If you are just starting out in the RC plane world, chances are, you are a bit overwhelmed with the diverse choice of RC airplanes out there.

Even the experienced hobbyist finds it overwhelming, let alone a total newbie. The world of RC plane piloting has a lot to offer to those new to this rewarding hobby.

If you've been thinking all it takes when buying is to choose between a plane that offers simplicity or one with great performance, you'd be surprised to know there are tons of models on the market that offers both.

If you are scratching your head already at this point, that's okay. We've always got you covered.

Here, we have compiled information on the ten best models of RC planes for beginners currently on the market.

Are you ready? See you on the runway!

Product ChannelsAssemble TypeBattery
E-flite Apprentice4-ChannelBNF3200mAh 20C Li-Po
HobbyZone Sport Cub4-ChannelRTF150mAh 3.7V Li-Po
E-flite UMX Radian3-ChannelBNF 3.7V 150mAh 25C Li-Po
HobbyZone Carbon Cub6-ChannelRTF1300mAh 3S 20C Li-Po
Fly zone Seawind6-ChannelRTF2100mAh 25C Li-Po
Wltoys F959 SKY-King3-ChannelRTF7.4V 300mAh
Revell B-17G Flying Fortress-ARF-
E-flite UMX PT-174-ChannelRTF150mAh 1S 3.7V 25C Li-Po
ParkZone Night Vapor3-ChannelBNF70mAh
E-flite Leader 480 ARF4-ChannelARF11.1V 3S Li-Po

E-Flite Apprentice S 15e

e-flite-apprentince rc plane for beginners.

We are going to be opening the floor with the E-flite Apprentice. This trooper has been appropriately named ‘Apprentice’ as it is perfect as a trainer plane for beginners.

Sporting a powerful 15-size motor, 3200mAh Li-Po battery, and 30A ESC, the Apprentice is just the thing you need if you are getting into the RC plane world.

The E-flite Apprentice S 15e employs SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) and AS3X technology that provides extra protection for novice pilots.

It quickly helps take control and level out the aircraft if there is any trouble threatening to knock the 2.2-pound Apprentice off course.

You can see this innovative feature as the “oh crap!” switch that makes flying it way easy, even in windy conditions.

We should probably give a note of caution here, if you get too used to taking your fingers off the control and hitting the SAFE switch, it won't help you when you graduate to a higher level plane without the self-righting function.

So, you need to start learning how to get yourself out of tricky situations where your RC plane isn't in an ideal flight.

The E-flite Apprentice is a 4-Chanel RC plane, meaning the ailerons, elevator, motor, and rudder are all controlled by the transmitter which gives the trainer a much more precise movement.

It features an 840KV brushless motor that gives it cruising speed, while still managing to make the blend between powerful and quiet.

With the E-flite Apprentice, you can roll, pitch and select from beginner, intermediate or expert flight mode, depending on who is using it.

The plane is highly durable, as it is made from sturdy Z-foam material that can handle crashes easily.

This feature makes it especially suitable for beginners, seeing as there would be a lot of crashes in the beginning. If you end up crashing it and some parts come undone, you can easily refit them with everyday glue.

So fine, the E-flite Apprentice has some great features, but how does it fly?

While the striking graphics on the apprentice makes it look awesome in the air, its performance is even better than it looks.

It gives you the ability to switch between different modes to create an exciting variance in the air.

You can choose to either quiet cruise across the sky by switching it to low rate with SAFE in beginner mode, or you could be flying loops, rolls and splits turn by switching to high rate with SAFE inexperienced mode.

Either way, the Apprentice gives you the opportunity to gradually earn your wings and it keeps growing with you as your skills advance.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension : 105.4 x 48.3 x 21.6 inches
  • Product Weight : 2.2 pounds
  • Product Material: Z-foam
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age:

Pros

  • Comes ready to fly
  • The AS3X technology makes it smooth and simple for a beginner to maneuver
  • Features a panic button
  • Made from sturdy and reliable foam
  • Lightweight design
  • Has many tricks

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Turning radius is quite large due to its big size

HobbyZone Sport Cub S RTF

hobbyzone sport cub sport rc plane for beginners.

When it comes to manufacturing radio-controlled fun, the North American company, HobbyZone is one of the best out there.

The brand's reputation for quality is recognized by radio-controlled enthusiasts worldwide. Every one of their products is driven by industry-leading innovation and engineering, and their Sport Cub is one of the best RC planes for beginners.

For a basic starter RC plane, it is going to be pretty hard beating this trooper. It sports a sporty blue and white body with aerodynamic ridges on the wing.

