I started flying RC planes more than two decades ago. Thanks to my studies I soon got interested in designing my own models, fascinated by the engineering solutions in other modeller’s projects. Probably most of our RC planes designs will never go beyond drafts on paper, but here you can see the ones which made it to the air. Furthermore, you can follow the progress of the future ones from the first conceptual studies through the building phase. Eventually, you’ll see them take it to the skies with pictures and video from the field.
My first plane was a motorglider, the Aviomodelli Rondone. It had a 0,25 glow engine (around which I later started designing the A1-A) and a wingspan of 205cm. It wasn’t the most exciting plane available but It got the job done by teaching me the basics of RC flying (and I crashed it a few times in the process).
After that I inherited an old funfly from my teacher, learning the ropes of aerobatic flying on its 0,34 engine before I moved to better planes. I then started building a Kosmo 3 Special, a vintage F3A plane, and got an ARC Jupiter. The latter soon became my favourite plane. The Jupiter was so easy to fly, nice to see both in the air and on the ground, it was just perfect. Unfortunately, I lost it due to a faulty battery and I missed it since. I kept flying the Kosmo 3S and a new Ripmax Extra Fun Fly until I had to take a forced break from the hobby in my high school years.
During the years I started several RC plane projects, based on the needs I and my friends had at the moment. The subjects varied greatly, from a balsa and plywood replica of the Jupiter (with fireworks launching and bomb dropping options) to complex canard jet prototypes, passing through second World War fighters and aerobatic sport planes. While I still keep all the notes and drafts, only one has become an actual RC plane so far, the A1-C Juliet. Its evolution, the A1-D Juliet2, is a fresh design which flew in 2019, and this year we are going to build and fly the all new Juliet3, probably ending this little “dynasty” of models. Next year will also see the birth of a completely new project, the C18 Twin Beech, a semi-scale replica of the legendary twin-engine transport plane. You can see our RC planes by clicking on the links on the right.
The market for R/c planes in Italy has changed a lot since I started to get involved with it. In the beginning everything was orbiting around the local hobby shop. Most of the modelers were building their own planes or buying kits, so was normal to find all the accessories needed or, in the worst case, have to order them by post from some of those catalogs you could get at the rc airshows. Nowadays, we have the powerful tools of online shopping on our side. But is it really easier?
The incredible quantity of options available is sometimes overwhelming, and often the best source for one article doesn’t have all you need, or it does, but is not convenient on the full shopping list. This is especially true for people like me still scratchbuilding their models, as we need good quality wood, tools, materials and all the hardware. To complicate things further, lots of local shops have closed or have heavily reduced their stocks, so usually it’s necessary to gauge the quality of an item based only on pictures and reviews from fellow modelers.
Here below there are the main sources of parts and materials for our planes. Besides these three websites, I sometimes found good deals for materials like resins or carbon fiber on Amazon, Ebay or Aliexpress. It takes a lot of research, and sometimes a bit of luck to find good deals, but the possibilities we have now are almost endless.