The 7 Best Remote Control Airplanes to Buy in 2017

You're number one for takeoff

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Remote control airplanes more affordable than most drones and are easier to operate, plus playing as this classic toy's pilot is a great way to while away a sunny afternoon no matter how old you are. But when it comes to buying a remote control plane, there are a few things to consider, besides budget. Do you want the most stylish design? The one with the longest air time? Or are you looking for a plane that can take off and land on water? Choosing the best option can be tricky, but fortunately, we’ve done the homework for you and put together a list of the best remote control airplanes for every budget and experience level, so you'll be speeding down the runway in no time.

While it may be rather plain looking overall, the HobbyZone Sport Cub S more than makes up for a bland design with performance, control and price. Ready to fly out of the box, the Sport Cub doesn’t care if your experience level is beginner or expert. The inclusion of SAFE technology helps you battle windy conditions, regain stability with the single pull of a trigger and learn more advanced skills. The included 150mAh battery enables over 10 minutes of flying time on a single charge and requires under 60 minutes of recharge time to be back in the air. Unlike similarly priced models that are launched by hand, the Sport Cub takes off from any “runway” around 12 feet in length because four-channel controls provide a working throttle, rudder, elevator and ailerons. Even for beginners, throwing the Sport Cub into a loop, swoop or turn is incredibly simple and allows for hours of endless fun.

A fan favorite for years, the HobbyZone Duet is a terrific choice for those who want to stay wallet-friendly without skimping on controls or performance. Ready to fly right from unpacking, this beginner-friendly keeps costs down by removing some of the extras found on more expensive models. In this case, the lack of rudder control or ailerons only allows for three-channel controls, but in no way does that cheapen the fun. The inclusion of the three-channel controls also enables complete governance over climbing, steering and throttling right after the Duet is hand-launched into the air from the ground.

The dual propellers can spin at varying speeds to exert thrust differentially to aid with quick and smooth turns with minimal effort from the user. The Duet's 150mAh battery keeps you flying for up to eight minutes before you need to "refuel."

For the most adventurous remote control airplane enthusiasts out there, take a look at the Flyzone Seawind. It offers a nearly 57-inch wingspan and is capable of taking off from both grass and water (and it can land on both just as easily). The retractable shock-absorbing landing gear adds to both the amphibious capabilities and a heightened level of realism. The addition of fowler scale flaps and navigation lights adds to the already impressive list of features and contributes to improved aerobatics and navigation that are unmatched by Seawind's similarly priced competition.

The AeroCell foam construction weighs 7.6 pounds and the 2100mAh battery offers up 12 to 15 minutes of flight time with a 60-minute recharge between flights.

With an ejector seat and built-in parachute, kids will immediately fall in love with the Air Hogs Ejector Jet. Designed with outdoor use in mind for ages eight and up, it charges up via USB cable (takes 40 minutes) and offers nearly five minutes of flight time. While you’re up in the air, the easy-to-use controller of the Air Hog allows the plane to soar, crash and survive safely, thanks to the durable foam construction and enabled safety features that keep your flight working for many more flights to come.

Even if a pilot is "ejected" by the operator, there's no reduction in flight time, so the pilot can land safely even as the jet remains in the air until its battery runs out. The 2.4GHz frequency range enables nearly 100 feet of distance from the controller.

For beginners looking for everything they need to get started, the HobbyZone Champ is the absolute best solution. It’s ready to fly right out of the box (which means no assembly required), so the Champ can be up in the air both indoors and outdoors (with minimal wind) within minutes of unboxing. Taking off requires as little as 10 feet of runway space (although, add a little extra space for landing if you’re coming in fast) and the 150mAh battery allows the Champ to stay airborne up to 20 minutes, depending on performance and aggressive maneuvers.

The foam construction is also durable, which is good news for beginners who might find themselves notching a few crashes on their belt as they learn. The included 2.4Ghz controller eliminates interference from outside signals (also a plus for newbies).

Perfect for beginners and experienced operators, the E-Flite Apprentice S 15e ready-to-fly aircraft is a standout choice for buyers not concerned about spending a little more. With an 840Kv brushless motor installed, the Apprentice sets itself apart with a unique combination of power and quiet performance. Out of the box, assembly shouldn't take more than 20 to 30 minutes even for inexperienced users. With a 59-inch molded-foam wingspan, the Apprentice requires a sizeable field to maximize its potential after takeoff. The 3200mAH battery that lasts for around 13 to 15 minutes, depending on performance and aerobatics.

For the brand-new flyer, the inclusion of SAFE technology helps provide extra protection for the aircraft by quickly leveling out if there’s any trouble (read: a gust of wind) that can quickly knock the 2.2-pound Apprentice off course.

If you’re looking for the remote control airplane experience with a unique touch, the Flyzone Calypso sets the bar high. Ideal for anyone just starting out with remote control airplanes, the lightweight AeroCell foam design allows the glider to weigh 7.2 pounds (even with a 73-inch wingspan). Fully assembled in just minutes via a Philips screwdriver and the Calypso is ready to take off (from your hand) and can easily land on both grass and concrete runways. But before you even consider landing, you'll have fun maneuvering while in the air, thanks to independent aileron servos on each wing for extra control and performance opportunities that include flying straight upwards at full throttle. The 1300mAh battery adds some additional time in the air, although user reviews strongly advise keeping the Calypso directed into the wind for lengthy flight times as the plane glides effortlessly around the sky between eight to ten mph.

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