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R/C modeling terms and expressions

Terms and expressions used at the flying field. What do they really mean?

Have you ever heard a term or expression and stopped to ponder, what do they really mean by that?  Well I have and the flying field is one of my favorite places to scrutinize things people say and the monikers we’ve given things.

Well here is my short list of modeling terms and expressions that make me go Hmmm?


“Heads up”- What the person really means is heads down.

“My plane had a bad crash” – Don’t know about you but I’ve never had a ‘good’ crash.

“My plane crashed, but suffered no damage”- Any time a plane stops flying and sustains zero damage, that’s a landing regardless of where and how it happened.

“This plane has unlimited vertical” – Wow! NASA would really like to see that, a model airplane that generates enough velocity to escape earth’s gravity and enter outer space?

“Can I take off now?” – I don’t know if you’re capable?

“This plane fly’s awfully nice”- Which is it, awful or nice?

“My plane was completely destroyed in the crash” – Destroyed does literally mean: To ruin completely.

“I would only recommend this plane to advanced beginners” – Well there’s certainly an oxymoron if I heard one.

Safety fence – Isn’t it really an “Unsafety fence”? If we were all actively behaving safe it wouldn’t be necessary.

3-D maneuvers – Granted I did not study physics but isn’t all flight three dimensional?  Why does one particular style get this moniker?

Model airplane – Shouldn’t we really be calling what we fly miniature or representation aircraft? Is it not the full scale aircraft that is used as a model to build the miniature version?

“I built an ARF” – Go ahead and call me nit picky on terminology but ARFs (Almost Ready to Fly) planes come already built. One just assembles it.

“My engine stalled” – First rule of aviation:  Wings stall, engines quit!

“My airplane tip stalled” – Many modelers use this term to describe when the plane suddenly rolls during flight with no input. Granted a stall did occur but the action of the plane was a SPIN! May not be a fully developed rotational spin but rather what is called an incipient spin. Regardless it is still a spin.


Do you have any terms or expressions to add to the list? Maybe you have an issue with the ‘analysis’ of one or two that I listed? The “speak your mind” section is open and ready for your additions and/or comments. Fire away.




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  1. Love the terms, and I agree completely.

    My favorite dumb term is, “Re-Maiden”.
    Forgive me, but, a maiden flight is the first time an aircraft flys. If you have a crash and then repair it to fly again, it is called a ” Post Repair Test Flight”.
    A maiden flight can only take place ONCE.
    You only lose your virginity once, no matter how long it is between drinks, you don’t re-lose it… you?

  2. Good one Rob! Love the analogy. 🙂

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