If we were to rank by looks, the Sport Cub isn’t the best out there, but it more than makes up for a bland design with its price, performance and control.

Being an RTF plane, it is a complete package equipped with all you need to fly – the controller, battery and plane, with no assembly required.

This model's body frame is made completely from polystyrene foam, which makes it lightweight compared to other similar alternatives.

With it, you get the freedom of four-Channel control that features elevator, rudder, aileron model and throttle.

Ready to fly right out of the box, this trooper doesn’t discriminate against beginners.

The compact foam RC plane has three modes for flying; beginners, intermediate and experienced.

Each of these has there limitations to cater for different levels of pilot, so you can start at the slowest speed while still learning and go faster as you get the hang of flying.

When taking off, it is best you set it to beginner mode, then you can either switch to intermediate or advanced after gaining some height and confidence.

Over time, you get to try some tricks without flying into things. With its DSMX spectrum and heavy-duty Li-Po battery, this little trooper performs exceptionally well under any flying conditions.

It has a control distance of about 350 to 400 feet and provides up to 8 minutes of run time. Its inbuilt 2.4 GHz DSMX tech always ensures reliability when navigating.

With the Sport Cub, you can fly, swoop and ascend all at your own pace.

It is equipped with SAFE technology that allows for more stable flying and better handling in windy conditions. So even if you don’t have that much experience flying, it can help you panic button your way out of crashes to steady flights.

Its tail wheel makes it easy to steer, and it's lightweight and nose construction makes it resistant to crash damage.

Its powerful brushless motor has been able to combine raw power with simplicity, finesse and grace to make the Sport Cub appealing and manageable for even a green pilot.

With a combo of durability, power and ease of use, the HobbyZone Sport Cub can be enjoyed by beginners for years before they think of upgrading to something more challenging.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 21.8 × 21.5 × 5.8 inches
  • Product Weight: 1 pound
  • Product Material: Foam
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 14 years and above

Pros

  • Comes with panic mode and SAFE controls
  • Easy ground and air control
  • SAFE technology allows for steady flight
  • 3 different modes to suit every pilot

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Motor isn’t brushless

E-flite U2980 UMX Radian

E Flite U2980 RC plane for beginners.

A lot of buyers tend to fall in love with the sleek design of a glider and make their buying decision based on its beautiful appearance.

If that is your thing, then the E-flite UMX Radian doesn’t disappoint with its sleek body and delicately curved wings.

The Radian is smaller when compared to other picks on this list. It is small, compact, lightweight, affordable and a delight to fly – which is just the recipe needed for learning how to fly.

It comes equipped with AS3X technology that gives it stability and a little bit of muscle to fight back even in wind and turbulence, so you don’t have to worry about its lightweight.

Basically, the AS3X is the technology that helps small planes handle themselves like they are big planes.

It automatically stabilizes the movement of the Radian caused by wind gusts, while still leaving the controls and commands of the plane in the pilot’s hand.

The Radian would be sure to impress you by how well it glides and thermals. The small size makes it easier to transport and fly in a large indoor area.

Also, its contoured spinner that sports folding propeller makes it even easier to store. It features a responsive and tight control that allows your tiny craft to conquer strong winds.

It also sports a unique curved wing shape that delivers exceptional lift and allows you to glide smoothly through the air. We recommend you switch your 25C batteries to 30C batteries for better performance in heavier wind.

A perk to the Radian is that you can turn the AS3X feature off if you feel confident in your flying skill. But if you are still a little bit shaky, the AS3X tech will be your best friend.

One thing you should keep in mind though when launching it outdoors is how strong the wind is. Because even with the AS3X stabilizer, it still doesn’t like anything higher than a mild gust.

One would think landing the E-flite UMX Radian would be a giant pain, but it actually isn’t. This puppy is a pilot’s dream RC glider and its brushed power system makes it suitable for beginners to get into the air with very little effort.

Its lightweight body allows it land with very little space while suffering little to no damage – even at the harshest hard landing. All in all, it offers all the fun and experience of a large plane, but in a much smaller package.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 31 × 10 × 4.3
  • Product Weight: 1.44 ounces
  • Product material: Molded foam
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 14 years and above

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Incredibly compact
  • Can withstand strong winds
  • Fast and easy assembly
  • Can be flown indoors

Cons

  • Tail section is a bit weak

HobbyZone Carbon Cub S+ RTF

hobbyzone carbon cub s rc plane for beginners.

Next, we are coming at you with the revolutionary Carbon Cub S+ from HobbyZone. This versatile RC plane is one of the easiest to fly RC planes around.

