Remote control airplanes let you experience the thrill of flight with your feet planted firmly on the ground. From realistic-looking World War II fighters to single-engine Cubs, there are plenty of models to choose from.
We determined through our research that the best RC planes are the HobbyZone Delta Ray, the HobbyZone Super Cub S and the ParkZone Archer. To learn more, keep reading, and then check out our additional articles on RC planes.
You'll need to look for certain characteristics in order to find the right plane for you. We ranked RC planes according to the following criteria.
Performance takes into consideration two main factors: flight performance and ease of flight. For a high-performance RC airplane, look for a plane with four channels. This will be somewhat difficult to fly, but it will provide you with the most responsive handling. If you're new to flying, though, it is better to stick with a three-channel plane, because it will be much easier to control.
Some of the planes we reviewed are able to fly at low speeds. While this may not seem like it's a plus for performance, a plane that can be stable at low speeds is actually extremely helpful for learning to fly. Some of the best planes are stable at low speeds and are also capable of high-speed loops and corkscrews.
Durability is a huge concern with remote controlled airplanes. You'll crash your plane eventually, so look for a plane with a wide selection of replacement parts available from the manufacturer.
Of course, the best-case scenario is to avoid a crash at all, and to that end, some planes have gyroscope-enabled stabilizing technology. These planes automatically steady themselves when they enter an unsafe flying angle. Some of the best RC planes even have an anti-crash panic button that you can press when the plane is out of control. This gives you the ability to fly more boldly, without having to worry about crashing your plane and losing your investment.
Look for a plane with a fly time of at least eight minutes. Although fly times vary based on the intensity of your flying style, you should look for a plane that has decent endurance. It's also a good idea to purchase an additional battery for your plane.
All the planes we reviewed are classified as RTF (ready to fly). This means they'll come with everything you need to fly, including the transmitter, sometimes called the remote control or radio.
There is a huge discrepancy in the weights of the planes we reviewed. They range from less than one ounce to 25 ounces. If you live in an area that has a lot of wind, you'll want to get a heavier plane, as it will be less susceptible to being tossed around by the wind.
Help & Support
It's likely that your plane will need repairs from a crash at some point, so it's important to buy from a company that has knowledgeable representatives. Look for a company that offers phone support so you don't have to wait on a return email for assistance. We interacted with each company's customer support representatives and assigned them scores based on their knowledge and helpfulness.
Piloting remote control airplanes is an enjoyable hobby. Check out our in-depth reviews to choose the right RC plane for you.