When entering the realm of RC planes, the diversity of options, equipment, and accessories can be quite overwhelming. To embark on this journey effectively, the first crucial step is to define your goals in the world of radio-controlled airplanes. A comprehensive understanding of the available choices is essential to navigate this exciting hobby.

A radio-controlled aircraft, often referred to as an RC aircraft or RC plane, is essentially a model airplane manipulated remotely through a handheld transmitter connected to a receiver within the aircraft.

Operating an RC plane is akin to commanding your private air squadron, where you have full control and eagerly await your commands. If you possess an affinity for electronics or mechanical devices, the intricate designs and components of RC planes will captivate your interest.

Engaging in radio-controlled plane activities offers an exhilarating and multifaceted hobby. RC planes encompass various aspects of thrill, both technical and artistic. Few pastimes grant you access to such diverse skills and topics, including woodworking, electronics, miniature motors, aerodynamics, and the joys of outdoor exploration.

History of RC Planes

Today, it's commonplace for individuals to acquire and assemble RC planes. With patience, discipline, and diligent practice, nearly anyone can master the art of flying radio-controlled airplanes. This hobby traces its roots back to the 1800s, having evolved significantly from its early experimental and rudimentary designs.

In the early 1870s, Alphonse Penaud is celebrated as the pioneer of flying models. When he unveiled his "Planophere" in Paris at the Tileries, he breathed life into a fascinating pursuit. The maiden flight of the Planophere covered an impressive distance of one hundred and thirty-one feet. This event kindled inspiration, nurturing belief in the possibilities of powered flight.

Although Alphonse Penaud initially ventured into the realm of model helicopters, the Planophere represented a model airplane powered by a wound rubber band. It introduced the concept of the cruciform tail, a design seen today, resembling a cross when viewed from behind.

RC enthusiasts from the outset constructed remote-controlled planes manually, employing materials such as balsa wood. Customization was constrained due to the lack of readily available customizable components. Nevertheless, these handmade RC planes retained a unique appeal.

The early 1970s heralded the era of affordable, rechargeable batteries, revolutionizing the RC plane world. Quiet, efficient motors, compatible with rechargeable batteries, marked the advent of a new era. Combined with materials like foam, plastic, and fiberglass resin, these motors facilitated the mass production of ready-to-fly and almost-ready-to-fly RC planes. These types of planes have become the beloved RC planes familiar to many enthusiasts today.

Varieties of RC Planes

RC planes come in a range of sizes, from indoor flyers to colossal aerial giants. Regardless of your experience level or budget, there's an RC plane suited to your needs. Some RC planes are beginner-friendly, while others demand years of mastery for proficient piloting. You can operate certain RC planes in your backyard, while others necessitate open, expansive areas for flight. With options for everyone, the RC plane community is truly inclusive.

Radio Control Scale Aircraft Modeling

Radio-controlled scale model aircraft replicate full-scale aviation designs and historical aircraft. This form of aeromodeling is appreciated for its realism, serving diverse purposes like testing future aviation concepts or recreating proposed aircraft that never made it into reality. Scale modeling encompasses lighter-than-air airships and heavier-than-air fixed-wing gliders, single or multi-engine aircraft, and even rotary-wing craft like autogyros and helicopters.


RC gliders offer a serene and relaxing flying experience. Most gliders possess two channels, controlling elevator and either aileron or rudder. The combination of elevator and rudder control is favored among glider pilots. For combat and aerobatic gliders, ailerons are a preferred choice, ensuring agility.

RC gliders, such as the Thunder Tiger Windstar, exhibit remarkable stability in flight. These planes are easy to pilot, making them an excellent choice for those seeking a tranquil radio-controlled flight. These gliders can be flown from flat terrain or launched from slopes using mechanisms like a bungee or high-start system.

Flying RC gliders, especially models like the Windstar, promises an incredibly peaceful experience. Gliders typically maintain much slower flying speeds compared to powered planes, allowing pilots ample reaction time. With their high-polyhedral wings, RC gliders, like the Windstar, offer excellent stability. They possess a natural tendency to self-level after each maneuver, enhancing the flying experience.

The substantial wing area of these gliders generates substantial lift, enabling extended flight times under favorable weather conditions. While your fellow pilots are refueling or recharging their powered planes, you can continue to soar gracefully. RC gliders typically require minimal accessories, making them a perfect choice for enthusiasts seeking a quiet, enduring flight experience. The primary concern during prolonged flights is whether the radio gear's batteries will endure.

Some enthusiasts opt for powered gliders, a hybrid between traditional RC gliders and motor-driven aircraft. Models like the Radian RTF from ParkZone feature small electric motors and folding propellers. They offer the flexibility of soaring like a glider and using motor power when needed. Turning off the motor allows the glider to ride the wind, reducing drag, and extending flight time.

Hand-launched gliders, like the Fling from Great Planes, are designed for vertical launches. These smaller gliders are manageable and ideal for those with limited space. The Fling employs a high-start system for launching, making it accessible for flyers with varying throwing abilities. These gliders rely on thermals to remain aloft.

Discus launch gliders, such as the Fling DL from Great Planes, introduce an exciting twist. These gliders can be launched with a spinning motion reminiscent of throwing a discus. This unique launching style doesn't require hills or large spaces, offering flexibility in flight location.

