7 Incredible RC Planes for Beginners

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Radio-controlled (RC) flying is exciting for anyone at any age. You may want to pilot one of these puppies for fun or take the bobby to a competitive level. If you’re a novice, you need a model that provides excitement and with enough features to develop your skills. This guide looks at 7 Incredible electric RC planes for beginners. This intro covers a few of the basics before we get to the models.

Budget
best-budget-rc-plane-for-beginners
HuaLe PIPER J3 CUB RC Plane
4.7/5.0
Flight Time: 8 Minutes
Material: EPP Foam
Good control range, EPP foam, battery & motor easy to remove.
Check Banggood
Best Value
best-value-rc-plane-for-beginners
Crazepony ZOHD Dart RC Plane
4.6/5.0
Flight Time: 25+ Minutes
Material: EPP Foam
Portable, easy to fly, fast, long flight time, crash-resistant.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-rc-plane-for-beginners
XK Mini Edge A-430
4.8/5.0
Flight Time: 6~10 Minutes
Material: EPS Styrofoam™
Super lightweight, easy to fly, 3D lock mode, fast charging.
Check Banggood

Before You Buy Your Beginner RC Plane

There are hundreds of RC planes, gliders, and helicopters available right now. Choosing a model can be overwhelming for beginners, but don’t worry. Read this short introduction if you’re new to the hobby. You’ll also want to read here if you’re buying an RC airplane as a surprise gift for someone. The purpose of this straightforward intro is to help you make the best-informed buying decision.

Here’s are seven things to consider before you buy any RC model beginner or trainer plane:

  1. Maximum budget
  2. RTF, ARF, BNF, and PNP—what’s the difference?
  3. Design and build quality
  4. Flying time on a single charge
  5. Battery charging times
  6. Availability of spare parts and accessories
  7. The transmitter

OK, let’s break each of these points down into everyday English.








About My Beginner’s RC Plane Guide

This guide has seven RC model airplane reviews for entry-level pilots. The introduction above is sure to help you make better sense of these favorite planes. The products on this page are the result of personal choice, real user feedback, and the opinions of industry experts. The first three are the best Budget, Best Value, and Top Pick. The remainder is in price order, lowest to high.

The table below shows the models as they appear on the page.

Beginner’s RC Planes Comparison Table

Make and ModelFlight TimeMaterialPrice
HuaLe PIPER J3 CUB NC26170 RC Airplane8 MinutesEPP FoamCheck Price
Crazepony ZOHD Dart PNP RC Airplane25+ MinutesEPP FoamCheck Price
XK Mini Edge A-430 RC Airplane6~10 MinutesEPS Styrofoam™Check Price
KKmoon F949 Fixed Wing RC Airplane25 MinutesEPP FoamCheck Price
HobbyZone Duet RTF HBZ5300 Airplane5~9 MinutesEPS Styrofoam™Check Price
Top Race Remote Control Airplane15 MinutesEPP FoamCheck Price
Mustang P51D Warbird RC Airplane15 minutesEPO FoamCheck Price

1. HuaLe PIPER J3 CUB NC26170 RC Plane

HuaLe PIPER J3 CUB NC26170 RC PlaneView on Banggood

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

This little lightweight RTF electric model is a replica of the American Piper J-3 Cub airplane. It’s an inexpensive introduction to flying radio-controlled crafts, ideal for kids 36 months to 12 years of age.

  • Best feature 1: Can modify the plane
  • Best feature 2: Front and rear landing gear
  • Plus points: Good control range, EPP foam, battery & motor easy to remove
  • Minus points: Short flying time

The HuaLe PIPER J3 CUB is a good-looking RTF model with a 13-inch wingspan. Its decent size and bright yellow color make it easy to see in the sky on cloudy days. The familiar EPP foam construction means it’s lightweight and reasonably robust for a toy model. And the 2.4G frequency anti-interference transmitter lets you fly up to a range of around 150 meters or 490+ feet.

Who Is the HL803 PIPER J3 CUB For?

Consider the HuaLe HL803 PIPER J3 CUB for kids 14 years of age or younger under supervision. There’ aren’t too many written reviews around, but there are quite a few user videos. It’s not expensive for a model in its class, but it still flies well and works great as a training craft.

