5 Trainer Planes All Beginners Should Consider

Find out what airplane you should learn to fly with.

Ares Decathlon 350

5 of the Best Trainer Planes Available Today

Every pilot was a newbie at some point. We all had to learn and crash and learn some more until flying became second nature. The time it takes to get the hang of it can vary depending on the individual, but typically younger kids who have great eye hand coordination from playing video games seem to pick it up very quickly. Guys who have flown real airplanes for years seem to take longer than most to get the feel for it. That's a generalization, but I've seen many many pilots have trouble getting the reverse control direction down when flying towards yourself. They are used to being inside the airplane where left is always left.

Trainer planes have come a long way as r/c technology has advanced. Years ago the only way to fly was to buy a kit in the form of a box of wood, spend a month or so building it and then go out to your local club to have someone help you with your training. More times than not, that plane would end up on the ground in a great big pile of sticks during the first flight. Next came ARF's or Almost Ready to Fly planes. These were pre-built and covered and you simply had to install the electronics and power system. It greatly reduced the time to get your model ready so you could spend more time training. After that came RTF's or Ready to Fly planes. These were usually electric powered and came pretty much ready to go out of the box with some minor assembly. Over the last few years we've seen a surge of stabilization technology like Horizon Hobby's AS3X and SAFE systems that can keep the plane flying level and even help to prevent crashes. If you are reading this and have never flown an r/c aircraft, don't be intimidated. Flying a model airplane is a rewarding and extremely fun and addicting hobby. When you are ready to give it shot, these are some of the best trainer planes you can buy.

1. HobbyZone Sport Cub S RTF with SAFE« Technology

The Sport Cub S RTF is a small parkflyer with some great technology inside to make learning to fly easy. It not only flys great and is stable, but the SAFE system will help keep it in the air so you can fly more and repair less. When you do crash, the lightweight airframe handles it well and in most cases, you simply pick it up and keep going.

Learn more about the Sport Cub S RTF at Horizon Hobby.

2. Hitec SkyScout R2GO

The SkyScout may not look like a traditional airplane, but it does make a great trainer. This design is well proven and handles great in the air. It's a pusher meaning the motor is behind the wing and this protects the prop if you nose it in on a bad landing. It will just bounce and you can keep flying.

Learn more about the SkyScout R2GO at Hitec.

3. Ares Decathlon 350

The Decathlon 350 is based on the real airplane, but this one is made for first time pilots. It will even hang with you as you get braver with aerobatics. It has a stabilization system that keeps the plane level and has a few modes that will allow you to progress your skills.

Learn more about the Decathlon 350 at Ares.

4. Flyzone Playmate

The Playmate is a micro sized plane that is great for training. It's so light that is doesn't carry much mass or inertia into a crash meaning you can keep flying even with some mishaps. It's got an old school nostalgia feel and will make a great choice for your first airplane.

Learn more about the Playmate at FlyZone.

5. Telemaster 40 V2 Kit

This last one is for the more adventurous hobbyists out there. Telemasters are known for their great flying characteristics and they have trained a great number of pilots over the years. This is a laser cut kit that makes it easy for first time builders to put it together and enjoy the process of building your very own model airplane.

Learn more about the Telemaster 40 V2 at Hobby Express.

Don't agree with something on this list? Let us know what your favorite 5 trainer airplane list looks like in the comments below.

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Mar 03, 2015, 12:28 PM
I Fly!
jrtubb's Avatar

Good Start


As a club instructor, I usually ask people who show interest at our field what kind of starting budget they want to stick with first. If they have limited budget I point them to the micros safe cub or the Hobbyzone Duet. I usually let them know they don't need to join a club with such a small plane but as long as they have AMA I can help them out as a guest first until they decide if they want to make a bigger commitment financial.

For $200-$300 I usually point them to the Hobbyzone line of planes I like the new updated Super Cub S with SAFE and the Delta Ray also is very economical.

For $300 and up I like the Eflite Apprentice S15e with SAFE. I know you can get a Apprentice for RTF for $299, but I like to remind new pilots they really need to have 3-4 batteries and a good charger as part of their budget. Since the Apprentice has larger batteries I point out they are probably going to be spending an additional $100 to get a few batteries.

I take working with people interested in RC flying very seriously and think spending time going over all the cost is important. I always try to pitch club membership and volunteer to help with any setup or instruction then need too.
Mar 03, 2015, 02:06 PM
Other side of Your Screen
SilverSport's Avatar
I am a new member here, first post I believe (couldn't find a new member area).

