7 Best Bind And Fly (BNF) RC Planes

Posted on

BNF stands for Bind-N-Fly, but it’s not the only acronym in the world or RC aircraft (see below). This guide reviews 7 excellent BNF electric RC planes for all skill levels and budgets. Feel free to jump to the products if you know everything about Bind-N-Fly models. Keep reading if you don’t, or would like a refresher. The purpose of this short introduction is to help you make the best buying decisions.

Budget
best-budget-bnf-rc-plane
T-28 Trojan S BNF
4.5/5.0
Aircraft Type: Military Trainer
Wingspan: 16.8 inches
3 flight modes, durable build, aerobatic capable, high visibility paint, FPV ready.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-bnf-rc-plane
Cessna 182 Basic BNF
4.8/5.0
Aircraft Type: Single-engine classic
Wingspan: 25 inches
This has optional SAFE® Select flight mode, steerable nose wheel, AS3X® receiver.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-bnf-rc-plane
Timber Ultra Micro BNF Basic
4.7/5.0
Aircraft Type: Bush Plane
Wingspan: 61 inches
Brushless motor, EDO float set Z-Foam, SAFE technology, functional flaps, LEDs.
Check Amazon

To understand BNF kits you must also know what all the RC aircraft abbreviations mean.

RTF (Ready-To-Fly):Includes everything you need to fly in the box
ARF (Almost-Ready-To-Fly):The aircraft needs a few extra parts or some minor assembly
PNP (Plug-N-Play):Doesn’t include a transmitter, receiver, battery, or charger.
BNF (Bind-N-Fly):Doesn’t include the transmitter (TX)

Point to note: Some product descriptions may show PNF (Plug-N-Fly). It’s the same as PNP.

The Point of BNF RC Planes

Newbies want to know what the point is buying an RC electric plane without a transmitter. After all, there are many Ready-To-Fly (RTF) models that have everything you need in the box. It’s a reasonable question, and there’s an equally reasonable answer. Let’s first look at the binding process before we get to that. Binding means the radio transmitter (Tx) must talk to the onboard receiver (Rx).

Binding the receiver to a transmitter locks the Tx/Rx relationship to form an impenetrable radio signal. The binding process can vary between makers, models, and electronics, but it’s a simple procedure. The benefit of BNF is that you can own an entire fleet of RC planes that all use the same controller. That works out cheaper, it also saves on storage space and makes life so much easier.

Restrictions of BNF RC Planes

Pilots who own—or expect to own—several aircraft (planes & helis) get to benefit from BNF. It’s a system primarily aimed at intermediate to advanced pilots. Some of the better RF (radio frequency) transmitters with multi-model memory are quite costly. Not all transmitters are “BNF compatible” either. Horizon Hobby makes BNF compatible products that use DSM2 or DSMX technology.

Below is a list of the current Spektrum BNF-compatible transmitters from Horizon Hobby:

  • Spektrum DX5e
  • Spektrum DX6i
  • Spektrum DX7 & 7S
  • Spektrum DX8
  • Spektrum DX9
  • Spektrum DX10T
  • Spektrum DX18

Most—though not all—BNF RC aircraft are by HobbyZone and E-flite. There are plenty of BNF planes to choose from that can use quality DSM transmitters.

Other Buying Considerations

Buying factors for BNF aircraft are similar to most other models. You first need to make sure it’s a BNF product. It’s then a simple case of checking that everything else matches your needs and expectations. The list below covers the major buying considerations, but you may also have some of your own.

  • Set a min/max budget to help narrow down choices
  • Decide on the plane type, size, and material
  • List features that matter to you (needs & wants)
  • Launch options
  • Flight time on a single charge
  • Battery charging times
  • Cost of extra batteries
  • Control range

Summing Up

The introduction above gives you a basic understanding of Bind-N-Fly RC aircraft. There’s more to know, of course. At least now you’re in a better position to ask questions and understand the answers. The rest of this page reviews 7 excellent BNF aircraft in an easy-to-read format.

About My ‘BNF RC Planes’ Guide

The seven products on this page are the result of careful research. I took the opinions of industry experts into consideration along with personal thoughts and experience. I also read dozens of user comments before finalizing this shortlist of RC BNF planes. The first three are the Best Budget, Best Value, and the Top Pick. The reviews below those are in price order for convenience, from low to high.

This table lists the BNF RC planes as they appear on the page. Feel free to jump between the reviews.

