I address this post to RC newbies. The post will be supplemented and edited from time to time.
I wrote this post to explain to you the terms and the basics of how to fly a factory- or a handmade RC plane. Now, the basic RC hobby terms:
A propeller

The minimum of what a beginner should know is that every prop has diameter and pitch. Both are measured in inches; it is also important that every prop is tailored to a certain model. If you want your plane to be slow, choose a low-pitch prop (XXx4.7, for example). Each prop type serves a certain purpose. For instance, Slow Fly is good for low speed flying, while Sport is pretty fast. Propellers are mounted on a prop saver or a collet type adapter. These will be discussed later.
A brushless motor:

Please, note that brushed motors used to be the only popular motor type – featuring brushes and a commutator; however, in certain models they have taken a backseat to brushless motors. They are more lightweight and user-friendlier and therefore have long since replaced brushed ones (see Wikipedia for details). I advise beginners to buy full packs including a collet/prop saver with rubber bands, a motor mount with bolts and gold plated ESC connectors. Each motor is designed for a battery with a specified number of cells (ex. 1-3S) , as well as for certain no-load and full-load current, and can be tested with certain prop types. It is also important not to use props, which are too big and heavy for the motor, because the motor and the ESC may burn down.

An Electronic Speed Controller (ESC):

It should be noted that electronic speed controllers’ (ESC) mission is to… control speed :) When choosing an ESC (it is selected to fit the maximum current consumed by the motor), one should take into account exaggerated amperage parameters set by the Chinese. For example, if you see 20A written on an ESC, it may in fact be for 15A direct current. Let’s see an example, when a motor requires an ESC with a maximum of 20A, and to that you should add a minimum of 5A and have a total of 25A direct current. Also, most ESCs have a built-in Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC) that supplies power to the onboard receiver and servos. In the old days of electric flight you had to use a separate 4.8V battery pack to power your receiver and servos. As the hobby evolved, speed controlers started to include Battery Eliminator Circuits to power your receiver and servos, allowing you to get rid of the extra receiver battery pack.


All flight control surfaces are servo-guided. Servos are selected according to a model type, and often required servo types are specified in model description. It should be remembered that servo power for a trainer should equal or slightly exceed the model’s weight. An aerobatic model requires twice higher servo power for the ailerons and the elevator and twice-and-a-half higher for the rudder. The current take for servos is about 10g/500mA; 50g/1.2A.

A battery:

Lately, Nano-Tech lipo packs have become more attractive in terms of discharge rate, and they provide more current than common lipos, although they are recharged in the same way as other lipo types. Choose a battery according to your planned flight duration. Capacity is measured in mA/hour (for example, 1300mA/hour). Discharge current characterizes the current the battery can produce without detriment to the equipment and is expressed in capacity multiplied by C rate. For example, 1.3*25(50)=32.5A for direct and 65A for burst current. It is more advisable to use a battery, whose capacity exceeds the motor’s intake; for instance, you’d better buy a 50-60A battery to power a 40A motor. However, high-capacity batteries weigh more.

Generic balancing charger:

It only balances and charges lipos.

Also, a ‘smart’ charger

You can read all info in the leaflet. It is advisable to buy a ‘smart’ charger, because you often have to put your lipos in storage mode. Charging current should be matched to the battery’s capacity. For example, a 2,200mA/h battery requires 2.2A charging current.

A simulator is every beginner’s best friend!
Hobbyking 6CH RC Flight Simulator System (Mode 2)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/382059/

A remote control with a disk with simulators on it is the simplest solution. Also, you can choose USB connection: USB Simulator Cable RealFlight G4.5
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/102825/

Now I’d like to tell you about trainers, which you can buy at a store:
Models are packaged in different ways: KIT, ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) and RTF (Ready To Fly).
Bixler v1.1 EPO 1400mm (RTF Mode 2 Throttle Left Radio)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/103989/

This one is fully ready to fly, all you need to get are AA batteries for the transmitter. Bixler is very popular both among beginners and experienced hobbyists thanks to its simplicity and integrity. Circling will be an unforgettable and precious experience for a novice. After a few falls he/she will know all mistakes and won’t make them next time.

