Building A Giant Remote Controlled Model Airbus A380 In A Year

A year ago [Ramy RC] set out on a momentous challenge: to build a 1:21 scale Airbus A380-800 RC model with functional engines, landing gear and all other details. Recently he finished the project and published a video with a summary of the whole build process (also linked below). The full video series can be found on the Ramy RC channel. The final RC airplane came out at a massive wingspan of 3.9 meters (12.7′), a length of 3.6 meters (11.8′) and a weight of 25 kg. This weight is carried by the full landing gear of multiple bogeys that can retract much like on the real airplane.

A range of materials were used for the body, including carbon fiber and wood, with each part carefully modeled with CAD software and 3D-printed or cut on a CNC cutter. Four ducted fans provide the propulsive power that lift this enormous model airplane into the skies, which is the only part where the noise profile doesn’t quite match that of the real A380. Even so, seeing the airplane taxing, taking off and flying through the skies makes you look twice to realize that it is in fact a scale model and not a real Emirates A380-800, also courtesy of the excruciating amount of detail to the model’s final look, down from the logos to the silver-grey lines.

We’re also quite convinced that the maiden flight of such an exquisite model has to be one of the most terrifying experiences imaginable.

21 thoughts on “Building A Giant Remote Controlled Model Airbus A380 In A Year

  1. It’s an impressive beast! Large scale RC flights turn heads. I used to fly RC decades ago and beginners fears were mitigated somewhat by having the student’s transmitter linked to the instructor’s transmitter as a ‘buddy box’ system. The instructor would hold down a button on his unit, allowing the student to take control. I suppose they still have that scheme?

    1. Yes, we still use that scheme. Works well. Save a lot of money, and faster to solo this way :) . Simulators also help a lot too. But nothing like having an instructor to get you out of trouble.

    1. I tried.

      I burned down more electronics on the bench than RC stuff at the field.

      Tip: You can combine both hobbies and burn down electronics AND RC stuff, e.g. by a fast field “repair” of a LiPoly fast charger… Which turned out to not work as expected.


  2. I wonder how long it will be until an Airbus modeler incorporates the Airbus flight control laws into their model.

    When everything is going swimmingly in an Airbus, (called ‘normal law’), control stick movements don’t command control surface movement, they command a desired flight path. The computer then figures out what control surface movement will generate the desired path, and also places limits on pitch and roll angles, g loading, angle of attack, etc.

    I guess if someone pulls it off they’ll be doing fly-by-wire-wirelessly.

  3. How close would you have to be to visually mistake the model to a real airplane?

    If it’s 1:21 then you have to be pretty close. 2 km away the airplane looks similar as the model at 100 meters, but at 100 m you can still see enough details and hear the noise, and it moves way too fast to be a real big airplane.

  4. Fab build, but cheaped out on engines. In for a penny, in for a pound.
    Pretty ghetto to use EDF’s.
    “shoulda” used real jet turbines (ie. JetCat, Wren, etc).
    More cost, but adds street cred, hearing those sweet turbines spool up.
    Nothing like the smell of – kerosene in the morning.

    1. Didn’t know you were bankrolling the build, Mr. Deep Pockets. “Should have used real gold for the plumbing and real diamonds in the light fixtures, but I am just going to trash the build because he didn’t use real platinum in the turbines.”

      Come on dude. If you have such expensive standards of authenticity, pay for the build yourself. But don’t dump on somebody else’s hard work just because you’re not willing to put your own money where your mouth is.

  5. Yes, this is an amazing build, but can we all just take a moment to appreciate the consistent use of proper tools for nearly everything he does and that he doesn’t shortcut anything at all? The custom harnesses are fantastic and something I always like seeing in projects. Too many times people just hack together wiring for otherwise really nice projects which just takes away from the whole project. This whole build, the technique, precision design, execution, and end result, is seriously impressive at a level I have not seen in quite some time.

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