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Whether you’re an experienced flyer or a new pilot testing their skills, remote control airplanes are a great thing to get into. It’s a reasonably inexpensive hobby (depending on which plane you choose of course!) and one that you can take with you and enjoy with family and friends. Some people enjoy the challenge of assembling their aircraft before they fly it while others like a plane that comes ready to fly.
There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for the best remote control plane. Is maneuverability important so you can do a few spins and rolls? Or are you looking for durability so you don’t need to repair your plane every time it crashes? You might be looking for a long flying range or extended flying time. Perhaps you want an aircraft that both you and the kids can use together. Whatever you’re after in a plane, we’ve found some of the best on the market. Our pick for the best radio control plane is the Top Race Trainer. With varying features to suit your flying experience, this aircraft is the perfect all-rounder for both beginning and more experienced pilots.
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Best Remote Control Plane
1. Best Overall – Top Race Trainer Remote Control Plane
A great all-rounder for both beginners and experienced flyers, this remote control airplane ticks all the boxes. The Top Race Trainer Remote Control Plane comes fully assembled and has beginner, intermediate and expert settings to suit your flying experience. It’s a full three-channel aircraft (for elevator, rudder, and throttle) and has an efficient gearbox power system for plenty of thrusts. It’s a hardy little aircraft and despite its lightweight design (it’s made of a foam-like material), it’s very durable and will stand up to plenty of crashes. The propeller saver is a handy feature and will protect the propeller from too much damage.
The Top Race plane has a flying range of 320 ft and can fly up to 15 minutes on a single charge (about 90 minutes charging time). It has a few clever functions like the self-stabilization of the gyro system in beginner mode so you can fly even on windy days. Adults will love this aircraft, but it would also be suitable for kids with a bit of flying experience (it’s marketed at pilots aged over 14 years).
2. Best Premium Option – Dynam Remote Control B-26 Marauder Airplane
This aircraft is a pricier model, but it won’t disappoint! The Dynam Remote Control B-26 Marauder Airplane is a great choice for hobbyists as there’s a bit of assembly involved. You can go to town with the detailing and personalization of your Flying Torpedo and can even work on the inside as the canopy and nose covers are easily removed. If you’re really keen there’s even space in the belly of the aircraft to add a bomb bay door! The little pilots are a nice touch and this plane has a real quality feel to it.
The Dynam B-26 Marauder is a large aircraft with a 1500mm wingspan. It can be made a bit more portable to fit in your car though. The outer wings can be detached from the engine nacelles or the entire wing can be removed as a single piece. The plane doesn’t have a long flying time (about four minutes) but it’s the details that really make this one a winner. Enthusiasts will appreciate the tricycle retracts for reliability and the counter-rotating propellers for scale appearance.
3. Best Budget RC Plane – E-Scenery Piper J-3 Cub
If you’re looking for an inexpensive option to dip your toe into the world of remote control planes, this could be the one for you. The E-Scenery Piper J-3 is a cheaper choice, but will still get the job done. It has everything you need to get started and despite the low price tag, the plane is durable enough to withstand some rough crashes! This could be the best RC airplane if you’re new to it all and want to try things out before you invest in a more expensive model.
The glider has a nice overall appearance (it’s available in yellow or blue) and comes with the remote control, USB cable, blade, and instruction manual (the lithium battery is built into the body of the aircraft). It handles easily and has pretty good mobility (you should be able to manage some rolls and dives). Its lightweight design is a real advantage as it means longer flying times between recharging. The best budget remote control plane and an excellent starter aircraft!
4. Best Radio-Controlled Plane for Beginners – HobbyZone Sport Cub S 2 RC Airplane
A great choice for beginning pilots with plenty of features to help you out while you’re learning to fly. The HobbyZone Sport Cub S 2 Airplane is the best remote control plane for beginners with beginner, intermediate and experienced modes giving you progressive levels of control. For example, in beginner mode the pitch and bank angle limits prevent over-controlling and the plane automatically returns to level flight when the control sticks are released. You’ll get a bit more freedom at the intermediate level and no limits at all when it’s set to experienced. I also like the panic recovery mode which instantly returns the aircraft to a steady altitude when you touch the transmitter trigger.
In experienced mode, this plane has plenty of ability. You should be able to perform aerobatic manoeuvers like loops, rolls and stall turns or even fly upside down. Take-offs are easy with a simple hand launch and the powerful motor means you can enjoy longer flight times. For something a little bit unique, this plane also has the option to add floats (these are sold separately) so you can take off and land on water. A great training aircraft for kids and adults!
5. Best RC Plane for Adults – XK DHC-2 A600 Remote Control Airplane
A quality remote control aircraft that adults will get a real kick out of! The XK DHC-2 A600 Remote Control Airplane is designed to look like a Cessna 182 and its appearance is quite appealing. It’s hardy as well though, and this aircraft will withstand all the bumps, crashes, and dives you throw at it while you’re getting the hang of the controls! It does come with a few spare parts though, just in case.
The XK DHC-2 A600 has a brushless motor and the transmitter is equipped with rudder volume settings. Use the small rudder when you’re starting out and then try the bigger rudder to try more complicated actions. This plane has all the power to show off your flying skills with spiral movements, loops, and whatever else you can come up with. The flying range of up to 200m is impressive and you’ll get a reasonable flight time of about 10 minutes (with a 30-60 minute charging time). A great overall best remote control plane for adults.