I just got back into RC 23 years after spending 2 years with Glow RC. I did take advice and bought the Sim and practiced. After 2 months decided on the Apprentice S over the Super Cub. I had an experienced pilot take it up for maiden and trim it out, I flew it and I landed it. I think it is the easiest to fly trainer, sure wish the one I had 25 years ago trained me to fly as well, it did train me to rebuild and make balsa toothpicks though. I fly it in expert mode almost exclusively now, but started in intermediate. I agree with jr, another $200 is needed for batteries and charger, although I spent way more.
Mar 03, 2015, 02:35 PM
I Fly!
jrtubb's Avatar
Welcome to RC groups! I had a new studant the other week, I believe he was 12-13 or so, he was doing great with his Apprentice and just had a ball flying. He really got a big kick out of my son flying his warbirds too and it was great to see them fly together.

The Apprentice is a great trainer, I've worked with several new pilots and they all progress very fast. Most are able to take off and land by themselves within 2-3 batteries. and comfortable to be off the buddy box by their 2nd to 3rd time out.
Mar 03, 2015, 04:47 PM
Closed Account
In my opinion the HZ CHAMP is probably the Best plane ever made for the first time flyer.

It can be flown almost anywhere, and it is extremely durable.

For one to actually learn orientation and how a plane maneuvers , I believe there is None better.

I call it a Reality Sim .

The Sport Cub mentioned above is close to it .

I also believe the HZ Super Cub is another excellent plane for one to learn to fly...it can take a pounding and keep flying. Extremely durable , especially for the Beginner and It also is now equipped with SAFE Technology , which makes it even better for the Beginner.

The Apprentice is another one also the perfect Beginners plane.

I do not own a Apprentice, but it's SAFE Rx, works great in multiple styles of airframes .
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...+another+plane

seems SAFE Technology has made almost ANY Plane a beginner style plane

They even have the Corsair with SAFE.....and low wing planes are normally not a Beginners plane to start with, the SAFE Technology helps that allot.
Mar 03, 2015, 06:34 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
I had the pleasure of reviewing the Ares Decathlon for RCGroups:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2326203

Fantastic little plane for beginners and with the flight stabilization switched off, it's a smoking little aerobatic model for any skill level.

Simply stated, it flies like a dream and new pilots are very unlikely to outgrow it.
Mar 03, 2015, 07:20 PM
Registered User
Matt Gunn's Avatar
I taught my wife to fly on the Champ. It's a great platform for the complete noob! ( sorry dear)
Mar 03, 2015, 07:46 PM
Registered User
I learned on the Duet, great little plane. Only thing with Duet and DR(Delta Ray) is you don't learn how to use a rudder. I'll throw in the UMX Radian as a FANTASTIC starter plane, only plane I have never crashed!

I went from the Duet to the T28 and that did not work out, heh, so went to the DR next. The DR is an amazing plane that will stay with a beginer for quite sometime. I still fly it and matter of fact it's my FPV platform it flies great in wind and very stable. Then from DR went back to the T28, then to Bix3.

I've become a yank and bank type pilot, I think because I had two planes without a true rudder. It's a reason I have the UMX Radian to learn Rudder. The Radian is a pure joy to fly.
Last edited by Rain1dog; Mar 03, 2015 at 07:54 PM.
Mar 03, 2015, 09:51 PM
Other side of Your Screen
SilverSport's Avatar
I have heard lots praise of the UMX Radian and the Champ, many told me not to get champ because it is not a brushless motor. Well, I gave a Champ to my 12yo nephew and bought the UMX Radian to fly when I trek 45 miles out to visit and teach him. Too bad the weekends have been too windy for the Champ or just miserable and rainy since Christmas. I hope to get him in the air sometime this month.
Last edited by SilverSport; Mar 03, 2015 at 11:41 PM.
Mar 03, 2015, 10:21 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSport
I have hear praise of the UMX Radian andthe Champ, many told me not to get champ because it is not a brushless motor. Well, I gave a Champ to my 12yo nephew and bought the UMX Radian to fly when I trek 45 miles out to visit and teach him. Too bad the weekends have been too windy for the Champ or just miserable and rainy since Christmas. I hope to get him in the air sometime this month.
Brushless aren't so bad for beginers. They typically aren't as zippy/fast as brushed motors. When your starting off learning to fly 3 or 4 channel planes, speed kills. You want a plane that will not cause anxiety, rather peaceful to fly, and sets a new pilot up for success. When I went from the Duet to the T28, it's the speed at which the plane reacted to my control inputs is what killed it. I was playing catch up the entire time in flight. I wouldn't suggest a fast plane until you can instinivly fly without thinking. Working out dual rates and very importantly expo.