The front and rear landing gear help it to takeoff seamlessly from any even surface. It’s a stable flyer once it gets airborne and super easy to control. There’s quick access to the battery, so swapping cells is hassle-free. There’s everything in a new box to get you in the air, namely:

  • HL803 PIPER J3 CUB RC Plane
  • 2.4G Transmitter
  • Two propellers
  • Landing Gear
  • USB charging cable
  • User Manual

The Not So Good

The only downside to this model is the short maximum flight time of just 8-minutes. It’s about average for a toy plane, but that doesn’t make it any less of a negative. Batteries are removable, though, so you might want to buy one or more spares. Just make sure you allow the motor 10 minutes or so to cooldown between battery swaps.

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Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: American Piper J-3 Cub
Dimensions: Not specified
Product Weight: 1.15 lbs. (18.4 oz.)
Material: EPP Foam
Model’s Range: 492 ft. (150M)
Battery Type: 3.7V 150mAh LiPo
Charging Time: Not specified
Maximum Flying Time: 8 minutes
The Pros
Affordable first model
Great beginner RC plane
Can modify parts
Front and rear landing gear
Durable EPP foam body
Battery & motor easy to swap
Decent control range
The Cons
Short flying time

2. Crazepony PNP RC Dart Sweepforward

Crazepony PNP RC Dart SweepforwardView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

My Best Value pick has a lot more by way of everything compared to the first model. This is the Dart Sweepforward, an “advanced beginner” plane aimed at hobbyists 12 years and older.

  • Best feature 1: First Person View (FPV) capable
  • Best feature 2: High-efficiency airfoil
  • Plus points: Portable, easy to fly, fast, long flight time, spacious hatch, crash-resistant
  • Minus points: FPV gear not included, PNP

You can quickly detach and reassemble the plane’s wings and tail. That makes the model compact and portable. The portability factor is always a bonus with bigger radio-controlled planes.

First Person View (FPV) Capable

Consider the Crazepony RC Dart Sweepforward if you want a fast, futuristic-looking, fixed wing RC plane. But good looks and high speeds are only part of its appeal. It’s also capable of flying in FPV (First Person View). FPV lets pilots see what the plane’s camera sees via a screen or FPV goggles.

The FPV experience is immersive and amazing. It’s better for learners to master the flying basics before they dabble with FPV though. Still, it’s good to have FPV options for when you’re ready. The spacious equipment bay has room to accommodate a decent FPV HD camera set up and a big battery.

Other Highlights of the Dart Sweepforward

This RC plane is easy to fly in normal view, and stable in the air thanks to the built-in gyro. It’s super crash-resistant too. That’s not something all models can boast, not even when they use durable EPP material. The Dart Sweepforward also has built-in carbon fiber spars that make it even studier. There’s even a plastic cover to protect the bottom of the fuselage from landing scratches and other damage.

The model boasts a high-efficiency airfoil that helps to produce great elevation. And you can take it to speeds from 9mph–50mph (15km/h–80km/h) once it’s airborne. The speed potential and FPV capability are the reasons it’s more suited to advanced beginners than first-time pilots.

The Not So Good

Few could argue that this is an excellent value RC plane for pilots of all levels. However, it’s FPV-capable but not FPV-equipped. That means you must buy the FPV system separately. You don’t need FPV to fly this bird, but you do need a battery, charger, and a transmitter. Being a PNP version means you need to buy these basic parts separately.

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Tech Specs
Model Plane Type: Fixed-wing FPV
Dimensions: 25 x 16 x 2″
Product Weight: 0.31 lb. (145g)
Material: EPP
Model’s Range: Not specified
Battery: 3S 1300 mAh (not included)
Charging Time: Depends on battery
Maximum Flying Time: 25+ minutes
The Pros
Amazing value, feature-packed RC beginner airplane
First Person View (FPV) capable
Compact/portable design
High-efficiency airfoil
Easy to fly
Fast top speed
Decent flight time
Spacious hatch for FPV extras
Crash-resistant
The Cons
FPV capable but no FPV gear included in the price
PNP model (battery/charger, transmitter not included)

3. XK Mini Edge A-430 RC Airplane

XK Mini Edge A-430 RC AirplaneView on Banggood

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

Meet the XK 3D6G electric RC airplane. It’s my Top Pick for this guide because it checks all the right boxes. This fantastic little plane comes with a transmitter, battery, charger, and handy manual.

