RC PLANES – OUR TOP REMOTE CONTROL PLANES
Although we focus on drones we also take a keen interest in all UAV’s. We get all nostalgic as we look at the new face of RC planes in our hunt for the best…
RC Planes – The Best For 2019
RC planes (also known as remote control planes or radio controlled planes) have been around a lot longer than their quadcopter counterparts and as a result they tend to have a bit more of a cult following. Despite being more specialist than drones, RC planes are actually incredibly accessible and you will find novices as well as expert pilots down at your local flying club.
There are many similarities between radio control planes and quadcopters – and whilst we are not going to go in to all of those in this buying guide, we will be answering some FAQ’s towards the bottom of the page – so be sure to check that out.
For now we are going to be bringing you our top 5 RC planes as of 2019. This buying guide should have something for all ages, experience levels and needs – if you have any questions about any of the models shown here then please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team via email.
Most RC planes fall under the category of model aircraft (not least in the eyes of the law) and although the laws are fairly relaxed in the UK (at present) when it comes to flying model aircraft there are a few things you need to be aware of. First and foremost, if your RC plane weighs over 20kg then it falls in to the category of ‘large model aircraft’ which has different rules – all of our models compiled here weigh less than 7KG and so the usual rules apply which you can find here.
Top 6 RC Planes
One thing you will notice if you do get in to the hobby of model aircraft is that most people are prepared to spend big on their pastime. That doesn’t mean you have to start out with a small fortune but it does mean that we have a complete range of RC planes here that are suitable for a range of budgets.
We have attempted to categorise our remote controlled aircraft to make it easier to find what you are looking for.
1. Top Race TR-C285 3 Channel Remote Control Airplane
Perfect for beginners
Top Race is a name we are very familiar with in the UAV world and it makes perfect sense that the TR-C285 would make our list. As perhaps one of the most accesible RC planes on the market today, the Top Race model will not only offer a shallow learning curve to its owners but it will also hold its own when compared to more expensive models.
This remote control plane comes in at a similar price to the cheaper quadcopters and offers just as much fun (if not more) than its 4 rotor counterparts. The TR-C285 can take off from the ground or from a throw so theoretically you can fly this from almost anywhere – just be sure you have an idea as to where to land!
The 3 channel 2.4GHz controller is easy to use and works at a range of up to just over 300 feet. The transmitter takes 4 AA batteries whereas the plane is chargeable via a USB charging cable. The battery for the plane is removable so you can purchase more if needed and each will last a maximum of 15 minutes (12 minutes at full throttle). Charging time takes around 90-120 minutes and cable is included.
We had heaps of fun testing this rc plane and although landing was more difficult than taking off (which could hardly be easier) it was still relatively easy to master in just a short space of time. The TR-C285 is not the largest radio controlled plane on the market but it is also by no means the smallest and measures up with a wingspan of 15.7 inches and length of 12.2 inches.
This plane is fully assembled so there is no work to be done (which may upset the hardcore hobbyists) and as far as electric powered planes go this is easily one of our favourites.
2. DW Hobby RC Aeroplane
Excellent Entry Level Model Aircraft
If you are on the lookout for a true model aircraft so you can experience the thrill of building it from scratch then the DW Hobby RC plane could be perfect for you. This aeroplane comes with all the parts required but you will need to build the model straight out of the box. A mixture of plywood and EPP foam forms the main body of the plane with an ACP propeller included to provide the lift.
The DW Hobby RC weighs in at around 600g and has a wingspan of 960mm and length of 700mm – so whilst it is not on the small side, it certainly isn’t massive either.
We found this a fun kit to use and it will certainly satisfy entry level pilots who want a minimal model building project thrown in to the mix. The RC operates on 4 channels and is easy enough to use – and although the foam wings to keep the weight down, it did make it a little less stable in the air than we would have liked.
3. SonicModell CF Wing
FPV Racing Plane For Advanced Users
The SonicModell CF Wing is one of the most innovative radio controlled planes we have seen and although it might not appeal to the purists it should certainly appeal to newcomers to the hobby. The CF Wing might look and sound a little like something out of StarWars but it has more similarities with drones than X-Wings – that being said, the CF Wing is one of the fastest RC planes we have tested.
The fuselage is built from extremely strong and durable carbon fibre and features two plastic moulded removable wings. Unusually, the motor is at the rear of the craft and at the front you can attach an FPV camera if you so wish – pretty impressive stuff so far!
