The Beginner’s Guide to RC Helicopters: Types, Working, Factors to Consider and Tips for Flying
Remote-controlled helicopters, or RC helicopters, have become increasingly popular over the years. These miniature flying machines can range from simple toys for children to complex models capable of incredible feats. While RC helicopters can be used for entertainment, such as at competitions, or photography, such as when using a drone camera, they’re not solely used for recreational purposes. Some professionals rely on these gadgets for tasks such as surveying, search and rescue operations, and even law enforcement. But before we delve into the technicalities and the various uses of an RC helicopter, let’s start with the basics. All RC helicopters operate with four essential components: the rotor, the motor, the transmitter, and the receiver. Each of these components is crucial in enabling the helicopter to take off, fly, and land safely. So, let’s take a closer look at these essential parts and how they work together to allow an RC helicopter to take flight.
The Components of an RC Helicopter
The four essential components of an RC helicopter and their functionality include:
- The rotor: The most iconic part of an RC helicopter, the rotor blades create lift, requiring a change in angle of attack to take off and maneuver through the air.
- The motor: Provides the necessary power to turn the rotor, allowing the helicopter to get off the ground.
- The transmitter: This controller, which the pilot holds, sends instructions/signals to the helicopter via radio frequency (RF) communication.
- The receiver: This device fitted inside the helicopter, receives and interprets the signals from the controller, and sends them to appropriate systems like the motor for movement, allowing the helicopter to move in the desired direction.
Each of these components plays a crucial role in the functioning of an RC helicopter, and any malfunction can result in the helicopter crashing or being damaged. It is essential to ensure all the components are in good condition before flight. As a beginner, it is often confusing when it comes to buying the right RC helicopter and the components that go with it. There are numerous types of RC helicopters available in the market, each with different capabilities and features. Hence it is quintessential to research extensively before buying to ensure you get the right model, right accessories, and right spare parts. You can find an extensive range of RC helicopters and accessories online from websites like hobbytron.com, horizonhobby.com, and heliguy.com. Additionally, it is an excellent idea to start with an RC helicopter simulator before jumping into the real deal to avoid damage and increase skill. Some of the simulators available in the market include RealFlight and Phoenix 4.0
How does an RC helicopter work?
An RC helicopter works by utilizing four basic controls: pitch, yaw, roll, and throttle. The pitch control adjusts the angle of the main blades, which allows for vertical movement. The yaw control changes the direction of the tail rotor, which causes the helicopter to turn left or right. The roll control tilts the main blades forward or backward, which moves the helicopter forward or backward. And the throttle control adjusts the speed of the main rotor blades, which controls the altitude of the helicopter. RC helicopters come in various sizes and shapes, ranging from simple toys to professional-grade models. For more information, you can visit websites such as rcuniverse.com or heliguy.com, where you can find a variety of RC helicopters and related products.
|Pitch||Adjusts angle of main blades for vertical movement|
|Yaw||Changes direction of tail rotor for left or right turns|
|Roll||Tilts main blades forward or backward for forward or backward movement|
|Throttle||Adjusts speed of main rotor blades for altitude control|
- RC helicopters come in various sizes and shapes
- They range from simple toys to professional-grade models
- You can find a range of RC helicopters and related products on websites like rcuniverse.com or heliguy.com
RC helicopters come in several types, each with unique features and capabilities. Here are the most popular types:
|Single Rotor||Realistic flight simulation||Ability to perform stunts and aerobatics||Complicated and challenging for beginners|
|Coaxial||Stable and easy to fly||Suitable for beginners||Limited maneuverability|
|Quadcopter||Stable, versatile, and agile||Ease of control and hovering||Shorter flight times|
|Collective Pitch||Greater control over the helicopter||Ability to fly at higher speeds||Complex and demanding for beginners|
- Single Rotor: These helicopters have one main rotor and are the most realistic when it comes to flight simulation. They can do stunts and aerobatics but are complicated and challenging to fly, especially for beginners.
- Coaxial: These helicopters have two rotors spinning in opposite directions, providing better stability and ease of control. They are a suitable option for beginners who are just starting to learn how to fly.
- Quadcopter: These helicopters have four rotors that provide better stability and agility compared to coaxial and single rotor helicopters. Though they have shorter flight times, they are an excellent option for aerial photography and videography.
- Collective Pitch: These types of helicopters allow you to control the rotor blades’ Angle of Attack to increase or decrease lift and, in turn, control direction and speed. They require precise control and are demanding, making them not suitable for beginners.
Each type of helicopter comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Beginners should start with a coaxial or quadcopter type as they are easier to fly and are more stable. RC enthusiasts can try the collective pitch or single rotor helicopters for a more realistic and challenging flight experience. You can find more information on the different types of RC helicopters, such as their features, best applications, and products, from websites like rcgroups.com, and heliguy.com.
