Best Remote Control Airplanes – Top 5 Picks for 2018

This is our official list in search of the best remote control airplanes on the market today. Scroll further down for full details on each product and a helpful guide to remote controlled airplanes.

Quick Look:

  1. E-flite Apprentice S 15e RTF
  2. Hobbyzone Sport Cub S RTF RC Airplane
  3. E-flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF Airplane
  4. HobbyZone Delta Ray RTF Airplane Safe with Technology
  5. Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver

We know time is of the essence, so the above is a cheat sheet of what’s ahead, just in case your’re in a hurry. Otherwise, keep scrolling down for more detailed and constructive info on each item.

5 Highest Reviewed Remote Control Airplanes to Consider

RTF airplanes are ready to fly, and they’re ideal for people who don’t want to go through the trouble of assembling the airplane. Over time, many improvements have been made to radio technology, and today, it allows hobbyists to fly RC airplanes across long distances and over large areas.

A new type of technology is designed to stabilize RC airplanes, and it can make flying significantly easier for beginners. The best remote control airplane can deliver countless hours of fun, and with this new technology, beginners can start flying in minutes. Below, you’ll find reviews for five of the best remote control airplanes available.

1.) E-flite Apprentice S 15e RTF

E-flite Apprentice S 15e RTF

The E-flite Apprentice S 15e RTF offers several different flight modes, and it’s suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced users. The beginner mode allows the users to pitch and roll, but to keep the plane airborne, the roll angles are limited.

Once the controls are returned to neutral, the plane will automatically return to level flight, and it features a throttle-based descent and climb. The intermediate mode allows for greater pitch and roll, but it still protects the pilot from extreme flight conditions.

The third option is experienced mode, and during this mode, the pitch and roll limits are removed, and the pilot will enjoy natural AS3X technology, which provides smooth handling and flight assistance.

The E-flite Apprentice S 15e RTF has a wingspan of 59 inches, and its flying weight is 49 ounces. For durability, it’s made of Z-Foam, and it has a size 15 brushless motor.

PROS

  • Perfect for beginners
  • Advanced mode allows for sharper turns
  • Comes with a built-in stabilization system
  • SAFE technology prevents crashes

CONS

  • Requires a large space to fly

($) Check price on Amazon

2.) Hobbyzone Sport Cub S RTF RC Airplane

Hobbyzone Sport Cub S RTF RC Airplane

The Hobbyzone Sport Cub S RTF is a popular choice for hobbyists, and it comes with everything needed to start flying immediately. With SAFE technology built into the design, this plane automatically avoids catastrophic crashes, and a simple trigger can quickly return the plane to level flight.

This RC airplane comes with a four-channel control, and it has an elevator, rudder, aileron and working throttle. For easy ground control, it has a steerable tail, and it’s a top choice for beginners.

Everything needed to fly this aircraft on the same day is included in the box, and the plane has a wingspan of 24 inches. The length of this plane is 16 inches, and the flying weight is only two ounces.

The plane is made from foam material, and it’s powered by an electric motor. To take off from the ground, this RC plane uses a 1S LiPo battery, which is included with the package.

PROS

  • Can fly for five to eight minutes on full battery
  • SAFE mode prevents crashes
  • Makes flying easy
  • Perfect for beginners

CONS

  • Instructions can be hard to understand

($) Check price on Amazon

3.) E-flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF Airplane

E-flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF Airplane

The E-flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF RC airplane features molded-foam construction, and with a lightweight design, it can fly for several minutes. For easier flying, it uses a three-channel control, and it has a folding propeller.

Since this plane is equipped with an AS3X system, it offers great stability and requires less effort to fly. The wing is removable and features a carbon fiber support. The UMX Radian is classified as a sailplane, and it makes the pilot feel like they’re flying a much larger aircraft.

The E-flite U2980 UMX Radian BNF smooths out the effects of turbulence and wind, which is very important for beginner pilots. The large wing has a distinctive design and provides superior lift.

For easier flying, this RC airplane is equipped with a three-channel flight control, and the brushed electric motor uses a Li-Po battery for longer flight times and better launch performance. The one-piece wing can be removed, and for convenience, the propeller is foldable.

