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Buying Your First Radio Controlled Plane

Updated on August 12, 2009

What To Look For When Buying A Radio Controlled Plane

So you're looking into buying a radio controlled airplane for either yourself or someone you know, but you are not quite sure what kind of model to get.  The large amounts of models and configurations available can get confusing, so I will point you in the right direction and arm you with the terminology you'll need to know to make an informed decision.

The first and most important factor you will want to look into when buying your remote controlled plane is durability.  Flying a plane takes some practice and you want a model that will be able to withstand whatever you throw at it.  Second, you'll want a plane that is relatively easy to fly.  A recommend beginner model of radio controlled airplanes is called a high wing trainer.

High wing trainers have their wings above the fuesalage, which increases their stability and makes them easier to fly, hence the word "trainer."

Radio Control Airbus Cessna 182
Radio Control Airbus Cessna 182

Amount Of Channels

Another factor to look into is the amount of channels the plane has.  A typical radio controlled airplane will have two or three channels, and some even have four.  Channels correspond with the number of controllable parts the plane has, so the more channels the higher range of motion you'll have available.

More channels also mean more difficult controls, so just a two or three channel plane is recommended for beginners.

Where To Buy A Cheap Radio Controlled Plane?

Since you are just beginning to get into the radio control hobby, it's recommended that you go for an inexpensive model plane. You can buy remote controlled planes at most hobby stores, but the real deals are to be found online. On sites such as Amazon you frequently don't even have to pay shipping if your order is above a certain threshold, and your plane will almost certainly qualify! To the right are some good beginner models available on Amazon.


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    • KatyWhoWaited profile image

      KatyWhoWaited 8 years ago

      And also recommended is that you don't spend an entire cold Wisconsin winter constructing a model plane for your first RC flying experience. My husband worked on a beautiful plane, lovingly cut and assembled each balsa wood piece, put all that cool mylar stuff on the wings with dope, and waited for spring. At the first thaw, we took the plane out to a football field for a maiden voyage with the Heathkit RC controller he had also buildt. I suggested we move our car away from the launch area (just in case). My husband started the engine, launched the plane, and began flying. I was thrilled (and surprised) that immediately he was able to get that plane to go in and out of the goal posts! I then turned over to look at him. His face was ashen and his eyes were wide in terrified panic. I turned back to look at the now-upside down plane rapidly descending to the right not far from where we had moved the car. In a second, the plane dove toward what now seemed somekind of target that mystically drew the plane to itself: that target? the windshield of our one and only car.

      I called the insurance company the next day, wondering whether I should say a rock hit us. Instead I told the truth. The woman on the other end of the line said, "Hmmm...can you wait a minute?" She returned to the phone with an answer. "Yes, I found it. That would be classified under "falling objects" and you're covered! So inspite of the pieces of plane that lay in our trunk, we were relieved at least that the windshield of our car would be covered by insurance. Still, I suggest, for your first flight, go with a plastic, break-away model!

    • mattd365 profile image

      mattd365 8 years ago

      Good Info, I love my RC airplane. They are way fun.

      Thanks :)