Top 10 Tips Guide for Choosing Your First RC Plane for Beginners

For someone who are new to remote control planes, all you need to know is here.You may find yourself wondering "What kind of rc plane to start learning how to fly?" or "Where do I begin?" In this vast realm, a myriad of planes await your discovery. But for beginners, pinpointing that perfect starter plane is crucial.Let's delve deep into this topic to help you find that ideal "RC planes for beginners."

What RC plane is suitable for me? (Electronic powered)

Depending on your flying skill, there are many aircrafts that you can choose to fly with. To make it easier, let’s go through couple basic things about RC aircrafts.

1. Categories of RC aircrafts

trainer
It is almost the best type to get started flying with for beginners. Basically, RC trainer planes are built up based on some famous real trainers, which is designed for pilots to learn how to fly. Therefore, a RC trainer plane normally means everything that a beginner could expect - stable, easy to control, enough power.
glider
For relaxing or for speed, it determines the structure, motor power of a glider. For relaxing flight in a vast area, a wide-wing glider can bring you in a slow-life enjoyment. For speed competition, you will need a powerful narrow-wing glider which can guarantee smallest air friction to win the game. But, that’s something to consider and discuss among experts.
sport
It covers from classic warbirds to some modern aerobatic aircrafts. A sport aircraft is always equiped with powerful motor, and low-wing structure to guarantee speed and agility, it also means more difficult to control. But, more sport aircrafts are designed for beginners nowadays, with adjusted structure or gyro stabilizer to assist.
3D
  • 3D Aerobatic planes

Just a naughty boy in the air, if you could imagine. The most skill-required, and also the most fancy type with all kinds of stunt play.
jet
The recognizable appearance is obviously designed for high speed and agile flight, which is also obviously not recommended for beginners.

2. Variations in airplane wing positions

  • Single high wing

Normally it is designed for a beginner aircraft, such like a trainer as introduced above. It is also what we would recommand to pilots new to the hobby. You will feel the aircraft flying stably even with rough controls, although it sacrifices part of speed, which is not so well considered by a beginner pilot.

Trainstar Mini Beginner Airplane with Xpilot Gyro System

Volantex Trainstar Mini

  • Single middle wing

You will find such structure on a glider, sport aircraft and 3D aerobatic aircraft. It is an intermidate choice between single high wing and single low wing. Also, it balances the flying performance between the regular and inverted flight attitudes.

F-16 Fighting Falcon with Cool Lights for Beiftginners

Volantex RC Jet F-16

  • Single low wing

It is mostly used on a sport aircraft, warbird and jet that requires high agility. It is also the most difficult controlling wing type, you will feel the airplane too sensitive if without advanced skills.

F4U Corsair WWII Airplanes with Xpilot Stabilization System

Volantex F4U warbird
(About the Single Wing,You can check their differences based on the Wikipedia link:Monoplane provided.)
  • Double wings

More used on vintage wooden aircrafts from WWI to the golden age era. It is not recommended for beginner pilot. It looks nicer than it can perform in the air.
(About the Double wings,You can check their differences based on the Wikipedia link:Biplane provided.)

3. Different control channels RC airplanes

  • 2 Channels RC Planes for kids

Consist of dual motors to be used as throttle and rudder, enable to control forward (with automatical climb up), left and right turns(with different motors speed). It is the simplest control type,for beginner pilots to get started. Nevertheless, it will soon become little boring for adult and teenager pilots, who would like to seek more challenges and funs. Therefore, 2-channel aircrafts are mostly designed for children to get in the hobby, with supervision and assist of experienced adults.
2 channels 

  • 3 channels RC Airplanes for Beginners

Include the elevator and rudder on the tail. The motor will just control throttle, climb and dive will be controlled by the elevator, and the rudder will control left and right turns. It will help beginner pilots to learn how to control a RC aircraft in a way of hobby grade, instead of toy grade. It is recommanded to start with RC aircraft for pilots at age 14 plus.

