10 Ready To Fly (RTF) RC Planes For Beginners In 2021


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Flying an RC plane  (radio controlled plane) is one of the most thrilling and addictive hobbies there is. There are tons of options out there – numerous models that promise a variety of features, competitive prices, and technology to choose from. It’s easy to get over-whelmed, but for a newbie pilot the best place to start are RTF (ready to fly) rc airplanes.

And to be honest I was even overwhelmed by the choice of RTF rc planes for beginners, so I dived into finding out as much about them as possible.

This article provides you with some of the best Ready To Fly (RTF) RC Planes for beginners to choose from, keeping in mind all the features and requirements that a novice pilot will need.

I’ve summarized below the key things to look out for, and found some excellent beginner RTF rc planes, which will save you a lot of time if you’re looking for one to buy. I won’t reveal ’til later which one I went for!

Beginner RTF RC Planes – Top Picks

Here’s our top picks’ list of highly recommended RTF rc planes for beginners, one of which is bound to suit you to the ground (or air!):

Any recommendations we make are always based on either products we already own and use, or are carefully assessed in terms of their attributes and user feedback – criteria we use ourselves whenever we buy. Where products sold by Amazon are suggested, they will have the following criteria at the time of writing, unless there are no alternatives available:

  • Minimum of 4 stars
  • No more than 10% of all reviews are 1 or 2 stars
  • The product has a minimum of 100 reviews

We also highly rate products which have free shipping or are sold through Amazon Prime.

  • HobbyZone Sport Cub S
  • Top Race 3 Channel Rc Plane
  • Top Race 4 Channel Rc Airplane
  • VOLANTEXRC Sport Cub 500 Parkflyer
  • VOLANTEXRC RTF Ranger 600
  • VOLANTEXRC P51 Mustang
  • Wotryit WLTOYS A380
  • VOLANTEXRC T28 Trojan Parkflyer
  • Funtech RC Airplane Remote Control Airplane
  • Landbow RC Plane 2 Channels

Top Picks Table

Top Rated
Top Race Rc Plane 3 Channel Remote Control Airplane
  • Highly rated by users
  • Amazon’s Choice
  • 3 level flying modes: Easy, Medium, Hard
 
  • New Propeller Saver Technology
 
  • Ready-to-Fly includes everything you need
Most Popular
HobbyZone RC Airplane Carbon Cub S 2
  • Perfect as a trainer airplane
  • Modes let you learn to fly RC at your own pace
 
  • Panic Recovery Mode
 
  • Ready-to-Fly includes everything you need
More Advanced
Top Race Rc Plane 4 Channel Remote Control Airplane
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s choice
  • Throttle, rudder, elevator, aileron and tail wheel control
 
  • One Key Return
  • One key aerobatics
More Advanced
HobbyZone Sport Cub S RC Airplane RTF with SAFE Technology
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s choice
 
  • Throttle, rudder, elevator, aileron control
 
  • Safe stabilization
  • Steerable tail wheel
Great Value
Funtech RC 3 Channel Airplane
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s choice
 
  • Throttle, rudder, elevator control
Glider Design
VOLANTEXRC RC Glider Ranger 600
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s Choice
 
  • One Key Return
  • One key aerobatics
 
  • Xpilot Stabilization System
  • Glider design for longer flights
World War II Fighter
VOLANTEXRC P51
Mustang
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Fleex foam
 
  • One Key Return
  • One key aerobatics
 
  • Xpilot Stabilization System
  • World War II Fighter design
Trainer Aircraft
VOLANTEXRC 4-CH T28 Trojan Parkflyer
  • Everything you need to fly
  • One Key Return
 
  • One key aerobatics
  • Xpilot Stabilization System
 
  • Trainer design
Civil Airliner
Wotryit WLTOYS A380
  • Everything you need to fly
 
  • 3 Channel (rudder, elevators and throttle)
  • One Key Return
 
  • Gyro stability system
Lowest price
Landbow RC Plane
2 Channels
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s Choice
 
  • 2 Channel
 
  • Gyro stability system

For more detail about any of these rc planes, take a look below.

While it might be tempting to go for the really flashy, and sleek, high-end, high-tech models, opting instead for a sturdy, reliable rc plane with good ground control along and safety features and self-leveling technology, would be prudent.

There are a lot of questions you need to consider before you pick your first plane. Do you go for a two, three or four-channel RC plane? What about the size and the materials used to build it? What features do you need to look out for?

