Quick Shop Tips — Transmitter Tricks

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Quick Shop Tips — Transmitter Tricks

Readers of our magazines are always coming up with useful tricks of the trades to get the most out of the hobby. Maximizing safety and convenience is often very easy. Check these out.

Throttle Safety

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Quick Shop Tips — Transmitter Tricks

When you fire up your radio and then turn on your model’s receiver, you always want to have the throttle set at the full off (idle) position. This is especially important for electric models. One of the simplest ways to keep that throttle stick in the safe position is to use a rubberbands to hold the stick down. Easy and safe.

Michael C. Beckmann, Kokomo, IN

Quick ID Check

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Quick Shop Tips — Transmitter Tricks

If you have been in the hobby for a while, chances are you have a few radio systems spread over your collection of RC model airplanes. A quick and easy way to choose which radio you need without having to power it up and enter the model memory menu is to apply a label on the bottom or back of the radio case with your model’s names and memory numbers printed. As you change your model memories you can simply apply a new label.

Randy Kohler, Pottstown, PA

Updated: April 2, 2012 — 10:29 AM


  1. Quick tips should have been dated April 1st.

    Rubber band tension can damage the gimble, rubber band can bump the rudder trim……..

    My spektrum radio display has a line to enter the name of the model, and has model match too!

    1. A light rubber band will put less pressure on the gimbal than most thumbs. On most newer radios, it also wouldn’t put enough pressure on the trim switch to move it, since it is spring loaded to center.

      Some of us have more than one transmitter – especially if we have been in the hobby a while. Just because your transmitter can record model names and has model match doesn’t mean that the model you are wanting to fly is on that transmitter. If it’s 72 MHz, you could be out of luck, if it’s 2.4, you can re-bind it (if you have the plug with you). I think that the tip was for those who have more than one transmitter.

      I probably would not have even responded iwth these obviouis clarifications had you not started your reply with a snide remark.

  2. Really! First the rubber band thing is dumb. You should treat your RC plane the same as the real thing and have a routine o verify your conditions before you power up your model. Those that just plug and go need to learn some patience and do things the correct way.

    Second, you should always check your plan and equipment before heading to the field, not only for the radio match but to catch any issues before you head to be field.

    Both “tips” are only covering up novice fliers lack of patience and not proper practice.

    1. A rubber band now ! What next to make RC even more complicated and dangerous ! Would you fly with an airlines who has pilots that put rubber bands on their throttle to help their “lame” brains ? IF YOU NEED A RUBBER BAND TO HELP YOUR FLYING – THEN YOU SHOULD NOT BE FLYING !!! Period-End of Discussion !
      This is NOT a tip – its a dangerous complication of an already well designed technological device.

    2. Since when are extra safety precautions a bad idea? Most of us would like for novice fliers to become experienced fliers, for whom this tip is directed to. Every tip doesn’t have to be one that Gary would use, you know…

      1. The problem with extra things to do is it complicates the SIMPLE time-proven methods. More things to do means more room for errors. We try to ELIMINATE things to do – not increase them. The KISS method works in everything I have ever done, and that includes safety.

      2. Don-do not take my comments as an attack on your views – I am an alpha male – what else can I say – if you do not wish to let my comments go to all – SO BE IT !

  3. Here’s a transmitter tip I use. I have marked all of my transmitters with a bit of colored tape on the handle. I also put my name and phone number on the back of the transmitter. I can readily see my transmittert on the impound board and should I drive off and leave my transmitter, which has probably happen to all of us, all some one has to do is look at the back for my name and phone number.

  4. Even experienced fliers make mistakes. The rubber band would prevent accidental movement of throttle stick when walking out to pick up a plane on the field. Prevent moving the stick if it brushed against your paint leg.

  5. For the rubber band thing, I think it’s better to learn to keep your thumb on the stick – very important to helis too. My solution is the throttle lock feature on my Hitec Aurora 9, plus it warns you before powering on if you have abnormal flight conditions or throttle on. For advanced Helis you can also activate the throttle Hold switch. Some ESC’s, like the yellow Electrifly ones, also have an arm feature to help protect you.

    For the solution on multiple radios, current radios have a lot of model memory and some like the Spektrums and I think Futaba take SD cards to store even more; even the Aurora can store models >30 on your PC. Just add modules to control other equipment from your 1 radio – I can do Hitec, Spektrum, AnyLink, and others with my Aurora.

  6. One thing I like to do is use the “stick switch” function on my Airtronics SD-10g to reduce my workload in complex situations. For example, during large warbirds fly-ins aborts on landing can happen when the field becomes foul during your final approach. Then you have to add power and get the plane cleaned up while avoiding the hazard on the field. Instead of having to hit multiple switches I set “flaps up” on both a servo slow and on a stick switch at say 60 percent throttle, that way just adding power starts to slowly clean up the plane. Once at safe altitude you can throw the correct switch to leave them up or reenter the pattern and let them come down again with reduced power. You could do the same with retracts if you desire. I also use “flight modes” to set different rates and mixes for landing and take off vs cruise or aerobatic flight. Saves being on landing with higher aerobatic rates set for example.

  7. The rubber band is not a dumb idea at all. If the TX doesn’t have a throttle lock button, not only does it keep the throttle at zero on startup, it also prevents accidentally bumping the stick before you are ready to go.

  8. Really? Why would anyone want to label someones idea dumb? The response doesn’t appear to come from anyone that has much modeling experience.

    1. I’m with you, Will. Any safety precaution is a good tip!

      1. I always use a transmitter “kickstand” … It attaches to the handle and holds the TX at about a 45 degree angle backwards. Little danger of your TX falling forward and having the throttle advanced. I fly mostly electric and it’s great for when you have to put your TX down to remove batteries etc…

  9. there is nothing DUMB about the throttle rubber band! I have accidently ‘bumped’ the throttle stick more than once in the 50 years I’ve been flying R/C with some pretty scary results!

