Radio-controlled glider

So, What Makes A Good R/C Glider?

Published: July 4, 2019


Categories: R/C Gliders

The thrill of flying a glider on natural air currents needs to be experienced to be understood. Viewing what an R/C model’s camera is seeing from the ground is another fabulous experience we want you to have. Here are our tips on what makes a good R/C glider.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Glider?

When buying an R/C glider, there are several factors to take into account, including materials and durability, your budget, flying and battery charging times, launching options, ease of use, and ease of assembly. We’ll go into these aspects in more detail below.


What are the Best Materials for R/C Gliders?

Top-end R/C gliders often use durable, lightweight materials like carbon fiber and glass fiber. Cheaper models use foam or cardboard. High-quality foam is suitable, especially for novices. Some materials fare better in collisions and crashes than others.

Durability is an important consideration, and it goes above and beyond the material. The construction is a major factor. For example, what glue was used and how much?

Flying and Charging Time: What to Look for

Manufacturers list flying and battery charging time in minutes. Look for short charging time and long flight time. Typically, the latter will be given on a fully charged battery, and airborne time will gradually begin to decrease with use.

Motorless gliders’ airborne time depends on your ability to navigate them and use environmental forces like wind and thermals to your advantage. You don’t need a fuel-powered motor or battery to keep this type of glider in the sky. What you do need is to be very attentive to your craft and the surroundings. Then, you’re sure to enjoy soaring!

Do R/C Gliders Differ Based on Experience Level?

If you’re a novice, a simple 2 or 3 channel R/C glider will be an outstanding way to introduce you to this fun pastime. Most typical beginners’ R/C gliders are 2 or 3-channel, steered to either aileron and elevator or rudder, rudder and elevator, or aileron and elevator. By typical, we mean gliders with a fin, wings, and tail.

Although it’s pretty basic, a 2-channel glider can be a lot of fun to fly, especially if it is equipped with aileron control. As opposed to a rudder, aileron control enables easy rolling of the glider and makes its use more exciting.

A more common type for slope soaring is the so-called flying wing or delta wing. This 2-channel R/C glider features both elevator and aileron controls combined to control surfaces called “elevons”.

Generally, a foam delta-wing type glider is quite durable, making it a great option for novices.

Advanced R/C Gliders

More advanced gliders have a higher number of channels, air brakes, and extra controls for spoilers or flaps. In the retractable nose wheel and nose, they have tow line release hooks. However, they are much more complicated than conventional 2-channel gliders to fly. Another advantage of the latter is their stable design.

What are RTF Gliders?

RTF stands for “ready to fly”. These gliders do not require assembly – you just buy them and watch them soar. The models are quite rare, and the ones that are available are usually powered due to higher demand. Still, we recommend beginners try to find a 2 or 3-channel RTF glider.

Are non-RTF Gliders Easy to Assemble?

Most ARTF gliders (“almost-ready-to-fly”) have a simple set of tools and instructions to put the device together. Ease of assembly is definitely something to take into account, as is ease of use. Newbie pilots shouldn’t let too many advanced technologies or the prospect of flying stunts tempt them. The more features and functions an R/C glider has, the more time it will take to launch, and this is precious time to waste.

You need to get it flying and start working on your skills. After all, glider flying competitions are taking place almost everywhere in spring and summer, and you want to join in on the fun, right?  

What’s the Best Way to Launch a Glider?

There are several different ways. Essentially, you have two basic options— manual and automatic. Gliders with motors are launched automatically. Chuck gliders, also known as hand launch gliders, are usually lighter and easier to throw. They’re equipped with small motors to help keep them in the air after launch.

An ARTF glider is not a bad option if you don’t mind purchasing, installing, and assembling the radio gear yourself. You might need some background in aerodynamics to assemble and set up this type of aircraft. Check the user manual and stick to instructions if you’re completely new to gliding.

What Should I Know about the Radio?

R/C gliders are an amazing way to enjoy radio controlled flight. They don’t require many accessories and you don’t have to worry about noise or any other issues. You do need to worry about how long your radio gear batteries will last. It’s an unpleasant experience when the batteries don’t last as long as we were planning to fly for.

To keep the radio signal strong, monitor RX and TX battery levels closely. Other than that, there’s nothing all that important to know. Battery-powered gliders have a definite advantage over fuel-powered ones that need to land to be refueled.

Which Gliders Fly the Longest?

R/C gliders can fly longer than powered radio control craft like RC planes or drones, particularly in favorable weather conditions with good lift during a thermal flying or R/C slope soaring session. In this case, the glider can be kept aloft for a very long time.  

Final Thoughts

It’s much simpler to choose a glider if you’re a complete novice because the considerations are much fewer. Beginners tend to go for smaller, cheaper, and simpler models. More advanced users are inclined to pay more for a glider with better racing ability and higher aerobatic potential. In every event, you shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to materials and durability. Quality materials will extend the product’s useful life. That said, there’s something on the market for everyone, even gliders the size of small cars.

We have a number of high quality gliders for sale in our store


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