How to Pick the Best RC Planes for Beginners

I. Introduction

Not everyone can fly real airplanes, but everyone can at least try to fly RC planes, which are much smaller than airplanes but safer and easier to control. Flying RC planes is one of the most popular hobbies today for kids and adults who like to upgrade and customize their aircraft to fly better. This pastime is ideal for those who have always wanted to feel what it’s like to be a pilot but have never had the chance to fly a real plane. 

If you’re new to the hobby of remote-controlled airplanes, you might need clarification on the wide range of options available. This article will cover the fundamentals, explain how RC planes work, and outline the many options available to new pilots. The most important factors to consider before purchasing are also discussed here. Prepare for takeoff as we begin an informative quest to locate the ideal RC aircraft for your first flight.

II. Choose a Type of RC Plane

simple RC plane

If you’re new to the RC plane hobby or thinking of getting into this exciting hobby, you should get a model made with a new hobbyist in mind. These remote-controlled aircraft are ideal for novice pilots since they are easier to manage and less likely to cause frustration if you crash. Let’s have a look at some of the most common varieties of RC planes that are ideal for novices:


A. Trainer Planes

Trainers are remote-controlled aircraft designed to help inexperienced pilots learn the ropes. These planes are often easier to pilot because of their slower flying speed and high-wing shape, providing more air stability. The sophisticated stabilization mechanisms commonly found in trainer planes allow novice pilots to concentrate on learning the fundamentals of flight without worrying about keeping the plane level in the air. To learn more about beginner-friendly RC planes, read The Guide to Picking Your First RC Plane.

B. Sports Planes

Compared to an RC trainer, a sport plane is more advanced; it combines aspects of both a trainer and an aerobatic plane. Incorporating structures like a low-wing arrangement and symmetrical airfoils, these aircraft retain certain self-correcting features for steady flying while also being capable of performing more complex maneuvers. The largest types of RC plane available in the market are sport planes. Sport planes, in contrast to scale planes and warbirds, are not replicas of any aircraft; instead, they are built for a specific purpose, such as increased speed, maneuverability, or aerobatics.

C. Gliders

Pure and powered gliders are the two main categories of RC gliders. Pure gliders rely exclusively on the wind and thermals to stay in the air because they lack any power source to create momentum. They often have long, thin wings and a slim fuselage to make the least grind possible for a given lift. You’ll have to manually throw them into the air because they lack an engine or motor, but once they’re in the mood, they fly like any other radio-controlled aircraft. A glider equipped with a motor is called a propelled glider. Because of their low weight and aerodynamically streamlined form, they are a favorite among novice pilots. When at a high enough altitude, you may release your grip on the throttle and enjoy significantly longer flight hours than a standard electric RC plane.

D. Aerobatic Planes

Many models of these planes are scaled-down versions of larger aircraft. Most feature very large rudders for “point” movements and knife-edge flying, and their wings are either mid or low-mounted, symmetrical, and aerodynamically efficient. The “fun-fly” is a specialized type of aerobatic plane. Their control surfaces are massive, and their wings and fuselages are short and thick. Toy airplanes weigh relatively little. This winning mix makes them easy to control and predictable, making them a blast.

E. Scale Planes

Remote-controlled scale planes look like airplanes but are considerably smaller. A well-made scale plane may imitate a real aircraft’s functional properties and physical characteristics. Scale models are perfect for aviation enthusiasts because they capture the look and feel of the real thing without sacrificing performance. The primary reason is that these planes’ wings and control surfaces are noticeably smaller than those of a typical sport or aerobatic aircraft. A full-sized plane won’t have any trouble getting airborne since the wing area of such a craft is large enough to provide sufficient lift.

F. Warbirds

The word “warbird” is commonly used to refer to any vintage military aircraft. Here are some reasons why RC warbirds are so appealing: they are nostalgic, explicit, charismatic, classic, aesthetically pleasing, and photogenic. However, warbirds are remote-controlled airplane that is notoriously difficult for newcomers to do the hobby. They’re daunting because of their high price tag, complicated flight procedures, and technological complexity. Warplanes are more than just cumbersome and speedy in the air; they may also be challenging to control on the ground. But model RC warbirds, such as the ParkZone Trojan, are designed with new pilots in mind.

