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On a remote controlled airplane, would it be a problem to only have on/off throttle control and not be able to set a particular throttle level? Would landing be possible?

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  • $\begingroup$ The general answer is going to be yes it's possible. Lots of planes are relatively easy to set up final approach and landing power-off. Takeoff would be more of an issue, it's nice not to just suddenly go to full blast, but not a huge issue if the power is modest enough or if you are hand-launching. Or if it's design with no P-factor etc issues (examples: counter-rotating props, electric ducted fans, etc,). I'll take a look at Drone SE if you post it there or it migrates. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2023 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer would it be feasible to manually "PWM" the throttle by quickly turning it on and off if it was controlled by a button? Would it solve the problem caused by suddenly going full blast? (What is the problem?) $\endgroup$
    – kj7rrv
    Jan 30, 2023 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ Actually I believe some of the rc racing planes (google Quickie racer?) are started on ground, tuned for full power before takeoff, may not even have throttle at all except for an emergency kill fuel shut-off system (if that), helper releases tail when plane is pointing straight down runway, and off you go, fly till fuel runs out, deadstick land. Rather similar to what is done with control-line models. Anyway, better stop here w/ this, we're not supposed to use comments for discussion-- $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2023 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer I hazily recall something similar to that event, except that it was not racing but endurance - models had a limited amount of fuel (or a similar constraint) and they would briefly climb very rapidly then attempt to catch thermals. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2023 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ @kj7rrv -- for "discussion"-oriented questions consider also joining some forums such as rcgroups.com -- the "modelling science" sub-forum there might be of special interest -- maybe some other sub-forums there would also be well suited for practical design questions-- $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2023 at 15:30

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I have tried this, when I was experimenting with a pan-and-tilt FPV camera controlled by the left stick of the transmitter, on a multiplex Easy Star. That resulted in either a gentle climb or a gentle glide. It was quite manageable, although the constantly changing altitude wasn't much fun. I also tried a 3 position switch, which was better but the middle position was never quite right for a steady cruise, and a rotary knob, which was too fiddly when you can't see it.

Some models are flown as if they have a binary throttle. Electric gliders typically climb at full power then cut power and fold their prop for more efficient gliding. Pylon racers fly at full power during the race and then land. Some vintage models didn't have a throttle and just flew until their fuel ran out. And there's always that one guy at the club who only ever flies at full power...

However most electric models have more power than they need, and a full power flight will run the battery down quite quickly. It's nice to have a good strong climb, and adjustable cruise power.

Most models are landed with the power off. The exception being some heavy planes where the sink rate in the glide is too fast for a smooth landing. These need a small amount of power for a smooth landing.

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