Who are the Major Airplane Manufacturers?

Technology today has progressed to the point where we can see remote-controlled airplanes in the sky. It has become a huge market in the world with fanatics, professionals, and hobbyists trying to get their hands on one. Offered in many types and varieties, remote-controlled aircraft tend to be an expensive taste for those who can afford them. However, it is not just about who can afford them but the quality along with the brand as well. Since there is a sea of options to choose from, which manufacturer offers what is the primary question on every customer’s mind. Therefore, let us discuss the major remote control airplane manufacturers who have competed shoulder to shoulder over the years to introduce the best products money can buy. Let’s begin.

Sanwa Electronic

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Widely known as Sanwa, Sanwa Electronic Instrument Co., Ltd is best known for its wireless equipment and high-end radio transmitters. F. Lee Renaud in 1942 began with his model aviation hobby with a Joe Ott kit. Five years later, he began participating in competitions. In 1970, while he was recovering from a heart attack, Renaud used his medical leave from the office equipment company job to focus on building radio-controlled airplanes. As a result, he formed Airtronics in 1971 that specialized in manufacturing model airplanes and radio-remote control devices. Furthermore, Renaud with his creations such as the “Aquila”, “Olympic”, “Sagitta” and “Grand Espirit” earned a lot of popularity and fame. Before his death, Renaud in 1982 joined hands with Sanwa as he foresaw that his company will not be able to expand on its own. Therefore, he collaborated with Sanwa. As a result, Renauds would build airplanes while Sanwra built radio-controlled transmitters for the Renauts to distribute.

Great Planes Model Manufacturing

Located in Champaign, Illinois, United States, the Great Planes Model Manufacturing company happens to be the second-largest manufacturers of radio-controlled devices and distributors. The company was founded by Don Anderson in 1982 who was a mechanical engineer at the time in response to the poorly made radio control aircraft kits. Prior to the founding of the company, no such machine existed that was specifically designed for cutting model aircraft parts. It was the Great Plants Model Manufacturing that introduced such machines using computer-aided drafting to come up with interlocked airframe construction.


Hobbico, Inc. was a distributor of hobby products that included radio-controlled cars, boats, drones, and helicopters. The company also produced several other types of products such as model trains, model rockets, plastic model kits, and crafts, etc. In total, the company had 850 employees. However, on January 10, 2018, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On April 13th, Horizon Hobby acquired control of most Hobbico RC brands except the Great Planes Manufacturing. Today, the company specializes and distributes its several remote control products to different countries under different brands and continues to expand its reach to potential markets in other major countries.

Horizon Hobby

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Headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, United States, Horizon Hobby, LLC. Is an American International hobby product distributor. It manufactures several hobby-grade radio-controlled models along with die-cast models and Athearn model trains that are sold directly to consumers. The company was founded by Rick Stephens with the help of industry professionals and a handful of family members in October of 1985. Today, Horizon sells its products in over 50 countries. Although its corporate headquarters along with the product service center and the main distribution facilities are located in Champaign, Illinois, the company has its additional distribution centers located in several other countries as well.

Hobby Zone

HobbyZone is a brand that specializes in manufacturing radio-controlled boat and car models, which are then distributed by Horizon Hobby. All models offered by HobbyZone are sold as ready to fly products with all the necessary batteries and accessories. Furthermore, the company also sells remote-control aircraft models based on experience level as well. Moreover, some HobbyZone products feature patented Anti-Crash Technology that allows the company to install special optical sensors to detect both sky and ground. If the plane were to dive, the sensors will automatically read the situation and take the airplane in control, preventing it from crashing. The company introduced its first scale model in 2006 and continues to impress customers with its features and impressive built quality.

Park Zone

ParkZone is a manufacturer of intermediate level radio controlled electric model aircrafts based in Champaign, Illinois, United States. The company is known for offering several products such as the P-51D Mustang, F4U Corsair, and F4F Wildcat. It also offers a purchasing option called “BNF”, which includes everything necessary to fly an aircraft except the radio transmitter. Currently, the company has several product lines, some of which feature highly detailed scale features and technology.

Final Word

Since the remote control airplane industry happens to be quite competitive, it has caused many companies to close down as well. However, the manufacturers mentioned above continue to introduce newer products to their customers across the globe. Since every manufacturer specializes in offering different products with different technology and features, it all comes down to your preferences and how you intend to use the airplane. But be rest assured that the names outlined above are the best in business.