Take Control of the Flight
Think of a channel as a specific function or task performed by the radio system. Generally speaking, each servo plugged into the receiver requires one channel. Don't get "function" channels confused with "frequencies." A number is designated to the frequency that the transmitter is using. This is also called a channel. Confusing huh?
Three Channel Transmitters
Three Channel Transmitters The most basic airplane, with no ailerons, needs a3-channel radio in order to
control the throttle, rudder, and elevator. Most often,the pitch and turning is controlled by the same stick.
A 3- channel radio will havethe elevator and rudder (or ailerons) on the right stick and throttle on the left
stick.The left stick is replaced with a slider to control the throttle on some radios.
Four Channel Transmitters
Ailerons really bring an airplane to life because they
allow the airplane to roll. Most everyone that is serious
about this hobby flies planes with ailerons. For this reason
I want to focus our discussion of RC airplane controls on
four channel radios. A radio with four or more channels
will have elevator/aileron control on the right stick and
throttle/rudder control on the left stick. The ailerons are
the primary turning control for an airplane with ailerons.
The radio above is a 6-channel radio. I have this radio.
It takes four channels to fly the plane, which leaves two
channels open for using flaps, retractable landing gear,
or anything that requires a servo. Lets take a closer look
at RC airplane controls and how the airplane responds to
the movement of the transmitter sticks. The images below
coincide with a Mode 2 transmitter. Follow this link to learn
the difference between mode 1 and mode 2 RC
Elevator Pulling the right stick back makes the elevator raise up. Pushing the left stick forward makes the elevator
go down. Keep an eye on the elevator . When the elevator goes up it causes the airplane to pitch up. When the
elevator goes down it causes the airplane to pitch down
Moving the right stick to the right makes the aileron on the right wing raise. At the same time it makes the aileron on the left wing to lower. This makes the airplane roll to the right. Moving the right stick to the left makes the aileron on the left wing raise. At the same time it makes the aileron on the right wing lower. This makes the airplane roll to the left. Keep an eye on the ailerons (highlighted yellow). When the position of the ailerons change the airplane will roll. Notice that the stick appears to be moving in the opposite direction of the roll. This is because the airplane is coming towards you, so it looks backwards.
This is called control reversal. Training your
brain to think backward to move the RC
airplane controls in the correct directions
when the airplane is coming towards
you is the single most challenging aspect
of learning to fly RC airplanes.
This becomes second nature with time.
Pushing the left stick right makes the rudder go right. Pushing the left stick left makes the rudder go left. Keep an
eye on the rudder (highlighted yellow). When the rudder goes right it causes the airplane to yaw to the right.
When the rudder goes left it causes the airplane to yaw to the left. When the airplane is flying towards you,
the RC airplane controls seem to be backwards.
Just like the ailerons, you will get used to this
control reversal over time.
Pushing the left stick forward will increase the speed of the engine or motor.
This will increase the thrust. Pulling the stick backwards will decrease the
speed of the engine. This will decrease the thrust. If your airplane has an
engine then moving the left stick forward or backwards moves a servo that
is connected to the engine's carburetor. If your airplane has an electric motor
then moving the left stick forward or backwards controls an electronic speed
controller(ESC) that controls the speed of the electric motor.