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RC Gas Airplane


RC Gas Airplanes are just another way to say internal combustion engine. In the exciting world of radio controlled airplanes, there are basically two main types of internal combustion engines (gas airplanes). Those two types are glow engines and well...glow engines. So I lied and there's only one main rc gas airplane type.

The main thing to know about glow engines is that they require something called a "glow plug". The glow plug is similar to a spark plug in that it is used to ignite fuel and kick start the engine into action. Ignition is created with a durable platinum helical wire filament located at the tip of the plug, sort of recessed in there. An electrical current runs through the filament, which heats it up and causes it to glow and then ignite the fuel.

Glow Fuel: Of course, you can't have a gas rc airplane without fuel, and in this case it uses "Glow Fuel" which usually consists of methanol and different degrees of nitromethane as an oxidizer that allows for more power. These are suspended in a base of oil, usually either synthetic oil or castor oil (or sometimes a mixture of both). The oils are used for heat control, and of course, for lubricant.

Glow Engine Trivia: It may not be self evident, but glow engines are technically very similar to ordinary, regular diesel engines and to some extent, hot bulb engines. Glow plug engines can be either two cycle or four cycle. I know what you're thinking...which is more powerful? Actually, two cycle engines produce more power. The trade off is that four stroke engines are less noisy but at the same time have a more realistic sound, and they also have more low end torque.

Consider This: You may need something that's called a "turbo plug" depending on the type of engine you use. You wouldn't ever use a turbo plug in a regular standard engine, only in a turbo engine. Interestingly enough (and on a completely non-related subject), you may need a different plug depending on the weather. The hotter the day, the colder the plug that you'll need. On the other hand, a colder plug can produce more power if an engine runs hot. Be careful though since plugs can get really hot (sometimes white hot) and removing them while hot is a really good way to burn yourself!

You can burn through plugs quickly and easily. They can have a very limited lifespan so be sure to always have several of them sitting around in case you need them. There are several things that can reduce the effective lifetime of a plug including over-leaning an engine by raising operating temperatures. Not surprisingly, this can burn up a plug. Further, some connectors for glow plugs can sometimes short curcuit, which damages the batteries, and can even cause them to explode. Be sure to watch out for that!

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