The most important thing to consider when buying one of these five best RC planes is the cost. Flying a real radio controlled plane is not quite the same as playing a video game; if you crash your RC plane, it won't magically be put back together. You will be the one repairing it, if it can even be repaired, so don't buy an expensive jet-fueled 1/10th scale plane, no matter how tempting it is.
The easiest type of plane to build (and repair) is called an ARF- Almost Ready to Fly . It comes mostly assembled. All that you have to do is put the main pieces together (wings, fuselage, tail rudder), put in your servos and engine, and it is ready to go.
There are five types of ARFs, arranged by style of engine:
- Park-Flyer – A park flyer isn't categorized as an ARF exactly, but the two share the same concept. The park flyer comes out of the box intact and ready to fly. Once you charge its batteries, you can take it down to the park (or any other large, open space) and fly it. It's a sturdy plane, and doesn't come apart easily, even if it crashes.
- Electric Ducted Fan – Ducted fan planes do not use fuel; instead they run off of batteries. A ducted fan engine sounds like a vacuum cleaner. These planes are the same size as fuel-engine planes, but are less messy and easier to handle. These are very easy for beginners.
- Sailplanes – A sailplane doesn't have landing gear, making it easier to land, but that same characteristic also makes it hard to launch. A sailplane has to either be flung in the air by a buddy, or sling-shotted by a giant rubber band. The engine is electric, so you won't have to bother with fuel. However, sailplanes are designed to fly high in the air and do stunts, so they might be too much for a beginner to fly.
- Glow – These planes run off special methonol-based RC fuel, and require a glow plug to start them. The glow plug ignites the fuel, which kick-starts the motor. These planes vary in size, and can be a little tricky for a beginner, since the fuel required is messy and it takes practice to start the engine.
- Nitro – A nitro plane runs off of a special mix of fuel called nitromethane. The fuel makes the engine run smoother and faster. The downfall to this is that the engine needs tuning to make it run efficiently, which can take some practice. Also, this plane picks up speed quickly, and it may too much for a beginner to handle.
Flying RC airplanes is a great hobby – you get to be outside, playing with giant toys. Just remember to start off small and save the large-scale, high-performance models for the experienced.