BNF RC Planes Comparison Table

Make and ModelAircraft TypeWingspanPrice
HobbyZone BNF T-28 Trojan S Basic PlaneMilitary Trainer16.8 inchesCheck Price
E-flite BNF EFL UMX Cessna 182 Basic PlaneSingle-engine classic25 inchesCheck Price
E-flite UMX Timber RC Ultra Micro BNF BasicBush Plane61 inchesCheck Price
HobbyZone Sport Cub S BNF RC PlaneBeginner plane24.3 inchesCheck Price
E-flite BNF UMX J-3 Cub BL Basic RC Planelight airplane (1937)26.4 inchesCheck Price
Timber BNF RC Park Flyer Sport PlaneLight airplane27.6 inchesCheck Price
EFL UMX Aero Commander BNF AirplaneTwin-engine civil Plane28.0 inchesCheck Price

1. HobbyZone BNF T-28 Trojan S Basic | Best Budget

HobbyZone BNF T-28 Trojan S BasicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

HobbyZone’s BNF T-28 Trojan S Basic is a gorgeous looking RC aircraft. It’s an ultra-micro size model that you can take everywhere and fly just about anywhere—within reason.

  • Best feature 1: Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE) technology
  • Best feature 2: Panic Recovery
  • Plus points: 3 flight modes, durable build, aerobatic capable, high visibility paint, FPV ready
  • Minus points: Hard to see from a distance, not stable in winds

T-28 Trojan S BNF Plane Highlights

The T-28 Trojan S is an ideal small RC plane for every skill level. All pilots welcome the model’s SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) Technology. Beginners can practice with confidence and not worry about over-control or crashing. There’s also a Panic Recovery mode if pilots get into a quandary. Panic Recovery immediately puts an out-of-control plane back into stable flight.

This model is durable should users crash it in advanced modes. Pilots get to choose from three flight levels: Beginner, Intermediate, or Experienced as appropriate. There are no bank angle or pitch restrictions in the expert mode. That means skilled users can perform all manner of fancy aerobatic maneuvers. Some of these include inverted/upside down flying, loops, rolls, and stall turns, etc.

First Person View (FPV) Capable

The highly-visible yellow paintwork is stunning and practical. It’s useful as some smaller aircraft are hard to spot outdoors. Another welcome feature is that the plane’s FPV (first person view) capable. All it takes to get you into the virtual pilot’s seat is a compatible camera, monitor or headset.

This model needs the following items to complete:

  • 4+ Channel DSM2/DSMX transmitter
  • 150mah 1S 3.7V LiPo battery
  • Compatible LiPo charger

The Not So Good

HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S BNF Basic has some outdoor restrictions. It’s not always easy to see at a distanced depending on the environment. Always make sure it stays within the line of sight (LOS). It’s lightweight also makes it unsuitable for flying in anything above a gentle breeze. The relatively small size also means you can enjoy flying indoors when the weather’s not suitable outside.

amazon

Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: T-28 Trojan S BNF
Dimensions: 16.8 x 13.5”
Product Weight: 1.75 oz.
Material: Foam
Launch method(s): Ground
Transmitter: 4+ Channel DSM2/DSMX (not included)
Battery Type: 13.7V 300mAh Lipo
Charging Time: 1+ hour
Maximum Flying Time: 20 minutes
The Pros
SAFE technology
Panic Recovery Mode
3 skill level flight modes
Durable build
Aerobatic capable (expert mode)
Highly visible paint
Steerable nose wheel
First Person View (FPV) ready
The Cons
Hard to see at a distance
Unstable in winds

2. E-flite BNF EFL Umx Cessna 182 Basic | Best Value

E-flite BNF EFL Umx Cessna 182 BasicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

E-flite’s BNF EFL Umx Cessna 182 Basic makes our Best Value pick. It’s an excellent trainer plane for RC pilots with some experience, i.e., advanced-beginners and above.

  • Best feature 1: Powerful brushless motor
  • Best feature 2: Realistic design
  • Plus points: Optional SAFE® Select flight mode, steerable nose wheel, AS3X® receiver
  • Minus points: Tail heavy, short flying time

E-flite BNF EFL Umx Cessna 182 Highlights

This RC aircraft comes equipped with a powerful 180-size brushless motor. The optional SAFE® Select flight mode makes the plane super-stable. SAFE helps pilots with its auto-coordinated turns and self-leveling. This is a good-looking model with an officially licensed design and contemporary trim scheme. The most striking realistic details are the panel lines, wheel pants, and cowl inlets.

