Updated: May 9, 2015

Remote Control Airplane Reviews:

Growing up my younger brother was interested in building and flying remote control airplanes. Back then they were too complicated to build and flying those large planes was pretty difficult. I remember a few times where he hadn't charged the batteries properly and the servos on the plane lost contact with the remote and the plane wrecked hard. We made the planes from balsa wood and it tooks hours to build those things. After a few hard crashes he gave up on remote control planes and lost interest in the hobby. Now, years later, my older brother has suddenly gotten involved in RC planes and bought some of the cheaper models to start with from Air Hogs. They are a company that builds remote control airplanes that are lightweight, durable, and easy to fly making the experience once again enjoyable for novice flyers. The RC planes from Air Hogs are fairly cheap too, so you don't have to put out $100's just to have fun.
rc plane

Which type of remote control (RC) plane is best? You essentially have 2 choices - gas powered (nitro) or electric airplanes. Gas powered remote control airplanes are the fastest you can buy but they are also the hardest to pilot or control. Most experts agree that you should start with a simple electric RC plane to get your understanding of how planes fly built up so you can move on to the faster and more exciting nitro jet planes of the RC world. One thing is for sure and that is you are going to wreck your plane if you are novice controller. This means some damage will ultimately be done to your remote control plane and the cheaper the better when you first start. There are dozens of budget planes available from $25 to $100 and each will let you have plenty of fun while you learn the ins and outs of flying an RC plane. I have tried the Air Hogs and they are fun to fly (my son loves them) and very durable even after countless crashes. The strong styrofoam body allows them to hit trees, walls, and the ground without actually doing any damage. I have lost one in a tree since the wind gust took it way up high and beyond my control. When you get the basics of steering and controlling the plane then you can upgrade to more powerful and larger remote control airplanes meant for more experienced pilots. Electric RC planes are pretty easy to use the first day you get them. Make sure the remote control is fully charged and that the power source on the plane is in place and charged. The one drawback to the cheaper planes is that they tend to not do very well in windy (even slight wind) conditions. They are too light and you will have a heck of a time controlling them. Nevertheless, with benign conditions, they are fun to fly and kids can even get the hang of them in 30 minutes or so. The propellers are made of hard plastic and can't really harm anyone or thing if they run into you. The best websites for researching remote control airplanes are RCplaneguide.com, Hobby-lobby.com, and Rc-airplane-world. All offer the latest products with full descriptions and some reviews by customers. Check out the most popular RC planes listed here.

Gas vs Electric Remote Control Airplanes:

We get many people asking us which remote control planes are better - gas powered or electric? Gas, or nitro, remote control airplanes are faster than electric although they are more complicated when it comes to flying. Gas planes are also harder to maintain than electric which means you will probably spend more time in the fix-it shop than out flying. Gas RC planes are usually much more expensive than the cheaper electric models. Some people are more natural at flying RC planes and can begin with a gas powered plane, although we strongly suggest buying an electric to learn on. Often, the gas powered planes are literally too fast and the maneuvers you do on them happen rather quickly meaning you need to know how to fly them with precision. Lots of owners of gas powered planes actually took lessons on how to fly their RC planes from experienced pilots. Electric RC airplanes are definitely the cheapest and quickest way to get your feet wet in this hobby. The RTF (ready to fly) electric airplanes will build your confidence and allow you to make flying errors on a product that doesn't cost that much and can crash a few times without being seriously damaged. Once you get your flying down, move up to the more advance gas powered remote control airplanes and really have some fun. There are jet remote control airplanes, but we will leave those for another article. A good gas powered remote control airplane to consider is the Hangar 9 Arrow 40 Semi-Symmetrical Trainer ($299.99) - a stable and easy to fly gas plane that comes with training software.

Best Beginner Remote Control Airplane:

Beginners need more time flying than repairing, so buying a ready to fly (RTF) electric powered plane is the way to go. These RTF rc airplanes need just 2 things to get airborne, you need to get batteries for the radio control set and charge the motor battery. Redrockethobbies.com carries a full line of beginner rc planes to choose from. Some of the more popular models are the CC Flyer ($70) - great for kids or adults and a simple 2 channel plane, ParkZone Slo-V ($100) - a slow flying plane described as forgiving, Firebird Freedom ($140) - a stable flyer, and the Fantail Flyer ($100) - great choice for novice flyers. If those price tags are too much then consider the even more basic Air Hogs series of remote control airplanes that run as cheap as $25 to $30 and are easy to fly. Amazon.com carries several of the Air Hogs planes which require no assembly and are ready to fly after charging the motor. You may only get about 10 minutes of flight time, but it's worth it. See the best beginner RC planes here.

Remote Control Airplane Kit - Build Your Own:

For the true hobbyist, building your own remote control airplane from a kit is part of the fun. Having built lots of model cars and boats as a kid, I understand the satisfaction of a job well done. Greatplanes.com carries the best selection of radio controlled models and accessories we could find. The remote control airplane kits look amazing. Find retailers that carry a particular model and buy it. I suggest also heading to your local hobby shop to see what kinds of airplanes they carry. I guarantee you will find at least one product that will allow you to build your own rc plane and fly it.