Here is a quick glossary of common rc hobby terms to help you shop!


Ailerons are hinged control surfaces on planes that are located at the trailing edge of each wing.  Ailerons are used to increase or decrease the lift of the plane.  Ailerons move in opposite directions, to provide lift on one wing and decrease the lift on another.  This action ‘rolls’ the aircraft in the direction with the wing with the raised aileron, turning the aircraft. 


aka "almost-ready-to-fly" - this term describes the completion level of many of our RC Planes and Gliders.  It means that you still need to purchase additional items to get your model in the air.  For example, a radio, electronics and an engine or motor.


A BEC is a circuit that eliminates the need for a separate receiver battery by using the battery pack that can power the vehicle or aircraft and also power the servos. 


aka "Bind-N-fly fly" - this term describes the completion level of many of our RC Planes and Gliders.  

Buddy Box

A buddy box is another name for the “trainer mode” of a transmitter.  In trainer mode, a transmitter may be connected to another transmitter; one transmitter for the student and the other for the instructor.  The instructor's transmitter controls the radio controlled vehicle until the instructor holds down a switch, at which time, control is transferred to the student's transmitter until the instructor releases the switch.  Using a buddy box system is the preferred way to instruct new airplane pilots. 

CA Glue

CA stands for “cyanoacrylate”.  Cyanoacrylate glue is more commonly referred to as super glue outside of RC hobbies.  This glue is fast drying and works well on wood, most plastics and other building materials. However, it should not be used on foam surfaces, due to the damage that can be caused. 


CCPM stands for cyclic collective pitch mixing.  This is the relationship between cyclic and collective controls that are electronically mixed 

Collective Pitch

The collective pitch refers to the change in pitch that is applied equally to all of the main rotor blades on a helicopter; thus changing the amount of thrust generated by the main rotor blades.  This will be recorded as either a positive or negative pitch. 


This is a measure of a battery’s discharge rate.  


The cyclic control on a helicopter allows pilots to change the tilt of the main rotor.  This allows for the lateral (roll) and fore/aft (pitch) movement of the helicopter. 


DMSS stands for “Dual Modulation Spectrum System.”  This is a type of radio protocol for JR Propo radio products.  DMSS combines the best features of Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) and Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) protocols.  FHSS is great for avoiding interference and DSSS offers high response.  JR DMSS combines both these attributes and offers both frequency hopping and high response  .


This stands for “Direct Sequence Modulation 2.”  It is a radio protocol developed by Spektrum to transmit radio frequency to a receiver.  


This stands for “Direct Sequence Modulation X.”  This is the latest protocol developed by Spektrum to transmit radio frequency to a receiver. 


A plane’s elevator control is located at the rear of the aircraft and increases or decreases the lift, by raising, or lowering, the nose of the plane.  This allows the plane to rotate about its pitch axis. 


ESC stands for “Electronic Speed Control.”  ESCs are devices that control the throttle function on electric surface vehicles and aircraft. Some ESCs come with an automatic shut-off feature that simply shuts the motor down if the voltage in the battery becomes too low. This is done to conserve power for servos that operate the control surfaces (usually on aircraft).  

Flex Shaft

A flex shaft is a wound wire shaft used in boats to drive the propeller. The stranded wire allows the shaft to follow a curved path. 

Hydro Lock

This is a phenomenon common to internal combustion engines, where the air and fuel mixture is too rich (for example, when there is too much fuel).  Because of this, the unburned fuel is trapped between the cylinder head and the piston, causing the engine mechanism to lock due to excessive hydraulic pressure.  A common solution to this problem is to remove the glow plug, disconnect the fuel line and crank the engine using a starter or ratchet.  Trying to run or start a flooded engine may cause permanent damage


The KV value is the speed the motor need to turn so it produces 1V of counter-electromotive force.


The lithium iron phosphate battery is a type of rechargeable battery, specifically a lithium-ion battery, which uses LiFePO4 as a cathode material.


LiPo refers to lithium polymer batteries.  These rechargeable batteries are usually composed of several identical secondary cells that run parallel to each other.  This increases the discharge current capability.  LiPo batteries are often available in series "packs" to increase the total available voltage


This is the abbreviation of milliamp hour; a measure of a battery’s total capacity.


A nickel metal hydride battery, abbreviated NiMH, is a type of rechargeable battery similar to a nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery.  They key difference is that it has a hydride absorbing alloy for the anode instead of cadmium.  Given that cadmium is an environmental hazard; NiMH batteries are less detrimental.


Nitro is an additive to methanol fuel to ensure that it can run in all nitro engines.  This additive can contain 5-50% nitro methane.


The pitch measurement refers to how much lift a helicopter can achieve with a particular rotor system.  The higher the pitch (up to a certain point), the more lift the helicopter will gain.


RF is an abbreviation of “radio frequency”. .


aka "ready-to-fly" - this term describes rc planes that come with everything you need to get your model plane or RC helicopter in the air, in the box!  Even AA batteries in most instances.  This is a perfect type of aircraft for beginners or to give as a gift.


A rudder is primary device on a boat responsible for controlling the vessel’s direction.  On airplanes, the rudder is also used to control yaw (the shifting of the plane left and right). 

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