You can build your own model, as there are tons of drafts and descriptions on the Internet. Most novices choose Cessna-150.

If you have learned to fly well and would like to try an aerobatic, choose an EPP airplane, because EPP is more crash-resistant than balsa.
I recommend this one just for a start: YAK54 EPP 3D Profile KIT (35.4in)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/102999/

It is good for outdoor use on a no-wind or moderately windy day. Here are the parts:

HXT900 Micro Servo 1.6kg / 0.12sec / 9g
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/662/
- 4pcs (plus an extra one just in case)

Turnigy nano-tech 1300mah 3S 25~50C Lipo Pack
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/101041/
- a good one for an aerobatic

Turnigy AE-20A Brushless ESC
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/101182/

GWS Style Slowfly Propeller 9x4.7 Black (CCW) (5pcs)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/9845/

Also, you need a transmitter

If you are sure your plane won’t crash during your first flight, you can get a balsa 3D plane:
ZH Yak55 EP ARF 44.4inch
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/6511/

One reason why Yak-55 is better than Yak-54 is a longer tail and therefore higher maneuverability. Here is a list of parts:
Turnigy™ XGD-11HMB Digital Servo - DS Mini Servo 3.0kg / 0.12sec / 11g
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/522694/
4pcs (plus one extra just in case)

Turnigy G32 Brushless Outrunner 770kv
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/102342/
not cheap, but really nasty

TURNIGY Plush 60amp Speed Controller w/BEC
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/2166/
no problem with this one

Turnigy nano-tech 2200mah 3S 35~70C Lipo Pack
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/101016/
not cheap, but really nasty

TGS Precision Sport Propeller 12x6 (1pc)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/7960/

Many novices are worried about the choice of a transmitter. Well, see how rich you are and for how long you are going to be a RC hobbyist!
A four or six-channel HK used to be the most popular one with a range of 300m. It is quite enough for a foam plane or a F3P.
Hobby King 2.4Ghz 4Ch Tx & Rx V2 (Mode 2)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/8338/
Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx & Rx V2 (Mode 2)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/9042/

However, after new four and six-channel Turnigies appeared, HK often went +↑
Turnigy 4X FHSS 2.4ghz Transmitter and Receiver (Mode 2)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/462540/

The difference does not seem big, but the most pleasing thing about it is that it is powered by four AA batteries.
However, Turnigy9х won’t give in, it is great for a beginner and it will work like clock until it finally comes apart in your hands))
Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2 Firmware)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/8992/
Turnigy 9X LCD Backlight Kit - White (DIY)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/103857/
with backlit display
Turnigy 9X 2.4GHz 8Ch Receiver (V2)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/100835/
Hobby King 2.4Ghz Receiver 6Ch V2
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/101054/
a lightweight six-channel receiver
HobbyKing® ™ GT-2 2.4Ghz Receiver 3Ch
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/10625/
a three-channel receiver for hovercraft and hand-launch gliders.

Both beginners and expert hobbyists need a tool kit, which make their RC hobbyist lives easier.

A multimeter comes first.
Turnigy 870E Digital Multimeter w/Backlit Display
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/537676/

You can use it to measure voltage in battery cells, as well as in lots of household items. It may be easier to buy one at your local store.

A prop balancer is a must-have thing, and there are tons of them, both factory- and hand-made, available via the Internet.
Simple Prop Balancer
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/167453/
Simple Hand Propeller Balancer Alloy (2pcs/bag)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/149599/

An unbalanced propeller may cause bearings to vibrate and, consequently, lead to poor motor functioning. The vibration impacts the entire plane and affects flight; if your plane features a stabilization system, it may break down due to the vibration.

I’m convinced that every hobbyist must have a screwdriver kit, which should include different bits. Please, remember that it is better to have a really good and reliable thing instead of a one-size-fits-all piece.
Turnigy 6 in 1 Multi Tool - Flat/Phillip/Hex (1.5/2.0/2.5/3.0mm)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/319993/

There’s one thing I’d like to say about low voltagr alarms. They beep when voltage drops below the normal 3.3V.
HobbyKing™ Lipoly Low Voltage Alarm (2s~4s)
Product http://www.rcfair.com/en/product/114335/

This is the translated version. You can read the original Russian article here.