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Best Radio Controlled Airplanes for Beginners

Updated on November 19, 2011

The hobby of building and flying remote controlled (RC) airplanes has really taken off over the last couple of decades. There is something fascinating and rewarding about building a mini-replica of an actual airplane and then taking it out to watch it actually soar through the air just like the real thing. RC modeling fosters a real sense of accomplishment and can be a wonderful way for a parent to spend quality time with their child through the construction process, as well as learning how to fly a beginner RC plane.

Learning to fly an RC airplane is not a simple task and requires skills that can take some time to develop. Also, remote controlled models, for the most part, are not that cheap. It could be very disheartening to spend two or three months building a beautiful, expensive RC airplane only to have it crash and get destroyed the first time you attempt to fly it. So, how you learn to fly an RC airplane safely? The answer is to start with either an RC flight simulator, or build and fly a remote controlled trainer plane. While these airplanes may not have the snazzy look of a jet fighter, or the detail of a WWII fighter plane, they can be just as much fun to fly, yet are very forgiving when it comes to mistakes.

Best RC Planes for Beginners
Best RC Planes for Beginners

Characteristics of RC Planes for Beginners

Beginner RC airplanes are specifically designed to minimize the impact of damage to the model should mistakes happen while learning to fly. Mistakes are an inevitable part of learning to fly radio controlled airplanes, but by using a trainer, the financial and psychological blow of those mistakes is considerably lessened.

  • Assembly Time

One of the biggest differences between RC trainers and advanced airplanes is the amount of time required to build the model and getting it ready for its first flight. Most RC trainers are built from pre-molded plastic and foam parts that simply fit together in a few easy steps. This is extremely beneficial in getting the anxious new RC pilot out flying as quickly as possible.

  • RC Motor Type

RC airplanes can use either gas-powered engines or electric motors. The vast majority of beginner RC planes come equipped with electric motors. Once again, the simplicity of installing or charging batteries is a great way to get the plane in the air in a hurry. Electric motors usually won’t provide the raw power that a gas-powered motor might, but they are perfect for maintaining positive control the RC aircraft while learning how to fly.

  • Flight Stability

Another noticeable trait of beginner RC airplanes is the high-mounted large wings and the big wingspan. This feature allows for maximum control of the aircraft’s stability while learning how to maneuver the plane in flight. Planes that have mid or lower body wings are much harder to control in flight and require a greater degree of skill to fly.

Learning to Fly With an RC Flight Simulator

Remote control flight simulators are another alternative for beginners wanting to learn how to fly RC airplanes. The advantage is the ability to learn how to control the RC plane without the risk of destroying an expensive model. The disadvantage is in the knowledge that you are not flying a real model and mistakes have no real consequences. This can lead to a video game type experience and lead to lapses in concentration that may prove costly once you fly a real RC plane. However, for learning basic RC skills, am RC flight simulator can give you a good feel for what will be required with an actual model.

RC flight simulators come with a realistic radio controller which acts as the input for the software so that the beginner can see what happens when certain toggles are utilized. The on-screen aircraft responds just as a real RC plane would. These simulators can often cost as much as the real thing, so depending on how much you have to spend, it may be better just to go ahead and get an actual RC Trainer plane kit.

Super Cub LP RTF

This amazingly detailed electric RC trainer requires virtually no assembly right out of the box and will have you flying in the blink of an eye. It comes with all accessories needed to fly including batteries and 3-channel FM transmitter. The generous 47.7 inch wingspan provides plenty of stability, but in addition, this RC model is equipped with anti-crash technology which actually helps new pilots maintain better control in flight. The 480 brushed electric motor is powered by an 11.1 volt rechargeable lithium polymer battery and provides enough power for advanced maneuvers like steep climbs and rolls.All in all, this is a very forgiving plane that not only looks great, but actually helps you develop the skills needed to fly more advanced RC airplanes.

Buy the Champ RTF

HobbyZone Champ RTF, HBZ4900
HobbyZone Champ RTF, HBZ4900
Ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping!

Champ RTF

The Champ RTF is a smaller RC trainer but it is perfect for learning to fly in smaller areas. It is extremely light and sports a wingspan of slightly more than 20 inches. One thing to be aware of is that the small size of this plane means that it should be flown only in the lightest of breezes. The plus is that with such little weight, any hard landings will virtually be damage free. This plane only utilizes only three channels (rudder, throttle and elevator) making it easier for the beginner to maintain good control. The included 4-channel transmitter allows for greater versatility as skill increases. The Champ is another Ready-To-Fly kit that takes very little assembly time before flying. The smaller scale also means a smaller price, and for the money, the Champ RTF is one of the best RC airplanes for beginners to enter this exciting hobby.

Cessna 182 Pro Series Electric RTF

The Cessna 182 Pro RTF has an amazing range of up to 4,000 feet with the included 2.4 Ghz 4 Channel radio, and the lithium-polymer 7.4 volt battery provides over 20 minutes of flight time per charge. What makes this plane such a great one for RC beginners is its ability to operate at slower speeds without stalling, allowing novice pilots to easily develop sound mechanics and proper flight control habits in a shorter amount of time. The Cessna 182 has over a 3-foot wingspan which provides maximum stability and a smooth flight. This aircraft utilizes 4 channels (throttle, ailerons, rudder, and elevator) which add a good touch of realism to the flying experience. Just like the previous models, this plane comes ready-to-fly with minimum assembly, and as an added bonus, it also comes with flight simulator software and a connecter to attach the transmitter to a pc for even more training options. The Cessna 182 Pro Series RTF is an exceptional trainer and has some of the most realistic scale flying characteristics of any RC airplane.

The Wrap Up

Whether you are looking to join the exciting hobby of RC model airplanes, adding a new model to your collection, or just shopping for a unique Christmas or birthday gift idea, you won’t go wrong with any of these kits. These planes are some of the very best radio controlled airplanes for beginners and are designed to introduce novice RC pilots to the challenges and thrill of flying with a minimum of frustration. If you’ve always wanted to try this fascinating hobby, then order one of these RC kits today and start flying tomorrow!


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      8 years ago

      I started flying a few months ago, I learn how to fly off a rc flight sim in about two weeks, the first rc plane I bought was the HobbyZone Super Cub LP. I think it has to be the BEST beginner plane EVER. Once I tried to stall it by cutting the power and pulling it up and it didn't stall it just glided. So who ever read this Hub and this comment and is looking for a great trainer plane. The best one to try is the hobbyzone super cub lp, and if you don't have $180 to spend on it, you can always buy the mini super cub for about $120, and thanks for reading my comment, have a fun and safe flight rc flyers


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