If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to major on robust, stable, and easy-to-fly models, such as the hobbyzone rc airplane carbon cub s2 (more details here (US), (UK), (Canada). This is particularly so if you get caught out in windy weather.

Here are the most important things…

What Are The Important Things For RTF Beginner RC Planes?

The Complete Package

Make sure that you get everything in the box you need to start flying – possibly with the exception of some AA batteries for the transmitter. You should look out for:

  • The airplane fuselage, wings and all operating surfaces such as the rudder, elevators and ailerons if fitted. These should all be in place and working right out of the box.
  • The motor and propeller, fitted to the fuselage.
  • Landing gear. This is often separate in the box, but can usually be easily fitted.
  • Batteries. Usually Nimh or LiPo batteries with charger. Look out for 2 batteries to extend your flying time.
  • Receiver with servos. Already installed in the aircraft.
  • Transmitter. This is usually on the 2.4 Ghz frequency, which is the most common.

Quick Assembly

The ideal beginner’s RTF rc plane will be ready to fly right of the box. If there is any assembly required, it should be minimal, such as clipping on wire undercarriage.

RTF (Ready To Fly) or BNF (Bind N Fly)

RTF rc planes usually are literally ready to fly right of the box. Perhaps the only thing you will need to do is add AA batteries to the transmitter, charge the battery in the plane and read the instructions or user guide.

Alternatively some planes come as bind-n-fly (BNF) aircraft. BNF planes are aimed at hobbyists who already have a compatible transmitter, flight battery, and charger, usually because they already have an rc plane.

The advantage of BNF planes is that you save on the ancillary costs.

For the purpose of this article, however, we’re focussing on absolute beginners who are buying their first aircraft, so we’ll look at RTF only.

High Wing or Low Wing RC Plane?

The high wing design is better suited to beginners as it is more stable in flight than a low wing model. Many of the beginner rc plane models do have high wings.

However, the incorporation of flight stability technology – see below – now makes the wing configuration almost irrelevant,

What Is “Safe” Technology?

The wide introduction of “Safe” (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology into the hobby has meant that many trainer airplanes have beginner friendly flight characteristics.

SAFE technology is able to limit the actions of the novice pilot to allow the airplane to fly normally, and continue to fly even if the controls are set to their extreme limits. So SAFE limits the extent to which the plane’s flight controls – the rudder, elevators and ailerons – can be moved in flight.

But, a plane with SAFE onboard doesn’t limit your abilities as a pilot. There are options which involve beginner, intermediate and advanced settings, so you can tailor the amount of “help” you receive from the technology according to your abilities. In the beginner setting you will be restricted, however, to fairly gentle maneuvers, and only in the advanced mode will you be looping the loop.

Other features of the technology mean that you’re less likely to have a disaster as you learn:

  • AutoLand brings the plane down safely by pressing a button
  • Holding Pattern recovers the airplane to a pre-defined GPS point
  • Virtual Fence confines the plane to an area
  • Panic Recovery automatically brings the aircraft back to flying level

Each manufacturer has their own version. For example, Horizon Hobby has ‘ACT’ (Anti-Crash Technology™) and Volantexrc has the Xpilot stabilization system.

What’s the Best RC Plane Motor For Beginners?

The main choice here is between the Internal Combustion motor and the Electric motor (We won’t even go near jet powered, or EDF, motors until we’ve gained some experience).

Most beginner rc airplanes are electric powered these days, as they are easier to operate, cleaner and in some cases safer, as there is no combustible fuel to deal with.

What’s The Best Construction Type For a Beginner RC Plane?

I was told by an old hand at this hobby that I can be sure of one thing – at some point – probably shortly after I first take control – I’ll crash, even with SAFE technology on my side. (As an aside I did wonder whether I should insure my rc plane – I talk in detail about that here).

So far any mishaps I’ve had have not been too major, but a big factor is the way the plane is constructed, and what it’s made of.

The most robust materials for rc plane construction are carbon fiber based, but these are often expensive. A more common, and cheaper, material is foam, which in it’s advanced forms can be very durable. For example, some of the Volantexrc beginner planes use “Fleex” foam, which is more plastic than normal polyurethane.

An rc plane is more likely to survive a crash to fly another day if it has components which detach on heavy impact – eg the wings. Trainer models are also now being shipped with “propeller savers”, which, as the name suggests, allows the propeller to detach as soon as it meets a solid object – like the ground – so saving the propeller from major damage.

