Best Places to Find RC Plane Plans Online
Building an RC plane from the ground up is an exciting adventure. This page shows you where to find RC plane plans online for all kinds of model aircraft. These plans fit into two categories, free and fee. You can also get only the building instructions or a kit with a detailed guide. Before you do anything, though, you first need to decide what type of aircraft to build.
Some skilled plane builders design custom plans to create unique scale models. That’s not something to try until you’ve assembled a couple of kits from pre-prepared plans first.
RC Aircraft Kit Vs. RC Plane Plans
You can build an RC plane from a kit or use a plan, but there’s a difference. A typical kit is a type of assembly project. Most or all the pieces come in a box with a systematic set of instructions. A plan is a detailed drawing and usually shows the parts in full size. The hobbyist can either create the parts or source them from radio control suppliers.
Download and View RC Plane Plans
Radio-controlled aircraft plans come in two downloadable file formats. One is Portable Document Format (PDF) that opens with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Others may only be available in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) formats like DXF or DWG. CAD files also need specific viewers to open and print them. Working with either of these file types is straightforward as there are free viewers available.
First Time RC Plane Projects
Typical materials used to build an RC aircraft are foam board or balsa and ply. Which type you use depends on the model, scale size, and personal preference. Foam board is an excellent choice for first-time projects. A foamie (also foamy) model is easy to cut, simple to repair, and affordable.
Here’s a useful RC plane plan checklist to consider for first-time projects:
- Super simple design that’s cheap to build
- Good size. A larger model gives better access and is easier to work on
- Relatively short build time prevents frustration and maintains interest
- Sturdy, durable model can withstand those inevitable crashes
- Quick and easy to make repairs
- Modifiable design lets you build on newly developed skills
- Easy to fly
Add anything to the above that matters to you. It’s always a good idea to start with something cheap and simple and work your way up. There are lots of RC plane plans that fit the bill.
Intermediate to Advanced RC Plane Builders
There are countless RC aircraft plans for builders of all levels. Those for intermediate and advanced users are far more complex. They also need lots of individual components and attention to smaller details. The results are realistic scale airplanes that look fantastic and are a joy to fly.
It’s tempting to jump straight in with an advanced plan as they’re so impressive. My advice is to start at the basic level and work your way up. You’ll become a better modeler if you do.
Free Downloadable RC Plane Plans
This section highlights a few of the favorite free websites for RC plane plans. These sites offer everything from the very basic to highly complex models. You may want to browse these places even if you’re not ready to build just yet. Some are member sites where people gather to discuss ideas, share designs, and pass on tips.
The first pick for free RC plane plans must go to AeroFred. Here you can find a vast collection of model airplane plans to download. It’s an active site where members contribute daily to the community. They upload helpful videos, write constructive articles, and give valuable feedback. The site has plans for 3D printed kits, R/C airplanes, control line (CL) models, and Free Flight (FF) crafts.
Sky High Hobby is the site to visit for all things foam, also called foamie or foamy planes. It’s a resource site that links to places on the web that have a wide range of downloads. You can find links to everything from park jets, gliders, seaplanes, biplanes, and much more. Sky High Hobby also has a categories column that covers all things related to the hobby.
Visit RCFB for all things scratch build. Scratch building means to draw the plan and then make the model from scratch. The scratch plans freely shared on this site seem to be the designs of one owner, Vincent Unrau. Sadly, Vincent passed away recently, but his wife has vowed to keep his legacy going. There are some impressive foam board and Styrofoam plans to download modeled on original planes.
This website is for scratch fans who favor balsa models. It’s been around since 2011, so there’s tons of material available for download. You can find more than 10,000 free plans for old-timer and vintage planes. They also have a sister library where you can download free vintage books, catalogs, and magazines of interest. It’s an excellent community-based site with regular updates.
RC Plane Plans (Paid)
There are hundreds of thousands of free RC plane plans to download. There are also a few fee-based sites that give access to proven plans and active communities. Even sites that charge are affordable and well worth the few dollars subscription fee. The links above should have enough free material for most enthusiasts, though. So, I only list one website that charges as an example of what’s available.
This website is the place to go if you have a passion for park jets. Its members downloaded more than 25,000 plans last year. Membership gives unlimited access to all the proven park jet plans and costs just $2 a month. There’s a one-week access option for $5 if you don’t want to become a fulltime member. Park Jets also has a free weekly newsletter that you may find useful.
The site has a few free park jet plans uploaded by its members. Some of these provide user videos to display and assist new builders. Donations for free projects are welcome but not necessary.
RC plane builders form a worldwide community of like-minded individuals. These people are among the friendliest, most helpful of all hobbyists. I encourage any RC’er to join a group or forum, especially if this is your first attempt at building from a plan. You won’t regret it. The help and advice given is as free and friendly as the $0.00 downloads provided by RC enthusiasts.