Things to Consider Before Purchasing an RC Plane

There are numerous hobbies that people can try, but flying RC planes is one of the best and most popular. RC planes are radio-controlled flying devices that are significantly smaller and simpler to control with a handheld controller than actual airplanes. Here are some things to consider before purchasing your first RC plane if you want to attempt flying an RC aircraft.

Determine Your Budget

RC plane propeller

To accurately calculate the cost of purchasing, constructing, and flying an R/C aircraft, we would need to account for every excursion to the hobby shop, the flying field, and all other expenses, including kitchen paper towels that were stolen.

Create a budget so that you won’t overspend on an RC plane

A beginner can buy a remote-controlled airplane for as little as $200, but the price will go up depending on the type, size, and style of the plane. The cost to purchase or build an RC plane will increase proportionally to the size and complexity of the aircraft you desire.

If you construct your first aircraft, you will likely spend $100 on basic tools, adhesives, and a small construction board of some kind. Start with a cheap RC plane due to the steep learning curve associated with these devices. In light of this, the best low-cost options are also comparatively durable, given that novice pilots will crash multiple times before mastering the skill. You’ll observe that the most affordable RC aircraft on the market are typically made of highly flexible foam. The cheapest RC planes cost approximately $50, and you can purchase an excellent model of intermediate quality for $130 or less.

Check online for various price points of RC planes

There are beginner-friendly RC aircraft available for less than $50. Better RC airplanes with more features cost between $100 and $500 and have a higher price tag. Any Ready to Fly (RTF) radio-controlled (RC) aircraft that can be purchased for less than, say, $100 falls into this category. Take a peek at the Eachine/Volantex line of sub-$100 RC warbird aircraft for a budget-friendly option.

Choose a Type of RC Plane

RC plane

Sport Plane

A sport plane is a more advanced type of radio-controlled aircraft than a trainer and can be thought of as a cross between a trainer and an aerobatic plane. While they retain some self-correcting characteristics for stable flight, they also integrate architectures such as low-wing configurations and symmetrical airfoils that enable them to execute more complex maneuvers. Many hobbyists utilize a sports aircraft as an aerobatic trainer for this reason. Hence, flying an airplane can be one of the most famous hobbies to do for fun. 

Trainer Plane

These varieties of RC aircraft are designed specifically for beginners. Trainers are typically larger aircraft typically made of balsa wood. Trainers can either be propelled by an electric motor or a nitro-fueled engine. This aircraft are not toys and can be extremely hazardous if not treated with respect. When learning to fly with a trainer, assistance from an experienced pilot is absolutely essential. Trainers are available in Kit, RTF, and ARF format.

Aerobatic Plane

Aerobatic radio-controlled aircraft are designed for aerobatic maneuvers. They are constructed with larger control surfaces (relative to their size) than conventional warbirds or trainers, allowing them to achieve greater roll, pitch, and yaw rates. Thus, they are able to execute extreme maneuvers at both high and low velocities.

The majority of aerobatic RC aircraft feature a mid-wing configuration, with the wing mounted in the middle of the fuselage. In conjunction with symmetrical airfoils, an aerobatic RC aircraft has no self-correcting tendencies, allowing it to execute complex maneuvers with great precision. When it comes to aerobatics, self-correcting architectures such as a high wing configuration or dihedral can be detrimental as they can derail your maneuvers.

Gliders 

Gliders are unpowered aircraft. They are the most basic type of aircraft and require the fewest accessories. With a radio-controlled glider, you must rely solely on the wind and/or thermals to maintain flight. Flying from a slope is a common technique of RC gliding, and there are multiple launch methods for flying from a flat field.

Scale Models

Exact scale replicas of all types of civilian and military aircraft are popular targets for model airplane fans. Details are simpler to implement in larger models, so such aircraft typically have wingspans greater than 5 feet and high power requirements (300 watts or more). Civilian aircraft with light wing loads, such as the classic J-3 Cub and the multiengine models shown above, are superb electric fliers.

Here is a great graphic from My Hobby Life that shows the different types of RC Planes:

Types-of-RC-Planes

Jet RC 

Jet planes are very fast planes for professional amateurs in the field of remote aviation. This plane has big shapes and sizes so it can go fast. It also has an Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) with a motor that has 5–12 blades and an RPM that is too high to go fast. This type of aircraft is prohibitively expensive and restricted in some nations due to their extreme peril and unsuitability for public use or novice pilots. This aircraft arrives with a single motor but is typically equipped with two (one per wing) and has numerous control channels. This aircraft is constructed from composite materials to withstand harsh weather conditions.

RC Micro Plane

Some people prefer to fly a small aircraft with a wingspan of no more than 10 inches and a weight of less than 100 grams. The beauty of this type is its low cost and suitability for both public and private use. However, a small amount of airflow will cause the aircraft to lose control. These aircraft may be equipped with various control systems, including ESC. Due to the need for lighter electronic systems, this aircraft is suited for children.

Warbird

In general, the term warbirds refers to any vintage military aircraft. Technically, this includes all planes that have fought in any conflict, but most RC warbirds are from World conflict II. The P-51 Mustang, the Spitfire, and the Vought F4U Corsair are some of the most prominent radio-controlled warbirds.