The Carbon Cub S+ is a refined version of the previous HBZ Carbon Cub, and it sports different high tech components that make flying a breeze for beginners.

It comes complete with an installed GPS module for a variety of functions which includes a virtual fence that prevents aircraft from leaving a set area, holding a pattern that helps ensure stability in the air, and autoland - a kind of one-touch system that controls take-off and landing system.

In addition to the GPS equipped technology, the Carbon Cub S+ also sports the usual SAFE technology that allows for panic recovery if you ever lose control of the airplane in the more advanced control mode.

When your nerves set in, or the Carbon Cub becomes too much excitement for you to handle, the panic function will return it to level flights.

Additional feature includes a flap, which when fully deployed makes flying more realistic with short steep approaches.

The Chunky Tundra tire that aids it short take-off capabilities makes the Cub S+ a lot of fun. These tires can also tackle dirt trails, gravel paths, thick grass and many other surfaces that’d be tough for other models of the same size to handle.

It comes with 3 flight modes that allow for progressive control which allows you to fly your plane at your own pace.

So if you want to develop the hobby of flying RC planes, but aren’t ready for a multirotor drone, then the Carbon Cub S+ is the thing to get.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 46.7 × 18.5 × 6.3 inches
  • Product Weight: 1 pound
  • Product Material: Durable foam
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 4 years and above

Pros

  • Powerful brushless motor
  • 3 flying modes
  • Durable frame can endure some crashes
  • Extremely versatile

Cons

  • No batteries included
  • Flyzone Seawind Electric Powered Plane

Flyzone Seawind Electric Powered Plane

flyzone seawind rc plane for beginners.

With the other RC planes we've been reviewing so far, we've been restricted to one environment; air.

However, with the Flyzone Seawind Amphibious Seaplane, there are no more restrictions. This latest release from Flyzone is at ease with three of the four classical elements.

The Seawind can soar through the air, run and take off from water, as well as handle the solid ground of earth with its retractable wheels. We wouldn’t recommend the last element though, as plastic and fire don’t take well to each other.

The Flyzone Seawind is modeled after an amphibian airplane of Canadian origin called the Seawind 300C that first flew 34 years ago.

Flyzone has reproduced this scaled version of the Seawind to the minutest of details with the pilot’s satisfaction in mind. This includes a detailed cockpit interior, lights, functional flaps, suspension-equipped retractable landing gears.

Are you ready for an all-out amphibious adventure? Then this elegant model plane from Flyzone has got you covered.

This model allows you to switch between water-based and land-based operation at will and in mid-flight.

It handles like a champ on water, as it can taxi on the water surface and take off. While your Seawind may never see the ocean, it will be right at home in any nearby water RC flying site.

All in all, it has a pretty decent overall water maneuverability.

With the Seawind, you can launch from anywhere and land just as easy. Be it grass, water, prepared airstrips; bring it on, they are all home turfs for this incredible amphibious plane.

It can fly up to 16kph and can pull off stunts such as stall turns, rolls, loops and inverted flights.

The Seawind can be quickly assembled to make it go from the box to the pond in a matter of an hour. Its clear vacuum-formed canopy with painted frames adds a touch of realism to it.

To cap off the sense of realism, it features navigation lights that allow you to track it easily.

Its generous wind span and brushless power give the aircraft incredible maneuverability.

The sight of Seawind with its amazing convincing design and construction and its natural movement in the air will leave more than a few neutral observers confused.

It is made from Aerocell foam construction that makes the Seawind lightweight, but durable for effortless soaring. It is great looking, a joy to operate and dependable as they come.

It certainly isn’t the cheapest RC plane on the market, but it is going to be worth every penny you invest in it. This good-looking park flier is sure to please the RC enthusiasts. Find freedom in the wind with the Flyzone Seawind.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 43.7 × 15 × 8.5
  • Product Weight: 7.61 pounds
  • Product Material: Aerocell foam
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 17 years and above

Pros

  • Shock absorbing landing gear
  • Amphibious design

Cons

Wltoys F959 SKY-King

wltoys f959 rc plane for beginners.

The Wltoys F959 SKY-King glider isn’t your regular plane, and it does live up to its name as the SKY-King. With impeccable specifications, it is one of the finest RC gliders manufactured by Wltoys.

Being a 3-Channel backward pusher glider it ensures a smooth and controlled flight perfect for beginners.

Glider planes are just the thing for beginners to learn any kind of flying they want – particularly the 2-Channel ones.

However, these 2-Channels don't include motors and depend on atmospheric factors to keep it up in the air.

Perhaps, one of the best perks of the Wltoy F959 is the ability to fine-tune the control. The controller can handle the plane from a distance of 300m.

