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When to use flaps?

Hey guys im getting a plane with flaps soon and was wondering when the best time when landing to use flaps it?

I have seen a lot of videos when people use the flaps too early or late (not sure which) and the plane stalls and the bounces or hits the ground hard.


Any crash resulting from a stall is purely pilot error. Any stall is the result of allowing airspeed to drop too low.

Flaps increase lift at lower airspeeds by increasing the camber of the wing or, in some cases, increasing the camber and surface area of the wing. Flaps also increase drag. So, the last thing you want to do is drop flaps when on a shallow landing approach. Flaps are very useful if you hare flying a steep approach as they allow the plane to sink at a steeper, slower rate than without flaps. So, if you need to land in a tight area, flaps are great. Otherwise, on the scale of most RC planes, they really aren't necessary. They do make for a nice, scale look and can be useful if you are spot landing for fun.


When landing, with or without flaps, it is important to keep this little saying in mind: Control airspeed with elevator and altitude with power.

When landing you flying at low or no throttle. If your airspeed drops too low, push the nose down. If you aren't going to make the runway, add throttle.

Is this your first RC plane? If so, don't worry about fiddling with the flaps. Get a feel for flying before you add that into the mix.


Can you post the particular plane you are getting? That will be helpful in this.
The rudder is another thumb motion to get used to. You don't NEED to use it to turn. Most of the time, I fly my planes bank and yank style, anyway. Here's when rudder is important:
1. Tracking straight while rolling out for take off,
2. Aligning with the runway when landing (particularly if landing in a cross wind).

Other uses for rudder - hammerhead turns and snap rolls. Beyond that, the whole coordinated turn idea for an rc plane is somewhat unnecessary.

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
I agree and disagree. While unnecessary, coordinated turns definitely improve your scale flying appearance. It's also easier to turn at slow speed without losing altitude. A little less aileron and a little more rudder and you can tool around slow and low very easily. It helps when you're trying line up an approach. You can also slip (combination of aileron and opposite rudder) to lose altitude without adding a bunch of speed.

With flaps, you want to experiment with their function with plenty of attitude before trying to land with them. You also want to pull your flaps early and use them to slow your speed and decent well ahead of landing. Trying to pull the flaps during your approach or last minute usually results in a sharp rise, followed by a drop in speed, stall and crash. Remember that you'r essentially changing the wing's shape and resulting characteristics.
Rudders are such wonderful friends to flight that it's heartbreaking to realize some people are capable of neglect. Make no mistake, neglect is a form of abuse and should be taken seriously. Signs of neglect include lack of poor control at low airspeed, little roll recover ability at take off, or lack of scale appearance for realistic flight. It is vital to take swift and appropriate action to rescue a neglected rudder so the aircraft can have the happy and satisfying life every plane deserves. You may even save it's life in the process.

Say "NO!" to rudder abuse! Take full control of your plane, and stop the cycle before it starts.


Ha ha! Well said, sir. I am sorry if I gave the impression that rudder control is not important. That was not my intent. :black_eyed:

Yes, a rudder is a lovely thing to have and can save your butt at times. AK and Aiidanwings are both correct. Embrace your rudder. Your plane will love you for it!:D


Junior Member
Just a few notes on the rudder issue. Plenty of rc pilots seem to only use the rudder while on the ground. I was one of those guys. Then I started flying helicopters, now that I am getting back into fixed wing I find it much more natural to use the rudder while flying. I noticed this while helping my friend fly fixed wing for the first time after starting with helis, he was using the rudder from the first flight and he was never even told.

Just saying, I had plenty of fun flying the way I was flying but, I believe I fly better now.



Helicopter addict
I noticed this while helping my friend fly fixed wing for the first time after starting with helis, he was using the rudder from the first flight and he was never even told.
That could have been me! Do you live in the Denver area by any chance? :p

I started with helicopters, and it's simply muscle memory to do coordinated turns with rudder. You can't bank and yank a heli you know... ;). Even with my bloody wonder I move my rudder stick, although it isn't doing anything :p

Also, I've noticed with gliders, that I do the turn mostly with rudder, and use aileron to keep the plane's bank angle not too steep (opposite aileron), to prevent tip-stalls and spirals of death :black_eyed:


Old age member
Using flaps when landing :

- Aim the plane for landing
- Get the gears out. thottle down to idle and "pull the brake" as you point the nose down.
- Skip to 2.50 in the video.
- Pull out, give some power and land at your feet.



Junior Member
I personally fly a Phoenix 2.0 glider and I can't live without rudder. Rudder also helps greatly when flying in strong wind conditions, it gives the plane so much more control in strong wind, cuz when you bank and yank the plane might get blown out of control, espically true with those foam jet elevon planes.


Senior Member
I find flaps to be useful for landing, even when I'm not doing a short field landing, just because they reduce the stall speed, which means I can put the plane in slower. This is especially useful for belly landing planes without gear. On my Bixler, if I put in full flaps and reduce throttle to zero, the airspeed can drop so much without stalling that I lose aileron authority almost entirely. I can coax the plane in with a little throttle at a very nice, low ground speed.