A fully-functional steerable nose wheel makes easy work of moving the craft on the ground. This plane has 4 channel (CH) control that includes the elevator, ailerons, rudder, and throttle. The AS3X® receiver provides an ultra-stable response so that pilots can enjoy more confident flying.

This model needs the following items to complete:

  • 4+ CH DSMX®/DSM2® transmitter
  • 200–280mAh 2S LiPo battery
  • compatible 2S LiPo battery charger

The Not So Good

The plane tends to be a tad tail-heavy. Safe mode helps to tame the condition though it’s still noticeable. It’s not a significant setback, but it’s enough to mention. When out of Safe Mode, the craft tends to be a little nose heavy. These issues are most evident among skilled pilots, though. Another disadvantage is that the bird’s power-hungry, so new buyers will want to invest in extra batteries.

amazon

Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: BNF Cessna’s single-engine classic
Dimensions: 23.7 x 23.5 x 6.2”
Product Weight: 4.6 oz.
Material: EPO foam
Launch method(s): Ground, hand
Transmitter: Depends on radio
Battery Type: 200-280mAh 2S LiPo (not included)
Charging Time: Depends on charger
Maximum Flying Time: 8+ minutes
The Pros
Powerful brushless motor
Realistic design
Steerable nose wheel
AS3X® receiver
Optional SAFE® Select flight mode
Powerful 180 brushless motor
Full 4-channel control
The Cons
Tail heavy
Short flying time

3. E-flite Timber BNF Park Flyer Sport Plane | Top Pick

E-flite Timber BNF Park Flyer Sport PlaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Our Top Pick BNF aircraft is the E-flite Timber Park Flyer Sport Plane. It’s a bush style plane that can take off and land on the water with its dual rudders attached.

  • Best feature 1: Short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities
  • Best feature 2: Shock-absorbing, Tundra-tire landing gear
  • Plus points: Brushless motor, EDO float set Z-Foam, SAFE technology, functional flaps, LEDs
  • Minus points: Not ideal for the raw beginner or more advanced pilot

Timber BNF Park Flyer/Sport Plane Highlights

The Timber™ BNF Park Flyer is a versatile brushless RC aircraft with a bush plane appeal. It sports a 1.5M wingspan, shock-absorbing, Tundra-tire landing gear, and an EDO float set with rudders. That means it can take off and land from the ground or on water. The model’s incredible short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability is just 2ft or even less.

E-flite’s Timber™ also has optional SAFE Select technology with self-leveling and envelope protection. Functional flaps and leading-edge slats give pilots hard-to-believe slow speed handling. This plane’s LEDs add to the realistic flight experience all powered by the battery. They include NAV lights, landing lights, beacons, and wing-tip strobe lights.

This model needs the following items to complete:

  • Spektrum 5+ CH DSMX/DSM2 transmitter
  • 3S 2200mAh LiPo flight battery w/ EC3 connector
  • Compatible 3S LiPo charger

The Not So Good

E-flite Timber Park Flyer Sport is too much for the raw beginner unless supervised. Likewise, it doesn’t present enough flight challenges for expert pilots. It’s niche, therefore, is with the advanced beginner.

amazon

Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: BNF Timber Bush Plane
Dimensions: 50 x 12 x 7”
Product Weight: 50.3 oz.
Material: Z-Foam
Launch method(s): Ground. water
Model’s Range: Depends on radio
Battery Type: 2200mAh 3S LiPo (not included)
Charging Time: Depends on charger
Maximum Flying Time: 10 minutes
The Pros
STOL capability
Sport aerobatics
Shock-absorbing landing gear
Durable Z-Foam
EDO float set
Powerful brushless motor
Functional flaps
SAFE Select technology
Full LED Light System
The Cons
Too advanced for raw beginners
Too restricted for skilled pilots

4. HobbyZone Sport Cub S BNF RC Plane

HobbyZone Sport Cub S BNF RC PlaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The Sport Cub S by HobbyZone is a small replica foam plane. The model can fly using a Spektrum DX4e transmitter and better. It has multiple modes to suit pilots at all skill levels.

