Tips for Buying Used RC Planes on Craigslist

Tips for Buying Used RC Planes on Craigslist

Are you an RC plane enthusiast looking for a bargain? Do you want to try out a new plane but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Craigslist might just have the answer you’re looking for with a variety of used RC planes for sale. However, before you jump into purchasing any used RC plane, it’s important to know what to look for and what to avoid. While going through different advertisements, it’s all too easy to get caught up with the excitement of a new (used) toy and spend everything you’ve got. But spending a little extra time and effort in researching, inspecting, and negotiating could help save you money in the long run. So, whether you’re new to the hobby or a seasoned veteran, there are some important factors to consider when purchasing used RC planes on Craigslist, and in this article, we’ll provide some guidelines on what to look for when searching for the right one.

Researching Before Buying

Research is key to finding the right used RC plane on Craigslist. You don’t want to waste your time and money on a plane that won’t meet your needs, or worse, is not functional. Here are some tips on what to research before buying:

  • Type of Plane:
  • Research different types of planes available on the market and decide which one best suits your needs and expertise.

  • Features:
  • Look for planes with features that fit your flying style and skills. For instance, some planes have better stability control, while others are more maneuverable.

  • Brand and Model:
  • Research the brand and model of the plane you’re interested in purchasing. Some brands are known for producing better quality planes than others. You can also find online reviews and forums discussing different models, which can help you make an informed decision.

  • Common Problems:
  • Look up common issues with the plane you’re considering. For example, some planes may have trouble with the battery, or certain parts are known to break more easily. Knowing this ahead of time can help you avoid buying a problematic plane.

By researching these factors, you will be able to pinpoint the type of used RC plane you’re looking for with more precision. Additionally, you are preventing potential pitfalls down the road and making a more informed decision. Several websites offer specifications and other essential information on RC planes to help you better understand what you should look for.

One resource that can help you find used RC planes for sale on Craigslist is to search for specific brands or models. For example, a simple search for “used RC planes for sale on Craigslist” can yield a variety of results. Additionally, you can narrow down your search by filtering results based on location, price, and features.

Inspecting the Plane

Once you find a potential used RC plane for sale on Craigslist, it’s essential to inspect the plane thoroughly before purchasing. Here are some things to look for:

  • Condition:
  • Check the overall condition of the plane for any damage or wear and tear. Look closely at the propellers, wings, and fuselage for any cracks or dents.

  • Battery:
  • Check to make sure the battery is in good condition and holds a charge. You may need to bring your own battery to test the plane, or ask the seller to demonstrate that the plane works correctly.

  • Controller:
  • Examine the controller to ensure it’s in excellent condition and all buttons and switches function correctly.

  • Extras:
  • Inquire if the plane comes with any extra parts like spare batteries or replacement propellers. This can be a significant selling point and may make up for any additional expenses.

If you’re not experienced with RC planes, it may be a good idea to bring an experienced friend or advisor with you to inspect the plane. This can help ensure that you’re making a sound investment and avoid any potential issues in the future. Using these tips, you can find a reliable and suitable used RC plane for sale on Craigslist.

How do I choose the right motor for my RC plane?

Choosing the right motor for your RC plane can be crucial, especially for its performance. The motor kv and size are two important factors to consider. For beginners, it is recommended to choose a motor with a kv between 850kv and 1500kv. Remember that a higher kv with a smaller propeller will result in a faster plane, while a lower kv with a larger propeller will result in a slower plane. When it comes to size, make sure to choose a motor that fits well with your plane. Some websites offer motor sizing guides, such as HobbyKing and Motion RC, which can be helpful in choosing the right motor for your RC plane.

Inspecting the Plane

Once you’ve found a used RC plane for sale on Craigslist that you’re interested in, it’s time to inspect it thoroughly. Here are some things to look out for during the inspection:

  • Exterior Condition: Check for physical damages such as scratches, dents, or cracks on the plane’s body.
  • Interior Condition: Inspect the inside of the plane for any loose parts or wires that may have come disconnected or frayed during previous flights.
  • Control Surfaces: Check to ensure the control surfaces, such as the ailerons and elevators, are in good working order and have not been damaged. Ensure they move smoothly and don’t have any jams or glitches.
  • Landing Gear: Check to ensure that the landing gear is straight and not bent. Look for any damages to the wheels or struts.
  • Battery: Inspect the battery to make sure it’s functioning correctly and isn’t swollen, a known symptom of a damaged or old battery.
  • Transmitter and Receiver: Ensure that the radio signal is strong and that the transmitter and receiver match. Some planes’ receivers are programmed to their transmitter, meaning you may need to reprogram it if you have a different brand of transmitter.

In addition to these things, it’s important to ask the seller probing questions about the plane’s history. It could provide you with some essential information. Here’s a table summarizing what you should be asking the seller when you’re inspecting the plane:

Questions to Ask the Seller
What’s the plane’s history? Tell me about the plane’s previous flights. Has it been in any accidents or crashes?
Has it been repaired or maintained? What kind of repairs has the plane undergone?
What kind of battery does it use? Ask about the type of battery used and its condition.

By asking the questions outlined in the table above and performing a thorough inspection, you can ensure you’re getting a quality used RC plane for sale on Craigslist.

How long can a RC plane last?

