Best RC Planes 2017 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

best rc planes

Flying RC Planes Can Be SUPER Fun!

UPDATED FOR 2017: This buyer’s guide will help you find the best rc planes. So, let’s dive deep into this. First off,  radio controlled airplanes are small flying machines that are being controlled by an operator remotely on the ground by using a handheld radio. They are either classified as electric rc planes or nitro-powered rc planes. This comes down to personal preference and experience level.


Todays Best RC Planes for Electric and Nitro Power

Here's a picture of nitro vs electric powered planes

Nitro Powered VS Electric

Radio Controlled planes are now one of the most popular hobbies of all ages. It grew as a hobby because of it does not cost a fortune to get started. You can build your own RC model or buy a kit of your own to get started.

Right now because of the wide popularity of RC planes in a variety aof consumers, there are a lot of models with different classifications on different entry points. This list below will talk about the best RC planes there is in the market.

Almost Ready To Fly VS Ready To Fly

Almost Ready To Fly VS Ready To Fly

This list will help you choose your next purchase of a remote controlled airplane, it’s based on the top picks according to RC plane reviews from real on hand experience from RC plane blogs and past user reviews.

This list below consists of a variety of remote controlled airplane kits from Ready to Fly (RTC), Almost Ready to Fly (ARTF), Plug-N-Play (PNP), and Bind-N- Fly (BNF) RC Plane.



COMPARISON: Best RC Planes For The Money To Buy

Hobbyzone Sport-Cub S
Avistar Elite
E-flite Timber
Great Planes Big Stik

9. E-flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF – Silky Electric Glider

This model is a Bind and Fly, it is lightweight and has a molded –foam construction, it has a total weight of 2.1 pounds. It has a 3 channel control to make it easy to fly and reach higher altitudes.

The E-flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF Airplane has a built-in Spektrum DSM2/DSMX 5-Ch UM AS3X Receiver unit. It has a small build, this plane perform well on its glides and thermals. The flying range of this model ranges from 10 minutes to 20 minutes per battery charge. It also has AS3x for smooth flying. This is the best intermediate RC plane.

8. HobbyZone Champ RTF – Cheap RC Plane for Beginners

This ready-to-fly model is a great cheap RC plane for a beginner. It is has a compact and durable architecture. If you are a beginner in flying these radio controlled planes you can have this as your starting model. This unit supports Li-Po batteries and has a DC Li-PO charger. It also small, lightweight and durable structure lets you fly with confidence even in your small backyard and fly without worrying about possible crash damage. This is the best RC trainer plane for those who are learning to fly from scratch.

The Champhase a completely assembled and flight-ready 2.4GHz transmitter with Spektrum™ DSM® technology its radio system. You can use your Champs transmitter to a wide variety of Bind and Fly models because of its Spektrum radio system.

7. HobbyZone Duet RTF HBZ5300 – Reach Higher Altitudes With TWIN Electric Motors

This a teach you to fly in one box unit. It has an interference-free 2.4GHz transmitter with built-in charger vibrant trim scheme 3-channel control which gives you the total control of this radio controlled plane.

Duet has a virtual instructor technology that helps you fly this unit so much easier by providing control assistance and automatically countering the effects of wind and turbulence. Its body is also durable and lightweight that helps prevent big damages in case of a crash. It is the best RC plane for money value at $59.99. This radio controlled plane has a promise of turning your dream to fly into a reality despite being a complete beginner. It is stable for first-time flyers, agile and responsive. It can fly as high as 100 feet above the ground. This is also easy to fix with an RC airplane glue.

6. E-flite UMX F-16 – Fly Sky-High With This RC Airplane

This jet looking radio controlled airplane weights about 2 pounds. It is ultra – lightweight and has a fully assembled airframe, it has provided an advanced AS3X for a rock solid handling, it has operational full – flying horizontal stabilizers and proportional four channel control. It also has a Spektrum™ DSMX® 2.4GHz technology as its radio system. It is the most durable radio controlled plane according to the RC plane reviews.

5. Great Planes Big Stik .40 ARF – Oldschool Nitro RC Plane

This ARTF airplane is easy to assemble the model, it is 90% pre-built and have a MonoKote film finish and have the iconic Maltese Cross marks. Big Stik .40 is capable of handling 3D aerobatics. It has a dual aileron servo that is responsible for the crisp aerobatic maneuvers. It also has an interlocking wood framework that minimizes built time and making it more rigid.

It has a weight of 7.1 pounds and has the dimensions of 40.9 x 15.2 x 8.5 inches. It has a large wing and high wing mount design to add stability. It is one of the highest ratings in Remote control airplane reviews. This rc plane is nitro powered, so it’s ideal for intermediate users (at least).

NOTE: If you’d like to read more buyer’s guide and reviews on various things, just click back on the home page button (top left of screen).

4. E-flite Timber 1.5m BNF – Land and Takeoff from Water

This RC plane has built with floats that you can use to land on water. This 7.8-pound plane has the dimension of 49.9 x 16.8 x 10 inches. It has STOL capabilities for a sporty performance, it has functional slotted flaps, shock – absorbing main landing gears with Tundra – style. It is also equipped with AS3X® receiver with optional SAFE® Select technology and has a powerful brushless motor.

This BFN model runs on 11.1 c 3s 30c Lithium and requires a Spektrum DSM2 or DSMX transmitter. It is an all-around plane that takes off in 2 feet, which is anywhere and everywhere. It is one of the best RC planes for beginners in the BNF category.