6. Best Remote-Controlled Plane for Kids – GoolRC FX 801 Cessna 182
If your kids are interested in this as a hobby, this is a great remote-controlled plane for kids. The GoolRC FX 801 Cessna 182 needs some assembly, but that’s part of the fun! All the parts can be put together without glue, so it’s a fairly easy activity and great for developing STEM skills. The assembled plane is a good size for children and very convenient to take with you down to the park. Importantly, this aircraft is durable. The EPP material is very flexible so it will take a lot to break this one! It should stand up to plenty of crash landings or other rough treatment. Extra propellers are included though, should you need them.
The remote control is easy to use and the two-channel design is perfect for younger flyers. It does require two AA batteries which are not included in the kit, but otherwise, everything your child needs to get started is provided. The plane is lightweight and you should get about 20 minutes flying time before you need to recharge. A great starter option before you invest in a pricier model.
7. Best RC Model Commercial Aircraft – GoolRC XK A150 Airbus
If you’re a fan of the iconic Airbus this remote control aircraft is the one you need! The GoolRC XK A150 Airbus is modeled based on the Airbus B747 and it stands out among other planes currently on the market. The fixed-wing aircraft can still pack a punch when it comes to movement though. It uses three channels and has two rudder modes, so the plane can accelerate, decelerate, move up and down, left and right, and is even capable of a 360-degree flip!
The plane is made from EPP material which makes it very lightweight. It also makes it able to stand up to any of the crashes you put it through! Its flying time is not long (about eight minutes) but it charges quickly too. The wingspan is good at 490mm – wide enough to have fun with but not big enough to be a problem with portability and storage. Overall, a good choice if you’re looking for something a little bit different.
8. Best Large RC Aircraft – HGYYIO Remote Control Warplane P51 Mustang
With a wingspan of 75cm, this aircraft is sure to impress. The HGYYIO Remote Control Warplane P51 Mustang is suitable for all levels of experience but has some features that will be especially useful for those still developing their skills. The stabilization system flight control is handy for beginners and I also like the one-key u-turn so flyers can get their plane heading back to them quickly. The one-key aerobatic function is also cool and will allow new pilots to do stunts by pressing a single button.
The plane has a reasonable flight time of 10-15 minutes but it does take a while to charge (2-3 hours). It has a remote control distance of 300-500 meters and can do dives, rolls, and backward flying! It’s made of EPO material which is strong enough to withstand a good impact and it also has a propeller saver (the propeller comes loose from the shaft adaptor if the plane crashes to avoid damage). A good buy if you’re looking for a larger plane.
9. Best Balsa Wood Plane – Mini RC Plane Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
Fans of the old-style balsa wood model planes will really enjoy this product. While it may not be as durable as other planes on the market, the Mini RC Plane Beechcraft T-34 makes up for that with its classic design and display-worthy looks. It’s made of premium balsa and plywood and the laser cut parts fit together easily. Assembly is quite simple with the instruction booklet and the brushless motor gets the job done.
There is one catch with this plane though and it’s a big one. It doesn’t come with remote control. You need to buy that separately, which is a pain if you’re keen to get flying straight away. This might be a remote control plane that is particularly suitable for display, but it still flies well with elevator, rudder and motor control. Not quite the performance of the other planes we’ve reviewed, but it definitely looks the part!
What to Consider When Buying a Remote Control Plane
Remote control planes vary greatly in their price points. You can find anything from a budget model to the top of the range design. Think carefully about how much you want to spend, particularly if you’re just starting out with this type of activity. You might like to try a less expensive model first and if it really sparks your interest, you can always upgrade to a pricier model down the track. Remember though, that a more expensive plane is not necessarily the right one for you!
Your Flying Experience
Are you an experienced flyer who has been tinkering about with remote control planes for years? Or are you a first-time flyer who just wants to try it out? There are different aircraft toys on the market to suit all experience levels, so make sure you find one that will suit you. Sometimes it’s best to start with a more basic model so you can master the required skills. Many planes offer beginner, intermediate and advanced modes so you can progress through the skill levels as you gain more experience. This is a great idea if you’re not sure what you need.
Unless you have a really big backyard you’re probably going to want to take your remote control plane down to a local park or grassed area where you have space to fly around. If this is what you have planned, make sure your plane is going to fit in your car. Either choose a size that will easily fit or if you’re thinking of a larger model, find one with detachable wings that will make it fit easily into your vehicle. If taking it places is just too difficult, you might not bother so do all the necessary measurements before you make a big purchase!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started with flying remote control planes?
It’s pretty simple really – purchase a plane that suits your needs and take it down to your local park for a test flight! It’s best to start with a model that suits beginner flyers and you can upgrade later if you need to. You might like to meet up with other remote control plane enthusiasts or even join a club. If there are none in your area there are plenty of online groups and forums you could join or even watch videos of other flyers on YouTube. Start by just having a go and you might be surprised where your new hobby takes you!
What skills does a remote control plane develop?
Remote control planes are a lot of fun, but they’re also an excellent educational choice. They develop a lot of great STEM skills, particularly if they require assembly of the plane before use! Flying a remote control plane is great for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Spatial reasoning is another area that will get a workout and, of course, planning, patience, and problem-solving. Flying a remote control plane will also provide plenty of opportunities to discuss science and technology topics.
How can I get better at flying a remote control plane?
The short answer is practice. Practice, practice, practice, and also a whole lot of patience. Flying a remote control plane will come naturally to some people while others will need to play around with their aircraft for quite a while before they get the hang of things. No one is doing rolls and spirals and nailing a perfect landing on their first day, so keep at it and your flying skills will get better! Make sure you’ve chosen a plane that’s appropriate for your skill level though. If your plane is too challenging for your level of experience that will only lead to frustration!
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Last update on 2020-08-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API