Don’t be deceived by the images of this plane when viewing them on a computer or mobile device – this is a pretty large piece of kit. The wingspan of just over one metre makes for an impressive setup and the length measures in at just under 40cm. The detachable wings mean you can easily transport the plane from one place to another and also means if you crash in a tricky spot you can release the wings to help you retrieve the plane.
If you do want to attach an FPV camera (or anything else for that matter) then you will need to consider moving the motor to create a better centre of gravity – with the CF Wing this is incredibly easy to do with a simple sliding motion.
The CF Wing is actually incredibly easy to fly (despite the manufacturers saying that it is for more advanced pilots) and most people will be able to fly it with some degree of competence from day one. This was one of the most fun experiences we had when testing all the RC planes thanks to the speed that the CF Wing is capable of – ground speed is 20km/h but air speed is up to a whopping 180km/h – quite incredible!
This is more of a kit and as such does not come included with a battery – you will need to source your own but this is pretty easy to do.
4. DAYLIN RC Plane
Best RC Plane for Kids or Beginners
The Daylin RC glider/plane is one of the cheapest available on the market which almost by default qualifies it as being one of the best planes for kids and beginners. In fact, the manufacturer recommended age for use is 8+ which means under parental supervision the kids can get involved from a relatively young age. The plane is made from EPP flexible foam which means that little damage can be done to the plane or anything/anyone else – perfect for those who are new to the hobby.
Weighing in at under 200g this plane is not likely to cause too much of a concern to anyone and is also not likely to be impacted by the new laws requiring UAV’s over 250g to be registered (always check local laws prior to flying though). Despite its lightweight frame, the plane measures up at 39cm by 29cm which means it can remain pretty stable in the air.
This package comes with everything you need and at a snip over £20 represents excellent value for money. You will find the plane, landing gear, battery, special foam glue, spare propellers, charging cable and controller all packaged when you unbox it for the first time.
The remote control operates on a 2.4GHz frequency and can operate at a range of up to 100 metres. Charging time takes around an hour and provides the user with up 15 minutes of flying time – pretty impressive for the price.
5. S-idee F959 Sky King
Great for all levels of ability
The S-idee Sky King is a joyous piece of engineering that will appeal to many (if not all) model plane enthusiasts. What it lacks in model making it more than makes up for in design and usability. The first thing to note is that there is not a piece of foam in sight with this plane and the body and wings are made from EPO – which we are told is a material that is highly used and revered in the modelling world.
The wings of the Sky King are detachable like many of the others featured on this list which again make it super easy to transport. The wingspan is 75cm and the length is around the same.
Included is a 2.4Ghz radio controller that has a range of up to 200m and you also get two Li-Po batteries that each provide around 10 minutes of flying time from a single 90 minute charge.
Similar to the CF Wing, the Sky King features a rear propeller to provide propulsion and if you can get past this then we have to say the Sky King should tick all the boxes. It was one of the most responsive and true to fly airplanes that we tested and it will have enough under the hood to provide beginners and advanced pilots enough to keep coming back for more. For those who are new to flying you can switch on auto-correcting mode which means the plane will automatically correct your faults for a better flying experience.
Radio Controlled Planes FAQ’s
Where can I fly an RC Plane?
Many people fly radio controlled planes at dedicated flying spaces or indeed flying clubs. Although there is no official stipulation for flying in designated spaces for smaller RC planes, there are many advantages to doing so. Flying clubs afford opportunities to meet likeminded pilots who can give you advice and guidance. You may also pick up some bargains from your local flying club if members are selling used parts or planes.
What is the range of radio controlled planes?
Cheaper planes will have far less range than the more expensive ones. Typically, you can expect to get a range of a few hundred feet from a cheaper rc plane, whereas the most expensive can fly up to a mile or so away. 1/2 mile is generally considered plenty as you need to keep your plane in line of sight.
Are the laws the same for rc planes as for drones?
Loosely speaking the laws are very similar for model aircraft as they are for drones, however you should always check the laws local to your area and with the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK.
Can anyone fly an RC plane?
Yes, anyone can fly a small rc plane in the UK. However you should check local stipulations with your local council and for the most up to date rules head to the CAA website.
Radio controlled planes are making a bit of a comeback and with many benefits over drones (such as increased battery life) it is easy to see why. They may not offer the camera options that you find with quadcopters but they more than make up for that with fun – and boy do these planes we have listed have fun in abundance. The Sky King is one of our favourites, but these are categorised to help you choose the one that is best for you.
- Ease of use
- Value for money