A big decision in your next purchase of an airplane is the power source. You are going to find that new models are designed around electric power while others can be powered by glow or gas engines. Either way might have advantages, but this one is really up to just how you want to build and fly your model. If you already have the engine or motor for the model, then your decision will be based on whether the model is a good match for your power system. If you don’t have the motor, then your choices are not as limited. You might even consider converting a glow-powered airplane to electric power.
As you start focusing on the airplanes that are most interesting to you, it becomes important to make sure that the radio you have will offer the channels and programming features to support the requirements of the airplanes. Or maybe you need to buy a new radio as well? You may find that as your skill level is increasing, you will be looking at radios having the features to support your new skills. If this hobby is becoming a major interest in your life, a radio with advanced features will not limit your abilities with any of the models you choose.
RTF models generally come with radios having limited features but capable of flying most training airplanes. They are somewhat limited for use in more advanced models but offer excellent value for smaller park flying models while keeping cost to a minimum.
A place to fly your models can become something of a major consideration. Will you expect to fly your new model at a local park or do you have access to a larger field where you can fly just about any kind of model? RC flying clubs offer controlled flying sites with open areas that support larger or faster models. Parks might be large enough for some models but will require electric power to keep the sound level reasonable for the neighbors. The field you have available will probably define the kind of model you are going to fly there.
- Larger airplanes with engine power will usually require a larger flying field. This is pretty straightforward but you would be surprised to find how much area your model can cover when it is flying. The important thing here is to be sure that if your engine or battery should die, then you will have a good place to land the model when it is too far from the runway. The local RC club will have a good site and offer the chance to talk "airplanes" with many other people of the same "mind."
- Smaller electric models easily fit smaller flying sites and give you the chance to fly airplanes without having to travel considerable distances to a flying field. Most of these airplanes fly great and are easy to keep in the near vicinity to you while in the air. Most people have both kinds of models, so they can fly in the park or club field whenever the opportunity comes up. This is a good reason to buy a smaller airplane even if you are mainly into building larger models. Besides, airplane guys like all airplanes, it doesn’t matter what size they are.