Best RC Planes 2017 – Buyer’s Guide with Reviews

If you’re reading this, chances are you have interest in flying a radio controlled airplane.

The BEST rc planes can be hard to come by, especially with the ENORMOUS range of choices… literally there’s hundreds of different variations you can choose form. 

It all comes down to what type of flying you want to do, how long do you want to fly, what budget do you dedicate to spend, and what your skill level at this time.

With all those things in mind, we picked 5 of the best radio controlled airplanes you can setup and start using, after reading each of the reviews we provide below.

Best Electric and Nitro RC Planes 2017

(Chart featured below)

It's important you remember that good quality planes, don't come for cheap. In almost all cases, it comes down to what the manufacturer spent on creating that toy. If it's cheap, they probably cut a lot of corners and used cheap materials to put it together.

Not always, but most of the time. It's a simple fact.

Below, you'll see top 5 picked for this year.

*List recently updated for 2017

1. Great-Planes Avistar Elite - The Best Nitro RC Plane for 2017

Here it is, the #1 best rtf nitro rc plane to fly for beginners, intermediates, and experts. Seriously, there’s a reason why it’s so darn popular. 

Out of the box, it has the required things to start flying. Aside for fuel, there’s really not much else you’d need that would seriously hold you back.

Great-Planes is known for making a verity of radio controlled airplanes, from flight simulators, to a wide verity of spare parts that would make repair easy… they have it all.

Here are key feature which make the Avistar Elite, a worthwhile toy.

Features:

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    This plane as mentioned above, is an excellent started for trainers. At the same time, professionals who want to fly solo or teach others can easily maneuver it. 
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    Being an RTF, makes it ready out of the box. Aside for fuel and batteries, you have everything needed to start flying. 
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    The high mounted wing, gives it higher stability and nimbleness. Also the landing gear, makes it easy to bring down.
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    To control the entire plane, you’ll be using the TTX600 6-channel 2.4GHz radio. Dual rates on elevators, ailerons, rudders, digital trims and servo reversing, wireless trainer system, adjustable stick lengths, and a low-voltage alarm.

Pros:

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    Makes an excellent trainer & all-around airplane. Without a doubt, ideal for almost any kind of flying.
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    Ready to Fly out of the box, aside for the obvious things like batteries and gas, you're ready to go!'
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    Due to its top mounted wing, its flexible for being a big plane, and allows you to perform sharp menuevers.
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    Being a gas powered airplane, it does a good job at muffling the sound output.

Cons:

  • Price point is a bit steep, especially if you have a tight budget in mind.
  • Would of been nice to see a brushless option.

Important Specs:

  • Features a 6-channel SLT radio.
  • Wingspan at 62.5” (1590mm).
  • Weight: 6.5-7.0 lbs (2950-3170 g).
  • Length: 55” inches (1395mm).
  • Fuel Tank Capacity is around 8oz or 240cc.
  • Engine name is O.S. 46AX II.

2. E-Flite UMX Radian U2980 - The Best Electric RC Plane for 2017

In comparison to the #1 mentioned above, this one is 3X cheaper, and just as fun. What sets apart the E-Flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF is how it’s designed and what it’s really good at. 

Unlike with most planes we mention, this one is launched exclusively by hand. No landing gear, and no fuss. Just throw it against the wind, throttle up, and start flying.

This is an electric rc plane you’ll love using for a few good reason.

First one being it’s light weight, second one being that it’s small, and third being its affordable. More on those three later. Let’s go on and cover the main features that make this light-weight flyer great.

Features:

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    The first important feature this airplane has, is the light weight structure. When I say lightweight, I mean it. 43 grams!

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    With a efficient motor, you’ll be able to get 8-10 minutes of flight time. Upgrade to a higher capacity battery to get even more.

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    Controlling this gentle glider, is a 3-channel remote. Not designed to give you many functions except for the basics.

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    For the flight time you can get, everything is upgradeable. Going from 150 mAh battery to 300 should see nearly double the flight time. Same can be said for the motor.
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    AS3X system provides stability easier control with the 3-channel remote. 

Pros:

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    This glider is extremely light-weight and easy to fly. Whether you do it in a tight space or in a big open field, there’ should be no problems.

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    Easy controller and stability, even during windy conditions… thanks to the AS3X technology.​

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    An impressive amount of flying time for such a small aircraft and battery. Easily, you’re able to double and triple it by purchasing additional batteries (4 pcs for less than 15 dollars).

