The Ultimate Beginner RC Airplane Buyer’s Guide

RC airplane glider taking off

Remote Control Airplanes!  They were first made in the late 1930s!  Can you believe it?  Popularized in the 1970s and advancing ever since.

These have come a long way in the past few decades.  They’re more durable, easier to fly, and you get a much greater degree of control.

Right off the bat I’ll go ahead and say if you’re a beginner, I’d recommend a Ready-to-Fly Remote Control Plane.  Further, you’re probably looking at a Hobby Zone plane.

They have the best ready to fly stuff and a lot of advancements for beginners to take advantage of.  Let’s break down my top 3 choices:

The Best Overall Choice

HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane

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This plane has it all pretty much.  It’s not too expensive.  You get everything you need right out of the box.  It has Hobby’s SAFE tech which makes learning so much easier.

SAFE is Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope.  Hobby Zone developed this to do things like make take-off and landing easier.  Put you back to level flight if you let go of the controls.  Improve stabilization.

It’s great for beginners and you can put the plane in Intermediate or Advanced mode when you’re ready.

About a 24″ wingspan it’s not tiny but it’s not huge either.

Batteries:  Note you’ll only have a few MINUTES of flight time with this.  Under 1o minutes generally.  So spend a few more bucks and buy extra batteries.

Least Expensive (but still high-quality)

HobbyZone Champ RC

HobbyZone Champ RTF, HBZ4900

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Super popular starter plane.  This is a great option if you’re looking to go with something smaller, proven and won’t break the bank.

The thing about the Champ though is it doesn’t benefit from any of the newer bells and whistles.  As the tech has advanced the RC planes have been easier to fly.  That said, a lot of people learned on the Champ so you can too!

Best Beginner Plane under $300.00

HobbyZone Carbon Cub S

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This thing is awesome.  Be aware it is NOT SMALL.  The Sport Cub is about 24″ wingspan, this thing is 51″.  Yeah it’s big.

That said, it’s got nice big wheels to make landing easier, it’s got SAFE tech, it’s got a GPS included which gives you a lot of options.  It’s versatile, easy to set up and easy to learn.  If you’re looking for the latest and greatest to learn on, this is it.

Get More Batteries!  Again, short flight time with the single included battery so buy more.

That’s it for the quick version.  Read on to learn about different RC airplanes out there, check out their specs, and choose the one that you’ll enjoy flying the most.

Getting Started  

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to RC planes for beginners. However, if you are a newbie, it is best to opt for a plane that is sturdy and offers a stable flight.

It also helps to go for a model that is relatively easy to control and is slower flying. Keep in mind that such RC airplanes are known as trainer airplanes, so you shouldn’t have a hard time looking for them.

Construction Type  

Another important decision that you’ll have to make is about the construction type of your first RC airplane. Do you want to build it or would rather go for the Ready to Fly (RTF) type?

Well, if you enjoy building airplane models and are a pro at it, go ahead and consider getting an RC model airplane Kit. On the other hand, if you are more interested in flying than building an airplane, then an RTF trainer airplane is our best bet.


One of the most common questions that new pilots ask is about channels of the RC airplane— should you get a three or four-channel RC plane?

Channels refer to the number of controls or controllable functions of the airplane. Generally, 3-channel RC airplanes offer controls for motor power, rudder (steering), and elevator. You may also find an aileron control instead of rudder.

On the other hand, 4-channel RC airplanes have all four controls – motor power, elevator, rudder, and aileron.

While both types are fun to fly, a 3-channel airplane can essentially lower the learning curve for beginners. You can’t learn much except for a few basic tricks. A 3-channel RC airplane with aileron control instead of rudder is generally more fun as compared to the standard 3-channel with rudder.

However, it still doesn’t reach the level of 4-channel. However, while a 4-channel airplane is more fun to fly, it can be a bit hard to control for beginners.

In other words, both types have their pros and cons. So, make the right decision based on your flying skills and the kind of learning experience you may be looking for.

Now that you know the basics of choosing the right RC airplane, check out these models that I find to be the most suitable options for beginners. Apart from that, they are all a lot of fun to fly. Go through the list to choose your first RC airplane!

1. HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane RTF with SAFE Technology

HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane RTF with SAFE...

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With SAFE Technology, HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane is ideal for beginners and is also fun for experienced pilots. It is compact and comes with a Panic Recovery Mode, which allows the pilot to return the plane to a safe altitude with just a single touch of the transmission trigger. Furthermore, the airplane offers 3 flying modes – Beginner, Intermediate, and Experts.

