Best RC Airplanes to Get You Into the Sky

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 16, 2017
Remote control airplanes are always about fun and enjoyment for people of any age. These are the RC planes that have dragged such a huge number of people into an exciting RC vehicles hobby. Once you get into it, it will become your family hobby too. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
RECOMMENDED AGE
ENGINE TYPE
POWER SOURCE
CHARGER
CONTROL
MATERIAL
FEATURES
DIMENSIONS
WARRANTY
 
PROS

In good weather, paired with an airplane receiver, the Spektrum DX5e transmitter will let you control the plane at a distance of up to 800 yards. 

CONS

Assembly and adjustment might seem tiresome. 

OUR VERDICT

Get this hefty RC airplane from E-flite and conquer the sky. Thanks to a reliable stabilization system, the air vehicle will fly steadily even in high winds. 

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

14+

ENGINE TYPE

Electric

POWER SOURCE

11.1V 3S 3200 mAh LiPo (up to 20 min of flying) 

CHARGER

2-3S LiPo balancing charger

CONTROL

2.4 GHz Spektrum DX5e transmitter (~ up to 2000 ft range) 

MATERIAL

Lightweight Z-Foam™ material

FEATURES

SAFE™ technology (3 experience modes), Panic recovery mode, Wide-stance tricycle landing gear, Steering nose wheel

DIMENSIONS

Overall Length: 42.5” 

Wingspan: 59”

WARRANTY

Amazon’s 30-day return policy 

PROS

A wide-angle VGA camera allows recording and streaming fascinating videos of flights over beautiful landscapes in real time. 

CONS

It might take you some time to get the hang of the app. 

OUR VERDICT

Would you like to fly an airplane? Start with little and get the PowerUp model kit. With the Google cardboard FPV viewer, you'll feel the excitement of pilots sitting in a cockpit of their planes, controlling the flight with movements of your head. 

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

14+

ENGINE TYPE

Electric 

POWER SOURCE

550 mAh quick connect LiPo battery (up to 10 min of flying)

CHARGER

Micro USB cable for charging 

CONTROL

iOS and Android compatible smartphone or tablet (up to 300 ft range)

MATERIAL

Paper, Carbon fiber polypropylene frame

FEATURES

Autopilot stabilizing, Google cardboard FPV viewer, Wide angle rotating camera, Crash proof bumper, Automatic takeoff and crash detection

DIMENSIONS

Depends on the airplane construction (8 premium printed templates sheets included)

WARRANTY

90-day limited warranty

PROS

Designed to be a scale model of an existing aircraft, the HobbyZone HBZ4400 will give you the feel of flying a real plane, just a more stylish one.

CONS

Some customers report that a USB port fast charger could be of a better quality.

OUR VERDICT

The HBZ 4400 is a beginner-friendly RC plane that is easy to fly and control. After a couple of flights, you'll  be able to take it up into the air like an expert. A great airplane if RC fly is your family hobby.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

14+

ENGINE TYPE

Electric

POWER SOURCE

3.7v 1S 150 mAh LiPo (up to 15 min of flying)

CHARGER

USB port fast charger

CONTROL

2.4GHz Transmitter with Spektrum DSMX technology (up to 300 ft range)

MATERIAL

EPO foam

FEATURES

SAFE™ technology (3 experience modes), Panic recovery mode, Fixed main with steerable tail wheel

DIMENSIONS

Overall Length: 16.3”Wingspan: 24.3”

WARRANTY

Amazon’s 30-day return policy

PROS

The kit includes special paper sheets to fold different types of paper planes (in particular, a Nakamura lock paper plane) and practice aerodynamics.  

CONS

Due to Bluetooth connection, the controllable range is rather low. 

