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.
|Top Race Trainer Remote Control Plane
|HobbyZone RC Airplane
|HAWK’S Work RC Airplane
Related post: Best Model Rocket Kits for Kids
Best Remote Control Plane
1. Best Overall – Top Race Trainer Remote Control Plane
Top Race Trainer Remote Control Plane
Our best choice for remote control planes, this aircraft is perfect for kids.
If your kids are interested in this as a hobby, this is a great remote-controlled plane for them. With a length of 14 inches, this is a plane that is not too big for kids to handle and also keeps the fun factor intact.
The plane is ready to fly right out of the box. All you need to do is connect the landing gear and charge the batteries and it is good to go. It has a 6-axis built-in gyro that offers good control and stability without the need for fine adjustments.
And the best part is, the plane can withstand crashes and knocks like a champ and still keep flying. That level of durability makes it a great choice for kids learning to fly. It also has Propeller Saver Technology to prevent propeller damage. Besides, the 3-channel control system makes it easy to fly and does not overwhelm rookies with information.
Admittedly, this Top Race plane will not blow you away with its performance. So, do not expect solid stability in windy conditions or an ability to take off from grassy or uneven surfaces. But at this price, that is expected.
However, serious enthusiasts would prefer a model with more refined performance.
2. Best Premium Option – HobbyZone RC Airplane
HobbyZone RC Airplane
A more expensive option that’s well worth the price.
This aircraft is a pricier model, but it won’t disappoint! The HobbyZone RC Airplane is a great choice for seasoned hobbyists as well as complete beginners. Thanks to its three flight modes (beginner, intermediate and advanced), you can have your fill of aerobatics and crazy maneuvering while always being able to bring it back to level flying with a push of a button. That way, you can make sure your plane doesn’t crash or go out of control.
Everything comes pre-installed so you don’t need any tinkering skills. And you know how annoying it is to get a product only to find out that you need to splurge more because an essential part is missing (e.g. the battery)? No such issues with this one. You can fly it straight out of the box.
Plus, if you’re a fan of float plane, you can add a pair of floats. It’s the only part that’s being sold separately.
3. Best Budget RC Plane – HAWK’S Work RC Airplane
HAWK’S Work RC Airplane
A budget-friendly option that exceeds expectations with its performance.
If you want to experience the fun of flying a remote-controlled plane without stretching your budget, this model from Hawk’s Work is a good option. While it does not have the bells and whistles of more advanced models, the plane is perfect for entering the world of RC airplanes.
The plane has a length of less than a foot and the EPP foam construction is robust. The remote control is super easy to operate and ideal for having some fun with your kids. It also has a gyroscope stabilization system for better flight stability.
Made from EPP foam, the durability is good and it will easily survive a few crashes. The flight time is close to 20 minutes with the two batteries, which is impressive.
One thing is, the lightweight design and the relatively low power delivery make the plane vulnerable to strong winds. So, it is not suitable for windy conditions. Since it does not have a rudder, the turning radius is on the higher side.
Once you get used to it, you can even do a takeoff by hand. If you have a wide-open area to practice, this airplane offers excellent fun at a super affordable price tag.
4. Best Fighter – E-flite RC Airplane P-51D Mustang
E-flite RC Airplane P-51D Mustang
A scale replica of the P51D Mustang for an excellent flying experience.
Quite simply, the E-Flite P-51D Mustang is one of the best-performing fighter replicas on the market. And there are plenty of reasons for that.
Open the box and you will find the airframe divided into only a few pieces. That makes son-filed assembly a relatively simple task. Once assembled, you will find the classic fighter beautifully recreated, thanks to the excellent details and great finish.
The component quality is top-notch, with carbon fiber and wood-reinforced airframe, a high-power brushless motor, and shock-absorbing struts. The plane is equipped with Spektrum’s Smart technology. The smart tech system offers a ton of real-time data and also has built-in AS3X technology to counter the effects of wind and turbulence. That ensures better stability in every condition.
Before taking off, make sure to set the alarms in the right way to prevent data overload during a flight.
The ample power delivery results in a high level of speed and great vertical performance. You can also perform aerobatics and the plane is super responsive.
Now, landing this plane is a bit tricky as the springy gears can result in some hopping action. Overall, this is not the right model for first-timers. But veterans will love the way it flies.
5. Best RC Jet – E-flite RC Airplane Habu STS
E-flite RC Airplane Habu STS
A fantastic broad-spectrum RC airplane with great features and superior flying characteristics.
The E-flite Habu STS comes with a sleek aerodynamic design and a performance specially optimized by E-flite engineers. As a result, even low-time RC pilots will find this jet easy to fly.
As expected, it has three flight modes, beginner, intermediate, and advanced- that make operating easy. A big advantage is the excellent stability even at low speeds. Moreover, E-flite has added the Spektrum SAFE flight assistance technology with AS3X stabilization. So, experienced flyers can try rolls, loops, and inverted maneuvers with ease.
The combination of a tricycle landing gear and oversized tires makes the landing easier on grass and dirt surfaces. However, the plane tends to glide and you need to make some adjustments to make it stick to the landing zone.
