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RC aircraft starter kit models take center stage

RC aircraft factories are beefing up basic designs to increase the selection’s marketability.

China makers of hobby-grade RC aircraft are concentrating R&D efforts on beginner’s models.

RC airplane
This RC airplane from Shenzhen SDS boasts a symmetric aerofoil tail and a 4 to 6-channel transmitter.

Considering buyers remain budget-conscious despite the gradual economic recovery, manufacturers are keen on strengthening the quality and performance of these toys in the low end and midrange.

In line with this initiative, suppliers are incorporating new materials to enhance durability. For instance, fiberglass and carbon fiber are now employed in the fuselage rather than metal alloys or plastic. This not only improves impact resistance but also increases flexibility.

Moreover, factories are upgrading speed controllers to 40A and above variants. These have better heat-dissipating qualities that will help prolong the unit’s life span.

To boost flying time, companies are adopting large-capacity 2,200 to 3,000mAh batteries. RC helicopters with 3D maneuvers running on 2,200mAh power cells are said to operate three to four minutes longer than those incorporating regular 2,000mAh kinds. The latter lasts only two to three minutes in the air.

Further, these starter models come with 4 to 6-channel transmitters. Some designs are also capable of moving forward, backward, up, down, left, right and even upside-down.

Alternatively, a few specialized makers continue to create high-end versions, leveraging advanced features to justify elevated prices. Most releases are gasoline-powered and built larger to accommodate oil reserve requirements.

Quoted above $100, the units can perform flight tricks and simulate realistic action.

Products & Prices
Product gallery
Products & Prices

China-manufactured hobby-grade RC aircraft are available in RC airplane and RC helicopter models. These are further classified into battery-, nitromethane- and gasoline-powered designs.

Most planes have fixed wings and operate on three to six frequencies. Those with three channels can accelerate, and move up and down, while units capable of 4-channel transmission boast aileron controls for side-rolling motion. Moreover, 6-channel toys come with added features such as landing and spraying functions.

The RC aircraft are available in plastic or wood. The first is often in EPS, EPP or EPO, and measures 50 to 80cm long. The majority is battery-powered and priced from $50 to $400. Gasoline and nitromethane models start at $150.

Wooden releases adopt balsa, pine, paulownia or plywood. The toys are usually heavier and larger, spanning at least 80cm. A good number run on nitromethane or gasoline.

Compared with RC airplanes, RC helicopters boast more flight functions and even come in replica designs. As such, there is a greater demand for choppers, which account for 60 percent of output in the line.

The most basic units have nylon, ABS or metal alloy fuselage housings, two or three servos, and one or two gyroscopes. Carbon-brush and brushless motors and speed controllers are used.

Releases generally adopt 4 to 6-channel systems with a 300 to 800m range. The products can also move forward, backward, up, down, left, right and upside-down. These are between $30 and $150.

Upscale RC aircraft utilize brushless motors and speed regulators. They are capable of aerobatic motion and boast a transmission distance of at least 1,000m. Further, LED screens are employed on the handheld controllers.

Quoted from $151 to $300, midrange models are mainly almost-ready-to-fly or kit versions. Releases are available in nylon, EPS, EPO, carbon fiber and fiberglass. Measuring 30 to 60cm, these versions adopt 7 to 9-channel transmitters, at least three servos, and two or more gyroscopes.

High-end designs are often professional and competition-grade kits. Users can assemble and customize toy parts freely. Units are 60 to 80cm long and utilize stronger fiberglass and carbon fiber materials. The 9 to 14-channel control system also has an anti-interference function. The products reach $500.

China is the largest global manufacturer of hobby-grade RC aircraft, exporting 90 percent of its total yield. About 60 to 70 percent of output caters to beginners, including users just above 12 years old.

Hobby-grade RC helicopters price guide


RC helicopter
Product gallery

Amax Toys & Model

Model: 9802
MOQ: 5 cartons
Delivery: 15 days
Description: RC helicopter; two servos; LEDs; 4-channel transmitter; 100m control range; reaches 30m altitude; 10min flying time; 90min charging

RC helicopter

Hong Kong Gootch Industry Co. Ltd

Model: Helios 450V3
MOQ: 5 sets
Delivery: 10 days
Description: RC helicopter; carbon fiber; 2,825 or 3,500kV motor; 2.4GHz; 6-channel transmitter; 500 to 800m control distance;
8 to 12min flying time; 70min charging

RC helicopter

Hong Kong Gootch Industry Co. Ltd

Model: Helios 500
MOQ: 5 sets
Delivery: 10 days
Description: RC helicopter; carbon fiber; 3,720 or 1,100kV motor; 2.4GHz; 8-channel transmitter; 800 to 1,000m control distance; 8 to 12min flying time; 70min charging; 22.2V, 6S, 25C, 2,200mAh Li-polymer battery; 81x30cm; 890g

RC helicopter

Koko Technology Ltd

Model: BS308
MOQ: 5 sets
Delivery: 5 days
Description: RC helicopter; 2.4GHz; 50 to 100m control range; 8 to 10min flying time; 3.7V, 420mAh lithium battery

RC helicopter

Koko Technology Ltd

Model: S616
MOQ: 5 sets
Delivery: 5 days
Description: RC helicopter; carbon fiber;
3D flight; 2.4GHz; 300 to 500m control range; 8 to 10min flying time; 11.1V, 2,200mAh lithium battery

RC airplane

Shenzhen SDS Electric Co. Ltd

Model: AG309
MOQ: 50 sets
Delivery: 40 days
Description: RC airplane; carbon landing gear; symmetric aerofoil tail; anodized aluminum long arms; PU wheels; servo stapers; ball linkage control system; 3D flight; removable wings; 215cm body length with spinner, 205cm without spinner; 220.9cm wingspan; 6.8 to 7.9kg flying weight

RC airplane

Shenzhen SDS Electric Co. Ltd

Model: AG317
MOQ: 50 sets
Delivery: 40 days
Description: RC airplane; carbon fiber tube; carbon landing gear; symmetric aerofoil tail; PU wheels; ball linkage control system; cowl with ring; 3D flight; 4 to 6-channel transmitter; removable wings; premounted, painted canopy; no exposed screws; 176cm body length; 191.5cm wingspan; 4.2 to 4.8kg flying weight

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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