5 Exceptional Model Airplane Engines

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RC pilots who fly gas-powered aircraft are passionate about the hobby. These models offer incredible flying experiences for enthusiasts. But not all engines are equal, just like the motors in electric models. There’s a good chance you have some experience if you’re looking for a new model airplane engine. The 5 favorites here are by Dle and O.S., and check a lot of the right boxes.

You may want to read the engine reviews here if you’re a curious newbie showing an interest in the hobby. I’ve also included a few pros and cons below for nitro-powered RC planes.

Budget
best-budget-model-airplane-engine
O.S. 65AX Glow-Powered Engine
4.6/5.0
Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.1 x 4.0 inches
Weight: 1.43 lbs.
Its head design looks fantastic and has better cooling.
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Best Value
best-value-model-airplane-engine
DLE-20RA 20cc Gas Engine
4.7/5.0
Dimensions: 8.8 x 7.9 x 4.5 inches
Weight: 1.92 lbs.
It’s an easy-to-start electronically ignited RC engine.
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Top Pick
top-value-model-airplane-engine
DLE-61cc Gas Engine
4.8/5.0
Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.4 x 6.1 inches
Weight: 4 lbs.
This is durable, long-lasting, and boasts a 6HP engine.
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RC Aircraft Engine Cons

There are a few things for newbies to consider about gas-powered RC aircraft. They tend to cost more than electric planes and need a little ongoing maintenance. The learning curve is also higher. Gas-powered engines are noisier and messier than electric motors. You also have ongoing costs, especially fuel, which needs safe storage. Repairs can also be complex and costly.

RC Aircraft Engine Pros

Don’t let any of the above put you off. The flying experience is more realistic with engine planes. And the sounds produced by these beauties is music to a pilot’s ears. The flight times on a decent sized fuel tank will exceed that of battery-operated models. Also, you don’t have battery swaps or charging to do between flights. Finally, the extra weight of a nitro RC plane makes it more stable in the wind.

About My ‘Model Airplane Engines’ Reviews

Serious radio-control pilots demand high-quality parts and components. The 5 gas-powered RC combustion engines in this guide don’t disappoint. This shortlist is the result of personal research, the opinions of industry experts, and feedback from users. The first 3 are Best Budget, Best Value, and then the Top Pick, in that order. Use the table below to navigate to the review(s) that interest you.

Model Airplane Engines Comparison Table

1. O.S. 65AX Glow RC Plane Engine | Best Budget

O.S. 65AX Glow RC Plane EngineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The Best Budget RC plane engine goes to the 65AX. It has the E4010A Muffler and an ideal power-to-weight ratio. It’s an excellent choice for scale, sports, and trainer aircraft.

O.S. 65AX Engine Highlights

The 65AX is the 60-size next-generation class of aircraft engines. It’s 1.9 oz. lighter than the original 61FX, and that’s significant. There’s an angled back needle valve in the 61D carburetor for better pilot safety. This arrangement keeps fingers a lot further away from fast spinning propellers. The Angular head design looks fantastic and has better cooling thanks to the increased surface area.

Requirements/Recommendations: Aircraft blend fuel 5–20% nitro and minimum 18% lubricant. Prop suggestions are 12 x 6, 13 x 6–7 or 14 x 6.

Quick specs for the O.S. 65AX Engine:

  • Displacement: 0.65 cu. in. (10.6 cc)
  • Bore: 0.95” (24mm)
  • Stroke: 0.93” (23.5mm)
  • Rpm Range: 2500 to 16000
  • Output: 1.73 HP @ 16000rpm
  • Weight without Muffler: 17.5 oz. (497g)
  • Weight with Muffler: 23 oz. (653g)

In the box:

  • #8 glow plug
  • 61D carburetor
  • E-4010A muffler
  • Needle extension cable set

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2. DLE-20RA 20cc Gas RC Plane Engine | Best Value

DLE-20RA 20cc Gas RC Plane EngineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The Best Value product goes to the DLE-20RA 20cc for model gas aircraft. It’s an easy-to-start electronically ignited RC engine with a rear exhaust setup and a redesigned muffler.

DLE-20RA 20cc Engine Highlights

This engine has all the performance of the DLE-20 with a few feature enhancements. The rear exhaust setup is perfect for airplanes with tight cowling. Dle has also updated the electronic ignition unit and given the engine a lighter piston. It’s super easy to install due to the exhaust arrangement and beam mounting. And you can rely on the pumper carb for consistent fuel flow.

Requirements/recommendations: HCAM6416 Hobbico LiFeSource 6.6V 1100mA 10C LiFePack, unleaded gas, 2-cycle oil. Prop suggestions are 14 x 10, 15 x 8, 16 x 6, 16 x 8, and 17 x 6.

Quick specs for the DLE-20RA 20cc engine:

  • Stock Number: DLEG0420
  • Displacement: 20.0cc (1.22 cu in)
  • Bore: 1.26” (32mm)
  • Stroke: 0.98” (25mm)
  • Engine weight: 1.46 lbs. (660g)
  • Muffler weight: 2.8 oz. (80g)
  • Ignition module weight: 4.6 oz. (130g)
  • Total weight: 1.92 lbs. (870g)
  • RPM Range: 1700–9000
  • Output: 2.5 HP @ 9,000 RPM

In the box:

  • Electronic ignition module
  • Muffler
  • Spark plug
  • Gasket
  • Bolts
  • Throttle arm extension
  • 2 x exhaust extensions
  • Manual

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3. DLE-61cc Gas RC Aircraft Engine | Top Pick

DLE-61cc Gas RC Aircraft EngineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The Best Value choice goes to another quality Dle product. This one is the 3 DLE-61cc gas RC plane engine. It’s a high-performance powerhouse aimed purposely at serious RC pilots.

