RC airplane kits, helicopters, and drones for all ages and experience levels. Giving you clear detailed explanation without the techno jargon. You want to fly RC planes, but don’t know where to start. This article is intended as an introduction to remote control airplanes for adults and young people. Let’s get you started on what has become an inexpensive and fun pastime for all.
I’d like to invite you to read through the table of contents below. Browse the site, read the posts which are packed with valuable information and insights on RC airplane kits. Learn more about the various RC planes for sale. Discover what makes a good RC plane. Which features offer the best benefit to a newbie pilot. You will read about the pros and cons of the various kits available. Based on your experience level. The materials used in the construction. Find out which power source is best for you. The impact of the latest battery technology. The features and benefits of gas RC airplanes.
Table of contents
- RC airplane kits
- How many channels do I need?
- Landing gear pros & cons
- Electric RC planes ready to fly
- The early days
- New technology
- Easiest RC plane to fly
- RC planes under $100
- Desirable features
- Propeller savers
- Stabilization Systems
- Gas RC airplanes
- Best RC planes
- Flight simulators
- RC airplane kits & other great stuff
- What you will find
RC airplane kits
Consider your options for RC trainer-type aircraft. High wing RC airplanes make excellent trainers. Most people prefer them, over mid or low wing airplanes because they are more stable in flight. Because the centre of gravity is lower and the wings have dihedral (an upward bend or slant) incorporated into the design.
Dihedral is an inherent stabilization that tends to return your RC plane to wings-level flight. It’s a built in stability and is not the stabilization technologies we will cover later. What it means is that your RC plane will always return to level flight after steep turns and banking.
Another common design option for an RC trainer is a where the motor is facing rearwards in what is known as a pusher configuration. There are many different variations of this design. As mentioned before, dihedral and low wing loading will be included in the wing design. The wing area is larger in comparison to other RC planes. Which means the aircraft can fly slower and be stable in flight, giving the new RC pilot plenty of time to react. Because the propeller is facing backwards, it’s much less likely to be damaged on landing. They make great remote control airplanes for kids.
How many channels do I need?
Most RC aiplane kits will have three and four channel versions of this model style. Three channel models use the rudder for banking instead of ailerons. Four channel models have ailerons and offer better manoeuvrability in flight. The difference between three and four channels will not be as noticeable for the ‘pusher’ configuration as it’s actually closer to a glider in performance. Whereas, four channels on the high wing layout will allow for more manoeuvrability
Landing gear pros & cons
A high wing trainer will have wheels (landing gear) for take-offs and landings. Glider style trainers in the pusher configuration won’t have landing gear. They are often referred to as ‘belly landers’. If you don’t have access to smooth concrete or really flat grass a ‘belly lander’ makes sense if you are a student pilot. A simple hand launch and soft landing in long grass ensures minimal wear and tear to your RC plane. Whereas, landing gear requires a bit more practice and can trip over small stones, lumps and bumps on the landing area. Also ‘Belly landers’ are less prone to cross winds upon landing than their wheeled brethren. But, then again an RC plane with landing gear does look the part.
Electric RC planes ready to fly
You don’t need hours of flight time or previous experience with electronics to build your own plane. Because RC airplane kits have become much more technologically advanced on the ‘inside’ they are now much easier for newbies to fly. Many RC airplane kits are designed specifically, for those that are new to the world of radio-controlled (RC) aircraft.
In the past, remote control aeroplanes and helicopters were complex and would often take hundreds of hours to build. Even after building the plane, you’d have various checks and trim adjustments to make it fly properly.
There are many different types of electric RC planes ready to fly, straight out of the box. Thanks to the latest kits, almost anyone can take to the skies. It’s never been easier for people of all ages to get into this amazing pastime and experience the thrill of flying their own airplanes.
The early days
I had my first experience of flying remote control airplanes when I was around 7 years old. Thereafter, I was truly smitten by the flying bug and many decades later I am still deeply passionate about airplanes and flying. Over the years, I’ve flown gliders and light aircraft and helicopters but I always geek out on RC flying.