3. Avistar Elite .46-Size ARF Large RC Plane – Most Popular Trainer

This is one of the top large RC planes you can have if you want to gain the basic RC control and learn on forward to those cool and exciting sports maneuver without changing your plane. This both suits beginner and intermediate flyers just fine. It is built for confidence building for those first-time flyers. It has easy flight stability and easy ground handling but also capable of doing some smooth rolls and some other aerobatics. It is already pre built for easy assembling. This is a Plug and Play unit where you can customize your radio equipment and power supply. It had also received good love in the RC planes reviews.

Because of its big size, it is easier to fly in breezy condition. Weighted in 11.1 pounds it is the heaviest in the list and also the biggest at the dimensions of 52.9 x 13.8 x 9.2 inches. Its final assembly doesn’t require and special tools. You need to fly this aircraft in a sanctioned flying field. It is a well-built plane, many used rc planes are for sale being this exact model (just check eBay).

2. Hobbyzone Sport-Cub S RTF – Best RC Plane for Beginners

This plane is the complete package for a radio controlled plane. It has everything you need to fly a radio controlled airplane nowadays. It has SAFE technology from Horizon Hobby, along with a panic recovery mode that can be activated with a pull of a trigger. It has built in proportional 4 – channel control with working throttle, rudder, elevator and aileron. It also has a steerable tail wheel for an easy control in the ground.

The Sports Cub is the lightest in the list weighing only 1 pound. It has dimensions of 21.8 x 21.5 x 5.8 inches. It is powered by Lithium Polymer batteries. It has a powerful electrical motor for good speed and climbs. It is also equipped with a compact 2.4GHz transmitter with proportional controls and Spektrum DSMX technology. You can have your skills advance with the Hobbyzone Sports Cub S RTF radio controlled Airplane.

1. Volantex Ranger EX RTF – Best RC Plane For Sale Right Now

This Electric radio controlled plane is a Ready to fly model that have a detachable fuselage and wings for East transportation and storage. It has a wingspan of 77.9” and a Length of 46”. This is easy to assemble kit that doesn’t need any glue. This model has a weight of 9.4 pounds and has 1 Lithium Polymer batteries. It has a PVC fuselage that makes the plane durable and leaves a lot of space for larger batteries. It includes a 6 channel transmitter and receiver.

This is the best RTF radio controlled plane to purchase this 2017. At a price of $359.20, you can have a feel of a much more expensive first class RC kits. This model can fly for an hour on a 4S 1100 mah battery. This one also has great reviews and ratings coming from its recent purchases… indicating it has everything working good towards it.

Frequently Asked Question

1. Why fly a radio control model plane? – This hobby is perfect for people who love anything related to electronics and types of machinery. It gives a satisfactions by having you in control most of the time while flying your remote control plane. If you are also interested in building and designing a real working plane this will also be a good hobby for you. Since you can build this RC planes from the very foundation this is great for frustrated engineers.

2. How do I choose my first plane? – You would normally start with easy to fly radio controlled planes, this is ready to fly (RTF) or almost ready to fly (ARTF) airplanes that usually cheaper than building a model from scratch. This model will enable you to get the hang of RC planes in the quickest possible time. You can choose your first model by considering also the variables that you would encounter in your area. You can see Remote Control airplane reviews for more details and suggestions

3. How much do they cost – This will depend on your choices, the average initial cost of starting this hobby is around $500. You can look for RC plane reviews for deeper estimations.

4. Are they dangerous? – Any machine could be dangerous but you must always be careful so that you will not cause any injury or accident. Always fly with safety in your head.

5. Is it easy to learn? – Your success on learning this depends on your attitude and your eagerness to learn flying, it usually takes weeks before you can start flying on your own. There are a lot of RTC units that have a virtual instructor that can guide you to fly your RC plane, there are also some RC flying clubs that offer lessons on how to fly your plane.

6. How often should I practice? – When starting you would need to practice at least 3 to 4 times a week to get the hang of flying these radio controlled planes.

7. What is the difference between Ready to Fly (RTC), Almost Ready to Fly (ARTF), Plug-N-Play (PNP), and Bind-N- Fly (BFN) RC Plane?

  • a. Ready to Fly (RTC) – as the name suggests, these are fly right out of the box models, they have their own receiver and transmitter. You can fly these model without any work
  • b. Almost Ready to Fly (ARTF) – ARTFs is the kit that is almost built, you just need to do some work on it, and the majority is related to radio control gear and engine installation.
  • c. Plug and Play (PNP) – Plug and play are radio controlled that do not come with its own receiver, you can place a receiver you want to fly it with a transmitter you want.
  • d. Bind and Play (BFN) – these are the evolved version of Plug and play. They are RC planes that let you bind or sync any compatible transmitter and get flying.

8. Electric RC Planes or Nitro RC Planes? – the majority of hobbyist are in favor of electric RC planes but most of the RC flying clubs have the majority of their pilots flying glow/nitro radio controlled planes. For beginners, you would want to start from Electric RC planes and then transition to Nitro RC Planes.

9. What is the difference of an RC Plane from a Drone? – Drones are getting popular nowadays with models like the DJI Phantoms. But what is the difference between a drone and a Radio Controlled Airplanes? They do have the same concept of as a remotely controlled aircraft. Drones are normally used for surveillance or videography while Radio Controlled Airplanes are widely used as a hobby and does not have many restrictions like operating a drone.

We have a full in-depth buyer’s guide on the best drones to buy. They will cover one’s great for beginners, as well as advanced users.

10. Do I need a license to fly a radio controlled airplane? – this is only required for drone operators but it is also good to have if you want to transition from radio controlled planes to Drones.


So there you have it, our buyer’s guide for the best rc planes to buy for both beginners and experienced flyers. Be mindful that if you’d like to learn to fly better and decrease your chance of crashing, use a rc plane flight simulator software.

For more reference on how can you choose what Radio Controlled Airplane to buy you can watch this video below:

VIDEO: RC Plane Choosing Tutorial