The lifespan of an RC plane depends on various factors such as the quality of the build, the frequency of usage, and maintenance. With proper care and regular maintenance, an RC plane can last for several years. However, crashes or accidents may cause damage to the plane, reducing its lifespan. Some websites such as HobbyKing or Horizon Hobby offer a wide range of RC planes and accessories, as well as useful tips on maintenance and care.

After inspecting the used RC plane offered for sale on Craigslist and making sure it’s in good condition, it’s time to negotiate the price. Here are some tips to help you negotiate the best deal:

  • Do your research: Knowing the true market value of the plane will give you an edge in the negotiation. Make sure you’ve researched the plane’s make and model and its average price so you can make an informed offer.
  • Ask the right questions: Ask questions about the plane’s history, maintenance, and repairs before you start haggling. This shows the seller that you are informed and serious about buying the plane.
  • Be respectful: Remember that it’s in the seller’s interest to sell the plane at a price that’s fair for both of you. Keep the tone friendly but assertive, and don’t insult the seller with a low-ball offer.
  • Mention issues with the plane: If you notice a potential issue during the inspection, bring it up in the negotiation. Use the issue to your advantage and ask for a lower price.
  • Consider your budget: Always keep your budget in mind when negotiating. Don’t go overboard and be willing to walk away if the seller won’t meet your asking price.

It’s important to take into account what you are comfortable spending when buying a used RC plane, so you can be confident with your purchase. By following these tips, you are much more likely to pay the right price for a quality used RC plane.

If you’re not comfortable haggling in person, there are a variety of online marketplaces that offer used RC planes for sale, like eBay, RCGrooups, and RC Universe. Some websites offer price comparison tools, so you can compare prices of planes across different platforms. By using these sites, you can buy the used RC plane that suits you the most without having to negotiate face to face with a stranger on Craigslist.

What to look for when buying a used plane?

When buying a used plane, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the resale value of the aircraft should be taken into account, which will depend on various elements including the model and age. The engine hours and history of any potential damages to the plane also play a significant role in determining its worth. It’s crucial to check for any airworthiness directives and examine the aesthetic condition of the aircraft, as well as the onboard equipment. Ideally, a pre-purchase inspection is necessary, and some tips for inspection include checking the logbook and maintenance history thoroughly. Additionally, Acorn Welding provides aircraft exhaust systems and other parts that could be helpful when purchasing a used aircraft.

Before you take your newly purchased used RC plane for its first flight, it’s important to perform a pre-flight test. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Check the control surfaces: Move the radio sticks to check the control surfaces and ensure that they are all moving in the right direction.
  • Check the throttle: Make sure the motor is starting and stopping at the appropriate time and that the throttle moves smoothly without any hesitation.
  • Check the moving parts: Check the landing gear and other moving parts, such as flaps and rudders, for damage, and ensure they are functioning correctly.
  • Check the battery: Ensure the battery is fully charged and in good condition before flying.
  • Check the radio signal: Ensure you have a strong radio signal with the plane before taking off. You can do this by range checking.
  • Check weather conditions: Observe the weather conditions before flying to make sure it’s safe to do so. Wind and precipitation can impact the flight and lead to damage of the aircraft.

It’s crucial to execute a pre-flight test, as it’ll help you determine whether the airplane is safe to fly or not. By testing all parts of the plane and checking the conditions outside, you can potentially avoid mid-air malfunctions and crashes.

Some online marketplaces offering used RC planes for sale may include listings with planes that may require parts, upgrades, or repairs before being flight-worthy so exercise caution and double-check the condition of the plane before making the purchase. By following the aforementioned pointers and doing your homework, you can enjoy the thrill and potential savings of flying used RC planes without worrying about costly crashes or malfunctioning drones.

If you are looking for an online platform to buy or sell used RC planes, Craigslist is a popular website with a wide variety of listings. You can find anything from beginner planes to more advanced models with various specifications. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and thoroughly examine the plane’s condition before making a purchase, as there is always a risk associated with buying pre-owned products.

Why are pre-flight checks important?

Pre-flight checks are important to improve flight safety. They ensure that no important tasks are forgotten and reduce the risk of aircraft accidents. Failure to conduct a thorough pre-flight check using a checklist can lead to serious consequences. For more information on flight safety, visit aviation safety websites or browse safety products online.


In conclusion, buying a used RC plane on Craigslist can be an exciting and cost-effective way to enjoy the hobby of remote-controlled aviation. However, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you’re purchasing a safe and functional aircraft. By doing your research, inspecting the plane, negotiating the price, and performing a pre-flight test, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re making a smart purchase.

When browsing through used RC planes for sale on Craigslist, keep in mind that there are multiple sources available to look for such items, such as local RC clubs, Facebook Marketplace, or hobbyist forums. Some users might have even built planes from scratch or have converted gas-powered planes to remote-controlled electric engines and are looking to sell the converted models. The options are endless, and you may find a gem among these sellers, so it’s worth browsing through multiple platforms.

In summary, remember to do your homework, inspect the plane, negotiate the price, conduct a pre-flight test, and practice safety measures in the sky. By following these simple steps, you can start flying your RC plane all while keeping your wallet happy. As aviation enthusiasts say, “the sky’s the limit.” With used RC plane for sale Craigslist proves to be a valuable online marketplace for aspiring and seasoned pilots alike.