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Control Line and Free-Flight Models and Kits

Model airplanes can be a lot of fun to both build and fly. You can find models of historical airplanes or futuristic helicopters and drones. Whether you're an old pro or a beginner to this hobby, there are a number of models available to get you flying.

What is the difference between control line and free-flight airplanes?

A control line airplane has cables, which are usually steel-coated, that attach to the plane's wings. They allow the user to manipulate the height and path of the airplane manually when it's flying. A free-flying airplane is called that because the movement of the plane is free, usually controlled by remote. While this allows more freedom of movement in flight, it can also be harder to fly for a beginning user than a control line model.

What are some of the available options?

There are many variations between the models and kits, but here are a few key things to look for when selecting one:

  • Skill Level: When looking through models and kits, pay attention to the skill level required to both assemble and fly the plane. If you're a beginner, you don't want to pick an expert level kit that is overly complicated to assemble and fly. On the same note, an expert flyer will probably not want a plane that is already assembled or too simple in its controls.
  • Type of Flight Control: Control line planes will be guided by cables the user holds, while free-flight models are controlled by remote control. Each type requires different skill levels to fly.
  • Type of Plane: Model planes can be powered by fuel or rechargeable battery. Larger, heavier planes with engines run more efficiently on fuel, whereas the lightweight models are better run by battery. You can also find different types of aircraft, such as planes with a single propeller on the front of the model. There are also helicopters with two or more propellers and drones that can travel long distances. Some drones include cameras that will record what's beneath it. Each model aircraft is different in its construction and how it's controlled.
  • Intended Use: Keep in mind what you are looking for in a model airplane. If you simply want to construct a historically accurate model for your hobby, you may not want to fly it and risk damaging your work. If you want a plane to fly and have fun with, you'll want a model that can withstand some bumps and falls, such as one made of balsa.
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