Sport Cub S2 Remote Control Airplane for Beginners

3 channels

 

  • 4 Channels Remote Control Planes for experience pilot

Aileron is available plus the other 3 channels, now we are talking. The aileron control enable the RC aircraft to fly more stunt actions,an essential part to use for most experienced pilots during flight. A small sized(during 40-60cm wingspan), 4 channel trainer is always recommended for pilots who have flown some ti me with less channel aircrafts.

VOLANTEXRC P51D Mustang 4Ch Beginner RC Airplanes

4 channels 

  • 5 Channels 

Another feature flap is activated, which is used for better landing and take-off. Normally it is available on larger aircrafts. However, the 5th channel can also be some other features, such as camera switch, landing gear retract switch, you name it. So, basically, when it talks about 5 channels, it means the pilot has known pretty much about RC aircraft, and getting more optional features for more entertainments.

Phoenix 2400 5 Channel Glider with 2.4 Meter Wingspan

5 channels

4. Different completion levels

A range of completition levels is made for different pilots with different equipments or demands. From a basic kit where you choose what items you choose to complete your aircraft, to ready-to-fly aircraft with everything needed in the box. You can always find the completition levels in a purchasing page or catagory with different costs. The levels are consist of:

  • KIT

Only the raw components of the aircraft frame without any assembly or electronic part. Basically, it is for enthusiasts’ maximum DIY works.

Recommendation Rating For Beginner:⭐☆☆☆☆

  • PNP - Plug'N'Play.
The aircraft is constructed with all the electronics fitted, except for Radio(transmitter & receiver), battery and charger equipment.
Recommendation Rating For Beginner:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
  • BNF - Bind'N'Fly.
The aircraft is constructed with all of the electronics fitted. You will still need to make your choice of compatible transmitter.
Recommendation Rating For Beginner:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
  • ARTF - Almost ready to fly.
The airframe is equipped with all electronic parts, but requires the battery and charger.
Recommendation Rating For Beginner:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
  • RTF - Ready'-To-Fly,
The aircraft is supplied as a complete package with everything you need to fly.Although everything is supplied, it's worth considering extra batteries to extend your time at the flying field or wherever you chose to fly.
Recommendation Rating For Beginner:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

  • RTF Pre-installed
Great choince for beginners who don't want complex works before flying RC planes. All parts of the plane are pre-installed in production, just need to plug the battery in and everything is ready.
Recommendation Rating For Beginner:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

5. What Power systems to choice.

  • Direct-drive brushed motor

It is the simplest and most common type of motor. It is more used on aircrafts that requires more speed but light weight, such as high speed glider, or a rear pusher glider.

  • Gear-box-equipped brushed motor

The gear box slows down the speed, but provides more thrust. Thus it is suitable to use on a front-propeller pulled trainer, to provide enough power with more affordable cost.

  • Brushless motor
Obviously, this is the higher end power system with both higher thrust and higher speed. Depends on the spec, a brushless motor could cost from entry to expert levels. It is common used on more professional, bigger size RC planes.

6. Major materials

  • Fiberglass

The very shiny looking appearance is obviously the great advantage of fiberglass. Complicated painting and trim scheme can be shown clearly and sharp on the surface. Although it is considered as a durable material in other industries, for RC airplane which could be easy to crash seriously, it is still too easy to break and expensive.

  • Balsa wood
Another high class material that is very suitable to use for long, skiny fuselage and wings. Therefore, we can see lots of high end gliders made of Balsa wood. It’s light weight, smooth surface, durability make it a very good choice for RC gliders, but also means it is expensive.
  • ABS/PP plastic
It is a good choice of fuselage material to be used with foam wings on bigger size RC planes. Plastic fuselage brings pretty good durability but not much more weight, especially on giant gliders which usually are designed with skiny fuselage.
  • EPO foam
A very durable and tough foam material that fit in most demands of a RC plane. It is also smooth, light, but little heavy compared with other foam materials. It can be used on nearly all different sizes of RC planes.
  • EPS foam
The smoothest surface among the 3 foam materials introduced here. With nice painting work and trim scheme, EPS foam can display RC planes in a showcase. However, it is so fragile that could be damaged in each heavy landing by beginner or even experienced pilots.
  • EPP foam
It is a good choice if used for middle to small size RC planes that are designed for beginners. The extreme flexibility makes it difficult to damage in crash, compared with other foam materials.

