My experience with Radio Control Airplanes has been quite colorful. I have sampled most types of RC airplanes in order to make an informed decision about what areas of RC I really liked. So I tried it all and, for a time, found little challenge in RC because of working with control line and free flight airplanes. My interest in it stems from the fact that it is the closest thing to really flying airplanes that I could find.
It was a popular pastime for many modelers in the 1980's and the RC club had model builders that were far more skilled than me. The club environment gave me an opportunity to learn model aviation from the best model people out there at that time. Airplanes in this category were, at first glance, fantastic machines and looked good no matter how well they were made. The greatest thing about them was that they were big, and over the years just got bigger. It is in this area of the hobby that most people want to begin their journey in model aviation. Often they see the ready-made airplanes, which take very little assembly, and assume that that's all there is to RC. What they don't realize is that there are still choices that are much broader than what is commercially available.
Now, there is certainly a need for the ARFs (almost-ready-to-fly) & the RTFs (ready-to-fly) airplanes but the essence of model aviation is lost with these products.
I have always built from either plans or kits and have found that “there is
nothing more satisfying than flying a model you built yourself”.
I will break down the four areas of RC that I have sampled over the years, Trainers, Sport, Aerobatic and Sailplanes, and go over the nature of each as it relates to construction, assembly and flying. This way you will be able to see that the time associated in construction and creation is as rewarding as flying. Model aviation is a balance between the relationships in building and flying.
Flying is a confirmation that all the things you did in designing and building your plane worked as predicted.