The earliest RC model airplanes were built in the 1930s. By the 1970s, building RC planes had become a popular but expensive hobby, newbies had numerous technical barriers to overcome. It just wasn’t that easy for people to jump into this hobby and acquire experience there was no concept of RC planes for beginners back then. Of course, it’s so much different now. These days entry level RC planes have auto pilot and wing levelling capability. Some even have on-board GPS that keep the plane within a set area. Ideal if you are flying in a park, better yet you don’t have to run after your pride and joy if it gets away from you. Some RC planes have even have an aerobatic function if you want to dazzle your friends with your flying skills.
Nowadays, there is even a remote control plane with camera. Thanks to the low latency of 5g technology, an RC pilot can fly via a FPV camera in the nose, offering the pilot a virtual cockpit view as if they were actually in the cockpit.
Everything changed in the early 2000s for wannabe flyers. The technology got better, mass production kept costs down. Companies started producing entry level toy helicopters and drones as unique and unusual birthday and Christmas gifts for the kids. Marketed as something that anyone could fly. It wasn’t long before the adults got hooked and started looking around for something more challenging, for themselves.
As micro-electronics and battery technology improved, the gap between the entry level RC flyers and the traditional diehard balsawood constructors steadily closed. Improvements in construction methods and materials gave rise to lighter, stronger and more capable remote control planes this meant we could have more reliable and better performing flight systems and planes. Even the transmitters had more of everything. More buttons, more functions and the potential for more fun.
These days, most experienced RC pilots can see the value of the modern construction methods using EPS or expanded polystyrene foam. It’s extremely durable to the point where it can soak up a lot of abuse and mishandling. In this great hobby of RC flying, everyone is going to have the occasional rough landing, why not fly something that can handle it and keep coming back for more.
Easiest RC plane to fly
I am often asked this. Sometimes I feel its form of Meta language for what people are really thinking. Wow your RC airplanes and powered gliders are really cool. It looks like a ton of fun with a great bunch of folks. I really want to get involved but …
- It looks expensive.
- I don’t want to wreck my RC airplane in the first 5 minutes.
- I’d like something easy to fly so, I don’t look stupid
- Or, variations of the above.
Here’s the deal with flying RC planes. You, are going to have an oopsie now and again. Even the most seasoned veterans of the RC world have the occasional bad day with their multi $1,000 airplanes. Why would you be any different? If you will pardon the aviation parlance, what goes up will come down again. Your experience combined with the right RC airplane determines how good or bad the coming down will be.
The sooner a budding RC pilot comes to terms with this better. Some of the elements that make up the easiest RC plane to fly were already covered at the start of this article in RC planes for beginners.
RC planes under $100
RC flying does not have to be expensive, there are many RC airplane kits under $100. You can pick up a ready to fly plane with flight stabilization (like training wheels for your bike) with three ‘built in’ training levels beginner, intermediate and advanced. Let’s say you flew your $100 plane for one hour per day, every day, for a year. Your entry into RC flying, and newfound status as an RC pilot, cost you 27 cents per day. You got 365 hours of actual RC flying experience for one hundred bucks. Huge bargain, by anyone’s standards!
The RC bug
When the RC bug bites, it will bite deep and get into your blood.
RC flying becomes a real passion where the expense doesn’t really enter into it. That said, it does not have to be too expensive anyway.
It is about being a part of a community that helps and cares for its newest members with advice, hints and tips on the best remote control airplanes for beginners.
Here’s the big secret. Get yourself an entry level RC airplane and actually take it out and fly it. Get the experience. Experience builds confidence. You will find that the dream of flying an RC plane has gone from being an abstraction in your mind to something in your personal experience.
Experience combined with knowledge (of RC flying) becomes wisdom. Wisdom, is what makes the world go round. It won’t be long before you are featured on YouTube, flying a huge multi-engine bomber with retractable landing gear, full flaps, rotating gun turrets and dropping dummy bombs.
So, back to the original question. What is the easiest RC plane to fly and what features should a beginner pilot look for?
Believe it or not, it is actually going to be so much easier and less expensive for you to learn how to fly than it was for me.
Back when I got to fly my dad’s planes, most of the channels on TV were black & white, and music was played on a record player. RC airplanes were expensive and built as a project, usually during the winter months, from wooden kits. At 7 years of age, I was never going to be trusted with plane that took 4 months to build.