    Thanks for the simple solution! The only problem I see is WHERE to anchor the rubber band on the back of the transmitter! Hmmm. I’ll have to work on that.

  10. people that choose to put rubber bands on the throttle typically attach them to the metal bar at the top of the Tx and pull it down the back and around the bottom.

    … I do for the most part agree with post #1, I practice routines at the field and at home in preparation to fly. I also set up a throttle kill switch on all my electrics.

  11. I, too, like the rubber band. On my Spektrum, I drill a small hole in a tx footpad, run a circle of wire through the hole, then cow hitch the rubberband to the circle of wire. I’ve done the same on a Futaba tx.

    I notice rubberbands wearout (start to get cracks in the sides), so I replace the band as needed.

    The rubberband is especially handy for floatplane work. As I wade out to position the plane, the tx dangles from the neckstrap. With 2 hands on the plane, there is a good chance the tx will twist and bump my chest, activating the throttle. The rubberband ensures that I don’t have a runaway prop.

    1. You know this is right. I fly foamies , I too have had the throttle bump in the past. So the band is a simple and quick safety trick. And any way if you don’t agree, don’t bother to post, that’s my moto……

  12. An even simpler solution for the throttle issue is to use a switched mix to act as a throttle disarm. When the switch is on, you have no throttle movement, and when it’s off the throttle works normally.

  13. The multiple models issue is solved with a radio (such as X9303) that lets you “type” the model name into the model memory of the radio.

    Even better is the “Model Match” of Spektrum/JR which appends the model memory slot number to the TX ID code when binding and thus won’t allow the model to respond at all if you selected the wrong model.
    Never take off having selected the wrong model again….

    And finally… before takeoff you should do at least 2 control direction and function tests while standing behind the model.
    One before engine start.
    One just as you start taxiing out for takeoff.

    Checking more than that isn’t a bad plan…. You might find an issue such as:
    Plugged the right aileron into the left flap channel/Y, left retract plugged in the right aileron channel and left flap plugged into the left retract channel/Y.
    (that would be a real beast to fly…)

    Easy to mess up what is plugged where if you don’t flag your servo leads/extensions with colored tape….

  14. The rubber band is a great idea until the rubber band snaps and goes “boing”. As is snaps it may catch the throttle stick and move it up, thusly giving increased throttle. Not a good idea.

    – Pappy –

    1. Disagree with you, Pappy. Checking the rubber band frequently and replacing it when is looks suspect should keep it from breaking. Chances of it moving the throttle stick up are slim, too. The chances of accidentally bumping the throttle are considerably higher than a rubber band breaking. The tip is an ADDITIONAL safety step that reduces, but doesn’t eliminate, all risk. If you will only do things with no risk, then I guess you don’t fly…

  15. For electrics I use a throttle to throttle mix on a switch to prevent the motor from starting if the stick is bumped. Works great.

  16. Hey, I’d like to build a “foot” controlled launcher for my electric gliders. Does anybody have any good ideas on how to build one so you can just stop on a bit and it fires your glider up and out and then you take over – like the Krouts did with there Buzz Bombs in WWII. Thanks.

  17. Everybody should do what works for them. I personally have too many models to label the models on my radios. I’ve also have gotten in the habit of guarding my throttle with my thumb. When I float fly I leave my radio on land as I carry my plane into the water. I’d be afraid of slipping into the water with the radio.

  18. Buy a Hitec transmitter and use the throttle lock…

    1. I think a rubberband cost a whole lot less than a Hitec or anyother radio :^)

  19. A rubber band will not stop a accidental bump of the control against you leg Mr. McCoy. You should not be swinging your transmitter around anyway. I do exactly what Jeremy does,

  20. great idea i had the experence ,i had landed my plane ,had to change my battery , on tx..left the plane on the field .walked back to the car to change the battery . when some one yelld your plane is gone ,, well it took off when i put my tx.down hitting the trottle it took off up about 200 ft .when i took the battery out the plane made a left turn and landed ok ,my mistake .if i had a rubber band on it would not have happened ?

  21. Thanks for the TX rubberband tip. There have been so many times when I’ve accidently bumped the gimbal, which is no big deal if your prop is hanging out with only air to spin in, but disastrous if against a picnic table, dirt, whatever.
    I practice safety protocol as much as the next guy, but I ain’t perfect. And this tip works.
    So thanks!

  22. Any safety tip is a welcome to me. I have been flying full scale and miniature aircraft for 50 years. Bumping that transmitter stick seems to be the rule of the day for me. Once I decide a convenient way to secure the rubber band, it will for sure help. For all you nay Sayers, if you don’t like the tip, you don’t have to use it. For all you guys that share your tips, keep up the good work. Now where did I leave that dang rubber-band?

  23. Enough already!!!! If you don’t like the rubberband idea, don’t use it…It was only a suggestion from a modeler….My God, can’t you people come up with some good suggestions without beating this to death? I’ll bet stuff like this keeps you up at night!
    Relax, build and fly…IT REALLY IS THAT EASY without getting all wrapped up in some suggestion about a rubberband.

  24. Amazing just how much reaction can be stirred by a rubberband! But nobody is forcing anybody to use the idea- use it if it works for you, don’t if it doesn’t. Otherwise fly gliders. South African solution. Please don’t start another conversation regarding gliders with throttles- this is what some of those negative lamebrains would think of.

  25. Good idea Im surprised the aftermarket mobs havnt made say a plastic disc that can snap into the gimbal ring with a ribbon to lock the throttle stick til use 😀


    (this is stupid)

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