G. Floatplanes

If you live near a lake or a big, slow-moving river, you may enjoy a more complex and satisfying remote-controlled flight with a floatplane or seaplane. It’s a common misconception that floatplanes and seaplanes are the same things. The fuselage of a seaplane, often called a flying boat, contacts the water during takeoff and landing, while the floats or pontoons of a floatplane prevent this from happening. RC floatplanes are a common favorite of RC enthusiasts because of the added realism and uniqueness they bring to the field. Taking off and landing on water calls for a different set of abilities.

H. Jets

Real jets differ from planes, but RC jets may also utilize propellers to produce power, so calling them jets is a stretch. RC jets are designed to operate like their full-size counterparts regardless of their power source. They are distinguished by their extreme efficiency thanks to their mid-wing arrangement and trapezoidal and sweptback wing shape. In addition, the reduced wing loading afforded by their shorter or smaller wings substantially improves their agility. If you seek a thrilling and nimble pastime, you won’t regret investing in a remote-controlled plane.

I. High-wing RC Plane

High-wing RC planes have a lower center of gravity due to the placement of the wings above the fuselage. This shape makes them more aerodynamically stable, which is especially important for novice pilots. Those just starting in the hobby will find that high-wing planes are easier to control and more resilient in the event of a stall or an uneven flight.

J. Foam Model RC Plane

If you’re starting, you may expect to make some mistakes and have some setbacks. Because of this, you should look for a radio-controlled plane constructed from sturdy materials that can survive mild crashes. Beginners should start with a foam plane, like an EPP or EPO model plane made of these materials are relatively inexpensive and don’t cause damage to anything they accidentally crash into. With this plane, you can practice flying without worrying about breaking anything or spending much money.

III. Features to Consider for RC Planes

RC glider

A. Battery Life and Compatibility

The battery is the central power source for your remote-controlled airplane. Its capacity and voltage dictate how long you can fly and how much power you can generate. Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries are commonly used in RC planes because of their high energy density and portability. Consider the plane’s voltage and capacity needs while selecting your battery. It is also crucial that the battery’s dimensions be suitable for installation in the aircraft’s battery compartment. If you’re starting, getting a storm that strikes a good balance between flying duration and weight is best, as the latter can adversely affect the plane’s handling and performance.

B. Material

Compared to aluminum-made RC planes, those made from plastic or foam are more prone to crashing. This is because aluminum is more durable and can withstand more weight before breaking. Some typical components of radio-controlled aircraft include balsa wood, lightweight and adaptable wood frequently used in radio-controlled airplane production because of its strength and adaptability. Foam is also a common material for beginner RC planes because of its lightweight and low cost; on the other hand, carbon fiber material can give outstanding strength and stiffness without adding much weight; this light and robust material is frequently utilized in high-performance RC planes.

Moreover, Fiberglass is another popular material for RC planes since it is strong, lightweight, and straightforward. While plastics are low-cost and offer high durability, plastic is often used to make the canopies and propellers of remote control planes. On the other hand, metals like aluminum and titanium are sometimes used in constructing high-performance RC planes because of their strength and endurance. However, aircraft made of plastic or foam is easier to control since they weigh less. Carbon fiber strengthens some models built from either material, making them more durable and crash-proof.

C. Size and Weight

Size and weight are important factors when purchasing an RC plane. Many planes are available, from toy-like indoor models to massive outside aircraft. Pick a plane suitable for your skill level and public airspace. Although bigger planes take more skill and experience to handle safely, they are better suited to outside flight and can’t be flown indoors without wind. Most remote-controlled aircraft are tiny enough to hold with one hand. However, it’s important to remember that learning to pilot a larger model takes more time than a smaller one.

D. Motor

The power of a remote-controlled plane’s motor is crucial to its performance. Therefore, a model with a robust engine is recommended for rapid flight. It’s also essential to think about where the motor will be installed. Some are installed in the tail, the wings, or the fuselage, while most are found at the front. The fuselage is the ideal location for an engine; however, this can add considerable mass.