PROS

  • Very quiet operation
  • Easy to do loops with
  • Offers superior gliding performance
  • Long wingspan of 24 inches

CONS

  • Materials aren’t terribly strong

($) Check price on Amazon

4.) HobbyZone Delta Ray RTF Airplane Safe with Technology

HobbyZone Delta Ray RTF Airplane Safe with Technology

The HobbyZone Delta Ray RTF features intuitive SAFETM technology, and with four different modes, it gives pilots a progressive learning experience. If control of the airplane is lost, Panic Mode can restore the aircraft to a stable position.

This plane has modes for beginner and intermediate users, and depending on the chosen mode, the aircraft will have free or limited roll and pitch. Experienced mode is ideal for pilots who’ve mastered the basics, and it allows for total control over the AS3X gyro system.

Everything needed to fly this plane comes in a single box, and with a four-channel control, it can perform many of the same maneuvers as full-size airplanes.

The HobbyZone Delta Ray RTF is made from Z-Foam, which is very durable and impact resistant. If the plane crashes and becomes damaged, it can be quickly fixed with glue. This RC airplane is great for beginners, but it’s also an excellent choice for intermediate and experience pilots.

PROS

  • Switching between modes is easy
  • Can fly right out of the box
  • Very easy to fly
  • Perfect for beginners

CONS

  • Beginner mode requires a large flying area

($) Check price on Amazon

5.) Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver

Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver

The Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver is already assembled, which saves a lot of time. It comes with all onboard electronics installed and includes an SLT receiver. To deliver greater durability, it’s made with AeroCell foam, and it has no trouble standing up to everyday abuse.

For water takeoffs, this plane comes with floats, and it also has traditional landing gear. The one-piece wing design delivers superior performance, and the Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver is compatible with existing chargers battery packs and transmitters.

This RC plane comes equipped with 2.5-inch foam wheels, and for a realistic flying experience, it has built-in navigation and landing lights. A convenient hatch on the bottom of the plane provides easy access to the battery compartment, and the Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver has a wingspan length of 59.5 inches.

PROS

  • Very stable in flight
  • Great for intermediate pilots
  • Components are detailed
  • Can be launched from a body of water

CONS

  • Landing gear could be better

($) Check price on Amazon

Brief Guide to Remote Control Airplanes

RC airplanes can deliver hours of fun, and there are many products that are great for beginners. All RC planes are operated with a radio control, which makes it possible to fly them remotely. They offer great entertainment for kids, and they can be just as much fun for adults.

The best beginner RC airplanes are durable, stable and slow. In some cases, these products are called trainer airplanes. Most people want to get outside and start flying planes, but they don’t want to deal with the hassle of building the plane.

What Are They?

A remote control airplane is a small aircraft, usually small enough to put in a car, but large enough to hold a camera. You control them using a radio transmitter that tells the airplane what to do.

Some airplanes are ready to fly, others need assembling from a kit, or are almost ready to fly, and just need a screwdriver to put them together.

Some are designed to be training planes, and help you learn by giving you different difficulty modes. Others are made for doing all kinds of aerial acrobatics and fast speeds, so are better for the more experienced flyer.

Most people tend to fly them in parks for a fun hobby, and some people have so much fun that they join groups of remote controlled airplane enthusiasts.

Who Can Benefit

Are you looking for a exciting hobby to take up in your spare time? This might fit the bill, as it is a lot of fun and works for people who have never done it before, as well as if you’re more experienced.

A remote control airplane will be a gift for your children that they will love, and a good way to spend some time together as you learn with them how to use it.

For those who want to become pilots, this is also an awesome way to learn how to fly, as it will teach you the basic techniques and give you some of the excitement at the same time.

Some planes even have settings for beginner, intermediate and advanced so it can grow with you. In beginner mode you will find it very hard to crash, and some planes will even land for you! These type of planes are great if you want to teach someone else how to fly, like your children or your wife.

If you like taking photographs you can make it even more of an adventure by adding a camera to many planes, to take pictures as you fly the plane. And flying your own plane is a great way to relax after a hard day at work.

What to Look for In a Good One?

When shopping for a high-quality RC airplane, it’s very important to consider the power of the plane, and the overall design of the plane is also important. The best planes are made with a stable, forgiving design, and the power source is just as important.