  • Best feature 1: Efficient 1406 brushless motor
  • Best feature 2: 3D6G stabilization
  • Plus points: Super lightweight, easy to fly, 3D lock mode, rudder settings, fast charging
  • Minus points: Shortish flight time, not ideal for the raw beginner

I’m not sure why they call this the Mini Edge because it’s a good-sized model. It’s also super lightweight. The exterior has some impressive details that give it an aesthetically pleasing appearance. The striking red, blue, and white colors make the plane highly visible in flight. It comes with a smart XK Mini radio system (transmitter) that’s both comfortable and intuitive.

Flying the XK Mini Edge A-430

The Edge replica is an acrobatic capable plane. It’s also super-easy to control at the beginner level thanks in part to its stabilization system. It takes off in split seconds and reaches high speeds in no time. It’s a fun plane to fly in any mode. The plane’s perfectly capable of performing a few impressive acrobatic tricks with little piloting experience.

This RC model plane is stable even in windy conditions, so that’s another plus point. You can go to 3D lock (stunt) mode and have some serious flying fun with very little experience. It’s a sturdy craft too. And it’s easy to patch up with glue or tape if some parts do break away in a crash or collision. The battery charging time is also impressive at 30–60 minutes depending on the power source.

The Not So Good

The flight time is between 6–10 minutes at best. Make sure you order at least one extra battery if you don’t want to wait around for charging after each flight. The other disadvantage is that it’s better suited at the advanced beginner level than the raw novice—unless under supervision. It’s just a bit too fast, ferocious, and fragile for the inexperienced pilot.

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Tech Specs
Model Plane Type: Mini Edge A-430
Dimensions: Wingspan: 16.92” (L) 21”
Product Weight: 2.8 oz. (80g)
Material: EPS
Model’s Range: 656 ft. (200M)
Battery Type: 7.4V 300mAh 25C LiPo
Charging Time: 30~60 minutes
Maximum Flying Time: 6~10 minutes
The Pros
Fantastic little RC plane for the advanced beginner
Efficient 1406 brushless motor
3D6G stabilization system
Super lightweight
Easy to control
3D lock mode
Rudder settings
Fast charging time
The Cons
Shortish flight time
Not ideal as a first-time plane

4. KKmoon F949 Fixed Wing RC Airplane

KKmoon F949 Fixed Wing RC AirplaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The F949 is a fixed wing radio-controlled airplane. It’s a mini replica of an actual Cessna 182 Skylane—the American four-seat, single-engine lightweight plane.

  • Best feature 1: Three coreless motors
  • Best feature 2: Adjustable rudder
  • Plus points: Crash resistant, lightweight & flexible, easy to fly, great range, fast recovery
  • Minus points: Not good in the wind, fragile prop mechanism

This is a capable and affordable RC model trainer plane suitable for complete beginners. The one-piece wing attaches using a single bolt. The battery is easy to access from the hatch which makes swaps fast and hassle-free. All it takes to get this model plane airborne is a simple hand throw with the throttle pushed right up. The craft then levels out automatically ready to take your commands.

You can also takeoff from the ground. The driving power comes from an efficient 3x coreless motor. The F949 stands up to mild crashes and collisions well due to its high flexibility and durable EPP composite material. Its recovery is also impressive for a model in its class.

F949 Standout Features

You can enjoy flying this plane in larger indoor spaces as well as outdoors. The control distance is an impressive 656 ft. (200m). The maximum flight time is excellent at around 25 minutes. Many other models in this category are lucky to get half that. And finally, there’s the adjustable rudder—invaluable for more experienced pilots who love to perform complex maneuvers.

The Not So Good

The plane is a decent size, but it’s light and hard to fly in blustery conditions. The F949 doesn’t have any stabilization either, unlike the previous pick. And the fragile prop mechanism is a common complaint with this model. Spare propellers are cheap so make sure you buy a few extras if you choose the F949 as your beginner RC airplane.