  • Best feature 1: Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE) technology
  • Best feature 2: Multiple flying modes
  • Plus points: Novice-friendly, Panic Recovery, decent flight time, long range, steerable tail wheel
  • Minus points: Underpowered, not stable in winds above 8 mph

Sport Cub S BNF RC Plane Highlights

This RC plane is another with Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE) technology. That gives new pilots lots of confidence as they teach themselves to fly. The model has 4-channel control that includes a working throttle, elevator, rudder, and aileron. The three flight modes are Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced. Each method creates new opportunities to match the pilot’s skill level.

It’s an excellent choice for novices and those with advanced abilities. The best mode of all—irrespective of experience—is the Panic Recovery mode. What that does is bring the plane back to stable flight in a nanosecond. It’s invaluable if you get into trouble or think the aircraft is about to crash. A few other standout features are the steerable tail wheel, reasonable flight time, and fast charging.

This model needs the following item to complete:

  • 4+ channel DSM2 or DSMX compatible transmitter

The Not So Good

The plane is a tad underpowered for intermediate and skilled pilots. It’s most noticeable when flying in winds above 8 mph. A more powerful brushless motor would surely make this the perfect craft.

amazon

Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: Sport Cub S BNF
Dimensions: 21.8 x 21.5 x 5.8”
Product Weight: 2.0 oz.
Material: Foam
Launch method(s): Ground, hand
Model’s Range: 300 ft. (91 meters)
Battery Type: 3.7V 150mAh LiPo
Charging Time: 45 minutes
Maximum Flying Time: 15 minutes
The Pros
SAFE Select technology
Multiple flying modes
Novice-friendly
Steerable tail wheel
Panic Recovery
Decent flight time
Long range
USB charging
RealFlight® simulator
The Cons
Slightly underpowered
Unstable in winds

5. E-flite BNF UMX J-3 Cub BL Basic RC Airplane

E-flite BNF UMX J-3 Cub BL Basic RC AirplaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The E-flite BNF UMX J-3 Cub BL Basic is a good-looking RC plane with high-visibility paintwork. The model has AS3X (Artificial Stabilization 3-Axis) technology built in to enhance flight stability.

  • Best feature 1: AS3X technology
  • Best feature 2: Brushless BL180, 2500Kv outrunner motor
  • Plus points: Scale markings, lightweight construction, steerable tail wheel, optional float set
  • Minus points: Unstable in winds

E-flite BNF UMX J-3 Cub BL Basic Highlights

AS3X technology gives pilots better control over their plane. It’s now at the heart of most Horizon Hobby brands, and that includes E-flite. The versatile technology improves the flying experience for a wide range of RC fans. The UMX J-3 Cub flies with a powerful brushless BL180, 2500Kv outrunner motor. The motor ensures smooth cruising and provides power for basic aerial acrobatics.

E-flite has given this aircraft stunning graphics and markings to enhance its classic appearance. The lightweight foam construction helps to get the most out of a battery. Handling on the ground is a cinch thanks to the steerable tail wheel. You can even take off and land this beauty on the water with the optional float set. That’s a whole new experience that every RC plane pilot should try at least once.

This BNF aircraft needs the following items to complete:

  • 4+ CH transmitter w/ Spektrum DSM2/DSMX technology
  • 7.4V 180–280mAh 2S 30C LiPo battery
  • Compatible charger

The Not So Good

The only shared criticism with this model plane is that it’s not stable in winds. It’s a common complaint with lightweight models. Still, there’s no workaround for aircraft that only weigh a few ounces. At least it’s possible to fly the plane indoors if you have enough space.

amazon

Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: J-3 Cub BNF
Dimensions: 29.9 x 19.6 x 6.9”
Product Weight: 3.06 oz.
Material: Foam
Launch method(s): Ground, water
Model’s Range: Depends on the radio
Battery Type: 7.4V 180–280mAh 2S 30C LiPo (not included)
Charging Time: Depends on the battery
Maximum Flying Time: 10 minutes
The Pros
Fully assembled
AS3X technology
Scale markings
Brushless outrunner motor
Lightweight yet sturdy build
Steerable tail wheel
Optional float set
The Cons
Unstable in winds

6. E-flite UMX Timber RC Ultra Micro BNF

E-flite UMX Timber RC Ultra Micro BNFView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The E-flite UMX Timber is an ultra-micro RC BNF plane that boasts short takeoff and landing (STOL). It’s a brushless model that comes with a bunch of pilot-friendly features to widen its appeal.