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    You can be out in the field, and recharge your batteries using the included usb charger.

Cons:

  • Even with the AS3X stabilizing, wind can get ahold of this glider due to its size.
  • If you're stuck with the single battery it comes with, running it down and waiting for a recharge is inconvenient. 

Important Specs:

  • Flight time can range from 10-20 minutes.
  • Charger can charge 1S 300mA LiPo batteries.
  • Glider weight is 1.50 oz ( or 43g).

  • A very small 8.5mm careless brushed motor.

  • Battery capacity is 150 mAh 1S 3.7V 25C LiPo.

  • Wingspan: 28.7 in (730mm).

3. HobbyZone Champ RTF - An Ideal RTF RC Plane for Beginners

By comparison to the #2 electric rc plane, this one isn’t quite a glider. It’s not meant to follow the wind and use thermal energy to keep itself gliding across (although you can do that). 

The HobbyZone Champ is a ready to fly (rtf) electric airplane for beginners. It’s small size makes it the ideal candidate for flying in large indoor and even little-wind outdoor fields. 

It’s without a doubt, the most popular toy on this entire list. If you are reading this, and don’t have much experience, there’s no real better way to get started than this, and spend less than 100 dollars all-in.

But just like #2 above, you get a short fly time, and thats where extra batteries help. These are the features which make it a solid choice:

Features:

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    The HobbyZone Champ is just that, a Champ. A little one, for it is an agile little plane that is so simple to fly, kids will little experience can.

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    The remote is a 2.4GHz transmitter with Spectrum DSM2 technology. This allows to fly from signal interference whenever and wherever you go. 

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    Quick take-off makes it nice to fly in smaller areas. Some have reported going from ground to air in as little as 10 feet. 

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    With eh 1S 3.7V 150 mAh Li-Po batter, you can expect to fly 10-20 minutes. Easily increasing this by buy ing a few more batteries, which are VERY inexpensive.

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    Resilient foam construction, easy to repair with simple epoxy. Spare parts are also inexpensive.

Pros:

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    Small, agile, easy to fly, and bounces back easily when crashing.

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    Ready To Fly, easily stows into a  shoe box, and can give over an hour of flying (given you buy the extra battery packs). Also, charging can be done via USB charger.

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    For children and adults, it makes for a good learner. It takes off in short runways or can be launched by hand.

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    No interruption of signal using the 2.4GHz transmitter.

Cons:

  • Wind can strongly take control of this plane. It's advised that flying outside is done with 5 > mph winds.

Important Specs:

  • 2.4GHz transmitter with Spectrum DSM technology.

  • 1S 3.7V 150mAH Li-Po battery and USB Li-Po charger.

  • Wingspan is around 19” inches.

  • Flight time is around 10-15 minutes on a full charge.

  • Three wheeled landing gear.

4. Costzon ASW28 Sail Plane - A Beautiful & Lightweight RC Plane Kit

If there was a list of the best looking planes, this would be in the top 3 for sure. First and foremost, much like one mentioned previously, it operates partially by gliding through the gusts of wind and thermal drafts generated by things.

The Costzon ASW28 is an RC plane kit, created specifically to sail through the wind at high altitudes. 

Being a kit, it does not include a radio which controls it. That’s an additional part which you’ll have to invest in. With the being said, you can go the cheap route and spend maybe another 50 dollars and get a simple but effective transmitter and receiver.

With that being said, I want to cover what its primary features.

Features:

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    The entire plane is constructed of EPO and PP material, which goes further than ordinary foam used.

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    It features a 850KV brushless motor, which brings in adequate push to climb higher altitudes (a place where they you can let wind take control and use little to no battery).

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    From start to finish, you can assemble this kit with ease.

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    Although not included, its nice to know exactly what kind of system suits this glider best. Using a 2.4GHz controller should give a max flying range of 656 yards and a 1500 mAh 20C LiPo battery will help you reach that.

Pros:

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    Excellent build quality combined with great design for flying seamlessly. EPO and PP materials used in the overall structure and sleek aerodynamic shape.

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    Easy to control, as there’s few servos used to operate the gliders functions.

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    Can fly long distances with the right set​​​​up. 

Cons:

  • None, other than not having a radio transmitter included.

