Radio-controlled aircraft come in many shapes and sizes, but the ones we’re showing today are all very ambitious in scale. And by “ambitious,” we mean “ginormous.”
These models are truly works of art, representing countless hours and immeasurable energy and resources spent ensuring that as many granular details as possible accurately reflect the originals. Many of these videos were filmed at a model airfield in Austria, where substantial crowds gather to watch them perform.
In no particular order, here are some of our favorite videos of humongous RC aircraft:
Our first video features a massive Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. After some assembly, takeoff happens around the 2:00 mark. Just like the original B-17, there’s a whole lot of noise.
Next is up is Blue Thunder, from one of the greatest helicopter movies/television shows ever made. The real Blue Thunder aircraft is a specially modified Aerospatiale SA-341G Gazelle, which couldn’t perform many of the stunts in the movie due to the added weight from the Hollywood modifications (“the very angular canopy, gun turret, and additional ‘wings’ on the side”). To compensate, a radio controlled scale model was actually used in the making of the movie for key stunt sequences.
This Douglas DC-3 puts on a great show, and at 2:00 we see the landing gear retract after takeoff. The pilot makes landing look easy despite the windy conditions. This model also features working stairs and aft cabin door.
Next is a very impressive F-86 Sabre, sporting tail number FU-409, which seems appropriate. Takeoff happens at the 1:09 mark, followed by some great passes and a very smooth landing.
And now, an extremely impressive Avro Vulcan complete with onboard cameras! The first-person view during final approach at 14:00 shows how susceptible these large RC aircraft are to crosswinds.
Next we have a Kalinin K-7 with seven working motors (six forward-facing, one rear-facing). This is a truly excellent model and very skillful flying. Notably, the model’s twin tail booms both survived the flight. The same cannot be said for one of the tail booms on the only K-7 ever produced by the Soviet Union, which failed in flight and led to a catastrophic crash.
Here’s another RC helicopter for your enjoyment. This time we have an AH-1 Cobra in Red Bull livery. I would love to see an RC AH-1 in US Forest Service Firewatch livery.
This Vickers VC-10 is stunningly detailed and manages to get off the ground despite a hatch on the port side accidentally opening. There’s also a little wipeout on landing at 1:45, but this beauty will live to fly another day.
Next we have a gigantic Airbus A380 in Singapore Airlines livery. There’s a really smooth landing at 6:50. Just like the full scale version, this A380 needs help taxiing.
Next up is an F-16 Viper in the Royal Netherland Air Force’s demonstration team livery. This paint scheme is great, but any time I see orange on the tail of an F-16, I think of QF-16 target drones. We don’t get to see much of the takeoff roll because of a cameraman fail, but this little jet has serious speed.
This next video is truly impressive. This Boeing C-17 Globemaster III claims to be the biggest RC airplane in the world. There’s some very cool low-level flying and even a pass with the rear ramp open.
And now, an enormous Concorde in classic British Airways livery. The only way this could be improved upon would be if the Concorde was in Pepsi livery. The Kenny Loggins soundtrack kicks in at 0:40, just as the big bird gets airborne.
Finally, an A-12 wearing the tail number 06940. This tail number actually corresponds to one of the two mothership airframes in the M-21/D-21 program, although a D-21 drone model doesn’t appear in this video. The engines can be seen glowing fiery orange as the model climbs out and makes several passes over the crowd. The pilot makes a great recovery just after the 6:00 mark.
Which was your favorite? Also, someone really needs to make an RC AH-1 in Firewatch livery.