Super-size RC: Is bigger really better?

Super-size RC: Is bigger really better?

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 There’s an old saying that goes: “Bigger is Better” and for some RC modelers, this is a passion! The AMA and IMAA have rules and regulations for the safe building and operation of Giant Scale models under the 55 pound limit, and recently, the AMA has developed regulations for the truly amazingly big with a 125 pound limit. As our hobby develops and radios and engines become ultra-reliable, the sky’s the limit for projects never thought of before.

One example is Bill Hemple who has several kit available in the 50%, 60% and even bigger category. His J-3 Cub is extremely popular and there are even rumors of a 65% scale Fokker Triplane in the works!

Another example of how the truly giant scale projects should be done comes from Frank Tiano. The father of Top Gun, Florida Jets and the extremely popular Monster Planes events Frank has developed an awesome 1/3-scale P-47 Thunderbolt WW II fighter and it is the very example of proper design and function. Several of these highly developed and flight proven warbirds are in workshops around the country further pushing the limits of size in our hobby. With a keen eye on quality and proper execution, these examples and others are redefining the term “giant scale.”

So what do you think? Awesome, or Big Concern? we want to know what you think.

(Above) Bill Hemple 60% Cub uploaded by rhus3000
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 (Above) Video Courtesy of SKS Video Productions


Updated: April 18, 2012 — 12:58 PM


  1. To me they are starting to go beyond the concept of model aircraft. Some of the larger examples are hitting the point where they really are too big.

  2. All it’s going to take is one crash involving severe personal injury and the Super Giants are going to get a black eye they will not be able to live down. People will say; “If it was a regular model airplane, the injury would have been minor.”

  3. Bigger is better to a certain degree, but these people are going overboard

  4. Bigger is good, and it is cool to see these larger aircraft. We are pushing the envelope, however. I think the AMA rule of 125 lbs max is appropriate. (And that should be a “wet weight” of full up, fueled and ready to fly limit). After 55lbs, there should be increased redundancy in systems, as there is with larger aircraft.

    I am concerned about how the FAA will view this in the long run.

    If people are really interested in flying this large an aircraft – I invite them to go to Oshkosh and join EAA or AOPA, and investigate how to build the real thing. Its not that much different than building the models. Our country needs more pilots!

  5. Awesome ! If you have the means and desire, build it !

  6. What a buch of “naysayers” and fun-haters. You sound like a bunch of jealous old women, lighten up. Whatever someone enjoy’s let them enjoy it. It’s their money there are spending not yours. Man I just can’t believe how whiney some of you are. If you don’t have some little glow engine you are bad? Give it a rest and let them pursue their passion no matter what size it is.
    Maybe that’s you weak spot?? Size matters!!! hahaha

  7. I say fly what makes you happy. Hey if I had the bankroll for these beasts , I’d have one too.

  8. I think 1/4 scale is nice. It is not hard to find equipment and it is affordable. When you start doing 1/ 2 them you have got to have money. The average modeler just can not do it. However the way that foam models are improving and getting stromger we may see some great things happening in the near future. Personally as for safety and the FAA breathing down our necks we should be happy.

  9. I fly 40 size models and I want to keep the freedom to move up in size some day. I always do a pre-flight check. Each of my fellow club members, each have some type of pre-flight check. In general I have noticed that the larger the airplane is, the more detailed attention it gets, not only by the spectators but also by the pilot.

    Pilots who have hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars invested in their airplane, seem to be more meticulous in their pre-flight check. It’s as if the very fact that there is more at stake causes them to be more careful.

    More rules, which force us to do what comes natural, are not needed. Those among us that ignore safety, ignore the rules we already have. More rules won’t fix that. It may seem comforting when government agencies make rules that appear to protect us, but if we had rules that protected us from everything, we’d have the freedom to do nothing.

  10. wish i had the money to buy hempel

  11. Super Giants are absolutely fabulous, I only wish I could be in that league. Having said that I think there has to be strict control of their building and use. They require a level of build technology way beyond the abilities of most and I suspect flying skills in the same region. I sincerely hope there are no serious incidents that result in the banning of the big birds. Common sense must rule supreme in super giant flying.

  12. I think they’ve reached the point where it would be easier to buy a 152 Cessna and install a receiver and servos in it and fly it R/C.

    Oh, yes, it is indeed a BIG concern.


  14. As long as they draw the most attention, negative or positive, it wont stop. I’ll hear people complain about the size and then make a b-line straight to the larger models at a show. It can’t be helped. Bigger might not be better but it’s often much cooler.

  15. Too big creates a big concern.. We have enough trouble keeping flying fields with the 1/4 and 1/3 guys flying especially if doing 3d. This is a “model” sport. Many of these are bigger than real planes.

  16. My uncle sells coffee. He once told me that he thinks “iced coffee” is ridiculous but nonetheless it supports the industry.

  17. I am sorry but if you want to fly a big plane, go get a pilots rating and have fun. Super Large Planes like these can cause serious injuries and possible explosions if one should lose control or have a mechnical failure. If it were to crash into a house or into a car, AMA would have to regroup really fast to do damage control. This is a serious liability.


  19. TOP GUN

    I really enjoy the Scale Appearance of the larger size Aircraft that are on the Market,All though we do not want to destroy the giant scale catagory completely even though they are the size of almost the full scale aircraft,we have to set a limit to the size other wise it wouldn’t be in the appropiate scale range.


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