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Editor Picks: Best Biplanes

Editor Picks: Best Biplanes

Back in the dawn of aviation, two wings were necessary to form a strong, wire-reinforced structure that was still light enough for the meager power systems used to propel them. Today, the latest biplane designs are simply amazing and are used for everything from crop dusting to unlimited aerobatics. For the RC bipe guys, it just doesn’t get any better. Forget about rigging and setting up a pair of wings, all these new ARFs have little if any assembly and setup work. Whether you’re looking for a backyard dawn-patrol dogfighter or a micro acrobat, we’ve got you covered. When it comes to having fun, two wings are definitely better than one — and without further ado, we give our top 10 picks for RC biplanes!

Flyzone Albatros D.V WWI Micro EP RTF

NOVICE

One of our favorite WW I airplanes, this Albatros is a fun-to-fly, rugged park flyer. Featuring molded foam construction, the Albatros comes out of the box with authentic WW I red and white trim scheme and molded plastic details and foam wheels with metal axle. It has a fair amount of bottom-wing dihedral, and the top wing is also molded. This gives the micro biplane a nice undemanding stability that let us concentrate on steering around basketball hoops and bleachers in a tight gymnasium.

Specifications

  • Model: Albatros D.V
  • Type: WW I Micro
  • Manufacturer: Flyzone (flyzoneplanes.com)
  • Distributed by: Great Planes (greatplanes.com)
  • Wingspan: 14.5 in.
  • Weight: 1.1 oz.
  • Price: $89.99 (RTF) 69.98 (Tx-R)

 

Flyzone Dr.1 WW I Micro

Best Dogfighter

NOVICE

This micro Fokker Triplane is the perfect addition to anyone itching for a famous WW I fighter. It comes completely ready to fly out of the box and we found that it looks great both indoors as well as outside over the flying field in calm wind conditions. Even though the Triplane does not have ailerons, it can do some lively dogfight moves that any 3-channel plane can handle. Loops are easy and we could climb and zoom around with a fairly recognizable wing over in a gym with a high ceiling.

Specifications

  • Model: Dr.1 WW I Micro
  • Type: Transmitter-ready Micro
  • Manufacturer: Flyzone (flyzoneplanes.com)
  • Distributor: Great Planes (greatplanes.com)
  • Wingspan: 14.1 in.
  • Weight: 1.27 oz.
  • Price: $79.99

 

Multiplex Gemini

NOVICE

Molded from Elapor foam, the Gemini is quick to build, fast to rig, and very rugged. In addition to its attractive molded lines and flying surfaces that have simulated drooped c-overing over ribs on the upper portions, the Gemini’s control surfaces are attached via Elapor hinges that run the entire length of each surface. The Gemini is designed to accept various motors and battery types, and it has a light wing loading for low landing speeds. We found that it has overall excellent flying characteristics and ground handling. The Gemini can be dismantled quickly for easy transport.

Specifications

  • Model: Gemini
  • Type: Sport Biplane ARF
  • Manufacturer: Multiplex(multiplexusa.com)
  • Distributed by: Hitec RCD (hitecrcd.com)
  • Wingspan: 36.22 in.
  • Weight: 32.16 oz.
  • Price: $106.98

 

Durafly HyperBipe PNF

Best Sport Flyer

ADVANCED

Best Sport Flyer

With its vivid paint scheme, modern styling, powerful brushless power system and lightweight, durable EPO construction, the HyperBipe is a fantastic sports model that is capable of extreme 3D and pattern flying. Being designed for aerobatics means neutral stability in our mind, and that’s how we found the HyperBipe to be. It’s fast, responds quickly to control inputs, and doesn’t self-correct, so you have to fly it the whole time. Quick and easy assembly gets you in the air hyper-fast!

Specifications

  • Model: HyperBipe
  • Type: Sport Aerobat
  • Manufacturer: Durafly
  • Distributed by: Hobby King (hobbyking.com)
  • Wingspan: 35.4 in.
  • Length: 35.4 in.
  • Weight: 21.8 oz.
  • Price: $107.41

 

Flyzone Nieuport 17 Micro EP

NOVICE

Made famous to a new generation of WW I enthusiasts by the movie Fly Boys, the Nieuport 17 was one of the French’s most popular fighters. This micro backyard flyer is made from molded foam and comes with a replica engine, pilot bust, machine gun and an authentic WW I trim scheme. In calm conditions, the Nieuport is a joy to fly: it’s very stable and easy to control (we also tried to fly on a windier day and do not recommend you try this!). It’s stable enough to be anyone’s second airplane.

Specifications

  • Model: Nieuport 17
  • Type: RTF WW I Micro
  • Manufacturer: Flyzone (flyzoneplanes.com)
  • Distributed by: Hobbico (hobbico.com)
  • Wingspan: 15.3 in.
  • Weight: 1.16 oz.
  • Price: $99.98 (RTF); $79.99 (Tx-R)

 

Alien Aircraft Stearman PT-17

INTERMEDIATE

We enjoy the convenience of ARFs, but we also enjoy building a good laser-cut kit like this one. All the wood parts feature tab-and-notch construction for quick assembly, and the 3D CAD-designed model has accurate plans. We flew ours with the stock power system from Alien and found that the PT-17 has an excellent power-to-weight ratio and its flight characteristics were undemanding for the intermediate pilot. It is more fragile than a molded ARF foamie, but its slow landing speeds minimize chances of any real damage if operated from a grass runway.