  • Best feature 1: Pilot-friendly flight features
  • Best feature 2: AS3X & SAFE Select technologies
  • Plus points: Functional flaps, lightweight build, indoor/outdoor capable, brushless motor, LEDs
  • Minus points: Landing gear may dig into fuselage

E-flite UMX Timber RC Ultra-Micro Highlights

This plane needs less space to take off and land than many others in its class. Its STOL capability is down to the enlarged functional flaps, wing-tip droops, and lightweight build. STOL also lets the plane fly indoors when there’s enough room. The optional SAFE Select Mode is perfect for trainee pilots. It gives the plane pitch and bank angle Limits that prevent it from pitching the wrong way up or rolling.

The UMX Timber’s brilliant LED light system lets the user fly the plane after sundown. LEDs also add to the model’s realistic charm. They include wing-tip strobes and beacons, landing lights, and NAV lights.

This BNF aircraft needs the following items to complete:

  • DSMX/Dsm2 radio transmitter TX with dual rates
  • 200-280mah 2S LiPo battery
  • Compatible LiPo charger

The Not So Good

There have been some reports that the UMX Timber lands too firmly on its front wheels. When that happens, the landing gear can dig into the fuselage and cause some cosmetic damage.

amazon

Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: UMX Timber BNF
Dimensions: 25.1 x 25 x 7.1”
Product Weight: 4.3 oz.
Material: Foam
Launch method(s): Ground, water
Model’s Range: Depends on transmitter
Battery Type: 200-280mah 2S LiPo (not included)
Charging Time: Depends on the charger
Maximum Flying Time: Depends on the battery
The Pros
Pilot-friendly flight features
AS3X & SAFE Select technologies
Functional flaps
Oversized wheels
Float ready (optional extras)
Lightweight build
Indoor/outdoor capable
Powerful brushless motor
Bright LED system
The Cons
Landing gear can cause cosmetic damage to fuselage

7. EFL UMX Aero Commander BNF Basic RC Plane

EFL UMX Aero Commander BNF Basic RC PlaneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

Last on the list is E-flite’s UMX Aero Commander. It’s a twin-engine replica powered by 3000Kv (180-size) outrunner motors. The model boasts a wide flight envelope too.

  • Best feature 1: Pair of 3000Kv brushless outrunner motors
  • Best feature 2: Aerobatic capabilities
  • Plus points: AS3X technology, scale details, 3-blade props, durable build, steerable nose wheel
  • Minus points: Fragile, nose heavy with 800mAh battery

EFL UMX Aero Commander BNF Highlights

E-flite’s UMX™ Aero Commander has some neat details that include a vivid 3-color trim scheme and panel lines. It’s a versatile RC twin-engine plane with a broad appeal across skill levels. Learners can enjoy ultra-stable flying fun thanks to the AS3X technology. More experienced pilots can revel in aerial aerobatics like point rolls and big sweeping, high-precision loops.

The plane uses durable poypurbred foam in its build which makes it durable and crash-resistant. The sound of this bird is also worth mention. The twin power system has 2 brushless outrunner motors and 3-blade props. Combined, they produce an attention-grabbing multi-engine type sound. Finally, there’s the removable landing gear and steerable nose wheel that makes ground navigation smooth and easy.

This BNF aircraft needs the following items to complete:

  • 4+ CH full-range DSMX/DSM2 transmitter
  • 450–800mAh 2S LiPo battery
  • Compatible charger

The Not So Good

The plane itself is quite crash-resistant, but the foam seems a little delicate compared to some models. By that I mean it feels as though you could squeeze it to nothing with minimal effort. It’s best to err on the side of caution when handling the model—just in case. The other gripe is that the craft flies a tad nose-heavy when fitted with an 800mAh battery.

amazon

Tech Specs
RC Plane Type: UMX Aero Commander BNF
Dimensions: 26.5 x 25.6 x 7.4”
Product Weight: 5.6 oz.
Material: Foam
Launch method(s): Hand, ground
Model’s Range: Depends on radio
Battery Type: 450–800mAh 2S LiPo battery (not included)
Charging Time: Depends on charger
Maximum Flying Time: 20 minutes w/ 2S 800mAh battery (not included)
The Pros
Pair of brushless motors
Aerobatic capabilities
Flies well in larger indoor spaces
Decent flight time
AS3X technology
Scale details
3-blade propellers
Crash-resistant
Steerable nose wheel
The Cons
Soft foam (fragile to the touch)
Nose-heavy flight w/ 800mAh
0/50 ratings