Best RC Planes for Beginners

Below is a list of some of the best RC planes for beginners in 2016. The planes listed have numerous benefits that allow beginners to learn and progress at their own desired pace. The list is not in any particular order, leaving you to decide which of these you think is the best beginner RC plane. Let’s get started!

Quick Summary

If you want to cut straight to the chase, I made a list of the RC planes for beginners in the table below. If a specific plane interests you, feel free to scroll until you find the review about that specific RC plane.

Beginner RC PlanesEstimated Price   
Sport Cub S$129.99 - Check today's price
E-flite U2980 UMX Radian$89.99 - Check today's price
Apprentice S 15e$288.28 - Check today's price

Sport Cub S

SportCubS

Length: 16.3 inches
Wingspan: 24.3 inches
Flying Weight: 2 oz
Material: Foam
Price: See here
Recommended Age: 14+
Great for: Beginner-Intermediate RC plane pilots
Items included:

  • 1 150 mAh 3.7v LiPo Battery
  • USB charger
  • Manual
  • Transmitter

Pros:
1. Has SAFE technology, making it easier for beginners to fly.
2. Ready to fly right out of the box.
3. Steerable tail wheel for easy ground control.
4. Has a Panic button.
5. Great charging time.

Cons:
1. Difficult to fly in wind speeds over 5 mph.
2. Made from foam. (Some people do not like that it is made from a light material while others prefer it)

Video
Below is a flight video of the Sport Cub S, which hopefully gives you an idea of what to expect.

Why is this one of the best RC planes for beginners?

The biggest asset this plane has is Safe Technology. The features that are included in SAFE take away some of the challenges that normally accompany flying a RC airplane for the first time. These features include battling windy conditions, having different flight modes, and regaining flight stability.

Windy Conditions

This plane is made from foam, plain and simple. It is light-weight and affected relatively easy by wind. However, the good thing is that the plane is constantly readjusting itself to prevent the wind from making it go off balance. Winds less than 5 mph should be perfect flying weather.

Multiple Flight Modes

As you continue to practice flying the Sport Cub S, you might hit a plateau. This is where having more than one flight mode is so useful. You get to move at your own pace while improving your flying abilities.

You can choose from one of three modes: Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. In expert mode, the RC plane tends to be more sensitive to the transmitter while in beginner mode it is less sensitive.

You can also do tricks when you are in Intermediate or Expert Mode. Don’t be afraid to try and do the tricks! You will always have your Panic button to assist you if something goes wrong. When you first receive the Sport Cub S, make sure that the Panic button works. You don’t want to find out the hard way.

Regaining Flight Stability

Another reason why this RC airplane is great for beginners is that the transmitter has a Panic Mode button. If you were to get into a bad situation when flying the Sport Cub S, you can press the Panic Mode button and the plane will level itself and stabilize. (Depending on the situation, it can take a fairly large amount of space in order for the plane to correct itself.)

This is perfect because when you are just starting out, you are bound to get yourself into a bad situation. Just make sure to hold it when you lose control of your airplane.

Features

Although it does not come with a camera, the Sport Cub S does have a plug on the top of the wings that will allow you to plug a FPV camera. I do not recommend getting an FPV camera in the beginning because you do not want to risk damaging it.

Battery

So the battery that comes in the package is a 150 mAh 3.7v LiPo Battery. On average, the battery will last about 5-8 minutes, which is why I recommend buying extra batteries. It would be pretty boring to fly your plane for 8 minutes, and then have to run into your house to charge it.

On that note, you might be wondering how long it takes for the battery to charge. It take no more than 45 minutes to charge. On top of getting more batteries, I would recommend getting a multi-battery charger. Specifically the ones that turn off after the battery has charged to maximum capacity.

This does two things. The first thing it does is that you will have longer flight times because of the many batteries you will have. The second thing is that the charger will make sure the batteries do not get overcharged, maximizing the lifespan of the batteries.

Repairs

If, while flying, you crash and the foam breaks, DO NOT USE NORMAL SUPERGLUE TO PUT IT BACK TOGETHER! The reason for this is that the superglue will eat away at the foam, which will make it difficult to repair. There are alternatives to superglue that are foam-safe that I would highly recommend using instead. One such glue is the Beacon Foam Tac Glue.

E-flite U2980 UMX Radian

RadianBNF

Length: 18 inches
Wingspan: 24 inches
Flying Weight: 2 oz
Material: Foam
Price: See here
Recommended Age: 14+
Great for: Beginner-Intermediate RC plane  pilots
Items included:

  • 150mAh 25C Li-Po battery
  • USB charger
  • Manual

Pros
1. 3 channel control. Great for easy, beginner friendly flying.
2. Folding propeller for more efficiency when gliding.
3. Has AS3X technology for better stability.

