Let your kids’ imagination take to the skies with a radio controlled (RC) plane! It may mean they’ll have their heads in the clouds—but they’ll also be reaping a rake of rewards down here on Earth.
Piloting RC planes boosts concentration, strengthens hand-eye coordination and tests risk assessment. What’s more, constructing, adapting and repairing the aircraft will challenge kids’ creativity, mathematics and problem-solving abilities. They’ll also learn all about electronics, mechanics and flight dynamics—even getting direct experience with complex ideas like torque and lift. More than any of that, though, there’s no greater fun than pulling on your pilot goggles and taking flight!
With tons of RC planes on the market, it can be tough to choose the right one. Here are our top picks for any budget.
9 Best RC Planes
HobbyZone Sports Cub S RTF Beginner RC Plane
Check price at
GoolRC F-949 Cessna 182 RC Airplane
Check price at
WL Toys F-959 Sky King RC Plane
Check price at
HobbyZone Super Cub S RTF Beginner RC Plane
Check price at
E-Flite Apprentice S 15e RTF Beginner RC Plane
Check price at
If you’re looking for a quality mid-range beginner plane, look no further. The award-winning HobbyZone Sports Cub S is a fantastic ready-to-fly high-wing plane. Its 4-channel movement gives you complete control of the throttle, rudder, elevator and ailerons. HobbyZone’s Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE) controls offer different levels of semi-automatic assistance (beginner, intermediate and advanced). This helps amateur aviators gradually master flying—even in windy conditions. What’s more, if things get hairy up there, you can just pull the Panic Recovery trigger to switch on autopilot and return to a steady flight. Get in the zone!
Size: 616 x 414mm
The GoolRC F-949 is sure to get your head spinning! An imitation Cessna 182, this fun flyer has three channel controls and an impressive 200m range. As a high-wing model, it is more stable in the air and the batteries should last for about 20 minutes of flight. It’s powerful enough to do some cool manoeuvres and its durable foam build should be able to take most crash landings. All in all, it’s a great option for endless hours of in-flight entertainment!
Size: 500 x 393mm
Who needs wheels when you glide like this? The WL Toys F-959 Sky King is a fast-moving, smooth-flying RC glider. This 3-channel beauty is made of impact-resistant EPO and its motor is located in a protected position for most typical crashes. Flying straight out of your hand and touching down safely with or without grace, it’s great for beginners. The sky is the limit with this awesome ready-to-fly RC!
Size: 750 x 565mm
Take control of the famous F4U Corsair with this beautifully crafted RC replica. During the Second World War, this US plane struck fear into the hearts of the Axis powers with its high speeds and incredible manoeuvrability. This low-winged model speedster certainly lives up to the reputation. Its in-air twists and turns are exquisite and the amazing integrated AS3X technology automatically compensates against gusts of wind. So whether you’re bombing along at high speeds or doing rolls and loop-the-loops, it’ll keep you on course. Airmen, take flight—your country needs you!
Size: 520 x 420mm
This little legend takes the idea of ‘light aircraft’ to the next level! The ParkZone Night Vapor is unique in design, with a lightweight frame and LED lights for night-time or low-light flying. Its slow flying speed makes it an ideal first plane—but experienced aeronauts will have tons of fun with it, too. Featuring 3-channel control (elevator, rudder and throttle), it really is a blast to pilot. Happy flying, day or night!
Size: 493 x 396mm
One of the most popular RC planes on the market, the HobbyZone Super Cub S is a top quality trainer aircraft. This slow-flying three channel high-winger is easy to control and its resilient Z-foam exterior can take a bumpy landing. What’s more, the on-board Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE) technology guides you through the learning process. Its three flying modes (beginner, intermediate and advanced) let you master the basics before moving on to the complex manoeuvres and its Panic Recovery button will immediately steady the ship if you feel you’ve lost control. Super by name, super by nature.
Size: 1264 x 394mm
Take to the skies… and the seas! The FlyZone Tidewater EP Seaplane is a cool cruiser capable of hitting high speeds, performing amazing aerobatics and landing safely on water. With its realistic design, powerful performance and quality water handling, it’s sure to be a hit with any accomplished flyer. H2 whoa!
Size: 1055 x 915mm
Go from apprentice to expert with this phenomenal beginner aircraft. The E-Flite Apprentice S 15e has earned rave reviews from newbies and experts alike. A large, slow-flying high-winged plane, complete with SAFE technology, it moves smoothly and can handle winds very well. Thick-skinned in its Z-foam, it can handle a bumpy ride. It looks the part, too, with an attractive red, black and gray design. In fact, I’m going to go out on a wing and say that this may be the best trainer RC out there! Highly recommended.
Size: 1054 x 483mm
Soar through the skies with the superb Great Planes Avistar Elite .46! Powered by its on-board engine, this balsa wood beauty can climb high into the air and is a great choice for advanced aerobatics. Stable in flight and capable of withstanding windier conditions, it’s also easy to control on grass. Its balanced top-winged wooden frame and powerful engine give you confidence whether you’re hugging the clouds or the ground. For elite aviators only!
Size: 1590 x 1395mm
Over to you! What do you think about our list of RC planes? Did we leave out any of your favorites RC planes? Or have you got anything to add about any of these awesome options? Let us know in the comments section below.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Tony Webster.