OUR VERDICT

Make a paper plane just like in your boyhood days and transform it into a motorized flying machine by means of a unique smart module. An affordable and truly ingenious design that will come to liking to people of all ages.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

14+

ENGINE TYPE

Electric 

POWER SOURCE

Built-in rechargeable LiPo battery (up to 10 min of flying)

CHARGER

Micro USB cable for charging

CONTROL

iOS and Android compatible smartphone or tablet (over 180 ft range) 

MATERIAL

Paper, Crash-proof carbon fibre body

FEATURES

FlightAssist™ technology, Beginner and advanced modes (2+2 sheets), Storage box included

DIMENSIONS

Depends on the airplane construction (4 premium printed templates sheets included)

WARRANTY

Amazon’s 30-day return policy 

PROS

Thanks to an extremely easy operation and control, you will learn to fly your RC airplane in no time.  

CONS

By default, the battery charger is powered by 4 AA batteries. 

OUR VERDICT

This small yet maneuverable aircraft from HobbyZoneis a great starter model. Comes assembled and ready to use out-of-the-box. Most of the body parts of the plane are replaceable which allows its longer service life.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

14+

ENGINE TYPE

Electric 

POWER SOURCE

3.7v 1S 150 mAh LiPo (up to 15 min of flying) 

CHARGER

3.7V 0.3A DC LiPo Charger (4 AA batteries required - DC charge available)

CONTROL

2.4GHz Transmitter with Spektrum DSM2 technology (up to 300 ft range) 

MATERIAL

EPO foam

FEATURES

Fixed main with steerable tail wheel, Replaceable parts

DIMENSIONS

Overall Length: 14.3”

Wingspan: 22.4”

WARRANTY

Amazon’s 30-day return policy 

What is an RC Airplane

Radio controlled toys offer thrilling and captivating recreation. They bring excitement, joy, and tons of positive emotions to both kids and adults. 

With an RC airplane, you and your child will learn to fly a plane (even though a toy one), taking it up into the air and controlling its flight. Besides joyful recreation, you together will study the basic principles of aerodynamics and learn to perform a variety of stunts in the air. Your kids' friends (and yours too) will be impressed with your new hobby and, more likely than not, will run to a store to get themselves an RC airplane too. 

Once you get into this hobby, at some stage you may want to enlarge your collection. We recommend you to take a look at our articles on the best RC drift cars and RC sailboats, with each offering its own joys. 

Best RC Airplanes

What Features to Compare

User Age

Before choosing an RC plane, especially if you buy one as a gift for a kid, check the recommended age of a user. Most modern models are designed for youngsters of 12 years old and elder. If the toy appears to be too sophisticated and difficult for your kid to control, he/she will quickly lose interest in it. 

Power Type

There are two types of RC airplanes you can choose from: with engine and electric motors. As a rule, engine RC planes look almost identical to real planes but of a miniature size and feature intricate controls. Contrary to electric models they need proper maintenance and regular fueling. In this respect, electric-type RC airplanes are a much simpler alternative. Powered by a single-use or rechargeable batteries, they don't require you to run any extra costs. They are also much quieter in operation and more welcome in public places.

If you've never flown an RC aircraft before, we'd recommend you to opt for a beginner model. 

Controls

The majority of professional RC flying machines are controlled with a handy remote controller using which you can not only take the plane up into the air but also perform some really outstanding air tricks like a “barrel roll” or “Immelman”. Some of the planes allow handy control with a smartphone or a tablet. You should also check the controllable distance of the chosen vehicle.

Material

Speaking of material, most of the RC airplanes are made of durable plastic or EPO foam to withstand crashes and falls. Recently, the market has been introduced to the novelty solutions which allow users to pair hand-made paper planes with electric motors. This simple but ingenious design of a plane doesn't cost a fortune but will surely help you practice aerodynamics and learn to control the toy. 

Functions and Usability 

A useful addition to the RC aircraft is a camera with which any flight can become a full-scale drone. With the camera on, you will be able to observe the vistas from the sky and make a footage of the best stuns. The presence of chassis will add to the smooth and jerk-free aircraft ascending and descending, while the automatic stabilization option will allow you to prevent the plane from falling down in case you lose control.

