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The Most Complete List Of Model Aircraft

Updated on December 10, 2012

The purpose of this page is to introduce you to all the types and wonderful "creatures" of model aviation. When most people hear "model aircraft" all they can think about is some simple paper airplane or a radio controlled toy. Well, model aircraf can be a lot more than this! Learn more by reading this page, see what great variety of models you can build or collect and find your passion!

RC Aircraft

RC stands for "radio controlled" or sometimes "remote controlled" airplanes. These are between the most popular model airplanes nowadays, kids love them because... well, because they can control them remotely.

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These airplanes can be powered by electricity or gas and some of them are categorized as "micro" because they are very small. But don't think just airplanes. RC aircraft can be:

  • Airplanes
  • Helicopters
  • Jets
  • Gyrocopters
  • Blimps and balloons
  • Gliders

RC aircraft are usually sold as RTF (Ready to fly) or ARF (Almost ready to fly) form.

Paper Airplanes

Paper airplanes are the easiest kind of model aircraft. You can get any sheet of paper and create a model airplane in 2-3 minutes. This is if you follow the well known Origami craft and build it by it's principles (a single sheet and only folding).

Paper however can be used to build a lot of more complex aircraft from multiple (sometimes hundreds!) of parts, involving a lot of cutting, joining, sticking and painting.

People also build rockets, spaceships and helicopters from paper.

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Click on the link to learn how to make paper airplanes.

Static Scale Models

This is a large category of model aircraft, and it contains those that you can see in some manager's offices. Typically these models present a real commercial airliner or military aircraft scaled at 1:144, 1:72, 1:48, 1:32 or 1:24.

These models are most often made of plastic, but sometimes also from balsa wood or metal.

Such model airplanes don't fly and their purpose is only to show how the real aircraft looks.

Usually static scale models are sold in kits, painted or unpainted.

Free Flight Model Aircrraft

Yes, these are flying! They are powered in different ways:

  • By gas
  • By electricy
  • By rubber band
  • Unpowered (thrown by hand)

But the common thing for all of them is that they are not connected or controlled from the ground.

These airplanes do not represent real aircraft regardless the fact that many of them use names of real airplanes. Instead of being picky about the details these airplane models focus on one main thing: aerodynamics and ability to fly long and well.

Learn everything about them.

Model Spacecraft

Spacecraft? Why not!. Why technically they are not aircraft they still do fly and inspire most of the model aviation fans, sometimes even more than the airplanes.

Most of these models fall into static scale category and present real vehicles in details and color. It's understandable why they don't fly - it's not an easy to mimick the flight of a spaceship in air. Most of them are sold in kit form for the entusiasts to assemble.

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Some of the real die-hard hobbyists develop such models from scratch, after obtaining a scale drawings of the original spacecraft. Exciting!

Here is a gallery of lovely model spacecraft.

Model Rockets

Model rocketry is often considered a different hobby because of the speicfics of model reockets and large variety of them. Still rockets are aircraft so I believe they have their place here!

Model rockets are usually powered by a motor and launched from a launch base. Most often after flight they are recovered by parachute or other recovery methods.

This hobby connects people from all over the world and there are many associations and organizations for model rocketry.

It's a large topic. If you feel interested in it I suggest you read this beginner's guide.

(photo credit)

Control Line Airplanes

Control Line Airplanes are very similar to free flight but the aircraft is connected to the hobbyist by a pair of control wires. This is a simple and time-proof mechanism and this kind of airplanes have won a lot of fans over the years.

Plastic or balsa wood are the preferred materials for building these airplanes and aerodynamics has higher priority than realism in the shapes.

Here you can learn what exactly a control line is.

Large Models

People who love large model aircraft have even their associations. What's considered a large model? Everything significantly larger than a span. Some of these models are large enough for a kid to sit inside (they won't fly with the kit though).

Here is a page listing many nice large models. Click on the links in the table to see pictures (usually the pictures include humans so you can compare the size of the models visually.

This sums up the entire list of different types of model airplanes. If I have missed anything I'll be glad to hear! If you want to make some of them yourself, check also this hub.


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