Look out, too, for wired landing gear to withstand impacts, as well as substantial tires. The Horizonhobby Carbon Cub S 2 1.3m RTF (US) (UK) (Canada) has big tires able to withstand pounding.

Finally, ensure that the model you buy is fairly popular and from an established manufacturer. No doubt at some stage you may need spare parts, and they’ll be easier to obtain if the plane is well known.

How Much Does A Beginner’s RC Airplane Cost?

If you will excuse the pun, the sky’s the limit as far as cost goes, but for a good RTF rc plane for a beginner you’ll pay between $100 and $200 all up to get into the air.

What Flight Time Can I Expect From An Electric RC Plane?

Once you’ve mastered the basics of keeping the plane in the air, you’ll want to fly for as long as you can, and that will mean ensuring the LiPo battery is fully charged before setting off (assuming you have an electric motor driven plane). RC training airplanes can last anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes in the air, depending on how hard you use the throttle and the model. You may want to buy a second or third battery to extend your flight time.

For lots more detail about electric motor batteries, and how to get more out of them click here.

Which Is Best: 2, 3 Or 4 Channel RC ?

This depends on what you want to do with the rc plane, and how experienced you are. You’ll have more control with a 4 channel (or 5 or 6 channel), but you’ll have more to do and think about.

You’ll see rc beginner planes advertised with either 2, 3 or 4 channel transmitters and receivers. Each channel is dedicated to one of the airplane’s controls. So a 3 channel is normally configured to control the plane’s rudder (making it turn right or left), elevators (making it go up and down), and the throttle (making it go faster or slower). A 4 channel will, in addition, control the plane’s ailerons (making it bank right or left).

On the more advanced rc planes, more channels are available to control such things as flaps (to enable it to fly much more slowly) and landing gear. Some transmitters have over 15 channels available. I’d suggest you leave these until you have a little experience under your belt.

Is It Easy To Fly An RC Plane?

The short answer is yes, if it has simple controls, conditions are good with little wind, AND you’ve had a little bit of experience. Many hobbyists get their initial taste for flying from pc simulators, and there are now dedicated rc plane and helicopter simulators which give a very good representation of flying the real thing.

Here’s a very popular simulator which has many of the training rc airplanes which you might consider, as well as more advanced models:

The RF9.5 Radio Control RC Flight Simulator Software with Spektrum Interlink-DX Controller boasts:

  • 170 aircraft and 40 flying sites, including a customized FPV flying site and a dozen new pilot-requested aircraft additions from the best brands in RC
  • VR compatibility and game-like challenges make flight training fun and interactive, while multiplayer combat lets you challenge pilots worldwide
  • For more detail, check here: (US), (UK)

Do I Have To Have A License To Fly A Beginner RC Plane?

I’ve written more about whether you need a license to fly an RC airplane here. In the US at the time of writing, you don’t need a license unless you’re flying for commercial purposes (called the Part 107).

However, you will have to register your rc airplane with the FAA and put the registration on your model, if it’s over 0.55 pounds in weight. This applies to most of the models covered in this article.

It’s simple and cheap to register – you can do so over at the FAA website here. Don’t be put off by it being called “The Drone Zone” – it applies to rc airplane flyers too!

Can I Fly My RC Plane Indoors?

Yes, you can. Many of these beginner RC planes are slow and light enough to fly in a gym or a large warehouse. In fact, it may be preferable for a beginner, as you won’t then have the problems of wind and rain to contend with.

What Is The Best Beginner RC Airplane?

We’ve summarised the 10 best rc airplanes for beginners, above, but here’s a bit more detail on each…

HobbyZone Sport Cub S

This is a great starter airplane, being quite small (2 ft wingspan) and light (1.54 pounds), and having Hobbyzone’s SAFE stabilization system should you need to use it when you’re learning to fly. it also has the Panic Recovery mode which returns the plane to a level and steady flying level if it goes out of control.

It comes with everything need to get it into the air, including transmitter, receiver, and battery.

Here’s a video giving you a good look at what it can do:

It has an impressive list of attributes, and few drawbacks:

Pros
  • Perfect as a trainer airplane
  • Different modes let you learn to fly RC at your own pace
  • Panic Recovery Mode
  • Ready-to-Fly includes everything you need
Cons
  • Some users complain it’s too light to resist any more than a light wind.

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here.