E. Control System / Controller

The remote control is arguably the essential component of a radio-controlled airplane. There are two parts to this system: the transmitter and the receiver. The flight controller is the primary tool for piloting the aircraft. Depending on the model, it may be located on the transmitter or the receiver. More channels on a controller mean more flexibility in the device’s use. There can be up to four channels in a smaller plane and seven in a larger one.

F. Design

People new to the hobby of flying and acquiring RC planes are frequently tempted to go for an attractive model that flies fast. However, this is among the most dangerous misconceptions of new RC hobbyists. For beginners, you should consider planes designed with a high wings. This means the wing is above the fuselage, guaranteeing rock-solid flying stability. Maximum stability can also be achieved by increasing the dihedral or angle formed by the two wings. These are the typical layouts for RC planes, and they let you maneuver the gadget in the air, making sharp twists and the like.

IV. Other Things to Consider When Buying RC Planes

flying RC glide

As you prepare to take off on an exciting RC plane adventure, you must select the ideal plane to fulfill your specific requirements and goals. We have developed a list of important elements you should consider before making a final purchase choice to assist you in successfully navigating the wide sea of possibilities. Keep reading to learn about these factors to help you choose the best RC plane for your first thrilling flight.

1. Skill Level

It’s important to be realistic about your experience level before buying your first remote-controlled airplane. Manufacturers create RC planes with varying degrees of complexity to accommodate pilots of varying abilities. If this is your first time flying an RC plane, you should get one made with novice pilots in mind. Planes designed with novice pilots in mind often include self-stabilizing technology and simple controls, making it easier for them to get the hang of the controls and focus on learning the basics of flight. In anticipation of the inevitable errors throughout the learning process, these planes are often constructed to survive minor crashes.

2. Budget

When starting in the hobby of remote-controlled airplanes, it’s essential to set a reasonable spending limit. Depending on the make, model year, special features, and extras, the price of a radio-controlled plane can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand. Setting a price limit helps you choose the best RC plane for your needs without going overboard. Fortunately, there are affordable options for RC planes that are made from high-quality or durable parts, so you don’t really have to spend a lot to enjoy flying a great RC plane. Affordability is usually not a problem for different kinds of RC vehicles, especially on RC cars. To learn more about the budget-friendly options for RC cars, check out The Guide to Picking Your First RC Car.

3. Availability of Spare Parts

Crashing your radio-controlled airplane occasionally is an inevitable part of learning how to fly one. As a result, you ought to get ready for unexpected mishaps. An aircraft with many readily available replacement parts is a good choice for beginners. It would be a waste of money to buy an airplane that doesn’t come with any replacement components. You must understand if you want to get the greatest RC plane for yourself.

4. Kit Readiness

When purchasing your first RC plane, makes sure that the parts needed to assemble the plane are already available in your kit. The kit should come with the complete and a guide or manual to help you. It is recommended to read the manual on creating an RC plane that comes with your RC plane kit. Most RC plane kits already have 90% installed Almost-Ready-to-Fly kit; on the other hand, some kits require just the motor and electronic speed controllers (ESCs) to be completed. But the ideal choice for newbies is to get a fully completed, ready-to-fly kit so that you may start flying as soon as you remove the device from the box. 

V. Conclusion

If you’re starting in the hobby of collecting remote-controlled airplanes, there are a few things you should know before you go out and buy your first plane. Learn about the many types of beginner-friendly RC planes and their components and other important considerations like your degree of expertise, your budget, and the number of planes you can construct from scratch. It’s also wise to get the opinion of seasoned pilots, take a spin in a plane before buying it, and stock up on all the gear you’ll need before taking to the skies.

Starting on the adventure of RC plane flying is a thrilling and worthwhile experience. While you are still learning the nitty gritty of this new hobby, have fun with the exploration and decision-making process as you look for the ideal RC plane that best fits your needs and interests. Develop your flying talents by embracing challenges, gaining insight from setbacks, and rejoicing in small victories.

It is also worthwhile to remember that the world of RC planes is significant, and it’s full of enthusiastic people who are happy to share what they’ve learned with others. Be bold about seeking advice, posting on forums, or joining a local flying club. Participating in conversations with other passionate individuals is a great way to increase your knowledge and make friends in this dynamic group. Fly safely!