Cons
1. On the smaller side of RC planes, making it harder to see the higher up the plane is.
2. Does not come with a transmitter.
3. Not ready to fly right out of the box.

Video
This bad boy is very graceful at flying. Take a look for yourself in the video below!

Why is this one of the best RC planes for beginners?

The biggest reason that the UMX Radian is such a good RC plane for beginners is the “stress-free” flying. The greatest part about this RC plane is the AS3X technology. The AS3X stabilization system is very useful for keeping the airplane stabilized when there are gusty wind conditions.

Another reason the Radian is great for beginners is the the three channel control. When first learning to fly RC planes, the amount of information you need to learn can be a bit overwhelming. By reducing the amount necessary to learn, you can focus more on the flying and less on the learning.

The Radian is much more laid back than the Sport Cub S because of the gliding. You can practice turning without having to go full speed. You also get to use thermals to your advantage! (This is what birds do all of the time!) Gliding is also great because it can help conserve battery life to maximize flight time.

Windy Conditions

This is a relatively light plane, so it is not designed for much wind. That being said, the video above shows what it looks like when the Radian flies  in wind going about 10 mph. You can see that it seems to fly effortlessly, which is quite impressive.

Battery

The Radian comes with one 150mAh 25C Li-Po stock battery. The battery is pretty good, and can give you up to 15 minutes of flight time. Wind and throttle out put will have an affect on the battery as well. I would suggest buying a couple more batteries so that you can fly it for longer periods of time as opposed to running back and forth.

The nice thing about the battery too is that it does not take too long for it to charge. 25 -30 minutes is all you really need before you can go out and fly your Radian.

Transmitter

So one of the downsides of the Radian is the fact that it does not come with a transmitter. You will have to buy the transmitter separately, which I linked here. The good thing is that the transmitter will work with various other bind-to-fly RC planes, so this is essentially a one time purchase.

In order for you to get the transmitter to work correctly, you need to follow certain steps for the transmitter to connect to the plane. I listed these steps below, and they are if you have a Spektrum DX5E.

How to connect the transmitter to the plane:

1) Install batteries into the transmitter.
2) Make sure the transmitter is powered off.
3) Plug the battery into the Radian.
4) Pull the transmitter trainer toggle and hold.
5) While the trainer switch is still engaged from step #4, power-on the transmitter.
6) Release the trainer switch. You should hear the transmitter chirp.

Apprentice S 15e

ApprenticeS15e

Length: 42.5 inches
Wingspan:59 inches
Flying Weight: 49 oz
Material: Z-Foam
Price: See here
Recommended Age: 14+
Great for: Beginner-Intermediate RC plane pilots
Items included:

  • 11.1V 3S 3200mAh LiPo Battery
  • USB charger
  • Manual
  • Transmitter

Pros
1. SAFE Technology
2. Wide-stance tricycle landing gear
3. Ready to fly right out of the box
4. 3 modes of flight for easy progression

Cons
1. Made from foam (I do not believe this to be an issue but others may disagree)
2. A bit overpriced

Video
The video below is of a guy who is flying the S 15E for the first time. You can see how perfect this plane is fore beginners!

Why is this one of the best RC planes for beginners?

Just like the Sport Cub S, the 15E has SAFE technology, which is perfect for getting out of those bad situations where you lose control of your plane. For beginners, this technology should be highly valued because not all RC planes have that.

*Note* Make sure your SAFE technology is working. You MUST follow the instructions about initialization of the gyro. If you do not, the SAFE mode will not work correctly.

Another reason why this is a good plane for beginners is because of the the different difficulty modes. Just like the Sport Cub S, this plane allows you to progress at your own pace as opposed without the steep learning curve.

Windy Conditions

This is a heavier RC plane compared to the other ones, and therefore should be able to handle higher wind speeds. That being said, I would not try to fly in any wind greater than 5 mph as a beginner because it will make learning to fly a lot more difficult as well as reducing the battery life on a single flight.

Battery

So the battery is a 11.1V 3S 3200mAh LiPo. Depending on flying conditions and the throttle, the flight time on a single battery is around 10-20 minutes. I would recommend using a timer around the 10-12 minute mark to make sure you can land the plane before the batteries completely die.

Preventing Damage

To get the most out of your RC airplane, try to fly over grass and not concrete. This will reduce the force of impact in case the plane crashed, which will minimize the risk of damaging the plane.

As I mentioned before, always use a timer when flying any RC plane so that you do not run the battery out completely and so that you can prevent a crash landing.

Conclusion

I really hope this article helped you decide 1. if flying a RC plane is something you want to do, and 2. which of these is the best beginner RC plane for you.  Because people have their own preferences, you may consider none of these as the best RC planes for beginners (hopefully not!).

Flying RC planes is a fun but expensive hobby that anyone can enjoy. By doing the proper research beforehand, you can save a bunch of money while having a fun time!

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