Combat gliders, a relatively new addition, are compact, made from durable EPP foam, and designed for in-air battles. These resilient gliders aim to knock opponents out of the sky, fostering thrilling and spirited aerial duels.


RC jets are the speed demons of the radio-controlled world, often powered by microturbines or ducted fans. Typically constructed from fiberglass and carbon fiber, these high-speed aircraft can exceed 320 km/h (200 mph). Microturbines use a combination of propane and jet fuel, providing a rapid burst of power before transitioning to jet fuel. Although jets are costly, they offer an exhilarating RC experience, simulating the thrill of supersonic flight.

Toy RC Planes

In recent years, a profusion of toy RC planes has flooded the market, making this hobby accessible to a wider audience. Technological advancements have made miniature radio control components affordable. This influx of affordable, ready-to-fly toy RC planes has revolutionized the accessibility of the hobby.

Pylon Racers

Pylon racers engage in high-speed contests around courses defined by multiple pylons. These nimble aircraft can reach speeds in excess of 240 km/h (150 mph). Popular racing classes in the United States include Q500 (424 or ARPRA and 428) and Q40. The 424 class serves as an entry point into the world of pylon racing.

RC Plane Kits

The availability of interchangeable components from manufacturers has contributed to the rise of RC plane kits. Assembling these kits is accessible to anyone who can follow
The availability of interchangeable components from manufacturers has contributed to the rise of RC plane kits. Assembling these kits is accessible to anyone who can follow instructions. Initially, RC plane kits were powered by rubber bands and gas engines, and launching was assisted with a winch. Field accessibility and manual labor were the only constraints to the hobby's expansion.

RC Plane Frequencies and Channels

Radio-controlled airplanes operate within designated frequencies falling within the 72 MHz band. Each frequency is assigned a unique channel number, which doesn't correlate with the number of controllable functions on an RC plane. For instance, a four-channel RC plane denotes that it has four controllable functions, such as ailerons, elevator, rudder, and throttle. This doesn't imply that the plane operates on channel four.

Military Usage of RC Planes

The military has employed RC planes for various missions since the early 20th century. These aircraft serve as valuable tools for practicing and developing military maneuvers and strategies without exposing personnel to risks.


Whether you are a seasoned aviator or a rookie pilot, RC planes offer an exhilarating and inclusive experience. There's nothing quite like the excitement of launching an aircraft you've assembled or skillfully piloting a powerful machine you've meticulously prepared for. The world of radio-controlled airplanes welcomes enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds, ensuring that the thrill of flight is accessible to all.


Horizon Hobby is the leader in the RC hobby. They have RC airplanes, RC helicopters, RC Cars, RC trucks, RC boats, RC transmitters, and so much more!

Largest in Norway for radio-controlled! In addition, we have an impressive selection of exciting products in 3D printing, laser engraving, solar energy, and much more cool stuff!

AMain Hobbies offers a wide selection of RC Planes, RC Helicopters, Drones, and RC Cars/Trucks, along with industry leading customer service and support.

AMain Sports & Hobbies' mission is a commitment to sharing the fun, camaraderie, and joy of sports and hobbies with everyone. Whether you're new to the hobby or an extreme pilot, basher, or hard-core racer you can rest assured our team of passionate experts and professionals will check, double-check, and triple-check your order. Our goal is to provide the best before and after sale support in the industry.

Passion, value, and service drive us at HobbyKing to bring you the very latest radio control (RC) products and accessories at the best prices. We're always developing and sourcing new RC products and then bringing them to you at the best price possible while maintaining quality and performance. From Turnigy, H-King to Durafly, we're also one of the leading developers of many known RC brands.

Our professional team includes engineers from various disciplines as well as designers, RC aficionados, sourcing agents, product testers, and marketers. Our focus is and has always been on the products, not the hype.

RC Planet was established in 2004 in Sandy Utah, and now operates two strategically located warehouses. Over fifteen years, RC Planet has serviced radio control customers with a large selection of RC Cars, Trucks, and Aircraft from budget-friendly offerings to high-end race and competition platforms. RC Planet has long been a top retailer for Traxxas, Redcat, and Losi due to our wide assortment, knowledgeable Radio Control service representatives, and fast and reliable shipping. Year after year we receive high marks and positive feedback from our customers all around the world making us a clear favorite for your next RC purchase. Trust RC Planet to be all our name implies.

Throughout our long and unique history, Tower Hobbies has strived to make your shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Though it might seem quaint now, we were the first in the industry to provide our customers with toll-free “800” phone order lines. We launched our award-winning website in 1995, right on the cutting edge of online marketing.

Most importantly, we’ve always remained committed to a "customer comes first" approach in everything we do. When Horizon Hobby took ownership of Tower Hobbies in 2018, we were able to bring you an unprecedented lineup of best-selling brands — becoming a one-stop shop for items from Axial®, ARRMA®, E-flite®, Losi®, Spektrum®, RealFlight® and many, many more of the finest, most popular hobby manufacturers.

Tower Hobbies would like to thank you for your continued support. Keep your eyes on We look forward to helping you enjoy your hobby to the fullest for a long time to come, with excellence in service, selection, and support that has been over 50 years in the making.