Which Parts to Salvage from a Wrecked RC Airplane
RC pilots kept everything back in the day because many of the kits didn’t come with much. However, kits are more complete today, and you won’t need to have drawers overflowing with spare wing rods or other general parts. If you fly balsa wood airplanes, a lot can be rebuilt, and you may keep more of the body to rebuild and repair. Still, when it comes to foam airplanes, if it isn’t a tiny break that can be glued, you will need to replace the wings, fuselage, flaps, or other damaged parts. Sometimes, it’s better to salvage the RC airplane for parts and move to something new.
A quick word of caution on any salvaged RC airplane part—thoroughly inspect everything and test it at your bench before installing it into another airplane.
Parts to Salvage from a Wrecked RC Airplane
- Motor and Fans
- Battery and Fasteners
- Landing Gear
You may think we’d start with the propeller and work our way back, but the props (or a nose cone on a jet) are usually the first thing to break on impact with the ground. One of the more valuable parts which usually survive an impact is the motor (and fans with a jet). You can use the motor to upgrade another airplane you own or save it for the next kit you purchase.
Check, double-check, and triple-check your battery after a wreck. If there are any bumps, dings, dents, or cracks, it’s time to decommission and recycle the battery. Always keep safety first when it comes to your batteries. If your battery survived, test it on your bench and make sure it’s good to go, then pack it up for your other/next airplane. Also, many RC pilots use hook-and-loop straps (aka Velcro) to mount their batteries and secure them in the aircraft. Those are quick pull-out items that are easily reusable.
Some of the servos will likely be broken in an actual crash, but probably not all of them. You can pull out all the servos that are not obviously wrecked and test them. Most RC airplanes and jets have several servos, so there is a good chance you’ll be able to salvage a few servos.
RC electronics adapters are one of those things you can never have too many of lying around because it will seem like you never have just the right one at the right time unless you have a small collection. So don’t forget to pull out any adapters you have in your RC airplane when you salvage the parts.
A lot of landing gear is airplane-specific, meaning you may not be able to reuse it unless you plan to repurchase the same RC aircraft. Still, it’s a part that might work on a different aircraft in a pinch after a particularly hard arrival on the airstrip.
Of all of the parts you can salvage from a wrecked RC airplane, the screws are probably the ones you’ll reuse the most. They are small and easily dropped or lost from an airplane or jet, so it never hurts to have more screws on standby.
Is it Salvageable?
Before you start tearing down your RC airplane looking for parts to salvage from the wreckage, be sure to take a step back and ask yourself if the whole RC airplane or jet is salvageable? At Horizon Hobby, we sell many replacement parts, and our friendly customer service team is ready to help you find the parts you need. We also have an online RC part finder tool.
The raw emotions behind a wrecked RC airplane may have you wanting to march to the dumpster and throw everything away, but be sure to take a breather, step back, and look at what you have. Your RC airplane or jet may be salvageable. If not, at the very least, find the parts you can use from the wreckage before throwing anything away.