Flying RC airplanes isn’t just an activity for adults: young folks, male and female, get a huge kick out of remote control aircraft, too. Hobby, sport and learning opportunity, aero-modeling is a wonderful way for parents or grand-parents to create lasting memories of good times shared with a child or grandchild. If you have been thinking of gifting that special young person with an RC plane, but are yourself new to radio controlled flying, before you head to the hobby store or start an online search, here are a few pointers:
1. Take into Account the Age of the Child—Your starting point for determining a particular model’s age-appropriateness is the manufacturer’s recommendation. Online ads (or if you’re shopping a brick and mortar, the product’s packaging) should indicate a minimum age: “8 and up,” “ages 10 to adult,” “14 to adult” or “18 and up.” If the item is simply labeled “for beginners,” more research may be needed; some “beginner” planes are too difficult and unsafe for younger children to operate, even with grownup supervision. If in doubt, consult with someone at a good hobby store or reputable Internet RC forum who is familiar with that specific product.
2. Consider Where You Plan to Fly—Will you be indoors, outside or both? Will you fly in a backyard or vacant parking lot, or do you have access to a park or flying field? If you intend to fly mostly indoors, be sure the plane is primarily designed for that purpose. For just getting your feet wet, electric toy models can make good, fun starter planes. If you want to fly outdoors, you may want to opt for a bigger plane, but not one too large for your primary flying space. In terms of both size and speed (novices should not start out with very fast planes), park flyers are good choices for decent-sized yards or parks and also work for larger spaces such as flying fields.
3. Decide How Much You Will Spend—Since the answer to this drives all other considerations, it is the first thing you need to determine. Good park flyers and trainers are available for under $100.00, and toy planes for less than half that. My advice would be to start with a relatively inexpensive model and see how serious you are about RC flying; if one or both of you really get the bug, there will be plenty of time later to spend more on a fancier plane.
There are a bewildering number of options when it comes to choosing that first RC plane, but don’t be intimidated. Think about these tips, talk to folks at the hobby store, read a few online articles (just Google “RC planes for beginners”). Some exciting, memorable times are in store for you and your young person, so remember to have fun, stay safe, and keep it flying!
Venom Island Hopper Park Flyer
Electric RC Airplanes
RC Planes for Kids
Radio Control Toys