There are many kinds of airplanes around, and there are a ton of options when it comes to buying something that you would like. First the type of airplane is distinguished by two main categorize, the micro RC airplane and the regular RC airplane. Then there are the BNF, RTF, ARF, and the PNP levels within each category. There are so many options that to the new hobbyist it can be confusing. However, once the hobbyist builds a basis of understanding regarding the various platforms, then a wise decision can be reached.
A micro remote control airplane allows a hobbyist to fly the plane safely indoors. They are light weight, great with maneuvers and are typically made of foam. They have wingspans as large as 6 inches, and come in many colors and sizes. The micro RC airplane is extremely adaptable and can be reconfigured easily.
The traditional hobbyist enjoys the regular RC airplane. The idea of a regular airplane can mean many things. But in this instance it refers to the traditional RC airplanes. These items are run on gasoline, heavier and made of metal in some cases. This is in direct opposition to the micro airplanes which, in turn are usually battery operated, and come with a lightweight titanium, or plastic frame or as mentioned before made of foam. The regular remote control planes, can be hazardous because of the gasoline that is used to fuel them; but in the hands of an experienced hobbyists it is completely safe. Thus, the micro versions are the planes of the future soaring around utilizing technology that makes them almost foolproof.
However, within the micro planes there are BNF airplanes, which stands for Bind-N-Fly. These planes are great for intermediate flyers and can be ready to fly in no time at all, hence the name. They are made by a set manufacturer, and are set with a receiver that is comparable with 2.4 GHZ. They require some assembly.
Then there are the RTF airplanes, they are known as ready-to-fly products. These are assembled in a kit, which typically only requires a superfluous piece needed to be added to the machine. They are complete kits and usually they only require a small amount of time to be picked up out of the box and put together. They are another option for beginners.
The next item, is known by the acronym ARF. The ARF stands for almost-ready-to-fly. As their name implies, they require more work in order to prep the plan for flight. These are made for the intermediate hobbyist flyer, with a little more flight time and experience. They are equipped with a balsa fuse, and these planes are completely built save for a wing that needs to be attached. The ARF airplane requires a small purchase of radios and possibly a motor.
The RTF airplane has everything that a beginner needs to fly, with no additional purchases necessary. Then there are the plug and play RC planes. The PNP, are equipped with a motor, and pieces of the radio without the transmitter. The airplane is almost completely assembled sans a motor. So, in short the RTF has everything that is needed to fly, the PNP is partially there, the ARF requires the purchase of radio, motor and batteries.
The best bet for a beginner enthusiast is the RTF micro models. The regular planes typically come equipped with more advanced engines and are not for the beginner. The RTF are also typically made of a foam, where the regular hobby planes are made of metals. When considering what type of RC airplane to purchase; determine the flying level. The new RC airplane hobbyist is perfect for RTF, the intermediate flyer works well with PNP, and ARF and the advanced flyer is perfect for the regular models of RC airplanes. Remember, to safely gauge where the level is and try not to inflate it.