best vtol drone

XK X520: This is the BEST Beginner RC Plane (and it’s under $100)

XK X520

Starting Under $100

Overall Quality













  • PROS:
  • Very Stable (altitude hold)
  • VTOL (easy takeoff/landing)
  • Stunt mode
  • CONS:
  • No 5.8 FPV camera (on our version)
  • Remote needs dedicated buttons (X4 version)


  • Flight Time: 15 minutes
  • Range: 150 meters
  • Size: 520 mm wingspan
  • Motors: 1307 brushless (2)

The XK X520 was an intriguing aircraft the very first time we saw it. If you have been following our website you know we focus primarily on multirotor aircraft. The XK520 is a VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) plane. It isn’t the first VTOL we’ve flown as, we got our hands on the unique XCraft XPlus One, but the XPlus One was more of a drone than a plane. The XK520 is definitely more plane than drone. Not having a lot of experience flying planes was nerve-racking at first, but this aircraft turned out to be an absolute blast to fly and is quickly becoming a favorite flyer.

What is the XK 520?

X 520 XK RC airplane
Take a look at the underbelly of the XK X520 as it balances for takeoff.

Like we mentioned before the XK X520 is a VTOL aircraft. It can take off and land vertically like a traditional quadcopter or you can choose to fly it exclusively like a plane. It has two 1307 brushless motors mounted on the wings like you would expect to see on any propeller plane. It has a lightweight styrofoam fuselage. There are a handful of different models. We tested the base model without a camera and with the inexpensive X4 transmitter.

XK X4 transmitter
You can see the X4 transmitter with our limited instructions.

The X520 has a flight time of about 15 minutes. You’ll get a range of roughly 150 meters. It is a lightweight aircraft with a wingspan of 520 mm. The X520 has altitude hold and it does a great job of keeping the plane level and stable during flight. It was fairly durable, but keep in mind this is a styrofoam plane. The wrong type of crash will result in some minor damage. Due to it’s like weight, however, it is rarely catestrophic. The correct application of glue and tape will have you up and running again in no time.

xk 520 rc airplane
Take a look at the 1307 brushless motors that spin the two blade propellers of the XK X520.

The Flying Experience

Getting the XK 520 to take off initially was a bit confusing. The directions are not super clear and with the X4 transmitter, it is difficult to know which mode you are in. Once we figured that out it was an absolute blast. The XK glides effortlessly unlike any quadcopter we’ve flown. After doing a few laps we put it into 3D stunt mode and were able to do barrel rolls and loop-the-loop flips fairly easily. Yes, we crashed it a handful of times and the nose of the plane will never be the same again, but it still flies well. Eventually, we added an FPV camera for an even more immersive feeling of flight. This little plane/drone has quickly become one of our favorites.

RC drone airplane
You’ll get everthing you see here when you pick up the XK X520 from Banggood.

Transitioning from vertical flight to horizontal flight is very easy and an excellent feature. It allows for easy takeoffs and landings and also is a little bit of a safety net if you lose orientation. One push of the button and the plane will hover in place. Switching from 6G mode to 3D stunt mode is basically the same as moving from angle mode to acro mode. 3D mode gives you more freedom and control of the plane. Again you can easily switch back to stabilized mode if you get disoriented during a trick or right after to allow the altitude hold to kick back in and level the plane for you.

Should You Get an XK X520?

Absolutely. This thing is awesome. If you are into flying drones and have wondered what flying an RC plane is like then this is the perfect beginner. If you are into planes but don’t have the space for take offs or landings this thing is for you. If you like flying anything you want one of these X520s. It is an absolute blast. We’d recommend adding an inexpensive FPV camera and pick up some goggles if you don’t have them already, or you could opt for the top-end version with a WiFi camera and upgraded remote transmitter.

Buy an XK X520 from Banggood

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Learn More…

If you want to learn more about taking great pictures or flying FPV then check out our comprehensive guides on those topics. Also take a look at our articles on how to choose the right drone for great aerial photos or for getting started flying race drones. Learn more about drones and how to get the most out of them in our Drone Academy. In the Academy we also detail some of the advanced testing we do, including our recent addition, drone thrust testing.

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2 thoughts on “XK X520: This is the BEST Beginner RC Plane (and it’s under $100)”

  1. I purchased the XK XK520, and have never managed to fly it.
    You are absolutely right. The instructions are minimal, – in my opinion useless.
    I managed to get mine in the air vertically, but as soon as I’d switch to horizontal, it was gone like a rocket. I couldn’t coordinate myself to slow the throttle down as soon as I switch to horizontal, and it would be in trouble before I could start familiarizing myself with what the controls do. I’ve never flown a plane [only drones, and mostly headless], so that didn’t help matters.
    I finally pulled it out of storage this week, and couldn’t even figure out how to get the props spinning for several minutes.
    I’ve looked to see if there are any tutorials, or even if I could get an updated manual, but so far no luck.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    I want to have some fun with this thing.

  2. Yeah- what a helpful review: “Getting the XK 520 to take off initially was a bit confusing. The directions are not super clear and with the X4 transmitter, it is difficult to know which mode you are in. Once we figured that out” …. we decided to keep it secret and let everyone else who has this plane/transmitter suffer like we did.

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