Specifications

  • Model: Stearman PT-17
  • Type: WW II Primary Trainer Kit
  • Manufacturer: Alien Aircraft (alienaircraft.com)
  • Wingspan: 34 in.
  • Length: 25.5 in.
  • Weight: 24 oz.
  • Price: $109.99 (kit) $197.99 (Deluxe Combo)

 

E-flite Stearman PT-17 15E

INTERMEDIATE

We love the rugged looks of this easy-to-assemble WW II classic! It features balsa and light plywood construction and is covered with UltraCote in the authentic yellow and blue early-WW II trim. Scale details include a painted fiberglass cowl, fiberglass landing gear fairings, and a dummy 9-cylinder dummy radial engine. This built-up model is big enough that it can be flown in all types of weather conditions: we even flew this one on a gusty fall afternoon without incident. It has excellent control response and it has a pilot-friendly wing loading. It handles nicely and can easily perform basic barnstormer aerobatics with the best of them.

Specifications

  • Model: Stearman PT-17
  • Type: WW II Primary Trainer ARF
  • Manufacturer: E-flite (e-fliterc.com)
  • Distributed by: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
  • Wingspan: 44 in.
  • Weight: 3.7 lb.
  • Price: $214.99

 

E-flite UMX Beast Basic with AS3X

INTERMEDIATE

Power and performance in a micro package? Sign us up! Equipped with AS3X stability, the Beast has all of the aerobatic performance of its giant scale cousin. Snapping maneuvers are crisp and inverted flight is almost effortless. When it comes to knife-edge flight and snap rolls, this micro has what it takes.

Specifications

  • Model: UMX Beast 3D Basic
  • Type: Bind-N-Fly Micro Aerobatic
  • Manufacturer: E-flite (e-fliterc.com)
  • Distributed by: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
  • Wingspan: 14.7 in.
  • Weight: 2.36 oz.
  • Price: $139.99

 

E-flite UMX Pitts S-1S BNF

INTERMEDIATE

No doubt about it, we love this all-American aerobat! It comes completely built out of the box and features carbon-fiber, reinforced lightweight foam construction. It’s fully aerobatic right out of the box — no special tweaks or transmitter mixes required. Scale-type aerobatics are its specialty; it has a presence and feel of a larger model thanks to AS3X flight stability. We flew our Pitts off a smooth runway and it took off and landed easily. At slow speeds it is extremely stable and easy to handle.

Specifications

  • Model: Pitts S-1S
  • Type: BNF Basic Micro Aerobat
  • Manufacturer: E-flite (e-fliterc.com)
  • Distributed by: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
  • Wingspan: 17.1 in.
  • Weight: 3.2 oz.
  • Price: $124.99

 

Precision Aerobatics Ultimate AMR

Best 3D Aerobat

ADVANCED

This amazing 3D-capable aerobat features unique FiberFusion construction for incredible lightweight yet rugged and more ridged construction. We found it very easy to assemble, as the wings and ailerons are pre-hinged and sealed at the factory as are the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. CNC-machined, carbon-fiber cabane and strut tabs are preinstalled in the wings for accuracy. CA hinges already pre-glued on the rudder side. We found it capable of full-on 3D aerobatic performance and it has a wide speed envelope. Hovers, torque rolls, Harriers and blenders are what the Ultimate AMR biplane is all about.

Specifications

  • Model: Ultimate AMR
  • Type: 3D Aerobat
  • Manufacturer: Precision Aerobatics (precisionaerobatics.com)
  • Wingspan: 40 in.
  • Weight: 38.4 oz.
  • Price: $249.95
Updated: July 20, 2015 — 12:23 PM

13 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Why all electric ? There are still some of us who do not own, and do not plan to own, an electric plane.

  2. You missed one. The Waco biplane with 50″ wingspan from Nitroplanes is an incredible flyer and value. I have been flying R/C for well over 50 years. The little foam Waco is the BEST flying plane I have ever had. It will perform any maneuver you have the nerve to do. It comes fully equipped, just add your receiver and battery. It is also incredibly priced at only $140. You have to search for WAKO on the nitroplanes website because somebody doesn’t know how to spell. Haha

  3. Forgot the Dreamer

  4. Why all so small? I enjoy the 60 in + WS Bipes. Bigger is better and can ne seen better. I have a 71 in 50cc bipe, and a giant Tiger Moth. All electric and they fly great. 🙂

  5. You left out the Dehaviland tiger moth

  6. I agree with the previous comments. While these are great little electric planes, there are nitro and gas power bipes that are a blast. My GP Ultimate is an awesome flying plane. Smooth as a pattern plane and almost lands itself. Too bad the editor has a narrow view in the hobby.

  7. You could have saved me some time if your ‘header’ read; ‘Best Little Bitty Electric Biplanes’, I wouldn’t have wasted time reading about these ‘worthless toys’!

    1. I fly both large and small. If you are not flying some of these so called toys, you are the only one missing out. And by the way fellas..isn’t this the electric flight page ??

      1. Touché ;).. Man what’s wrong with these people it’s like they wake up angry

  8. Bruce, i think you dont disserve to be part of the ´´hobby’´ , you dont understand
    Too bad

  9. well I would have liked to seen more on some parkflyer size bipes and a little less on the flyzone micros. I do give credit to Flyzone for making WWI micros as they are my favorite micro subject.

    The Roc Hobby WACO YMF-5 is a great flying bipe parkflyer that can fly smooth and slow, or increase the throws, and get crazy. I would like to add that to your recommendations if I may.

    I love biplanes, my hangar is mostly biplanes.

    ~Don

  10. great review thanks

  11. It’s NOT about what or which is best. It’s about a lot of folks moving indoors to fly due to winter (hence, all the “little” planes) and what needs to be moved at Christmas.

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