How Fast Is My Radio Controlled Airplane?

RC timing course layout

Set up a simple 176 yard course.
Set up a simple 176 yard course.

The Calculation

  1. Set up a timing course as shown in the diagram. As one person flies the plane between the pylons, a second times the plane from the first to second flag.
  2. The 176 yard course is 1/10th of one mile. Multiply the timing by 10 to get the number of seconds the plane would take to fly one mile. If, for instance, it takes your plane 15 seconds to fly the 176 yard course, multiply 15 x 10. You get 150 seconds for your plane to fly a mile. Note, if you're short on space you can set up an 88 yard course and multiply by 20.
  3. Next divide 3600 (the number of seconds in an hour) by the number of seconds your plane would take to fly a mile.
  4. In our example 3600 ÷ 150 = 24 miles per hour. Now you have the plane's speed in miles per hour.

Here's another example where the timing includes a fraction of a second.

  • If the plane flew between the markers in 4.2 seconds, multiply by ten and you get 42 seconds for it to cover a mile.
  • Divide 3600 by 42 and you get 85.7 miles per hour.

That's one fast radio controlled model airplane.

© by Tom King

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