That is plenty enough for beginners. The controller features 360 degrees turns, left, right, as well as up and forward button.

Another perk to the Sky-King is that once it is up in the air, its motor can be turned off and you can watch it soar in the open sky before it descends. It becomes even better if you know how to locate thermals.

The SKY-King can potentially be up in the air for hours. You could try dynamic soaring and slope soaring techniques with the SKY-King gliders.

Even in gusty conditions, the SKY-King can provide a pretty fulfilling flying experience. More practice will translate to more flight time, so keep up the practice.

The SKY-King is made from sturdy EPO material that is crush resistant and makes it survive a few crashes unscathed. It is a strong, sturdy and remarkable plane that offers a remarkable flying experience.

Also, the F959 is a pure joy to fly at night with the shining LED lights that comes with it.

The 300mAh batteries will provide up to 15 minutes of flying time and can be juiced up back in 40 minutes. The LCD transmitter display will show data regarding the plane like battery charge and control surface trim.

Then its wing has the ability to detach when needed, making it a bang for beginners.

The SKY-King is a lightweight RC plane just like most other models we've listed in our review. The featherweight makes it highly portable enough to be carried around easily. Also, the F959 offers left-hand throttle, so if you are a left-handed person that has always struggled with various units with a right-hand throttle, that's a plus. Its powerful magnetic motor helps it deliver an impressive flying and gliding performance.

We are in love with gliders and the SKY-King is for sure one of the best ones we’ve ever seen. If you are a newbie or just looking to learn the ropes of RC planes, then the SKY-King is for you.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 22.6 × 10.4 × 5.5 inches
  • Product Weight: 2.32 pounds
  • Product Material: EPO
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 14 years and above

Pros

  • Super sturdy and stable
  • Perfect for loops and stunts
  • Constructed from durable EPO materials
  • Easy to operate

Cons

  • Lack of aileron control

E-flite UMX PT-17 BNF

e-flite umx pt 17 rc plane for beginners.

E-flite has chosen to model the UMX PT-17 after the original by Pat Partners, founder of the Joe Nall event that took place at Triple Tree Aerodrome in South Carolina, USA.

The PT-17 model airplane was used by the US army to train thousands of pilots during the second world war.

It was still a popular sight during the post-war era as it was used for a variety of roles including airshow performance and crop dusting.

The RC version of the Boeing PT-17 uses advanced AS3X technology that delivers rock-solid handling to allow beginners to navigate safely and pros fly like crazy.

It features a four-channel control, realistic-looking radial engine, and communicates via Spectrum DSMX 2.4GHz.

It comes fully assembled and ready to run, all you have to do is to charge the battery before taking it to the sky.

The authenticity of its distinct outline is complemented by an authentic paint job and a dummy radial engine. Apart from its beautiful design and look, the radial engine runs very smoothly.

And since it is a lightweight model, it can reach high speed while piercing through the air.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 18.8 × 15.5 × 5 inches
  • Product Weight: 0.96 ounces
  • Product Material:
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 14 years and up

Pros

  • Realistic details
  • AS3X technology that allows for better handling
  • AS3X technology that allows for better handling

Cons

  • Slightly heavy tail
  • Difficult to land.

ParkZone Night Vapor BNF Airplane

Parkzone rc plane for beginners.

If you've ever seen a feather floating in the breeze, you'd notice it moves just like a vapor. That's what you get from this remarkable airplane from ParkZone, it literally will float like a feather.

When the original Vapor was released some years ago by ParkZone, it literally revolutionized micro flying. With a weight of only half an ounce, this remarkable little airplane took the RC world by storm.

Building on this huge success, ParkZone raised the stakes and introduced a new updated version of its wildly popular Vapor.

But this time, it features really bright LED lights and a redesigned airframe that is now more modular and allows the replacement of broken parts quicker and easier.

The Night Vapor is a lightweight 3-channel indoor plane with a minimalistic design. It sports a 70mAh battery that provides about 10 to 12 minutes of fly time.

It is equipped with a 2.4Ghz DSM2 receiver that provides excellent control of the Night Vapor.

So basically, the Night Vapor BNF Airplane has been able to retain all the excellent flight features of the original Vapor, while adding the excitement of night flying.

If you enjoy night flying, then the Night Vapor will be sure to do you proud. Light up the sky in style with the ParkZone Night vapor.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 19.5 × 15.5 × 5.8 inches
  • Product Weight: 2 pounds
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 14 years and above

Pros

  • Bright LED light
  • Adjustable CG
  • Slow flyer
  • Quick and easy replacement of broken parts

Cons

  • Not so good outdoors

E-flite Leader 480 BPF

e flite leader 480 rc plane for beginners.

