount of up elevator to slow the airplanes descent and allow a smooth touchdown.


Precisely shaped structures that are suspended below the fuselage on struts, these allow the plane to take off and land on water.


The main structure of an airplane to which the wings and stabilizing surfaces are attached.

Gimbal (or Stick)

The device that allows the user to input desired control movements into the transmitter.

High Wing

This term describes an airplane that has its wing mounted on the top of the fuselage.

Landing Gear

The wheel assembly an airplane uses to land, most often attached to the bottom of the fuselage.


An abbreviation for Lithium Polymer, a form of battery chemistry that offers high capacity for less weight than types such as NiMH or NiCd.

Milliamp Hour (mAh)

A measure of battery capacity. The greater the milliamp rating the longer the battery will last for a given load.


This abbreviation stands for Nickel Metal Hydride, the chemical compound used in this type of rechargeable batteries. These batteries often offer greater capacity, and are friendlier to the environment.


Motion of the airplane about the lateral (pitch) axis, usually controlled by the elevator.

Pitch (Lateral) Axis

The horizontal axis about which the airplane rotates. My moving the elevator the airplane can be made to rotate about the pitch axis in order to climb or descend.


Plug-n-Play; airframe with pre-installed engine/motor system and servos but does not include the transmitter, receiver, battery or charger.


Polyhedral refers to the multiple angle wing panels make with the horizontal. A wing with polyhedral has more than two wing panels and the angle of the wing changes at each joint.

Prop shaft

The main engine or motor shaft, which transfers the power to the propeller.


All HobbyZone products use proportional steering and throttle. This allows you to incrementally adjust the throttle and flight control positions.


Ready-to-Fly; airframe that is sold with pre-installed electronics and power system, and includes a transmitter.

Receiver (Rx)

Part of the radio control system fitted into the plane that receives the signal from the transmitter.

Relative Airflow (also Relative Wind)

The direction of the airflow relative to the wing of the aircraft.


The hinged control surface on the vertical stabilizer that controls the airplane in yaw. Moving the rudder to the left causes the airplane to yaw left and vice versa.


Flying your airplane unaided by an instructor.


The distance from wingtip to wingtip.


2.4GHz RC technology available for RC aircraft that ensures interference-free flight.


Cone that covers the propeller hub for appearance and/or streamlining purposes.


Loss of lift resulting caused by the wing exceeding its critical angle of attack.


A control in the carburetor that increases or decreases the fuel/air mixture to the engine, used to control engine speed.


The force created by the engine/propeller to move the model forwards.


Amount of pull or power that a servo or engine generates, lifting or pulling power.

Transmitter (Tx)

This is the hand-held part of the radio system that transmits radio signals to the receiver in the model.


A tail surface configuration where the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, normally in a cruciform arrangement, are combined into two surfaces in a V-shape.

Vertical Stabilizer

The vertical surface of the tail which directional stability in flight, usually comprising the fin and rudder.


The lifting surface that supports the aircraft in flight by the generation of lift.

Wing Area

The surface area of the wing of the aircraft, usually calculated by the multiplying the wingspan and wing chord, although more complex calculations are used on unconventional wing planforms.

Wing Chord

The chord of an aircraft wing is the distance from the leading edge of a wing to the trailing edge at a given point along the span.

Wing Loading

The weight of aircraft that a given size of wing must support in flight, described as ounces per square foot (ozs/sq.ft.)

Wing Span

The distance from wing tip to tip.

Wing Tip

The end of a wing.


Rotation about the vertical axis, controlled by the rudder. Moving the rudder left yaws the nose of the aircraft left, and vice versa.

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