Before explaining the difference between all models, here’s something you should know: All big models need to be assembled, no matter what they’re called but some require more effort than others. Small RC Planes are the only models that might come perfectly ready to use.
RTF means Ready To Fly. When it comes to Foam RTFs, they are perfect for beginners because they are easy to assemble, cheaper and great for practice.These models include the plane with the motor, servos, and ESC already in place. It also includes the radio, receiver, battery, and charger. RTFs only need some basic final assembly for example, gluing the wing to the fuselage, fixing the tail and placing the landing gear in place. In other words, it’s a simple puzzle.
ARF means Almost Ready to Fly. If it’s a Foam ARF plane, then you need to install the radio control gear and the motor (Electric Power – EP) that are not included with the plane. So, you need to purchase them separately. If it’s a Balsa ARF plane such as the Seagull in the picture below, then you need to purchase the engine(Gas or Nitro), radio control gear and a few other accessories depending on the brand in order to fly it.
PNP means Plug and Play. So what is that? A Foam Plug-N-Play electric RC Plane has the motor(EP), servos and ESC installed but is still missing the radio, receiver, battery pack and charger. It means that you still need to purchase what’s missing separately. This option is good for people who have a full featured radio with model memory (the ability to fly and save multiple planes using one radio) and for the ones that already have their own radio, batteries and charger, all they need is to get a receiver.
KIT – A Kit plane is an airframe only. It does not include anything else. You have to purchase the rest and install the parts from scratch. Why is that? Well, there are advanced hobbyists who love to do the whole work. If it’s a Foam kit then you have to get an EP motor and the servo, receiver, radio, lipo battery, ESC and other accessories.
If it’s a Balsa kit, then you have to choose your engine, whether Nitro or Gas, and of course, purchase the rest of the parts that are required to fly this airplane: the servo, receiver, radio and other accessories depending on the engine.
Take a look at our wide range of RC planes on our website: www.HobbyGulf.com