So in the beginning whenever anyone recommends a certain plane from your explained skill level take it into consideration. 99.9% of the people on this forum are fantastic with helping and wanting to see you succeed! A brushed set up is a fantastic beginer set up speed wise, focus on how to control your craft first. Don't rush it no matter how great the urge. The fun in this hobby is the progression and how not easy it is to fly. Be prepared to crash a lot, and becoming a repairman(which is great fun to, and esstisnal skill for the hobby). I can't explain just how great it is to progress to the next level and to be able to fly a plane which 3 months before was just a dream. Your in for a real treat if you stick with it.

I just got to FPV flight and just, wow! It's almost as if your in the plane as the pilot, so much fun. I'm about 6-7 months in with almost daily flying. The Duet, Delta Ray, T-28, UMX Radian, FT Mustang(built it-never flew), The Noob Tube, Skipper, and also Multirotors(350qx2, 180qx, Nano qx). So much fun!!

BTW I live in Kenner, and FiancÚ in covington. Yes we have had horrible weather. This week and next week much of the same! We also have a few flight clubs in the area!
Mar 03, 2015, 11:17 PM
Other side of Your Screen
SilverSport's Avatar
Nephew in Mandeville, only available Sundays .... haven't had a good one in a while, but last weekend came close .... stupid Weather Apps said it would be bad that whole day. ... but were wrong just like for MardiGras weekend. I fly at spillway. Too bad I have something 5 days a week that keeps me from flying .... I need to find a place near work to fly the radian umx after work when the days get longer.
Mar 04, 2015, 08:40 AM
I Fly!
jrtubb's Avatar
Great post, speed is the biggest problem and if you are chasing the controls you are over your head. I've tried Corsair by HH, and that is the problem, speed. I think it is fine with a instructor but I'm not sold on it as a by yourself learning trainer based on my experience with it, second plane would be perfect and in fact probably better then the very popular PZ T-28.
Mar 04, 2015, 09:04 AM
Registered User
This is a great thread! I'm about to buy my first plane within the next few weeks and have had my head set on the Eflite Apprentice S15e with SAFE just because the last few airfields I have came across it seems to be the trainer of choice. But we travel fulltime in a motorhome around the country and I see a few of the planes mentioned above are much smaller and may make storing it while traveling easier. Plus maybe be easier to find places to fly, not everyplace we visit has an airfield in the area because we love remote areas.
I take it the smaller planes would be effected by wind much more than say the Apprentice?
Mar 04, 2015, 09:15 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdrider
This is a great thread! I'm about to buy my first plane within the next few weeks and have had my head set on the Eflite Apprentice S15e with SAFE just because the last few airfields I have came across it seems to be the trainer of choice. But we travel fulltime in a motorhome around the country and I see a few of the planes mentioned above are much smaller and may make storing it while traveling easier. Plus maybe be easier to find places to fly, not everyplace we visit has an airfield in the area because we love remote areas.
I take it the smaller planes would be effected by wind much more than say the Apprentice?

Keep in mind the Radian, it's the only plane I've flown 35 plus never crashed it or lost control of it. Has pretty good power, can fly for days, very peaceful to fly. I'd recommend the Radian as a great trainer.
Mar 04, 2015, 09:29 AM
I Fly!
jrtubb's Avatar
I believe Rain1dog is recommending the UMX Radian, the fullsize Radian is much different and needs space to land. The full size Radian isn't hard to fly and makes a good trainer too, but will probably need to have someone help you with it.

For hdrider, keep in mind the reason you see the Apprentice 15e so much is because it is a truly good trainer. Having a bigger trainer is easier to see and has less issues with wind. the UMX with AS3X are great especially since they help with wind, but moving from a UMX to a full size plane will be different. I look at UMX planes as great planes to have to practice on when I can't get to the field to fly my bigger RC planes. If space is really an issue for the Apprentice, then consider the Super Cub S with Safe and AS3X.

http://www.amazon.com/HobbyZone-Supe.../dp/B00OO3D3JE

Order 2-3 of these batteries and you should be all set
http://www.valuehobby.com/power-syst...ah-3s-ec3.html

Of course you could get the UMX Radian too and the Super Cub for the price of an Apprentice, which thinking about it is a nice package to have to learn on. Oh anouther cool thing about the Super Cub is adding the floats for $20 later makes it a nice plane for those lakes you are probably near Just don't go to floats until you are flying awhile and are not crashing anymore, cashing in the water adds addition issues and cost They work in the snow too!

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...ostcount=16466


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