How to Make Plug-in Wings for an RC Aircraft

Updated July 20, 2017

Transporting large RC aeroplanes can be a challenge. One way to overcome this is to build removable wing panels, called "plug-in" wings. Whether you are building wing panels from a kit or from scratch, the process is the same. When complete, you have two wing panels that slide onto tubes and are secured to the fuselage. Correctly built wing panels will align perfectly and be as strong as any one-piece wing.

Buy the carbon fibre or aluminium tube and cardboard tube. The inside diameter of the cardboard tube must be the same as the outside diameter of the aluminium or carbon fibre tube. Keep in mind that the cardboard tube needs to be mounted in the wing and should not be so big that the wing ribs are weakened.

Position the tube so it aligns with the thickest part of the wing's airfoil. This will provide the strongest section of the wing to mount the cardboard tube.

Drill a hole through both sides of the fuselage to mount the aluminium or carbon fibre tube. These holes must be straight and aligned perfectly.

Locate a spot about a third of the way forward of the trailing edge of the wing. Drill a hole through the fuselage's sides that is the same diameter of the steel rod. This rod will be used to align the wing panels and add strength.

Drill holes in the first four or five wing ribs. One hole must be the same size as the outside diameter of the cardboard tube, the other is the diameter of the steel rod. Be sure to align these holes with the ones drilled in the fuselage earlier.

Drill one hole in the wing ribs that will come in contact with the fuselage, where the wing panels will attach.

Decide where your alieron servos will be mounted and drill another set of holes in the wing ribs. This set of holes will allow you to pass the servo wires through the wing and into the fuselage. While servos wires are thin, the connector is not. Create holes that are just large enought to pass the connector.

Build the wings according to the plans and directions. Use epoxy to secure the wing tube and the mounting nut to the ribs.


If you decide to cover the wing before installing aileron servos, run a thread through the holes meant for the servo wires. Use tape to hold the thread in place, keeping the hole accessible for later.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard tube
  • Carbon fibre or aluminium tube
  • Carbon fibre or steel rod
  • Nylon bolts
  • Drill with various bits
  • CA and epoxy glue
  • Wrench
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About the Author

Howard Altman is a transplanted New Yorker located in Centerton Arkansas. He has over 25 years of experience in the information technology field programming and supporting code. His hobbies include keeping a 1988 Ford F150 up and running and 30 years of Radio Control (cars boats and planes) experience. He has been writing how-to articles since 2008.