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E-flite RC Airplane with Safe Technology

Conquer the Sky

If you seek a premium-quality beginner model for maneuverable long-distance flights, the Apprentice S15e is for you. Out of the box, you get everything to fly it and no more accessories are required. As for a scale model, this plane has pretty impressive dimensions: (42.5” (overall length) x 59” (wingspan) that add to its stable flights and make it more visible against the sky.

Like you'd expect from a toy of such a size, the Apprentice S15e is equipped with a powerful 15-size, 840Kv brushless outrunner motor which can endure high loads and in a combination with a 3200mAh rechargeable battery, provide up to 15-20 minutes of fly from a single battery charge. 

The Apprentice S15e is made of a unique Z-Foam™ material that adds to its rugged yet lightweight design. As a result, you get a powerful flying machine with superior aerodynamic properties and unmatched agility. The only thing you might find a bit frustrating is that this plane requires initial assembly and adjustment. However, the assembly is a real snap and won’t take you a lot of time and efforts. Besides, it will make an exciting introduction to an airplane modeling if you are a newcomer to the RC flying hobby. 

This RC airplane is an awesome model to learn on and master the basics of flying!  

Review of E-flite RC Airplane with Safe Technology

Convenient Controls

As we’ve mentioned above, the E-flite RC airplane kit is fitted with everything you need to get started, including a handy transmitter that will come to liking to both beginners and experienced RC enthusiasts. Being highly responsive and adjustable, it allows users to customize the settings for individual needs. The controllable distance makes 800 yards on average but may vary, depending on the weather conditions and terrain. 

In order to see the full potential of the Apprentice S15e, it's best if you fly it in the open field. Due to the SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology, the plane can be flown in three different modes according to your level of skills. This way, if you're a beginner, you should set it to the beginner mode. Advanced users can start with the intermediate mode and slowly go to the experienced mode, reducing or completely removing the flight envelope protection. The additional panic recovery mode will come useful when in emergency situations. 

E-flite RC Airplane with Safe Technology in the use

Enhanced Functionality for Better Take-off and Landing

For smooth and stable take-off and landing, the RC aircraft has been equipped with a special chassis and a front castor wheel. It could also be converted to a float plane if used together with a specially designed HobbyZone Float set (should be bought separately).

Detailed review of E-flite RC Airplane with Safe Technology

How to Make a Video of Your Own Flights?

What makes the HobbyZone RC airplane an attractive plane for so many consumers is that it's possible to fly it together with a cam and make an amazing footage of the stunts right from the air. To do so, you could attach an action camera and shoot high quality video in action.

E-flite RC Airplane with Safe Technology application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


E-flite RC Airplane with Safe Technology
E-flite RC Airplane with Safe Technology
 

PowerUp FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Model Kit

The First Ever Paper Drone!

For almost anyone, a paper plane is a sweet memory from the childhood. Shai Groitein, CEO of PowerUp Toys, took it a step further. On basis of a paper plane design and modern technologies, he invented his first flying drone - the PowerUp FPV. The RC airplane kit contains 8 template sheets, a carbon fiber polypropylene frame with a twin motor, a Wi-Fi module, and a camera, so you can fold your own paper plane and transform it into a real drone. A built-in rechargeable battery ensures a 10-minute flight from a single battery charge. The battery can be charged via a microUSB cable, and a full charge takes no more than 90 minutes.  

To dispel your doubts about durability and functionality of this model, it’s necessary to highlight that under the weight of 2.8 oz, the PowerUp drone can speed up to 20 miles per hour, offering unmatched agility and maneuverability. Meanwhile, a crash-proof bumper will securely protect its lightweight paper body from damages.  

You will also be impressed with an innovative control system. Unlike the majority of RC toys, this one has neither transmitter nor remote controller. All you need is to have your phone or tablet on you, install an app and use it as a gamepad control. 

An Autopilot function will come useful when flying the drone in windy conditions. Though the controllable range is limited to 300 feet, it is more than enough to experience the thrill and fun of RC flying.

