If you only look at one page on this website make sure that its this one. Dave will help you to save an awful lot of time, money and frustration.
This is an 8 part series from RCPowers that will give you general advice about what to consider when starting out in the hobby.
Here are a few examples which, in my opinion, make good starter planes. They are in no particular order, and come equipped with everything you need to get in the air, requiring only a small amount of assembly.
This is a great 3 channel plane that even comes with a half decent radio as standard; it also has anti crash technology.
This is one of the most popular 4 channel beginner planes available. Just type in 'Bixler' to Youtube. If you live in the UK just be aware that delivery may take up to 2 weeks, and there is a possibility that you may be charged import duty. Also be aware that there are two different modes: one with the throttle on the right (mode 1) one with the throttle on the left (mode 2). Most pilots use mode 2, you can purchase them here
The EZ Hawk appears under several names but it is very similar to a Bixler. It has the advantage of having only three channels, so that there is less to think about.
This is a fairly new aircraft and is very popular amongst beginners. It has an on board control mixing system which helps to keep the plane flying smoothly, particularly when landing, and again is a 3 channel aircraft
Finally, the Hobbyzone Champ is a small 3 channel plane that has been teaching people to fly for longer than I have been in the hobby; just be careful if the breeze gets up!
If you still can't decide have a look at my plane comparison chart.
Here are examples of a couple of scratchbuilds which you might want to try. The beauty of doing a scratchbuild is that you can make them as simple or as complex as you like. They go from a basic 3 channel all the way up to a 6 channel and beyond with air brakes and bomb droppers! You will however need some basic tools and to have some practical skills
This is a basic scratchbuild plane which is the first part of a series of exchangeable planes. You can build them yourself and swap the fuselage from one airframe to another. You will also need to build your own power system; information about how to do this can be found here.
Here you will find a more complex scratch build project. It is still fairly easy to do but you will need some practical skills, and results in a great flying plane when finished.
Which way does the prop go on ?
Propeller sizing can be difficult. In this video flight test you will find explanation of what the numbers mean on the prop and how that effects the performance of it. I should point out that any prop can be used as a pusher, not just counter rotating ones. There are also some more useful resources in the description bar below the video.
Gorilla glue, CA glue, hot glue, epoxy- which one to use? This is an article giving general advice about the different types of glue that are useful for scratch building.
When you are flying any RC model you will need to know about the centre of gravity. This video provides an explanation about how you might go about finding it and how important it is. With 'off the shelf' planes you will find information about it in the manual. However if you're scratch building you will need to figure it out yourself. If you are unsure then you can always try to start nose heavy and then do a dive test.
If this hobby has started to get its claws into you then you are going to need some tools.