Summary for above materials(roughly for reference);

Appearance - Fiberglass, Balsa wood > EPS > Plastic, EPP, EPO

Durability - Balsa wood, Plastic > EPP, EPO > EPS, Fiberglass

Flexibility - EPP > EPO > Balsa wood, Plastic, Fiberglass, EPP

Weight(Order from heavest) - Fiberglass, Plastic > Balsa wood, EPO > EPS, EPP

 

(Regarding the material on remote control aircraft, you can learn about it from a video : RC Plane Building Materials. Although it is older, the introduction is very detailed and is very helpful for novices to understand.)

 

7. Stabilizer technology assists

Feel no shame on using technology to help yourself learn to fly hobby RC aircrafts. A trustable “buddy” is a very good safe, and gives more confidence during flights. Some well-known systems have helped many rookies to grow up rapidly to experienced pilots, such as SAFE by Horizon Hobby, PASS by Rage RC, X-PILOT by Exhobby, et cetera.Most assist systems have level switches to allow pilots choose to use assist system or manual control, keeping the original flying fun.

If you want to learn some techniques for flying a rc airplane, you can learn it in this video:LEARN TO FLY an RC AIRPLANE 🏅.By the way, the Sport Cub 500 shown in the video is launched by Volantex, you can check its information here.

 

8. Wingspan sizes

  • Smaller than 50cm

Micro size, better for kids and teenagers to learn how to fly. It can be flying in the Park, or some open space, light weight, normally more safe for learning how to fly and for expert to fly relaxing and for fun. 
  • Between 50cm to 80cm

Small size, suitable for park flight by beginner to experienced pilots.
  • Between 80cm to 140cm

Middle size, require some skills to control and maintain, works for experienced to advanced levels.
  • Between 140cm - 200cm

Big size, must be handled by high level pilots with enough flight time and skill.
  • Bigger than 200cm

Giant size, pilots who can handle such size aircraft should practise for some years, knows quite a lot of RC aircraft knowledges and skills.

 

9. Motor positions

  • Front motor

It is the most traditional structure that is used for most aircrafts, which provides great thrust efficiency. Constructed with proper propeller, it can either give high torque force or high horse power.

  • Middle motor

For FPV (first person view) flight, a front motor with propeller is obviously not a good solution in front of the camera. Therefore, a middle motor constructed at the position nearby the mainwings is a better choice, although it will sacrifice some thrust efficiency.

  • Rear motor

Mostly, it is designed for mordern ducted-fan jets, for higher speed flight with the triangle structure.

 

10.More tips before putting in the air

Before getting in the air, let’s cool down and learn some facts. Although we have many aircrafts designed beginner-friendly, with improved durable material, light weight and most importantly, the patented X-PILOT gyro stabilizer assist system, we still think there is important and valuable to purchase simulator software.

Secondly, you must make sure to fly in a vast area without signal interference(such as CCTV), important priorities or crowded people. An area of wide lawn or grassland is ideal to avoid all these damages, and to well protect the aircraft itself from heavy landing or crash.

Needing more helps? We have freindly staff at your service to answer your questions and provide professional advices. There are also many experienced pilots in our community who would love to discuss all kinds of RC relative stuffs, and help to solve RC tricky issues.

Beginner helpRc knowledgeRc planes knowledgeShopping guide

1 コメント

Aubrey L Hollis

Aubrey L Hollis

I want a RTF P-19!
Any available?
Please advise
Thank you
Great article

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