Last, in our list, we've got the E-flite 480 Airplane, another RC plane specifically designed for impressive acrobatics.

It is powered by an electric motor that gives it plenty of power and plenty of zipping. It packs a punch in it, both in look and performance, and it battles the wind pretty nicely despite its lightweight.

This model is made from lightweight plywood construction and comes with a 3S Li-Po battery and charger.

It has a crisp, clean and precise movement as it zips around things effortlessly. It features a light wing loading that allows it to move through the air seamlessly.

Assembling is so simple as it takes only a few hours to get it up in the air.

All in all, it is a great gateway plane that can help build your confidence and make you crave bigger planes.

Technical Specs

  • Product Dimension: 38.2 × 13.2 × 5.5 inches
  • Product Weight: 2 pounds
  • Product Material: Plywood
  • Manufacturer Recommended Age: 14 years and up

Pros

  • Attractive trim scheme
  • Quick assembly
  • Lightweight plywood construction

Cons

Buyer's Guide: How to choose the right RC airplane for first-timer

If you are just starting out with flying RC planes, the first experience you get will determine if you would keep pursuing your hobby or not.

So it is quite important to buy something suitable for a beginner because otherwise, you would have challenges controlling the plane.

So what do you actually look out for in the ideal beginner RC airplane? Here are some important pointers that would help you make your decision.

Material and Build

With regards to the type of material the RC plane is made from, you should know the range of available choices isn’t that much. Examples of sturdy materials used include steel, tough plastic, EPO and EPP foam.

The planes made from steel construction are easier to maneuver since they are just like the real thing, and they tend to have an extended lifespan.

Foam, on the other hand, are the more affordable alternatives better suited for newbies that are still trying out the hobby and don't yet want to shell out a lot of cash.

They are mostly affordable, flexible and hardened to withstand impact from falls and crashes.

Plane Design

One mistake beginners make when making their choice is to go for something that only looks good or flies fast. Big mistake! You don’t want to be that beginner.

The watchword here shouldn’t be speed or beauty, but stability. Don’t forget you are just starting out, so those first flights have got to be absolutely stable so you can get your handset.

For starters, look for something with a high wing trainer. Here, the wing of the plane would be located above the fuselage. The high wingers are the best planes for beginners because they offer a lot of stability.

Another thing to look out for is the dihedral shape of the wings. This is the upward position of the wings that gives a slight upward cone-like or a very fat 'V' SHAPE. The more the 'V' shape, the more stable the flight you would get.

Power Type

RC planes are either powered by an engine or an electric motor. Each of these two types has its pros and cons.

Let's start with the electric-powered RC planes. They are the most ideal type for a beginner to start with. They are small, lightweight, affordable and easy to fly in public without creating much noise.

On the other hand, engine powered RC planes feature intricate controls, create more noise, have a lot more expenditures associated with it and demand regular fueling and proper maintenance.

However, since they've modeled like that of a real plane, they would give you a smoother and more powerful flight.

Number of Channels

RC planes come in different channel varieties and the number of these channels tells you the number of things you've got under your control.

The way it works is; the higher the number of channels, the more expensive it is and the more thrill you get from your plane. Some of the channels available includes:

Single Channel

These lack many features and are very easy to control. They are generally suited for small toys. If you are looking to take the hobby seriously, these are not worth it.

2-Channels

This will give you control over the rudder and engine throttle. They still give limited options but it will do well for some time only.

3-Channels

Now, this is enough for a beginner to feel challenged. It includes control over the rudder, elevator and throttle. They are quite swift, can make some acrobatic movement in the air and can give you an authentic taste of RC flight.

Most planes on our review list are built this way.

4-Channel

These are by far the most complicated, as you get to control the throttle, rudder, elevator, and aileron. Ideally, this should be tried after you've gained significant experience in the field.

(More complex airplane may require more channels to operate the primary controls).

Kit Assembly

Planes could come to ARF (Almost Ready To Fly) or RTF (Ready To Fly) or BNF (Bind N Fly). This has to do with if you want to assemble the plane from scratch yourself or if you want a ready aircraft.

As a beginner, it would take a while before you can master the art of assembling an RC plane correctly, so we recommend you go for RTFs.

Bottom Line

RC planes are incredibly fun to fly. They can be very forgiving when you choose the right device.

As a beginner focus on the trainer types that would give you stable flights upfront, to provide a better experience for your flying skills for further flights.

That’s all folks! We hope this review and buying guide will help you select the best RC plane for your needs as a beginner.

About the author

Edward Simpson

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