The assembly is simple and the plane comes mostly preassembled. Overall, the Habu STS jet works great for trainer flights for pilots who are starting out, while offering a ton of fun in the experienced mode. If you are intimidated by the fast-flying speeds of jets, the Habu STS makes it easy for you.
6. Best Radio-Controlled Plane for Beginners – HobbyZone Sport Cub S 2 RC Airplane
HobbyZone Sport Cub S 2 RC Airplane
An excellent training plane with plenty of features to help beginning pilots hone their skills.
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!
7. Most Versatile – HobbyZone Carbon Cub S 2
HobbyZone Carbon Cub S 2
If you like the Sport Cub above but need something a bit more advanced, this one brings everything up a notch.
The Carbon Cub S2 combines versatility with ease of flying to help you learn to fly an RC airplane. The beginner mode is perfect for novice flyers and as you develop your skills, you can step into the advanced mode where the capabilities of the plane open up.
The assembly is super easy and you can also launch it from water by using floats. If you start with the beginner mode, you will note that the pitch and bank angles are limited. There is also self-leveling for better control. In the intermediate and advanced modes, you get more freedom and there is no self-leveling. Advanced abilities include inverted flight, loops, and rolls.
Next, the durability of the plane is great. In addition, it has exclusive SAFE technology that reduces your chances of crashing. A single button push also activates the Panic Recovery mode to prevent any loss of control. The landing gear is durable with large tires that can absorb shocks. That said, advanced flyers may replace the wheels with smaller ones to reduce drag and improve performance.
Overall, this is a plane that is gentle enough for beginners but has the right features to challenge you as you build your skills.
8. Best RC Plane for Adults – VOLANTEXRC 4-CH Spitfire RC Airplane
VOLANTEXRC 4-CH Spitfire RC Airplane
A quality aircraft that hits the right mix of classy looks and durability.
The VOLANTEXRC 4-CH Spitfire is a quality remote-controlled aircraft that adults will get a real kick out of! The first thing that you will notice is the realistic airframe and the high quality of the paint job.
Even though it is on the smaller side of the scale, the Spitfire packs a powerful motor and is fairly speedy. Thanks to the Xpilot self-stabilization and the well-designed gyro system, high-speed stability is good. Note, experienced flyers will enjoy the elliptical wingtips which make flying more challenging.
Now, that doesn’t mean beginners will not enjoy flying it. There are 3 levels of flight control. The aircraft behaves predictably in beginner mode and knowing the basics is good enough for flying it.
The plane comes preassembled and is made from a durable EPP foam material that can take a beating. The propeller-saver design prevents any propeller damage. What makes it an even more value-for-money option is the accessible flight control board and motor assembly. That allows you to replace parts as needed.
Even if you are not an experienced flyer, flying the Spitfire will be a fun experience for you. If you want something small to fly around in the park, go for it!
9. Best RC Model Commercial Aircraft – GoolRC XK A150 Airbus
XK A150 Airbus
A unique design with plenty of maneuverability, this Airbus is lots of fun.
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.
10. Best Large RC Aircraft – VOLANTEXRC RC Glider Airplane ASW28
VOLANTEXRC RC Glider Airplane ASW28
This is a big bird, with a wingspan of 2.6 meters – that’s a whopping 102 inches!
With a wingspan of a whopping 2.6 meters, this aircraft is sure to impress. The VolantexRC Glider Airplane is suitable for all levels of experience – at least in theory. In practice, however, we wouldn’t recommend it for complete novice. This plane performs best when you let it soar at higher altitudes. And you do need some confidence and courage to fly it high!
Note, however, that the package doesn’t include a few essentials to get it up: remote control, batteries, and a charger. So you need to factor these into the overall budget you’re ready to allocate for this. It would have been nice if the manufacturer included these in the package, even at a higher cost. Plus, you’ll have to put the thing together. Still, it’s a good buy if you’re looking for a larger plane!
11. Best STOL RC – E-flite Timber X 1.2m PNP RC Airplane
E-flite Timber X 1.2m PNP RC Airplane
An easy-to-assemble old-school plane that is based on the Timber 1.5m model with some added features.
The versatility of short takeoff and landing (STOL) RC airplanes makes them ideal for taking off from pavement, grass, dirt, and water. The Timber X not only has STOL capabilities but is also aerobatic and user-friendly.
Putting together the components is easy and you are ready to fly within 30 minutes. The plane is well-made with a hollow-core EPO construction and amps up the “cool” factor with LED navigational lights. To minimize the effect of winds and turbulence, it has in-built AS3X (Artificial Stabilization–3-aXis) technology.
Beyond the new wing design, another feature of the plane is the ability to use the optional leading edge slats. These increase the wing area and can increase the lift potential of the plane. That said, if you are trying to master 3D flying moves, you may leave them off. You can also use floats with the plane which makes it even more versatile.
Overall, this is another winner from the E-flite Timber lineup that you can fly from the field or the beach. While it is not the best choice for beginners, the Timber X is a great little plane that offers loads of fun for skilled flyers.
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 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!
Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API