Model plane building is a popular hobby in many parts of the world. The kits available in the market and online come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, with some even giving the hobbyist a chance to customize their creations.
There are also some model plane enthusiasts that take their hobby to the next level. They have vast collections of every conceivable type of model plane, or perhaps they focus more on miniature planes. On the other hand, there’s also a lot of interest in large-scale model airplanes, some of which can even fly.
Whether you’ve just gotten into the hobby of model plane making or are looking for tips on turning your garage into a hobby space, it’s always interesting to look up the largest model airplanes out there. Let’s discuss these planes in some detail now:
The Large Model Association
The Large Model Association of LMA is a UK-based organization. It consists of members who have interests in designing, assembling, and even flying large model aircrafts. They have their own website with details and information about their various activities. They have public displays of their aircraft, along with other events such as meet and greets, seminars, etc. The website also has details about how one can become a member of the LMA and about their trainer models as well as other kinds of merchandise.
LMA events help to gather funds for several charities and also contribute to the development of aeromodelling. There are many articles, pictures, and maps on the site, but they are mostly under the copyrights of the association or private individuals. Anyone can copy the pictures, text, and maps for personal use, but permission is required before using them for commercial purposes. There could be a fee for such usage, and a fine for using them without permission.
Factory Direct Models
Factory Direct Models are those models that you can purchase straight from the manufacturer instead of through a platform. Many large model airplanes are sold this way, with their displays being on exhibit all over the world. The sizes of these planes can range from 3 feet to full scale.
Factory Direct model manufacturers can make a large exhibit model with all the fine details, as long as they have the required specifications and the manufacturer blueprints. FDM is also available for customizing a corporate display, full trade show, or any other event. This should give you an answer to just how big the hobby industry is.
Each large model airplane is carefully engineered and custom-manufactured to the exact requirements of the customer. They can also display the logo of a certain brand or company, which will leave a memorable impression in museums, conventions, military bases, and airshows.
The Largest Remote-Controlled Airplanes in the World
There’s a whole industry for model airplanes that can be remote-controlled as well. They’re part of the aerospace engineering sector, but on a smaller scale. For now, one of the largest RC airplanes in the world is a replica Concorde model. It’s built on a scale of 1 to 6, which means it’s six times smaller than the original. This model was built and designed by the duo of Steven and Matthew Bishop. The wingspan here is around 13 feet, while the length is 33 feet and the height is 6.1 feet. At takeoff, this RC plane weighs around 328 pounds, with 4 four JetCat P300 Pro engines powering it.
Another example is the RC model for the ‘Superfortress’ WW2 B-50. This model plane managed to be featured in the newspapers within the United Kingdom. It cost around £8,000 to make, and is so large that it’s only able to stay in the air for about 8 minutes. Its weight is around a hundred pounds, but the 20-feet wingspan makes it large enough to fall under the classification of a light aircraft. This is under the Civil Aviation Authority in the U.K.
In 2009, the largest model aircraft in the world according to wingspan was the KU4 Austria 1932, which is also nicknamed ‘elephant’.
This aircraft has a wingspan of about 15 meters or 49 feet, 2 inches. Markus Frey from Switzerland constructed this model. On 8th May, 2009, this model plane had its first flight located at the 5632 Buttwill (AG) airfield in Switzerland. The length of the ‘elephant’ plane is around 14.8 feet and it stands at a height of 3.2 feet. Its weight is around 155 to 165 pounds. When it was flown in the beginning, it reached a height of around 300-500 feet.
Other Examples of Large Model RC Airplanes
Apart from the largest examples above, here are some large model airplanes that are worth a mention:
1. Airbus A-380 Model by Peter Michel
This is an impressive RC model of one of the largest airplanes we have today. It’s built on a scale of 1:15, and measures about 16 feet long. The wingspan is 17 feet, and the body is made of balsa wood, Styrofoam, and a couple of other materials. According to Peter Michel, its creator and designer, this plane took over 5,000 to make. This means that he was working on the model for at least eight months.
The engines powering this model are JET CAT P 120 Je 12kp Standschub models. There’s even a fuel tank with a volume of 2.6 gallons, utilizing 0.3 gallons per minute. This makes enough fuel in a full tank for the plane to fly a little more than eight minutes.
2. Antonov AN-225 Model on a 1:16 Scale
This is another very large RC plane, weighing around 206 pounds in tidal. It has a 19 feet wingspan, with a 17-feet length. It’s powered with a combination of Behotec JB-180 and 90er EDF 6s engines. When these two are put together, they produce around 104 pounds of thrust. This is more than enough for propelling the model plane through the air.
3. The H1 Raced Model by Aero Telemetry
This is a 1:2 scale model and was both built and designed by Aero telemetry. It was built with custom hydraulics, using mostly composite materials.
This large half scale RC aircraft has a two-cylinder, two stroke, 350cc, 30 hp engine to power it. The engineers who designed this plane had instructions to make a unique exhaust system. They also made modifications to the carburetor so that it could give as much power as possible.
4. The Pitts Python Biplane Model by Gregg Hayfield
This model was built on a scale of 7:8, which makes it almost as large as the real thing. It took around five years to make, as the designer and builder Gregg Hayfield started it from scratch.
The engine here is a 650cc flat twin, with a 3-blade propeller measuring 64 inches. The weight of the model plane is around 305 pounds.
5. RC Boeing 747-400 by Adi Pitz
This model plane is on a 1:13 scale and is modeled after the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400. It has a wingspan of 16.24 feet,, a length of 17.8 feet, and weighs about 150 pounds. 4 IQ Hammer 140 turbine engines power this device, which give a 30.9-pound thrust to launch it into the skies.
The creator behind this impressive model plane is Adi Pitz. According to him, making this plane took ar0und 2,000 hours. There was great attention to details with this particular model, as it even comes with landing gear that works properly and even retracts when the plane is in flight. The RC pilot Rainer Kamitz flew this plane on its first flight in Oppingen, a neighborhood located in Germany.
6. The RC Fokker DR1 Model by Steve Carr
This is a huge RC plane, with a 65 percent scale of the Fokker DR1 triplane. Its wingspan is 16 feet, while the engine is another 550cc scale model that was also designed by Steve Carr. The large size of this plane means that it required 4 Multiplex receivers and 13 Hitec 44kg servos to take off and stay airborne.
7. The RC Stearman N2S-4 Model by YouTuber elimay421
This model was built on a 1:3 scale and is considered to be one of the most beautiful ones out there. It was made by a YouTuber and is powered using a Seidel UMS ST 7-250B engine.
The real-life version of this airplane is a Navy version of the Boeing Model 75. It’s a biplane that was meant to be a trainer aircraft. There were around 10,500 of them manufactured in the 1930s and 1940s.
There’s a lot we can learn from planes of any kind. In fact, here’s a breakdown of how even paper airplanes can be a useful teaching tool. The RC planes we’ve discussed above are also a very useful endeavor along with being an interesting activity. From these models, we might be able to work out how to best utilize resources and increase fuel efficiency in regular airplanes. There’s also no denying that it’s fun to look at these models and learn more about the planes they were based on.