Entry level RC planes that are available today are light years ahead of ‘things’ I flew, which were cobbled together from salvaged parts and scrap balsa wood. These days Moulded EPO and plastic Unibody kits are assembled in minutes and you are ready to do the fun part, flying!
These days we have RC airplanes that were designed from the wheels up with a beginner in mind. Formed from EPO materials these airplanes are light, flexible more robust and can absorb impact from just about anything you might fly into.
It should be noted that light weight is a desirable thing to have in an RC airplane.
More weight means greater momentum, which leads to higher flying and landing speeds and can be a big drain on battery power.
Look for an RC plane that has a propeller saver. These are not quite cutting edge technology, but they will prevent damage to the propeller. It’s not much fun if you have to keep replacing prop. Let’s face it, RC planes are much easier to fly with the propeller intact.
Prop savers are simple to use and very handy to have. The prop is basically held onto the drive shaft of the electric motor with a little rubber band. If a propeller, under power, contacts the ground, the torque of the drive shaft ensures the prop is toast.
But, with a propeller saver that little rubber band has enough ‘play’ to allow the shaft to turn without breaking the propeller, thus, it is saved to fly again. You also have a little lateral movement, which is also very helpful.
As I mentioned earlier, an excellent choice of RC airplane well worth considering, has the propeller mounted high up and facing rewards in a pusher configuration. Best thing about this arrangement is that the propeller is never in contact with the ground and avoids damage. It is also what is known as a ‘belly lander’. It does not have landing gear and enjoys a nice short, cushioned landing in medium or long grass with zero damage.
These days most entry level RC planes have some form of stabilization supplied as standard. Although, you should check and make sure. Stabilization was originally developed for the RC whirly twirlys (helicopters), where a stabilization system was needed to counteract the torque from the main rotor. It wasn’t long before gyro stabilization was adapted for use in fixed wing airplanes.
Given that entry level and intermediate RC airplanes are relatively lightweight, some form of stabilization should always be on the shopping list. Stabilization is intended to enhance and augment the airplane’s flying characteristics while compensating for gusts of wind and ‘errors in judgement’.
Often, they will have three levels (or modes of operation), beginner, intermediate and experienced. They will keep you airborne and flying like an ace.
While we are on this point, I should mention the three modes of operation means that you won’t outgrow your airplane too quickly. As you build experience, switch to the next level and you have a new plane at the flick of a switch. You don’t need to go shopping for a replacement rc plane.
The technologies in your new RC airplane have been designed with the beginner in mind. They are intended to build confidence in a new pilot.
Your new airplane might include a ‘panic mode’ which is activated by a single button push on the transmitter. When things don’t go as planned, push the button and your plane returns to straight and level flight.
Some have a U-Turn mode, again activated by a single button push on the transmitter. Very handy when trying to judge a turn at distance when the airplane is at an awkward angle to you, makes you look like a pro!
Top Race’s TR-C285 is an excellent choice for a beginner. Whether you are buying for yourself or as a gift this RC airplane is highly recommended. Not that this is a necessary item, but FYI, there are some low cost planes that have a ‘stunt’ or ‘aerobatic’ feature.
Handy, you want to impress friends and family at your prowess as an RC pilot. Again a single button push brings on the razzle dazzle once the manoeuvre is completed the stabilization system returns you to straight and level flight.
Gas RC airplanes
Gas RC planes or ‘nitro planes’ (as they are sometimes known) are more commonly associated with the really Big RC planes, which being heavier, need the extra power and torque to drive a larger propeller.
The trade-off for all that extra power (and noise) is that they require fuel, oil, tuning, special tools and maintenance which is maybe not in everyone’s experience. The noise factor is a major consideration as it carries a huge nuisance penalty, which is something you need to think about if you are going to be sharing your flying space with ‘non believers’.
Things to compare
Electric RC planes, by comparison are of lighter construction and don’t need so much power. They are virtually maintenance free (as long as you don’t consider plugging the charger in as maintenance).
