Best beginner RC planes
If you're new to the radio control flying hobby, you're more than likely getting a bit overwhelmed with the choice of rc planes out there. Man, it's overwhelming for the experienced hobbyist, let alone for a total newbie!
There's a multitude of rc airplanes these days, waaaay more than there ever was when I learned to fly back in the, erm, early 1980s. So it's not too surprising that you're scratching your head about which plane to buy.
My general beginner planes page will give you vital information about what to look for in your first radio control plane, but listed below is a small selection of what I consider to be some of the better beginner rc planes available.
All come from Horizon Hobby and I can personally recommend the quality of their brands. I don't work for Horizon, nor do I receive their products for free, but I've had more than a few of their models over the years, and I do genuinely think that Horizon brands offer great value, with a solid support network for any after-sales issues.
My recommendations for the best beginner rc planes (in size/price order) are...
HobbyZone Sport Cub S RTF.
With a wingspan of just over 600mm (approx. 2ft.) the 4-channel Sport Cub S is small and perfectly suitable for self-teaching. Admittedly, small isn't always best for learning to fly rc because, generally, bigger planes fly better. Smaller ones can be twitchy, and disorientation can be more of a problem. But with that said, the trademark Horizon Hobby auto-stabilization technology makes life easier, and this beginner rc plane has been a big hit with newbie rc pilots.
There are three advantages with smaller rc planes - they're cheaper to buy, easier to transport and store, and they can be flown in smaller areas.
At around $130, the Sport Cub S RTF comes with everything you need to get flying. It's an excellent deal and a great little plane for your first one.
See the HobbyZone Sport Cub S in more detail.
HobbyZone Mini Apprentice S RTF.
At 1200mm (approx. 4ft.) wingspan, the Mini Apprentice S is 300mm (1ft) smaller span than it's popular cousin, the Apprentice 15e. This makes it that bit more manageable and more likely to fit in a smaller car, whilst still being an ideal size for a first rc plane.
The Mini Apprentice is also a 4-channel beginner plane and, like the Sport Cub S, comes equipped with Horizon's SAFE™ technology. It's a very stable flyer and a great all-round trainer plane and - like its bigger cousin - the popularity of this plane speaks volumes.
Whilst a 4-channel plane (motor, ailerons, elevator and rudder) does make the learning curve a bit steeper than 3-channels (no ailerons), you'll be rewarded with a more agile plane and one you can have more fun with.
See the HobbyZone Mini Apprentice S in more detail.
HobbyZone Carbon Cub S+ RTF.
Similar to the Mini Apprentice in wingspan (at 1300mm), the Carbon Cub S+ is a scale airplane based on the full-size Carbon Cub kit plane. With flaps and chunky tundra tyres, the Carbon Cub S+ is a great looking plane and a lot of fun can be had with its short take-off capabilities!
The presence of flaps means another channel (so 5-channel) but don't let that put you off; flaps are easily mastered and make flying the plane even more realistic. With full flaps deployed, short steep approaches are the order of the day!
What sets the Carbon Cub S+ apart is the GPS-equipped technology, in addition to the usual SAFE™ technology. In short, the GPS technology will set up a geo-fenced area which your Cub cannot fly out of. It also offers a return to base facility and a pattern holding facility. Yes, it's more to think about when first setting up your plane, but if you're a techno-geek then this is the plane for you!
See the HobbyZone Carbon Cub S+ in more detail.
So there you have just a few best beginner rc planes. You won't go far wrong with anything from the Horizon Hobby range - the quality is good, support is good (from my personal experience) and buying an RTF (Ready To Fly) beginner plane means that everything you need to get flying is included in the box.
Of course, your budget is probably going to be a deciding factor when choosing your first beginner rc plane but the good news is that you don't have to spend a lot to get flying these days! My advice is to buy the best you can afford, and be prepared for small extra costs (spare parts etc).
Visit my RC Airplane World Flight School pages to read about self-teaching, and also consider buying a rc flight simulator if you are serious about the hobby.
Beginner rc airplane overview.
Learning to fly rc airplanes.
How to fly airplanes.
RC airplane training methods.
RC flight simulators.
Electric rc airplanes.
RTF rc airplanes.