What is R/C?

In the world of Radio Controlled Vehicles, RC can stand for remote control (remote controlled) or radio control (radio controlled). The meanings of the terms are slightly different but they are often used interchangeably.  Either term means FUN!

Radio Controlled Vehicles           

Scale model cars, trucks, and other vehicles that are controlled by a hand-held controller that sends radio signals to the vehicle are Radio Controlled Vehicles.

Truggy - A combination of a Monster truck and a 1/8 scale Buggy

Stadium truck - A small race truck powered by either nitro or electric power

Monster truck - A large, usually 4WD truck, with large wheels, long suspension travel, multi-speed trannys (usually), and a powerful engine. Usually Nitro, some are available in electric.

Buggy - A low slung, fast vehicle built for handling but not necessarily large jumps. Available in 1/8 scale (usually nitro powered) and 1/10 scale (usually electric).

 

How about some Drone 101

UAV, UAS:
Short for unmanned aerial vehicle and unmanned aircraft system. The terms describe flying objects that have no on-board pilot and are controlled from the ground or internally. These days, many are equipped with video cameras.

sUAS:
Short for small unmanned aircraft system, a term that generally describes battery-powered aircraft that can be picked up by one or two people.

sUAS:
Short for small unmanned aircraft system, a term that generally describes battery-powered aircraft that can be picked up by one or two people.

Drone:
A term for an unmanned aerial or underwater vehicle. The word is closely associated with the large UAVs used by the military and intelligence agencies to drop bombs, launch missiles and conduct surveillance. For that reason, most domestic UAV boosters do not use the term to describe their aircraft.

Quadcopter:
A common kind of sUAS that has four rotors oriented horizontally like a helicopter. Variants are hexacopters (six rotors) and octocopters (eight). 'Copter-style sUASs are the most popular because of their stability and ability to hover.

Line of sight:
Many sUAS's are line-of-sight machines, meaning the person controlling the device must be in direct sight of the aircraft so that radio signals can be transmitted back and forth. Most larger UAVs are not line-of-sight aircraft because the radio signals that control them are bounced off of satellites or manned aircraft.
Autonomous flight:
Some UAVs are controlled not by a human sending radio signals but by internal programming that tells it where to fly. For example, a UAV may use its on-board GPS system to fly from one predetermined point to another.

Collision avoidance:
Ideally UAVs, whether controlled by people or flying autonomously, will have collision avoidance systems to prevent them from flying into fixed objects or other aircraft. Much research is being done on this capability, which also is known as sense and avoid.
 
COAs:
Short for certificates of authorization, which are approvals to fly UAVs domestically granted by the FAA under existing rules. More than 100 have been issued to companies, universities and government agencies. Among them were Cornell University and the 174th Air National Guard unit at Syracuse.
 
Hobbyists:
Other than entities with COAs, only hobbyists or other noncommercial users may fly UAVs domestically at present. Their aircraft can't go over 400 feet in altitude and must be line-of-sight.
 
 

Basic R/C Terminology to get you started
ARF / ARTF:  
Almost Ready To Fly. This one's a legitimate abbreviation. An ARF airplane needs a few small finishing touches and you have to install the engine/motor and radio gear yourself. They vary in degrees of completeness, from manufacturer to manufacturer.
ARC:  
Almost Ready to Crash. An rc aircraft that knows something that the pilot is just about to find out.
Buddy Box:
one of the best training aids, where the student's transmitter is attached via cable to the instructor's. The student has complete control over the airplane, but at the flick of a switch the instructor can take control if the student gets into difficulties.
Brushes:
The part of an electric motor that delivers current from the motor leads to the commutator. They are stationary on the end bell, and must be replaced when they wear down
Brushless (BL):
A type of electric motor that does not use brushes. Instead of brushes, it has fixed windings on the motor can and rotating magnets on the motor shaft. It needs a special ESC, usually called a controller, to provide power.
Channel:
Two meanings for this in the rc world. First, it can be the number of channels that the model has, ei.  1 channel model may have just motor or rudder control while a 2 channel model will have motor and rudder, etc etc. Second, the channel number refers to the radio frequency which you're using, when using a MHz system. 2.4GHz systems don't utilise the same frequency channels.
Glow Plug:
A plug consisting of a coil of wire. It is placed in the cylinder head of an internal combustion engine and ignites fuel by means of heat from the coil.
Li-Po: 
Stands for lithium ion polymer battery. These are the most modern kind of battery pack being used in electric aircraft. They provide enormous amounts of power for their size, especially when used in conjunction with a brushless motor.
NiCD: 
Abbreviation for nickel cadmium, a type of metal used in rechargeable battery cell production. Also written as 'nicads', they are a form of rechargeable battery cell used in radio control gear as well as motor battery packs. NiCDs are being used less and less these days, as NiMH and Li-Po batteries take over.
NiMH:
Abbreviation for nickel metal hydride, the other type of material used in rechargeable batteries. They are the successors to NiCDs with much better performance and up to 3 times the capacity for an equally sized battery.
Nitro:
Fuel that you put into the fuel tank on a nitro vehicle. It contains nitromethane, oil, and methanol (methyl alcohol). It is available in various percentages of nitro and oil. For most applications, 20% nitro and 10-15% oil is used. Gasoline powered rcs are also available.
Receiver (RX):  
The small electronic device that receives signals from the TX and sends them to the servos/speed control. Also used to refer to the receiver crystal.
RTF
- Ready To Fly: RTF aircraft that can be assembled in minutes, usually it's a case of just strapping on the wing. RTFs are very popular these days.
Servo: An electric powered device to operate mechanical controls. Signal comes from the receiver and is typically used to move linkages such as rudder/steering.
Transmitter:
The device held by the pilot or driver of an RC powered vehicle. The device is used to convert manual input in to signals sent to the receiver.