Arduino RC airplane


[Olivier] told us about this fantastic project where he built his own RC airplane. The airplane itself is nothing special, it is the controls that are worth paying attention to. He used an Arduino Diecemilla , some XBee transceivers, and a SparkFun Wee. The main site is a general overview, but there are links to more detailed breakdowns of how to build some of the parts. There are several videos of him flying it as well.


  1. tom says:

    I wonder how it compares with a futaba radio rig, esp. range and price. you could probably get good quality plastic shell with the levers for free if you ask around. actually , I think I will get one to control my next robot!

  2. Edward Nardella says:

    I would like to see a simple RC aircraft with a 3 axis accelerometer, magnometer, some kind of range finder pointed downward and a micro controller as a flying assist system so instead of direct control of the control surfaces the user just inputs altitude and speed (say with a slider) then desired direction with a dial (linked to a magnometer in the controller so the direction that they point the dial is equal to the direction the plane is pointing. That would be loads of fun to fly I think just for the fact that it is so easy.

    I guess a good start would be a RC car where you do the same thing without the altitude, has anyone seen something like that?

  3. charlie says:

    i had considered something similar. some of the new xbee modules have incredible range. best part is that you have as many channels as you want, and 2 way communication.

  4. nathangray says:

    I’m really curious about that price / distance comparison.

    See for community, discussion, etc.
    Their in-development boards have all sorts of features.

  5. Ed says:

    The main link is : custom 2.4GHz RC transmitter & receiver, complete w/ PCB and (compiled, to be Open Sourced) firmware, using XBee modules. Sounds like a very nice piece of work.

  6. tawan235 says:

    yes i like to plat rc airplane my site

  7. This paperplane is ingenius. I actually might have something at my store best flying rc airplanes is the name.

  8. obor says:

    There is now a website dedicated to this project, and its new versions:

  9. rc airplane says:

    This rc airplanes article is great!

  10. This is interesting rc airplanes article

  11. Build our own rc airplanes is one of best way in learn by doing, especially build rc airplanes

  12. Karol says:

    I wrote part of a program to stabilize the flight flying wing, but the response time is too long. I guess wrong reading the signal from the transmitter.How to reads the PWM signal? Servos work too slowly. Please help because no one has been able to help me on my university. where is the error? I have no idea. I do not know anyone who would be able to help me. Please answer the mail for more inf

  13. DaveB says:

    Control systems need some form of feedback. In the case of RC feedback is visual. The ‘pilot’ sees the response to the control input or the disturbance to the system. By the time the change in attitude is recognised, the disturbance has taken control. Therefore the pilot can over react and a disaster cycle can occur.
    The reaction time of servos should be adequate as designed. What is needed is a way of recognising the deviation in its very early stages. The sensor(s) will have to be onboard the craft. The sensor will have to ‘see’ the aircraft’s responses to the change in the control surfaces’ positions.
    How to integrate the control signals with the disturbance signals? Electro mechanical, use the RC RX to move servos that position the platform the disturbance sensore are on. Therefore, in roll, they bank the platform to port, the roll sensor sees the movement as a disturbance and bank the aircraft to starboard to compensate. Any other erratic or irregular disturbance is dealt with automatically.
    This potential solution will not suit purists who might insist on a wholly electronic/software solution to the problem. It is the solution used commercially for decades on full size aircraft.

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