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Tech Specs
Model Plane Type: Fixed wing lightweight aircraft
Dimensions: 21.6 x 8.7 x 4.7″
Flying Weight: 2.04 oz. (58g)
Material: EPP composite
Model’s Range: 656 ft. (200m)
Battery Type: 3.7V 500mah Li-Po
Charging Time: 40~60 minutes
Maximum Flying Time: 25 minutes
The Pros
Modeled after the Cessna-182 lightweight aircraft
3 coreless motors combination
Lightweight and flexible (crash-resistant build)
Safe to fly indoors
Good flight range
Fast recovery
Adjustable rudder
360-degree rotation, spirals, loops, etc.
The Cons
Useless in the wind
Fragile prop mechanism

5. HobbyZone Duet RTF HBZ5300 Airplane

HobbyZone Duet RTF HBZ5300 AirplaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The HobbyZone Duet RTF HBZ5300 is a brilliant RC trainer airplane for advanced beginners. It’s also good for the raw beginner if you happen to live somewhere with very little wind (see below).

  • Best feature 1: 3-Channel control
  • Best feature 2: Virtual instructor technology
  • Plus points: Great fun, lightweight, quiet, fast charging, easy to repair, spares readily available
  • Minus points: Short flight time, not stable in the wind, fragile

This is an excellent teach yourself RC plane from Hobbyzone. The Duet HBZ5300 is a ready-to-fly (RTF) model which means it has everything you need in one box. It even comes with the AA batteries required to power the interference-free 2.4GHz transmitter. Pilots have complete 3-channel control over steering, climb, and throttle.

Virtual Instructor™ Technology

The Virtual Instructor™ technology makes this an excellent trainer RC plane. It works by keeping the aircraft wings as level as possible during flights. Level wings make it much easier for learner pilots to control the craft. It’s an effective way of countering the effects of mild turbulence and slight winds. Most of the model is relatively crash resistant aside from its somewhat flimsy tail.

It’s quite an easy plane to reinforce or repair if you do break something. Parts are also easy to come by if you damage a section that’s beyond repair.

Flying the Duet

Flying the Duet is a joy for beginners. There are no complicated instructions or crazy power to watch out for. It’s an ideal model plane for cruising around a park or other open spaces to develop skills. The aircraft has no ailerons, and that’s an advantage for learner pilots. No ailerons (flaps) means it can’t fly too steep, and is therefore impossible to over bank or stall the plane.

The three channels give full control over climb, steering, and throttle. The range is somewhere around 300 feet (90m). The battery charging time takes about 45 minutes which is excellent, though the flight time is less impressive (see below). The RC plane battery charges from the controller but the problem is that it also drains the controller’s batteries. It’s better to use a USB charger instead.

The Not So Good

The flight time is between 5–9 minutes max, depending on how you fly and the weather conditions. You may want to buy extra 150mAh 1S Li-Pos batteries too.

The major disadvantage with the Duet is that it’s light and therefore not steady in the wind. The Virtual Instructor™ technology helps to keep things stable in a light breeze. Anything more than that and it’s time to pack up, go home, and wait for a windless or near wind-free day.

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Tech Specs
Model Plane Type: Duet Dual Prop RTF RC trainer plane
Dimensions: 9.8 x 19.2 x 5″
Product Weight: 1.34 oz. (38g)
Material: Styrofoam
Model’s Range: 300 ft. (90m)
Battery Type: 150mAh 1S Li-Po
Charging Time: 45 minutes
Maximum Flying Time: 5~9 minutes
The Pros
Sleek aerodynamic design
3-Channel controller included
Virtual Instructor technology
Great fun to fly at any level
Lightweight and small; suitable for indoor flying
Quiet compared to some models
Fast battery charging
Easy to repair or reinforce
Spare parts readily available
The Cons
Short flight time
Hard to control in the wind
Fragile

6. Top Race TR-C285 Remote Control Airplane

Top Race TR-C285 Remote Control AirplaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Top Race TR-C285 is another ideal training plane for newbie pilots. This puppy is RTR right out of its box. It even comes with a pilot-friendly variable speed knob to control the throttle.