Review of PowerUp FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Model Kit

Capture Your Flights!

The PowerUp paper drone comes fitted with a wide angle VGA camera for streaming live video and recording it to a MicroSD card (not included). The camera can swivel around, giving you a wing and back view of the flight to help find the best shooting perspective and even capture yourself flying the PowerUp FPV. It’s amazing, isn’t it?  

PowerUp FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Model Kit in the use

Feel a Pilot of Your Own Plane!

In the box, along with an airplane kit, you will also find a Google cardboard viewer, a useful accessory that will drastically enhance your flying experience. Once you log in FPV app and switch to the FPV flight mode, you will be able to watch your flight as if you were sitting in a cockpit of the plane and control the flight with movements of your head.

Detailed review of PowerUp FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Model Kit

What Smartphone Do I Need for This Model?

To use all the functions and options of this fantastic model, your smartphone should have a responsive gyro sensor. In our reviews on Android phones and iPhones, you can choose a model with the functionality you need.

PowerUp FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Model Kit application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


PowerUp FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Model Kit
PowerUp FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Model Kit
 

HobbyZone Sport Cub S

FLY, SWOOP, AND ASCEND AT YOUR OWN PACE

When it comes to the Horizon Hobby, the last thing you'd doubt is the quality of their products. So, if you need a plane that will demonstrate great performance capabilities and will serve you a while, consider one of the company's recent models of RC toys - the HobbyZone HBZ 4400 RC airplane. Featuring a stylish Mike McConville design, it’s an attractive replica of a popular Cub Crafters Sport Cub aircraft. 

In the box, you will find everything to go fly it right away: an aircraft, a radio transmitter, batteries, and a charger. This is one of the best airplanes for beginners that requires neither experience nor assembly. 

Made of a first-class EPO foam, it's distinguished for its lightweight yet durable design. A powerful electric motor ensures an impressive speed and climbing performance even in high winds, while a steerable tail wheel makes its take-off and landing much smoother.

The HobbyZone HBZ 4400 set includes a convenient DSMX® 2.4 Hz transmitter for efficient and comprehensive 4-channel control, including an elevator, a rudder, an aileron, and a working throttle. Highly responsive controls, a flawless connection between a transmitter and receiver, ease of use, and beginner-friendly features are only a few of the numerous benefits that speak in favor of this model.

Review of HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane

THE BEST WAY TO ADVANCE YOUR SKILLS

If you are only getting into the RC flying hobby but you'd like to become a pro, the HBZ4400 can help you succeed in a short while thanks to the innovative SAFE™ technology that allows mastering skills in three flight modes.

  • In the beginner mode, the pitch and roll angles are limited for better orientation. When controls are turned to neutral, the airplane automatically returns to the level flight. The take-off and landing are facilitated to the maximum. 
  • In the intermediate mode, the pitch and roll angles are expanded, giving you more control over the flight and allowing you to improve your skills. Meanwhile, thanks to the implementation of the AS3X technology your flights will be much smoother with fewer vibrations.
  • The experienced mode removes all the limits. The pitch and roll angle is identical to that of the full-scale planes, giving you the freedom to do specialized air tricks. In this mode, you will have real fun and enjoy flying your RC plane to the maximum.  

HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane in the use

SOME POWER ASPECTS

The HobbyZone HBZ 4400 is powered by a compact 3.7v 1S 150mAh LiPo rechargeable battery which allows you to fly it for about 15 minutes before it needs recharging. The full charge, in turn, takes around 45 minutes.

As for the transmitter, it is powered by 4 AA batteries (not included in the set). Keep an eye on the charge; the moment you notice that the plane control has become less responsive, replace the batteries. It may be a good idea to keep spares at hand.

Detailed review of HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane

GET YOUR OWN AIRSHIP

Once you master to fly your RC airplane, it's likely that you'd want to get yourself a new RC toy. We'd like to recommend all avid RC fans to read our article on the RC blimps, small-scale models of real airships. Both you and your kids will have fascinating family recreation with such a great collection of RC toys.

HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


HobbyZone Sport Cub S
HobbyZone Sport Cub S
 

PowerUp Smartphone Controlled

A Perfect Tool to Learn the Principles of Aerodynamics

Just think about, some paper planes can fly to the distance over 150 feet. Challenged by annual competitions organized by Red Bull, engineers constantly improve technologies and come up with new ideas how to enhance RC aircraft design. The PowerUp 3.0 plane is one of the novelty solutions that we'd like to tell you about in more detail. Basically, this is a hand-made airplane but with a potential of big and expensive RC models. You will only need to fold a plane using a simple sheet of paper and pair it with a durable, crash-proof Smart Module (included in the box). Once that's done, install a special app on your phone and go fly your paper drone! As simple as that! To learn to control the plane, it's recommended that you start to fly it in the large open areas under no-wind conditions.  

A tiny built-in battery (to be recharged via a micro USB cable included in the set) will ensure a 10-minute flight at the speed of about 5 miles per hour. A really good result for a paper drone! 

A practical plastic carrying case will make a nice and useful addition to the kit, allowing you to keep it in safe and transport it with more comfort. 

Review of PowerUp Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane

Types of Planes For Novice and Advanced Pilots

This is one of the best (and most affordable too!) models that you could get as of today to learn the basics of airplane modeling and the principles of aerodynamics. 

Designed to provide consumers with convenience of use and make recreation more fun, the PowerUp 3.0 kit contains 4 premium printed template sheets: 2 templates for newcomers and 2 templates for advanced pilots who can fold many different planes and sophisticated designs (like Nakamura, for example). 

Besides, you are free to experiment with paper plane designs and make your own free-flying vehicle. Let your creativity fly. Check other paper planes compatible with the PowerUp 3.0 smart module on the Internet. 

PowerUp Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane in the use

Easy connection, Convenient control

After the plane is folded, connect its smart module to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This way your phone (or tablet) will be transformed into a handy transmitter with all useful information displayed on the screen. Meanwhile, due to an artificial cockpit-like horizon along and FlightAssist™ technology, the flights will be much more stable and well-controlled. 

Detailed review of PowerUp Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane

For Hi-tech Geeks

If you follow the onrush of technology and is obsessed with innovative smart gadgets, no doubt, you will fancy getting a toy robot. This interactive toy can “communicate” with a human and help develop different skills. It will make a perfect gift for your little one, providing him/her with numerous opportunities to learn and play. 

PowerUp Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


PowerUp Smartphone Controlled
PowerUp Smartphone Controlled
 

HobbyZone RTF Airplane

Dream. Explore. Fly

Most RC airplane experts and skilled RC pilots recommend beginners to start their flying experience with easy-to-control and compact airplane models. The Champ RTF Airplane from HobbyZone is just the one in point. This aircraft comes fully assembled and ready to fly. Once you take it out of the box, you can proceed to practice your flying skills and enjoy your first flights. 

With a classic yellow retro design, it looks amazing and embodies the plane most of us dreamed about as kids. Thanks to an overall length of 14.3” and a wingspan of 20.3”, the Champ is very flexible and mobile. Made of impact-resistant EPO foam, it features a lightweight and rugged construction, while a compact 3-channel transmitter, being easy and convenient to use by both children and adults, ensures a responsive control. In addition, there is a landing gear for a smooth, jerk-free landing. 

As maneuverable and durable as it is, it will deliver an unforgettable flying experience. Consulting the instructions from the set, you'll learn to fly like a pro in almost no time, even if you've never flown before. 

Review of HobbyZone RTF Airplane

Worry About Crash Damages? Forget it!

Despite a crash-proof and durable design, at some stage, the HobbyZone RTF airplane might still get damaged. Replacing the parts, however, won't cost you a fortune; all components of the plane can be bought from the official website of the manufacturer at a low price. The repairs are also simple and don't require any special skills. You will be able to take your paper plane up into the air within a short while. 