Important Specs:

  • Wing span is around 100.6” inches long (2555mm)

  • Front to back length is 44.4” inches long  (1127mm)

  • Recommended Battery: 11.1V, 1500 mAh, 20C Li-Po

  • Flying wei​​​​ght is: 1050g 

  • Motor: Brushless 850KV
  • ESC: 30A Brushless ESC

5. HobbyZone Sport Cub S - Cheap RC Plane for Any Skill Level

When it comes to rc planes that avoid pending disasters, the Hobbyzone Sport Cub S is one that impressed me, as it could do the same for you.

If you’re looking for something out of the box and ready to fly, look here. On top of that, if your skill level is anywhere near beginner, look here. 

The Sport Cub S includes everything you need to get started, right down to the batteries. 

Assembly is seamless, and typically takes less than a few minutes. 

What you want to know are the main features, and how you’ll benefit from them. Below I’ll explain.

Features:

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    If you’re looking at something that costs roughly 100 dollars, it’s ready to go out of the box. Again, this is the kind of plane you’d get if not only you, but someone else inexperienced wants to have a go.

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    It features SAFE technology. As the abbreviation implies, it makes flying a bit more safe for you. 

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    How it works is by helping you battle windy conditions, learn some of the basic and advanced skills in using the multiple flight modes, and lastly, regain stability with a pull of the trigger.

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    The specs for performance may be weak for power, but the beauty is within the low energy consumption of the little brushed motor. Combined with the included 1S 150 mAh 3.7V lipo battery, you’re getting over 10 minutes of flying time.
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    Unlike a few other types of planes, where you have to manually launch it by hand, with this one you can take-off using its landing gear. All in a short runway as well (sub 12 feet long).

Pros:

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    SAFE technology keeps it stable, especially in windier conditions.

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    Plane is PERFECT for beginners, it’s cheap, easy to repair, and replacement parts are very inexpensive.

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    It’s easy to take-off and land. Included landing gear allows you to turn left or right while moving on the ground.

Cons:

  • Wind is often a big issue, considering this plane weighs next to nothing.

Important Specs:

  • The wingspan is 24.3” or 616mm.

  • Length from front to back is 16.3” or 414.5mm.

  • Dry weight is 2.0oz or 57g.

  • Plane material is foam.

  • Battery spec is 1S 150 man 3.7v LiPo.

6. ParkZone Night Vapor - Fun For The Whole Family

This one is just for sheer fun, as flying it outside will almost always prove to be a challenge. The ParkZone Night Vapor BNF plane  an ultra light plane, designed to fly in places the size of a simple living room... literally. 

This by no means a professional grade toy, anyone can play with it as long as there’s little to no wind present. You’ll love this for many reasons, a few of which are that it charges very fast and will let you fly it multiple times throughout an hour.

Below, I’ll mention its main features.

Features:

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    You can fly this little thing at night, with multi-colored LEDs. They are on at all times, even during the day time.

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    It has a modular design, this makes for replacing parts a lot easier. Its overall lightweight, making for any crashes fairly insignificant. 

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    The Spectrum DSM2 radio technology eliminates interferences. This allows you to fly multiple planes at the same time.

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    You DO need to purchase the Spectrum DSM2 transmitter. Not ideal for the price you spend.

Pros:

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    Lightweight and super easy to fly around. You'll notice its best indoors and outdoors with no wind.

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    Durable and hard to break, due to its weight. Each piece is modular (said earlier), making replacement parts are easy.

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    Being small, you can fly in small spaces. The LED lights let you do it both day and night.

Cons:

  • Price is a bit steep for what it is.
  • Transmitter is not included, not ideal for the price.

Important Specs:

  • Battery included is a 1S 3.7V 12C Li-Po 150mAh.

  • Wingspan is around 19.5” inches.

  • Front to back length is 15.5” inches. 

Final Words - Wrapping Up

So you've made it this far, and I congratulate you. I went over six of the best rc planes I could do research on. From many rc plane reviews I've come cross, the ones above really are great for all types of needs. Electric, ready to fly, nitro, cheap...

Different types for different needs.

Roman
 

When I started at TRA, I knew that this was exactly where I wanted to be. By Managing our team of experts, we gather information passed on from them and consumers based on the products they want to put into review. Our main objective is to write articles on these subjects so that buyers like you can have the best assistance and education in making that next purchase.