RC Cessna

What kind of service do gas-powered RC planes need?

Published: July 9, 2019


Categories: R/C Planes

Aficionados of gas-powered RC planes often enjoy flying them for that unique combination of relaxation and excitement. However, these aircraft need some tender loving care or troubleshooting. Here is a guide to some of the service this type of aircraft may require.

To know how to care for your gas-powered RC plane, it’s important to understand it inside and out.

Basic facts about gas-powered RC planes

According to the website Instructables Circuits, gas or nitro powered radio controlled planes have earned the reputation of being the “kings of the RC airplane world.” It’s possible that this popularity is that this kind of radio controlled aircraft burn fuel just as real airplanes do.

There are two basic types of engines in these aircraft:

  • Two-cycle high RPM engines

The majority of gas-powered RC planes are two cycle glow-fuel-powered. These planes use a special fuel containing a nitro-methane alcohol and oil mixture that you can find in most hobby stores. This fuel is generally available in quart or gallon containers. Additionally, there may be choices in terms of the nitro concentration that can range from 10 to 35%. The higher the concentration of nitro, the more power you get for your plane. However, overdoing the nitro content can burn up your motor.

How do glow engines work? They require a small glow plug to maintain the ignition spark. It boils down to this – the battery use heats up the fuel to start the engine.

  •  Four stroke

Some four stroke engines use the same kind of fuel that the two cycle glow-fuel-powered does. The difference in these engines is that they have valves like a standard car engine. One advantage of this engine type is more torque going to larger propellers. This results in better fuel economy. The major disadvantage is the plane cost and a few additional engine parts to concern yourself with in terms of needed adjustments and incidents of breakage.

Don’t get going too fast!

There is one caution is to consider when your gas-powered RC plane is brand-new. Do not attempt to start running your aircraft right “out-of-the-box” because the parts will heat up too quickly. As a result, these parts will wear out long before they need to.

So, how do you “gently” break in your new radio controlled plane? You should be able to find the method for breaking in your aircraft in the engine instructions that came with it. Not to worry though; the process is very simple.

Basic service tips for gas-powered RC planes

The website Liveaboutdotcom suggests some easy solutions to common problems that may crop up.

The fuel tank

Radio-controlled vehicles can behave in strange ways at times, especially where the fuel tank is concerned. Here are a few tips for determining a fuel problem:

  • Check to make sure there is fuel in the tank, and that it’s fresh.
  • Make sure there is no kink in the fuel line.
  • If none of these strategies reveal an obvious problem, conduct a complete fuel system check.

Is it the radio transmitter?

If you have several radio-controlled vehicles, make sure that you’re using the right transmitter for your plane. It’s easy for them to get mixed up.

Check the frequency on the label for both the vehicle and transmitter. Look at the bottom of the transmitter near the battery compartment or the on-off switch. The frequencies should match. If you purchased your transmitter second-hand, you may have inadvertently bought the wrong one.

Note: If you have a hobby grade radio-controlled vehicle, make sure that the crystals in the receiver and transmitter are a matched set.

Inspect your wiring

If you notice that your gas powered RC plane doesn’t seem to be getting any power and you know that your batteries are good, you could be dealing with a disconnected or loose wire from your battery pack or compartment. You may be able to solve the problem by re-attaching loose connections.

Clean that carburetor!

One contributor on the Model Airplane News provided a suggestion for what to do if your gas powered RC plane’s engine is having problems with its “get up and go”. Is your engine becoming difficult to start or is not transitioning smoothly from idle to full power?

The internal fuel filter in the Walbro pumper carburetor could be dirty or clogged.

So what do you do about it?

Remove the carburetor side cover, which has a single screw in its center.

After removing that screw, remove the cover carefully, taking care not to damage the gasket.

Flush away the debris using fresh fuel. However, if the screen is heavily clogged find a shop specializing in small engines and purchase a carburetor rebuilding kit to replace the carburetor inlet filter screen. Once you have put the carburetor parts back together, your engine should run much better.

*Tip: While you have the carburetor open, this is a good time to check the condition of the gaskets and replace any that look like they may need replacing soon.

Care for a sidelined plane

Has it been awhile since you flew your gas powered RC plane? An article in Model Airplane News offers some guidance for getting your aircraft ready for flying again.

Photo by Matthew Dillon

Here’s a simple way to get your plane air-worthy again:

  • Place the engine in an oven that has been preheated to 200o F for approximately 10-15 minutes. With the protection of an oven mitt, turn the engine over for another 10-15 minutes of heat exposure. This heat treatment should break the internal engine parts free 99% of the time so that the engine will turn over when you try to start it.
  • When you remove the engine from the oven, load the engine into the plane body down the intake and through the exhaust. Help the engine through by using a penetrating oil such as Marvel Mystery Oil or 3-in-One.
  • Then flip the propeller a few times, and the engine should be ready for use. When you run your plane the first time after it has been in storage, back the needle valve out four or five times.
  • Allow the plane to run that way a few minutes so that any parts that may be stuck have the chance to free up.

Hopefully one or more of these suggestions will get your gas powered RC plane back in the air as quickly as possible.

Photo Credits:

  1. Bob Adams: License – https://www.flickr.com/photos/satransport/11820351144/in/photolist-j1wozE-aaXMus-dbvoM2-dbvqNU-aaXNoS-aaUSsV-j1xxCE-j1w9Mu-2fV5U6c-aaXNXS-j1u6Hi-aaXJ9C-j1q8YZ-2EH1nh-j1wgWQ-5Br7fF-j1v4ga-5r52WY-9hFAzK-2EGB5Q-9rj4M9-9ZnCGu-6C6yPk-j1qaMZ-j1xbv9-aaXHam-2jWHpT-3KuTV3-HENsTK-JucDgi-Wqzsn1-X6gnyS-2cnxUt8-9Zkr4g-2r9Zyh-dhEGqm-7PthRc-5ogNwJ-S2st9-5ocxvF-9ZnNV7-2ctQfzH-j1seHu-cjGQDb-6b12ZK-34diRm-6yn7nk-j1u5qu-doLg7c-S31CM
  2. License – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruggybear/2854729193/in/photolist-5mgewR-2e1WgAz-4UpoCH-61tJzn-86ge5d-2r9Ymj-2k22Bh-6w81Bn-WbuSR-2r5BvX-8juXav-3bbGqK-87W3n7-S2Ugj-2ZxfZm-WizqM-2jWEWB-2k24ny-5KgRgE-6aWMsz-4HZ4U4-5a6HYq-55KgLd-S2snh-2r5Ctk-WizKB-S31mV-3bbFHZ-WbSfx-2ZsCTT-2r9VDo-WbTdZ-2ECyvv-WbSw6-2k24JA-RKcxJ-RAFpZ-S16w7-S4j3T-WnpoS-6Du2oC-RKb3S-S32vF-Pv9im-6tjTf1-WnvPo-RAFt6-Ry249-2k23md-2jWHB8