Acle Model Flying Club

Electric Pre Flight Check

Preflight Checklist

Carry out these checks before each flight to increase your chances of success.

Perform a Full Pre-flight Checklist before Powering up.
  • Check Transmitter Power – Is your battery low?
  • Check Aircraft Battery Voltage – Is your battery fully charged?
  • Check Center of Gravity – check balance of the aircraft with the battery installed
  • Check Propeller – Is it tightly attached?
    Check Airframe – are there any noticeable issues with loose wings/tail/motor mounts etc?
  • Check Landing gear – (if applicable) check wheels are free to move, and the gear doesn’t wobble.
  • Check Surfaces – Are they loose? Check pushrods, linkages, clevises and hinges.
After You Power Up, Make These Checks.

The purpose of the range check is to ensure the radio signal from transmitter to receiver is strong so that you can fly your R.C. aeroplane at a normal distance away from you without it going out of radio range. If your aeroplane goes out of range, you lose control.

Perform a range check with a MHz radio system thus:
Switch on the transmitter then the receiver, and with the transmitter antenna fully collapsed (i.e. down), walk backwards away from the aeroplane for 30 paces or so. As you walk away from the plane, keep moving the control surface sticks of the Tx (not the motor – keep that stick fully down!) and closely watch the respective control surfaces of the aeroplane.

An R.C. aeroplane range check should be done at a distance of
30 paces (meters) or so away from the plane.

If you only get a short distance away and the surfaces start ‘twitching’ or not responding properly to your stick movements, do not fly. Check the batteries of the radio gear, they may need replacing – low batteries in the transmitter drastically reduce the radio range. Also, check for loose connections to the receiver etc, and also the antenna(s) condition.

If the batteries and connections are OK but the control surfaces still don’t respond properly, then other people may be using your frequency nearby. Again, do not fly if this is the case. Interference is a big killer of R.C. aeroplanes, and you need to be sure that your frequency is clear before you get airborne.

An R.C. aeroplane range check with a 2.4GHz radio system is slightly different, in that the antenna cannot be collapsed. You will have to refer to your radio instruction manual to see the correct range check procedure for your exact radio, as different manufacturers use different methods of activating the range check mode in a 2.4GHz radio.
Whichever method is involved, a 2.4GHz transmitter in range check mode sends out the signals with a reduced voltage, thus producing a weaker signal.
The rest of the check is performed in the same way as explained above.

Regardless of whether you have a MHz or 2.4GHz system, do not fly your aeroplane if you see that control surface response becomes unreliable before you reach 30 paces or so away from the plane. You need to identify and rectify before you fly!

Always always always take a few minutes to perform these R.C. aeroplane pre-flight checks before you commence your flying session. Get into the habit of pre-flighting your plane every time; the checks take just a couple of minutes to do and will save you the grief of a crashed aeroplane if something is amiss.

Disconnect the battery immediately after the flight and before post flight checks.

Environment Check.

  • Check for people – Make sure there will be no people under your flight.
  • Check wind direction – Also check for areas where wind may be turbulent or unpredictable.
  • Plan climb out and pattern – Think about the direction of takeoff and your general flight pattern (if applicable).
  • Plan landing – Think about which direction you will approach from and where you will land.
  • Always fly from the flight box and take off and land away from any bystanders.