Today, most RC airplanes are powered by electric motors because they’re convenient and cost less money to operate. A plane that is equipped with an internal combustion engine offers more power, but it can be much more expensive and difficult to operate for beginners.

Most people start out with an electric airplane, and once they’ve figured out how to fly, they purchase something with more power. Before deciding on a specific product, another important factor to consider is the flight time, which is how long the plane can fly before the battery needs to be recharged.

Some other feature to consider are the charge time, wingspan, range, weight and assembly time. Many modern RC planes are designed with a special feature, and to warn the user of low battery life, it will cause the engine to stutter shortly before the battery is completely drained.

This feature is very useful because it helps to prevent the plane from stalling out over a rooftop or tree. Another feature to consider is the number of channels, and the channels can be thought of as the controllable functions for the plane.

If you’re a beginner, look for an airplane that has its wings on top of the fuselage. These are called high-wing, and are generally more stable so ideal to learn on.

It’s quite common for most RC airplanes to have between three to four channels, which is enough for a great flying experience. Some basic products have less than three channels, and although they can still be fun to fly, they don’t offer much variety.

What To Avoid?

Avoid getting a very cheaply made model from China or somewhere like that, as it most likely won’t fly very straight and if it crashes it won’t recover either.

On the other hand don’t buy an airplane that breaks the bank for your first plane either, because most likely it will crash. It’s best to get a good quality one to start with, but save the really expensive top dollar plane for when you’ve got some practice in and know what you’re doing.

Be careful not to fly it in too small of a space, like by your street or in your yard, as it will probably crash into a tree or a house.

It can be tempting to go for an airplane that you like the look of and has great speed. But speed isn’t everything – it is also very important to be able to control it, so make sure you look for that too.

It’s not a great idea to buy a kit that you assemble yourself for your first remote controlled airplane, because if it crashes and breaks, a lot of your time will have gone down the spout.

Instead it is probably best to buy a ready-made one to start with. Also it’s generally not recommended to buy a used airplane, as it most likely has been broken and patched, and won’t work very well.

FAQs

Where should I go to fly the plane?

You need quite a bit of space to fly these airplanes well and avoid crashing, so unless you have a very large yard you probably want to take it to a park or field. Some air fields are even approved for remote control airplanes, so you can check into that as well.

Do I need help learning or can I teach myself?

While some people will recommend that you get an instructor, most recognize that it’s perfectly possible to teach yourself to fly a remote controlled aircraft. If you look around you can find some online lessons teaching you how to fly.

Ideally you want a working knowledge of how the airplane is put together, how it works and moves, how it communicates with your transmitter, and how it is powered. There is also the possibility of joining a club and learning with a group of people if you have some enthusiasts in your area.

Do I need to have any special requirements to fly?

You want a certain amount of vision – 20/30 is recommended, but other than that you don’t need very much. Some people pilot a remote controlled plane with one eye, others from a wheel chair.

Age is also not a very big deal, as there have been known to be 4 year old and 90 year old pilots!

Will it work in the wind?

Some planes are better than others with the wind, so you might want to read the reviews and use caution when there is a breeze or a windy day.

It would be wise to start learning on a calm day, so that you can learn how to control the airplane before you have to deal with the wind as well. And don’t fly it too high as then the wind is more likely to catch it and you might have to go looking for it.

How long will the airplane be able to fly at one time?

Often the batteries will only last for ten minutes, so if you want to have a longer time of flying the airplane you might want to invest in a second backup battery.

How do I avoid crashes?

If you look for an airplane that has a SAFE mode built in (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) then it is a lot less likely that you’ll crash. You can set it to your level of experience, and with some planes there is also a Panic button which you can press if you’re in trouble, and the airplane will automatically level out.

Wrapping Up

The best remote control airplane can deliver countless hours of fun, and it’s a great product for children and adults. With the ability to soar through the air, modern RC planes are fun to operate, and they serve as an inexpensive way to see what it feels like to control an aircraft.

The radio control makes it possible to operate the plane from a distance, and a single battery charge is enough to fly most modern RC airplane for up to 10 minutes at a time.

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Written by Chris Crisostomo

Chris is a straight up lifelong self-described tech nerd. He's one of e-Ranker's technology and electronics experts.