Factors to consider is that gas RC planes are more expensive to buy. They take much longer to build (not assemble) and are definitely not in the ready to fly category. On a more serious note, a prop driven by a gas engine will show no mercy. There are many graphic accounts of grievous wounds from sharp edged plastic and wooden propellers turning at 10,000 RPM contacting fingers, hands and wrists. There is also some talk on the forums of the fuel vapours being toxic and harmful if inhaled and lethal if ingested. More than enough reason to keep that stuff well away from small kids.
On the upside, gas RC planes sound great and as long as you got the fuel, they will fly all day. Whereas, with an electric RC plane, each of your batteries is limited to around 20 minutes of flight time. Hot tip: buy lots of spare batteries and keep em all charged up. Please note, some gas RC planes are crazy fast and can hit speeds of 100mph. This makes them ideal for stunt flying and racing and maybe not good RC planes for beginners.
Check out our post on gas RC engines. It has excellent information on the various types available.
Best RC planes
Assuming you are an absolute beginner, a newbie, with zero RC flying experience, I’m going to make some recommendations on the best Remote control airplanes for beginners. While I might be laboring the point, you should start flying as soon as you can. Right now the best RC planes arrive in a box complete, with everything you need, ready to go flying. Some assembly will be required, attach the wings, charge the airplane’s on-board battery, fit the AA’s into the transmitter and you are good to go. Airborne in 5 minutes (assuming the batteries are charged).
Do not be discouraged or influenced by such references towards RTF (ready to fly) as poorly made toys. I’ve seen manufacturers video of these so called ‘toys’ having their wings bent upwards at nearly 40 degrees and still return to their original shape. A traditional wooden kit would have splintered under lesser treatment. RTF RC planes for beginners are readily available and are perhaps the best option for getting started. Not only that but a remote control plane for kids is a great gift idea for developing and nurturing the interest of a future pilot.
When it comes to flight simulators, I’m ambivalent because they don’t add actual flight experience. And because they cost money which could be better spent on an entry level RC plane. I mentioned earlier, actual flight experience builds confidence (and experience).
I see flight sims as a form of procrastination because anything that keeps the user earthbound, living in a mental abstraction. Dreaming about the day they will fly their own RC plane, rather than actually going out and doing it.
That said, they have their place and they do allow the user to become familiar with the various functions on the transmitter. Although, most out of the box, entry level planes will have a (new and unfamiliar) transmitter supplied. Which you can easily familiarize yourself with while your new RC plane sits safely on the ground. On the other hand, crashes in a flight sim cost nothing.
RC airplane kits & other great stuff
We want to provide you with the most up to-date and relevant information available. If you are a zero hours beginner looking for guidance and better context to augment your learning, I am confident you will find it here.
Experienced RC pilots are very welcome, some of our staff have been flying RC airplanes for many a happy year. Their contributions have helped fill in knowledge gaps. Their stories and anecdotes offer valuable lessons and insight to the world of RC planes.
The information you find on this website is detailed and authoritive. We invite you to explore the latest news, video and features. Our will assist you greatly, in your RC flying career. I’m looking forward to showing you some of the really cool stuff.
Keep checking back, I’ve got some interesting stuff over in the ‘posts’ section that will blow your mind. There are some exciting RC planes available today. Many with breath taking features and capabilities.
As much as possible, we have eliminated the super techno jargon. We provide you with a clear explanation so that you can get the best from this exciting hobby.
What you will find
Upcoming on this website you will find in depth and detailed features, on:
Entry level RC airplane kits
Ready-to-fly (RTF) kits
News and views
Bind N Fly (BNF) airplanes
Ready to fly (RTF) airplane kits
Almost ready to fly (ARF) airplanes
Wood RC airplane kits
RC helicopters & Auto gyros
There’s nothing like the thrill of assembling your first RC plane and watching fly for the first time. Unfortunately, most people assume that RC airplanes are too difficult to fly and leave it at that. Because, you made the investment in time and effort it’s better experience for you. People of all ages can get started in this hobby because of the availability of electric RC planes.
Check back soon and get what you need to make an informed choice. Whether you are looking info on RC airplane kits or parts for your latest project you will find it here.
Thanks for taking the time to visit the site. I hope you found this article on RC airplane kits useful and informative. Please take the time to check out the other posts and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
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