Aircraft completion level “Lingo” that is useful to know before you go shopping:
Model aircraft may be purchased in a number of different levels of completeness. Below is a listing of the most common levels. First time buyers should probably purchase aircraft in the RTF, BNF, and PNP categories, and seek guidance from experienced modelers before buying.
RTF– (Ready-To-Fly) – This type of aircraft comes completely equipped. All the purchaser needs is field equipment and some basic assembly skills.
BNF – (Bind-and-Fly) – This type of aircraft comes completely equipped, except for the radio transmitter. Assembly of this type of aircraft typically only requires basic assembly skills.
PNP – (Plug-and-Play) – This type of aircraft comes completely equipped, except for the receiver and transmitter. Assembly of this type of aircraft typically only requires basic knowledge of radio systems and assembly skills.
ARF – (Almost-Ready-To-Fly) – In the box comes only the airframe; no engine or radio equipment is supplied. This allows the buyer to choose his/her own equipment for the aircraft. Assembling this type of aircraft requires significant experience with power, radio, and control systems.
Kit-built – In the box you will find an instruction manual and many little pieces of pre-cut wood. This allows the builder to construct their own airframe and cover the bare wood in a custom color scheme. This type is definitely for the experienced modeler!
Scratch-built – This involves building an aircraft from scale drawings/plans using individually purchased wood and hardware. This type of aircraft construction is for the advanced modeler.
Now, after buying your first aircraft, these are some key points that you should ALWAYS follow:
• When you start assembling the aircraft, always follow all of the instructions. Just because you think that a part isn’t important, generally it is!
• If you are unsure of a way to put together a certain item on the aircraft or just need help, do not hesitate to call your instructor. Most of the time, they are nice people and are willing to help! Many things in r/c are confusing; choosing an experienced instructor is the answer!
• There are a number of different brands and types of radio equipment (i.e., transmitters and receivers) available on the market today. Be sure to inform your instructor, well in advance, as to your brand and type to insure that the instructor can have a compatible “buddy” system at the flying field.
• Before heading to the flying field, it is important to understand the Club’s, the AMA’s, and the FAA’s flying rules and requirements (see the “Rules and Requirement” page). If any of the rules or requirements are unclear, be sure to ask your instructor for clarification.
• Make sure that your instructor double-checks all areas of the aircraft before the “maiden flight.” Things that you are not familiar with such as control throws, center of gravity, and so forth are items of high importance. If an instructor does not check these things, consider getting a new instructor!