  • Best feature 1: Perfect trainer RC airplane
  • Best feature 2: Three flying modes
  • Plus points: Full 3-channel support, self-stabilization, good range, reasonable flight time
  • Minus points: Hard to control in a wind

This RC model plane has three flying modes with varying levels of stabilization. There’s Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. That’s fantastic news for learner pilots. These modes allow newbies to move on once they’ve mastered the flying basics. The flight range is around 320 feet. Flying time is an average 9-minutes max in ideal conditions, and it takes less than an hour to recharge the battery.

The model’s build uses a durable EPP (expanded polypropylene) shock-resistant foam. This material can still break and damage with rough handling. Top Race After Sales Service is second to none if you ever need spare parts, advice, or have any general questions.

The Not So Good

The TR-C285 handles itself well in a light breeze, but it’s not too stable once the wind gets up. Alas, most—though not all—of these lightweight RC planes suffer in windy conditions. You can still fly inside on bad weather days if you have access to larger indoor spaces.

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Tech Specs
Model Plane Type: Trainer RC Airplane
Dimensions: 15.7 x 12.2 x 4.1″
Flying Weight: 1oz. (28g)
Material: EPP
Model’s Range: 320 ft. (97.5m)
Battery Type: 3.7V 180mAh LiPo
Charging Time: 90 minutes
Maximum Flying Time: 15 minutes
The Pros
Appealing design
Ideal RC training plane
3-channel transmitter
Handy Beginner, Mid, & Expert flying modes
Variable speed control knob
Self-stabilization
Decent control range
Reasonable flight time
The Cons
Not good in winds
Fragile
Scant instructions

7. Mustang P51D Warbird RC RTF Airplane

Mustang P51D Warbird RC RTF AirplaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

My final pick of competent beginner RC airplanes is the RTF Mustang P51D Warbird. It’s modeled after the original American long-range, single-seat fighter plane. They’ve done a pretty good job too.

  • Best feature 1: Complete full 4 Channel
  • Best feature 2: Transmitter can work as a trainer or flight simulator
  • Plus points: Easy to fly, steel control rods, good average flight time, long range
  • Minus points: Slow charging, scant instructions

The attention to detail with this model is superb. It’s a full 4-channel system that gives you control over elevator, rudder, throttle, and aileron. The throttle control has a variable speed knob that makes it ideal for the learner RC pilot. It’s possible to connect the transmitter to a computer using a simulator cable (not included). The benefit of this is to use the computer as a flight simulator or trainer.

The Mustang P51D Warbird as a Trainer Plane

The Mustang P51D Warbird weighs in at about 9.5 ounces. The main construction uses a durable, lightweight EPO Shock-resistant material and steel control rods. The power system is a 180A brushed motor and a 30A brushed Electronic Speed Control or ESC. The lightweight and sturdy build make it an excellent trainer craft, especially at the advanced beginner level.

The control distance is an incredible 1000 feet (305M), so there’s plenty of range for fun flying. I do have a word of warning, though. This model plane is easy to fly at the beginner level, that much is true. But it’s not so easy to prepare for flight straight out of the box.

Everything you need is in the box, but there’s some assembly to do that could take an hour or more. It’s a good idea to have someone there to help get the model ready if this is your first ever RC plane.

The Not So Good

The 3-hour charging time is a significant letdown. It wouldn’t be so bad if the flight time were longer, but it’s average at best. You’re going to want at least a couple of extra batteries to make your flying adventures worthwhile. Another gripe is with the instructions that are somewhat scant on details. It’s another reason to have an experienced RC flyer to help if this is your first model airplane.

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Tech Specs
Model Plane Type: Mustang P51D Warbird replica training plane
Dimensions: 32 x 10 x 5.5″
Product Weight: 9.5 oz. (269g)
Material: EPO
Model’s Range: 1000 ft. (305m)
Battery Type: 7.4V 500mAH LiPo
Charging Time: 3 hours
Maximum Flying Time: 15 minutes
The Pros
Great looking RC fighter plane
Complete full 4-channels
The transmitter can work as a trainer or flight simulator
Easy to fly
Steel control rods
Good average flight time
Long range (maybe too long)
Reversible rudder and elevator controls
The Cons
Slow battery charging
Scant instructions
0/50 ratings