Pick a Brand and Model 

There are numerous aircraft brands (E-flite, Top flite, FMS, Freewing). Bigger balsa aircraft perform better than smaller foam planes. Any subbrand of Horizon Hobby is an outstanding brand. Electronics from Hobby King and Banggood can be hit or miss. If you value dependability, replacement components, and customer service, choose any product from Horizon Hobby.

When contemplating the purchase of a radio-controlled airplane, it is essential to consider the availability of spare parts and the possibility of upgrades. During your initial flights as a novice, you will likely encounter a few mishaps, which could result in damaged components requiring replacement. 

Before making a purchase, verify with your local hobby shop or online retailers to see if spare parts are available for the RC plane model of your choice. It is always a good idea to have a reliable source of replacement components nearby, as this will reduce downtime and allow you to return to flying more swiftly. Choose manufacturers of RC aircraft that are well-established and reputable and offer a variety of spare components and upgrades.

Buying an RC airplane from a well-known and reputable brand can make all the difference in terms of product quality and after-sales service. Reputable manufacturers frequently offer comprehensive manuals, helpful customer service, and a vast selection of spare parts and accessories. E-flite, HobbyZone, and ParkZone are well-known for their beginner-friendly models and superior customer service. 

Know About the Different Parts of RC Planes

nose and propeller of an RC plane

Starting a hobby with RC (remote-controlled) planes can be very complicated. But it need not be difficult if you know where to begin. Mathematical instruction begins with the numbers; RC aircraft instruction begins with the components.

Understanding these fundamentals will help you make an informed decision when purchasing and learning to fly your first RC aircraft. These details paint the overall picture. As you delve deeper (or fly higher) into the realm of RC airplanes, you will notice that there is a great deal more detail. Checking these components of RC aircraft ensures that the aircraft is functional and reliable when in flight.

Nose: The nose is the front of the aircraft in front of the wings and is a component of the fuselage. Some RC aircraft have a nose-mounted propeller. This section of the aircraft is susceptible to damage during dive-related accidents.

Fuselage: The fuselage is the primary body of an aircraft. This is where the pilot, passengers, and cargo would be located on an actual airplane. Frequently, the RC electronics (motors, servos, batteries, and circuitry) are located within the fuselage. Some RC aircraft have a fuselage consisting of little more than a long pole or rod.

Wing: Planes are known as fixed-wing aircraft. Attached to the fuselage, wings typically do not flap or rotate. A variety of wing configurations exist, including straight, curved, flat, rounded, elliptical, and triangular (as seen on the aircraft on the right in the illustration).

Tail: At the rear extremity of the fuselage is the tail, which can be conventional or T-shaped, V-shaped, or flat.

Propeller: Most RC aircraft have some form of propeller. 2-blade and 3-blade propellers are typical. Typically, the propeller is attached to the engine and may be mounted on the snout, tail, or wings. There may be one, two, or more propellers on RC aircraft.

Control Surfaces: While many elements of an RC aircraft are fixed (they hold the plane together and allow it to fly), control surfaces are movable, servo-connected components that allow you to control and maneuver your aircraft. A typical RC aircraft will have three control surfaces: the aileron, the rudder, and the elevator; collectively, these are referred to as the primary controls.

Ailerons: Ailerons are flaps located on the outer rear of each wing panel, and they operate in opposite orientations. When the right aileron is in the up position, the left aileron is in the down position. This causes the left wing to generate more lift, causing the aircraft to roll to the right. Combined with the rudder, this component enables your aircraft to turn in the air.

Rudder: The rudder is mounted on the vertical tail panel and is used to steer the aircraft’s tip left or right – the plane’s yaw. When the rudder is angled to the right, the plane’s nose rotates to the right, and vice versa. This is due to a disruption in airflow: when the rudder is deflected to one side, a force is exerted that forces the aircraft’s tail in the opposite direction, yawing the nose in the desired direction.

Elevators: Elevators are located on the horizontal tail panel and, as their name suggests, regulate the plane’s elevation or pitch. When the elevators are angled downward, the rear receives more lift and the plane’s nose is lowered. When the elevators are tilted up, more force is exerted on the tail, which pushes the tail down while elevating the plane’s fuselage.

Other Things to Consider Before Buying an RC Plane

blue and white RC plane

Reviews and Feedbacks

Online testimonials and evaluations can be quite beneficial. Make sure to check them before making the decision to buy your RC plane. 

Battery Life 

The type of battery an RC plane employs is the final factor to consider when purchasing one. There are three primary varieties of batteries: nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, and lithium polymer. NiCad batteries are being phased out progressively due to environmental concerns, and NiMH batteries are gaining popularity. Most RC models use four or six NiMH cells, which determines the flight time between charges. LiPo batteries are ideal for experienced pilots because they have an extended lifespan and do not lose power as they deplete.

Accessories or Extra Parts

RC aircraft require significantly more field equipment. This is due to the presence of the engine, which requires certain accessories to function properly. Before purchasing an RC airplane, consider the necessary accessories and extra components.

Conclusion

Before making a purchase, it is essential for those who are new to RC airplanes to comprehend their needs. There are numerous RC aircraft on the market, each with a unique set of features and capabilities. It is essential to conduct research in order to discover the best plane for you. After making a purchase, take care of your investment by adhering to the recommended maintenance procedures.