These Badass Model Jets Are Basically Real Jets

Remember the good ol' days when RC cars were just about the coolest thing a kid could get for Christmas? Ahh, sweet memories. Drones and hoverboards may have eclipsed the RC vehicles of our youth, but it turns out there's a whole other world out there when it comes to RC planes. And I'm not talking about the cheaply built toys you get for $25 at Best Buy -- I mean, it's a very serious realm where grown ass adults spend their free time building and flying their own model aircrafts, sometimes with wingspans approaching 30ft. Unless it's a WWI or WWII replica, they're even powered by actual jets, with afterburners.

The bottom line is this: they're cool as hell. Take a look at these incredible machines.

SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71 is a rockstar of the aviation world. Seeing it fly in a scaled down form evokes an unholy mix of wonderment and envy. Watch the video

B-17 Flying Fortress

This 19ft replica of arguably the most important World War II bomber was built entirely at home over a span of two years. I'm sure there was absolutely no pressure for whomever was managing the controls. Watch the video


I mean, there's a radio controlled Concorde that looks so realistic in the air you'd never guess it's not real if you don't see the scale. Watch the video, then read up on the plane that was so advanced it completely eschewed "the."

B-29 Superfortress and X-1

Even if you've never heard of it, you know the B-29 as the plane that ushered the world into the nuclear age from the skies above Hiroshima. Later, it was used as a sort of mothership to launch highly experimental rocket planes like the X-1, in which Chuck Yeager first smashed the sound barrier. Watch the video above, then watch it launch the X-1 

F-16 Falcon

Fun fact: this RC model can do 150 mph. Just bear that in mind when you see it coming straight at you in the vid. Watch the video

This awesome Soviet-era space shuttle/carrier combo

An often-overlooked relic of the last years of the Cold War, the Buran is the USSR-made space shuttle with more than a passing similarity to its American counterpart. Also pretty damn similar to the US design, the Buran was designed to be transported by a specially prepared plane, the Antonov-225. What you're looking at here is a fully functioning RC tandem, that can even launch the shuttle at altitude. Not gonna lie, this one's impressive. Watch the video

An F-22 Raptor and the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier

Let's be honest, as RC planes go, this one kinda pales in comparison to what you've just seen. But the overall package is just as impressive: you're looking at a 13-foot RC aircraft carrier, complete with working anchors and catapult launchers, just like the real thing, and this video is the culmination of two years worth of effort from a group of guys trying to figure out how to land RC planes on a moving aircraft carrier. Watch the video

Virgin Atlantic 747-400

Take a good look, because this is a pretty friggin' great replica of a 747. And it's huge, which goes a long way towards explaining why it looks so smooth in the air. Watch the video
Want more of the world's best Cars delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for our daily email.

Aaron Miller is the Cars editor for Thrillist, and can be found on Twitter. A few years ago, he was woken up by the sound of a real B-29 taking off about 200 yards from his bedroom window. It was the single most effective alarm clock he's ever heard/felt.