Arduino RC airplane

From farm to table

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Building a complete system (bear in mind I'm a hobbyist)

Basics (flying)

SI4432 radio module (1,5Km range (doubtful))
9g servos
motor + ESC
various bits and bobs, resistors, transistors and so on and so forth
sensors (phase 2)

Mission plan:

Phase 1 (Make a flying R/C vehicle)

  • Borrow and adapt an existing foam design for a testbed
  • develop the remote system (unidirectional) using premade radio modules
    • controller (pitch+yaw+roll+throttle)
    • receiver
  • radio specific things, comms "protocol"
  • sourcing an appropriate engine+propeller combo
  • sourcing batteries

Phase 1 Testing

  • General systems testing
    • Radio functionality and range
    • comms degradation with distance and movement
  • conduct a successful test flight
  • Test weights(max takeoff, empty) , flight time

Phase 2 (improvement)

  • develop the RC system into a bidirectional system
    • adapt existing system , "protocol"
    • test send/receive
  • sensors package
    • sensor choice
    • sensors integration and data collection/display


a 1:2 scale document detailing measurements of the various fuselage and wing parts

Adobe Portable Document Format - 61.53 kB - 07/06/2016 at 11:37



a 1:4 scale drawing of all the main parts of the body

application/pdf - 23.30 kB - 06/29/2016 at 23:34



A diagram (WIP) for the baseboard traces.currently built with perfboard+solder bridges

Adobe Portable Document Format - 11.89 kB - 06/28/2016 at 14:25


Pinouts - conectores.txt

txt file describing the connector layout for the arduino-radio interface

plain - 521.00 bytes - 06/27/2016 at 17:05


  • 2 × Arduino pro mini 3.3v
  • 2 × Si4432 radio module
  • 2 × Perfboard
  • 1 × various electronics components (resistors, caps etcetera)
  • 1 × BLDC motor + esc

View all 6 components

  • First issues

    0xF07/06/2016 at 13:08 0 comments

    So apparently the radios I bought hate me, and have yet to figure out why. If it's beyond me, I'll order different parts and hope future me is a more knowledgeable person.

    On the mechanical front, updated the plans to reflect design changes in the overall plane, especially the wings. Links below for the (several) papers I've gone through to inform those decisions.

    I figured that stability should be the major concern for the design, seconded by efficiency in flight, which are being addressed respectively by wing design and streamlining the fuselage design.

    There will also be a short sequence of tests I'm preparing to assess the performance of electrical systems; namely

    • static thrust
    • servo response times and jitter
    • battery duration at various thrust profiles

    I've also been having some interesting ideas for the controller design and ergonomics, which I hope to try out as soon as the design is more mature.


    "The road to wisdom? well it's plain and simple to express: Err and err and err again, but less and less and less" -Piet Hein

  • <Updates Furiously>

    0xF06/29/2016 at 23:00 0 comments

    Added two scaled drawings of the fuselage-to-be, after adapting the earlier referred to plans and mashing some other stuff in.

    Will probably still modify if, it is by no means a finished design.

    In the electronics front, will order a motor (BLDC, 12v, 2200 Krpm per volt) + 30 A rated ESC from our good friends from shenzen or nearby.

    Battery will probably be sourced from cell phones or the like.

    Will start (and hopefully finish) building the actual aircraft in the next week(s)

    Soldered enough of the main boards of the plane and controller to start testing the radios and control protocols. Coding ensues.

  • Delicious data

    0xF06/27/2016 at 23:34 1 comment

    Data(very rough numbers)

    XPS foam density (fuselage) - 28 to 45 Kg/m3 (lets say 35)

    thrust (expected) - 800 to 1200g

    electronics weight - about 250g

    • 70g motor
    • 100g batteries
    • 50g servos
    • 30g everything else (wires, boards)

    estimated from the design files:

    • empty fuselage weight - 500g
    • main wing area - 0.21 m2
    • rear wing area - 0.04 m2
    • bottom area - 0.04m2
    • total lifting area - 0.29m2

    Design targets

    • wing loading - 1500g/m2
    • weight - 800 to 1000g

    we're ate:

    • 250g max payload which is OK
    • 2760 to 3500 g/m2 wing load which needs addressing
    • 0.8 to 1.2 TWR which is so-so

  • Research - pt1

    0xF06/27/2016 at 19:32 0 comments

    For the airplane body, I want to select early on a fuselage design to adapt to the project. The requirements are malleable right now, but I do want some payload capability and easy handling characteristics.

    carrying capacity depends on the wing loading and thrust , and interferes with the center of gravity, so a design with a large(r) wing surface is necessary. thrust depends on the motor which feeds from the batteries which requires further analysis to find the optimal setup (diminishing returns and all that).

    With all that in mind, I've selected the STS seaplane (minus the seaplane) from user WaterDog at

    as a primary choice. it is a simple design, doesn't require fussing too much and the plans are comprehensible. plus since the wings are a simple shape, they can be extended to support heavier craft and moved forwards and backwards to adjust the center of lift. I also like the way it looks.

    As for the motors and ESC, I'm looking into CD-rom motors

    I do appreciate any input

    "The bluebird carries the sky on its back"

    -Henry David Thoreau

View all 4 project logs

Enjoy this project?



cookins wrote 09/21/2017 at 12:15 point

I will wait for si4432 programming...

  Are you sure? yes | no

Orlando Hoilett wrote 06/28/2016 at 00:58 point

Are you sure you don't want DC motors instead of servo motors? Servo motors are really for hinge joints (at least the 180 degree servos are).

  Are you sure? yes | no

0xF wrote 06/28/2016 at 10:03 point

Thanks for the comment

Actually I'll be using both; the DC motor is for driving the propeller, I already have the servos to move the control surfaces.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Orlando Hoilett wrote 06/28/2016 at 00:57 point

Cool. I'm really interested to see how this turns out. Have fun!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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