If you have decided to select Glow Power for your first model then you are going to need some glow accessories to support the starting and running of your engine at the field. Glow powered rc airplanes require much more in the way of field equipment than electric powered models do. The following basic list of essentials are in no particular order:-
- Glow plug igniter
- Glow plug wrench
- Spare glow plugs
- Fuel pump
- Electric starter and/or ‘chicken stick’
Glow Plug Igniter
The filament of a glow plug has to be raised to a red hot state, so that the fuel/air mixture inside the combustion chamber of the engine can be ignited. An igniter has to be temporarily attached to the glow plug until the engine is running when the igniter is removed and the heat within the engine keeps the plug glowing. Glow plug igniters operate on a 1.5V rechargable battery and should be charged before each flying session. There is nothing more frustrating than turning up for a flying session with a flat igniter battery!
Glow Plug Wrench
Glow plugs have a habit of burning out and do need to be replaced periodically. Without a glow plug wrench you’ won’t be able to remove the glow plug from the engine cylinder head, and replace it with a new one. This item is therefore an absolute essential accessory.
Spare Glow plugs
Spare glow plugs are also necessary. When the one in the engine fails on you, which it will sooner or later, it must be replaced if you wish to continue flying. A failed glow plug is about the biggest cause of non-starting glow engines, and it takes just a few seconds to change a plug using your glow plug wrench discussed above!
You will definitely require Fuel. Choosing a good quality fuel is important – lesser quality fuels can have an adverse effect on your engine performance. Follow your engine manufacturers guidelines for selecting an appropriate fuel for your engine, both oil content and nitromethane content can vary depending on performance requirements. Talk to your fellow club members about their choice of fuel. Experienced fliers will recommend a fuel that they use themselves and are happy with.
You will need to be able to tansfer fuel from a container to the tank in your plane. A fuel pump is not essential but certainly simplifies the process. Such a pump can be either mechanical or electrical. A mechanical one is obviously cheaper and just as effective. Flight boxes (which you may eventually aspire to) are often equipped with a 12V battery and a ‘power panel’ with a pump integrated into the panel. The alternative is some kind of squeeze bottle with a nozzle that will fit into the end of the fuel tank filler pipe. Additionally, a small plastic squeezy bottle with a fine nozzle is a good idea in case you need to inject fuel directly into the carburettor to prime the engine.
Electric Starter or ‘Chicken Stick’
An electric starter is essentially a glorified 12V motor that’s used to turn over your airplane’s engine. A rubber end piece fits on to the motor shaft of the starter and pushes against the spinner or propeller. When the starter is operated, the engine gets turned over very quickly encouraging it to fire into life.
A ‘chicken stick‘, or start stick, is a wooden or plastic stick with a thick rubber coating on one end. The chicken stick is used to manually flick over the propeller, thus protecting your finger against injury. Alternatively you can buy a thick rubber sleeve that you put over your finger. Either way, if you opt to start your engine manually instead of with an electric starter, the chicken stick or sleeve is one rc airplane accessory that you don’t want to leave off the list!
As you inevitably gather more and more accessories, you’ll need some kind of container to keep them all together. Field boxes are simply the best way to carry everything together and most field boxes are designed to take a power panel.
Your field box should be sturdy and fuel proof, with plenty of storage. Separate compartments and perhaps one or more drawers are good design features of a field box.
The power panel is the central unit for handling everything electric, such as starters and remote fuel pumps. Most power panels actually have an integrated fuel pump with fill and syphon controls. These power panels require a 12V battery to operate. You can buy batteries made especially for the hobby (normally 12V, 7amp/hour) or you can use a standard 12V motorcycle battery.
Each of the bold type items above are linked directly to our Resources and Links page where you will find on-line retailers capable of supplying the accessories you will need.
Note: if you do not intend buying a field box then make sure you buy a free standing power panel and not one that’s specifically designed to be built into a field box.