DLE-61cc Gas Engine Highlights

The DLE-61cc gas engine is an excellent product. It’s durable, long-lasting, and boasts 6HP. The engine uses aircraft-specific parts like the muffler, carburetor, electronic ignition, and standoffs. It’s a reliable product that delivers outstanding performance with an attractive price tag to boot. And the electronic ignition ensures quick, easy starts every time with ultra-smooth idling.

Requirements/Recommendations: 87 octane gasoline, 2-cycle oil, 4.8–6V NiMH/NiCd, or 6.6V LiFe or 7.4V LiPo battery for the ignition. Prop suggestions are 22 x 10, 23 x 8, 23 x 10, 24 x 8.

Quick specs for the DLE-61cc airplane engine:

  • Displacement: 3.7 cu in (61.0cc)
  • Bore: 1.85 in (47 mm)
  • Stroke: 1.38 in (35 mm)
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
  • Performance: 6HP / 7500 RPM
  • Idle Speed: 1400 RPM
  • Engine Weight: 3.02 lbs. (1370 g)
  • Muffler Weight: 3.9 oz. (110 g)
  • Ignition Module Weight: 3.9 oz. (110 g)
  • Engine Mount Standoff Weight: 4.5 oz. (128 g)
  • Overall Weight: 4 lbs. (1814g)
  • Spark Plug Gap: 0.018–0.020 in (0.45 mm–0.51 mm)

In the box:

  • DLE-61 gasoline engine
  • Electronic ignition
  • NGK CM6 spark plug
  • Muffler
  • 4 x 2.7” (68 mm) standoffs
  • Instruction Manual

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4. O.S. FS-95V Ringed RC 4-Stroke Plane Engine

O.S. FS-95V Ringed RC 4-Stroke Plane EngineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

This is the FS-95V ringed four-stroke, glow-powered RC plane engine with muffler by O.S. It has a classic look but with present-day technology and high-performance.

O.S. FS-95V Ringed RC Engine Highlights

The FS-95V is reliable and always delivers consistent power. The makers have struck the right balance between rapid combustion and efficient cooling. The engine’s carburetor is on the center line. This position makes it easier to install across a variety of RC planes. And the authentic four stroke sound created by the Jet Stream muffler is one of its key attractions.

Requirements/Recommendations: Aircraft blend fuel 5–20% nitromethane w/ 18% lubricant content. Prop suggestions are sport & aerobatic 13 x 7–9, 14 x 6–8, scale 15 x 6–8.

Quick specs for the 4 O.S. FS-95V Ringed RC 4-stroke aircraft Engine:

  • Displacement: 0.951 cu in (15.59cc)
  • Bore: 1.142 in (29.0 mm)
  • Stroke: 0.929 in (23.8 mm)
  • Practical RPM: 2100–11000 RPM
  • Power Output: 1.7ps / 10000 RPM
  • Muffler Weight: 2.05 oz. (58 g)
  • Overall Weight: 20.88 oz. (592 g)
  • Crankshaft Size: 5/16–24

In the box:

  • O.S. FS-95V 4-stroke engine
  • Type F glow plug
  • Jet stream muffler
  • Header pipe w/ locknuts
  • Instruction manual

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5. DLE-35RA 35cc Gas RC Engine

DLE-35RA 35cc Gas RC EngineView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Last of the model airplane engines goes to another quality Dle product, the DLE-35RA. It’s a 35cc electronically-ignited RC gas plane engine with a rear exhaust setup.

DLE-35RA 35cc Engine Highlights

This engine provides 400 more revolutions per minute (RPM) than the smaller DLE-30. It boasts a lighter piston and a remodeled muffler. The rear exhaust makes installation so much easier with tighter plane cowls. The electronic ignition unit has also had an update and starts quickly every time. And pilots can perform acrobatic flights knowing that the pumper carb keeps fuel flowing where it’s needed.

Requirements/Recommendations: Unleaded gas, oil, ignition battery, HCAM6426 Hobbico LiFeSource 6.6V 1800 mAh 10C LiFe receiver pack. Prop suggestions are XOAQ1810 Xoar 18 x 10 Beechwood.

Quick specs for the DLE-35RA 35cc Engine:

  • Displacement: 34.5cc (2.13 cu in)
  • Bore: 1.5” (38.5mm)
  • Compression Ratio: 7.6:1
  • Static Thrust: 9.5kg (pulling force / 100M altitude)
  • 7.8kg pulling force / 1800M altitude
  • Gas / Oil Mixture: 30:1
  • Gas Octane Rating: 87
  • Engine Weight: 2.06 lbs. (936g)
  • Muffler Weight: 2.61 oz. (74g)
  • Ignition Module Weight: 5.26 oz. (147g)
  • Output: 4.1 HP @ 8500RPM

In the box:

  • DLE 35-RA gas engine
  • Electronic ignition
  • Muffler
  • DLE CM6 spark plug
  • 4 x engine standoffs w/ mounting hardware
  • Integrated choke rod guide
  • Rear-mounted carb
  • Instruction manual

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