Top Race 3 Channel Rc Plane

Another ready to fly rc plane, right out of the box, is the Top Race 3 Channel Rc Plane. With the 6 Axis Gyro System, it provides 3 levels of flying ability – BeginnerIntermediate, and Expert. Its advanced propeller technology means it breaks away in the event of a crash, thus minimising or even eliminating any damage to the prop shaft and motor.

It’s slightly lighter and smaller than the Hobbyzone Cub, but still provides a great flying experience, according to most of its users. Here’s a video from the manufacturer:

Pros
  • Highly rated by users
  • Amazon’s Choice
  • 3 level flying modes: Easy, Medium, Hard
  • New Propeller Saver Technology
  • Ready-to-Fly includes everything you need
Cons
  • Some users have lost connection with the plane
  • Not for windy conditions

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here

Top Race 4 Channel Rc Airplane

A move up from the Top Race 3 Channel RC plane, as this will give you aileron control too. As usual with all of these recommended beginner rc planes, most love it, but there were obviously a few failures where the plane disappeared into the ether after control was lost.

Here’s a video from a user:

Credit: alishanmao
Pros
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s choice
  • Throttle, rudder, elevator, aileron and tail wheel control
  • One Key Return
  • One Key aerobatics
Cons
  • Most negative reviews were caused by unexpected loss of control, and loss of the airplane

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here.

VOLANTEXRC Sport Cub 500 Parkflyer

Similar to other beginner rc planes reviewed here, this comes ready to fly right out of the box, and has Volantexrc’s stabilization system, Xpilot. It is slightly more advanced, sporting 4 channel control though.

Here’s a video highlighting the features:

Credit Essential RC


Pros
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s choice
  • Throttle, rudder, elevator, aileron control
  • One Key Return
  • One Key aerobatics
  • Xpilot Stabilization System
Cons
  • The usual issues with the odd loss of connection between transmitter and receiver for some RC planes

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here

VOLANTEXRC RTF Ranger 600

A glider rc airplane for beginners, the VOLANTEXRC RTF Ranger 600 boasts a 30 minute flight time on one battery charge, as it can glide with power off. It has all the usual Volantexrc beginner benefits, such as the XPILOT STABILIZATION SYSTEM, and provides 3 modes for beginners, intermediates and experts.

it is of “pusher” design, so it has the propeller high up towards the rear, where it is protected to some extent from damage.

Here’s a short video putting the Ranger 600 thru its paces:

Pros
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s Choice
  • One Key Return
  • One key aerobatics
  • Xpilot Stabilization System
  • Glider design for longer flights
  • Propeller is protected from crashes
Cons
  • No One key Aerobatics function
  • Only 3 channel (No aileron control)

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here

VOLANTEXRC P51 Mustang

I have to say that this is my favorite. It looks great, yet, with the modern stabilization system, it’s easy to control for beginners. Here’s a video from EXHOBBY LTD :

Pros
  • Everything you need to fly out of the box
  • Fleex foam
  • Novel gear box system provides more thrust and power to increase speed
  • 2 batteries
  • One Key Return
  • One key aerobatics
  • Xpilot Stabilization System
  • Most users love this rc plane
  • World War II Fighter design
Cons
  • A small proportion of users have had issues with loss of control and the quality of the product

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here

Wotryit WLTOYS A380

If a civil airliner model rocks your boat, then the Wotryit WLTOYS A380 could be the one for you if you’re a beginner model rc plane flyer. Here’s a video to gove you a flavor of the plane in action:

Pros
  • Everything you need to fly
  • 3 Channel (rudder, elevators and throttle)
  • One Key Return
  • Gyro stability system
  • Weighs only 72 g – so need need to register
Cons
  • No real issues reported, though one reviewer described the sound it makes like a swarm of angry bees!

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here

VOLANTEXRC T28 Trojan Parkflyer

This is another VOLANTEXRC beginner’s rc airplane, this time in the shape of a T28 trainer.

Here are some of the pros and cons:

Pros
  • Everything you need to fly
  • One Key Return
  • One key aerobatics
  • Xpilot Stabilization System
  • Trainer design
  • Users love it
Cons
  • None really – only comment was about it being too light in a wind

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here

Funtech RC Airplane

Another high wing repro which is aimed directly at beginners starting out with rc airplanes.

Pros
  • Everything you need to fly
  • Amazon’s choice
  • Throttle, rudder, elevator control
  • Cheap price
Cons
  • Usual problems with flying in windy conditions, as the plane is so light.

To see more details, and check out reviews on Amazon, click here

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