some terms that may baffle you as an newcomer but in time will become very
The fuselage is the body part of
the aircraft which holds the passengers, cargo, or in the case of an R/C
aircraft, the radio system.
The wing of the aircraft is the large horizontal surface which produces
the lift and allows the craft to fly. Wing placement may be on the upper
part of the fuselage known as a high wing plane. This is more common on
trainer type aircraft as a high wing model is more stable due to the pendulum
effect of the fuselage. A wing mounted on the bottom of the fuselage is
referred to as a low-wing aircraft and is more suitable for aerobatic
type aircraft as stability is more neutral and manoeuvres such as rolls
and loops are more easily done.
The Wingspan of an aircraft is the length of the wing as measured from
wing tip to wing tip.
The Wing Chord of an aircraft is distance from the front or "leading
edge" of a wing to the back or "trailing edge".
The very outer end of a wing.
The Wing Area is the total surface area of the wing of the aircraft, usually
calculated by the wing span times the wing chord, although more complex
calculations are used on unconventional wing plans.
The Airfoil is the shape of the cross section of the wing. The front of
the airfoil is the leading edge and is usually a rounded section. The
back of the airfoil is the trailing edge and usually tapers to nearly
a point. The distance between the two is the wing chord. The top surface
of the airfoil is usually always curved to allow smooth airflow and produce
A Flat Bottom Wing is when the lower surface of the wing is primarily
flat between the leading and trailing edges. This type of wing has high
lift and is common on trainer type aircraft.
A Fully-Symmetrical Wing airfoil is curved on the bottom to the same degree
as it is on the top. If a line was drawn from the center of the leading
edge to the center of the trailing edge the upper and lower halves of
the airfoil would be symmetrical. This is ideal for aerobatic aircraft
and most lift is created by the angle of incidence of the wing to the
A Semi- symmetrical Wing airfoil has a curved bottom section but to a
lesser degree than a symmetrical section. It is a compromise between the
flat bottom and the symmetrical wing. This is a very popular airfoil on
sport type aircraft.
An Under-camber airfoil has the lower surface of the wing curved inwardly
almost parallel to the upper surface. This type of airfoil produces a
great deal of lift but is not common in R/C models.
The Dihedral of a wing is the V-shape the wing makes or the angle between
the wing and the horizontal.Usually the greater the dihedral angle
the more stable the aircraft will be (to a point!) and is common in trainer
type aircraft. A flat wing with little or no dihedral is less stable and
more suited to aerobatics.
The pitch refers to the angle of the aircraft in the up or down direction.
The roll refers to the rotation of the aircraft around it's centerline
(one wing up and one wing down).
The yaw refers to the angle of the aircraft in the side to side direction.
A moveable surface, attached to the airframe of an aircraft, which controls
the direction of the aircraft.
An Aileron is a moveable surface on trailing edge of the wing which provides
directional control of the roll of the aircraft. A Strip Aileron is an
aileron that is narrow and usually takes up the entire, or most of the
trailing edge of a wing. A Barn-door Aileron is wider and takes up a smaller
portion of the trailing edge towards the wing tip.
The Elevator is the horizontal moveable control surface at the tail of
the model connected to the stabilizer. It controls direction in pitch.
The Stabiliser is the fixed horizontal surface at the rear of an aircraft.
It provides pitch stability for the aircraft.Fin
The Fin, also known as the "vertical stabiliser", is the fixed
vertical surface at the rear of an aircraft. It provides yaw stability
for the aircraft.
The Rudder is the moveable control surface at the tail of the model
connected to the fin. It controls direction in yaw.
A V-Tail is a special tail surface configuration where the horizontal
stabilisers and elevators are mounted at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees
in a V-shape and the vertical fin is removed entirely. The stabilisers
provide stability in both pitch and yaw while the moveable surfaces provide
directional control in both pitch and yaw.
Flaps are a control surface found on some aircraft, usually located on
the inboard trailing edge of each wing. Flaps may be lowered to increase
the lift of the aircraft by simulating an under-camber airfoil.
A Spoiler or Airbrake is a control surface more commonly found on gliders
and jet aircraft which is used to slow down the aircraft and to reduce
lift. They are rarely found on conventional aircraft. They may be mounted
on either the top or bottom of the center portion of the wings.
Center of Gravity. CG.
The Center of Gravity is the position in the aircraft where if a point
was placed, the plane would balance. The "C of G" should usually
found along the centerline of the aircraft at a distance approximately
1/3 of the way behind the leading edge of the wing.
The landing gear of the aircraft refers to the support between the wheels
and the wing or fuselage. It is usually is formed from metal, wire or
a nylon/fiberglass combination.
Another name for landing gear.
Tricycle refers to the landing gear configuration where there is a single
steerable nosewheel mounted in front of the center of gravity, and a set
of main landing gear with two wheels positioned just behind the center
of gravity. This type of undercarriage is usually a little easier to use
when first learning.
This refers to the undercarriage configuration where the main landing
gear with two wheels is placed forward of the center of gravity and one
small wheel, called a "tail wheel", is mounted under the tail
of the aircraft.