HobbyZone RTF Airplane in the use

Prepare for Your First Flight

The Champ package comes complete with everything you need to fly your plane straight away, entailing no extra costs for additional accessories. However, before you can make your long-expected flight, some initial prep is still required:  

  • Check that your set is complete and the box includes all the items mentioned in a user manual; 
  • Insert 4 AA batteries to the charger and then charge a 3.7v 1S 150mAh LiPo battery of the aircraft. For added convenience, you can buy a USB charger;
  • Read through the instructions thoroughly and make sure all controls are functional;
  • To fly your plane, select an open area somewhere away from crowded public places and traffic. The manufacturer's recommendation is to fly your air unit on calm days since it might be a bit hard to handle it in windy conditions. 
  • That’s it! Your Champ is ready to take off!
Detailed review of HobbyZone RTF Airplane

Make a Car Model With Your Own Hands

If you are a car modeling enthusiast or an avid collector of fancy car models, pay attention to the car model kits. Offering an exciting opportunity to make a precise scale copy of a real car, it will keep you and your children thrilled and engaged in this fun and creative process. A DIY car model will make an excellent gift or/and become a perfect decoration element in your house.

HobbyZone RTF Airplane application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


HobbyZone RTF Airplane
HobbyZone RTF Airplane
 

Infographics

Comparison of RC Airplanes to Get You Into the Sky

FAQ:

Q: Is there any difference between the terms “radio control” and “remote control”?

A: Technically, genuine remote control models are connected to a transmitter via a cable, through which the signal is passed, while radio controlled units are controlled by radio signals from a separate transmitter. However, today, these two terms are used as interchangeable in relation to RC vehicles. 

Q: What type of RC airplane should I choose?

A: Generally, everything depends on your preferences and desires. However, you should also be guided by your own level of experience. For novice users, we’d recommend you to opt for the planes that require minimum assembly and little modeling skills, while if you’re an experienced RC user, you could get yourself a more sophisticated model. Some of the planes come ready-to-use right out-of-the-box and will suit best newcomers who’ve just started an RC hobby.

Q: How do I learn to fly?

A: Undoubtedly, the best way to learn to fly a plane is to ask someone experienced to help you at the beginning. You could join a local model flying club and find a professional assistance there. Also, you could try to use an RC flight simulator, a special app that allows practicing flying. Of course, it might not happen just like that and learning may take some time, but once you get the hang of the plane, you'll see that this effort was worth it. 

Q: Where can I fly my plane?

A: Usually, flying is allowed in most public places, but there are some areas that might be prohibited by local laws for safety reasons. Hence, you’d better fly your RC plane in the areas designated for a model flying. However, some of the small lightweight models can be flown in parks, gardens, ball fields, backyards and even indoors. 

Q: Do I need to join any model flying club? 

A: It is not necessary but could be a really good idea. You will meet fellow pilots there to share your hobby and will have an access to a club’s flying facility. Besides, if you are a beginner, you can find a good instructor to teach you flying skills. 

Q: Are there any safety rules to follow when flying an RC aircraft?

A: Yes, there are simple standard safety rules to follow when you fly a model plane. Consult a National Model Aircraft Safety Code made up by the Academy of Model Aeronautics. 


Sources:

1. A Guide to RC Basics and Where to Start (Building Your First RC Plane), Instructables. 

2. How to Fly a Remote Control Plane, wikiHow.  

3. Foamy DM S.T.E.M. Fun with Foam Flyers in Three Easy Steps, Flite Test. February 16, 2017. 

4. What remote control toy to choose, eBay. September 16, 2016. 

5. Radio-controlled aircraft, Wikipedia. March 27, 2017. 

6. Beginners Guide To RC Airplanes,  Storm the Castle

7. Your Guide to Buying a Model Airplane, eBay. July 21, 2014. 

8. 6 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FIRST FLIGHT, FliteTest. October 22, 2014. 


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