This allows you to gradually improve your flying skills without risking crashing or damaging the airplane in any way. You can slowly transition from one mode to another until you have the expert skills. So, if you are a beginner ready to brush up your flying skills, this is the RC airplane for you.

HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane is a 4-channel RC airplane and also has a steerable tail wheel, which allows the user to enjoy better ground control. It is an RTF airplane so you can skip the hassle of building and painting your airplane before you can finally take it out.

2. E-flite Apprentice S 15e RTF Beginner RC Airplane

E-flite Apprentice S 15E Bnf RC Airplane with Safe...

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Another popular RC airplane for beginners, E-flite Apprentice S 15e, also comes with SAFE technology. With a wingspan of 1500mm and a 15-size brushless outrunner motor, this 4-channel RC airplane has a flying weight of 1390 g (14 Oz).

It features two Safe Flying Modes – Beginner and Intermediate. In the beginner’s mode, the roll and pitch angles of the airplane are restricted to help the airplane stay in flight. This mode also features stability-assisted takeoff and landing to prevent damage and offers throttle-based climb and descent for a smooth flying experience. All these features are perfect for beginners who are just starting out.

On the other hand, in the Intermediate mode, you can experience expanded roll and pitch angles for more fun. You also experience S3X technology-assisted flight for terrific precision. Furthermore, flying the airplane in this mode requires some experience, so as you gradually make the switch from the Beginner’s mode, you can rest assured that you are taking your flying skills to the next level and not just changing the flying mode.

Regardless of the mode, you can always use the Panic Recovery feature in case you lose control. It will immediately maintain a safe altitude. Once your plane is flying smoothly, you can switch it off and continue flying the airplane. This feature will allow you to progress through every flying mode and various learn flying techniques with confidence.

3. HobbyZone Champ RTF Airplane

HobbyZone Champ RTF, HBZ4900

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RC airplanes for beginners can’t get any better than HobbyZone Champ RTF Airplane. This beauty is one of my favorite 3-channel RC airplanes. The small size and compact construction of the airplane will allow you to practice flying in a place as small as your backyard without worrying about crash damage.

Furthermore, the controls are so simple that you will be flying it like a pro in no time. The RC airplane features a 2.4GHz DSM2 transmitter with DSM2 technology, making sure you enjoy interference-free control wherever you fly.

Keep in mind that while some people believe that small-sized airplanes are not always the best choice for beginners, it is still a good idea to consider getting one if you are on a tight budget or are learning to fly in a small space.

Moreover, since HobbyZone Champ is a 3-channel RC airplane, it offers more control over motor power, steering, and elevation. This makes it the ideal choice for beginners and children but keep in mind that if you are a quick learner and lose interest quickly, it may be a better idea to look into a 4-channel RC airplane.

4. Flyzone Micro Calypso Glider EP RTF, 24.8″, FLZA3150

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For a gentle introduction to RC airplanes, you can go beyond the classic high wing style trainers we discussed above. Electric Powered Gliders are just as amazing and fun, especially for beginners since they have a lot of inherent stability. This provides the pilot with plenty of reaction time.

One of my favorite gliders is Flyzone Micro Calypso Glider EP. With 630mm wingspan, this RC airplane weights 54g (1.9 Oz). The foam construction makes the airplane sturdy and provides a durable foundation.

5. HobbyZone Mini Apprentice S RTF Electric Airplane

HobbyZone Mini Apprentice S RC Airplane RTF...

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Another hit by HobbyZone, Mini Apprentice S is not only smaller in size but also more manageable, even in small spaces. It is a 4-channel RC airplane that comes equipped with SAFE technology and Instant Recovery to allow beginners to fly it without any trouble.

This is the ultimate trainer plane that offers a steep learning curve and a lot of fun for the newbies. The good news is that it comes with multiple flying modes so you can rest assured that you won’t feel overwhelmed and will enjoy the gradual transition to expert modes.

The only downside to this amazing RTF airplane is that it is a bit on the pricey side of the expense spectrum. However, the quality and features of the RC airplane speak for themselves so it is worthwhile to invest in it.

Time to take flight!

Flying an RC airplane is just one of those things in life that keep you young at heart. These airplanes also make a great gift for children, piquing their interest in a rewarding hobby at an early age.

This is why these airplanes are equally popular among children and adults. So, if you are also looking to buy an RC airplane, make sure you take the time to do some research or get one of the planes discussed above to get the perfect airplane that will multiply the fun and boost your confidence as a beginner!

Last update on 2024-06-15 at 00:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!