There are quite a few routes to follow if you want to start flying RC airplanes, and the individual will have to decide what route is correct for them; however I can try to help you decide by giving you the options.
o The first and easiest way is to simply buy a ready built airplane from somewhere like eBay or a local RC club member, the pitfalls are that you have no idea how well built the airplane is or how well it flies.
o Next up is the route most beginners choose and that is the “ready to fly” or RTF as it’s more commonly known. These can be sub divided into simple park flyers (available from toy shops) to the more serious RC airplanes available from your local hobby shop (most good hobby shops also have excellent websites). These are always supplied with all radio control equipment.
o Next is also a firm favourite with beginners who are a little bit more hands on, its known as “almost ready to fly” or ARTF sometimes called ARF. These airplanes are in kit form but much of the hard work has already been completed by the manufacturer, and only simple assembly is needed, often in the order of a few hours. They generally come supplied with radio control equipment. These simple assembly tasks are easily completed by the typical DIY enthusiast.
o True RC Kits are better for the intermediate to expert builder and consist of a Kit of parts and detailed plans to enable the home builder to complete every part of the build, but by including all parts in the Kit, further out sourcing is not required. This is the more traditional way of building your RC aeroplane and is very satisfying. You will be able to complete the kit with basic hand tools and a sturdy work bench. Obviously the time to build will depend on the complexity of the airplane and the free time available to the builder.
o The final route is scratch built, either from plans, or designed by the builder. Clearly this is the route taken by the expert modellers out there who will probably have completed many projects and will have a well set up workroom. Many plans are available on line as pdf’s and some are given as free gifts within specialist magazines, the sky really is the limit and you are only bound by your own imagination.
In summary the choices are as varied as our great hobby, I wish you luck with your next build and happy flying!