How many types of helicopter are there?
There are several types of helicopters, which vary based on their purpose, design and features. Some of the common types are:
- Light utility helicopter
- Medical helicopter
- Search and rescue (SAR) helicopter
- Military helicopter
- Cargo helicopter
- Transport helicopter
- Tourism helicopter
Each type of helicopter has its own unique characteristics and specifications, which makes it suitable for specific tasks and operations. To learn more about these types of helicopters, you can visit websites such as helicopterdatabase.com or heliweb.com.
Factors to Consider before Buying an RC Helicopter
Before purchasing an RC helicopter, there are several aspects to consider, such as:
- Experience level: Consider your experience level in flying RC helicopters. Beginners should start with easier-to-fly models and work their way up.
- Size: RC helicopters come in various sizes, from small ones that fit in your palm to larger ones for outdoor flying. Choose the right size based on where you plan to fly your helicopter.
- Features: Look for features such as a durable build, spare parts availability, and gyro stabilization.
- Price: Set a budget that suits your needs and level of interest. RC helicopters range from affordable to highly-priced models, depending on their features and capabilities.
Some tips for beginners before buying their first RC helicopter:
- Start with a basic, easy-to-fly model to get a feel for flying RC helicopters
- Consider purchasing a simulator to practice flying without the risk of crashing your RC helicopter.
- Read reviews, watch videos and get advice from experienced RC enthusiasts before making a purchase to avoid common mistakes.
There are various websites and online communities where you can find helpful information before purchasing your first RC helicopter. Websites like Amazon, Horizon Hobby, and RC Planet offer a wide range of products from different brands and price ranges. Additionally, forums like RC Groups and Reddit RC can provide great insights and recommendations from the RC community.
What size RC helicopter is best for beginner?
When it comes to choosing a size for RC helicopter for beginner, smaller models are usually better suited. They are easier to maneuver and control, which makes them perfect for beginner RC pilots. Some of the best beginner RC helicopters sizes are:
- Mini and micro RC helicopters (less than 20cm in length)
- Small RC helicopters (20-30cm in length)
These sizes offer a great balance between size, stability, and handling, which is perfect for beginners who want to learn how to fly an RC helicopter. Websites like Amazon and Horizon Hobby offer a wide selection of beginner-friendly RC helicopters in these sizes, such as Blade Nano S2, Blade 70 S, and the Syma S107G.
Tips for Flying RC Helicopters
Flying RC helicopters can be challenging for beginners, but these tips can help you develop better flying skills:
- Start small: Begin with a smaller and easier-to-fly RC helicopter to develop your skills before moving on to larger, more advanced models.
- Practice in a safe area: Choose a safe and open area to practice flying, such as a park or an open field. Avoid flying near people, buildings, or power lines.
- Learn the controls: Take the time to familiarize yourself with the controls of your RC helicopter and how they affect the movements of the helicopter.
- Use gyro stabilization: Gyro stabilization can help you maintain control of your RC helicopter, especially in windy conditions or during sudden movements.
- Maintain your RC helicopter: Keep your RC helicopter well-maintained to ensure its optimum performance. Regularly check and replace any damaged parts such as blades, motors, batteries
When it comes to maintaining your RC helicopter, many online resources provide helpful advice and tips. Websites such as helifreak.com, rcuniverse.com and rcgroups.com have active forums where you can ask questions, get advice, and share tips with other RC enthusiasts. You can also find helpful videos on YouTube channels such as Flite Test and RC Swap Meet. Additionally, various mobile apps, such as Hobby King, offer remote support and tutorials.
How long does it take to learn to fly an RC helicopter?
Learning to fly an RC helicopter can take varying lengths of time depending on the individual’s dedication, experience with other remote-controlled vehicles, and the complexity of the model. However, on average, it can take 20-30 hours of practice to reach a competent skill level. There are several ways to learn how to fly an RC helicopter, and some resources that may help in the learning process include:
- Online video tutorials and courses such as those available on YouTube, Udemy, and skillshare.
- Practice simulators that simulate flying an RC helicopter on a computer, such as the RealFlight simulators.
- Flying sessions with an experienced pilot who can guide and tutor your flying skills
It is important to ensure that one has the correct safety measures, such as protective gear and a safe flying environment, before operating an RC helicopter. Additionally, selecting the right model that fits one’s learning experience is paramount, and understanding the mechanics of flying an RC helicopter is necessary for safe maneuvering and optimizing flying experience.
In conclusion, flying RC helicopters is an exciting hobby that requires patience, focus, and dedication. The different types of RC helicopters available on the market offer varying degrees of complexity, making them accessible to hobbyists of all experience levels. Taking the time to learn the proper flying techniques and maintenance practices can help you get the most out of your RC helicopter and improve your flying skills.
As with any hobby, there is a cost to get started, and the price can vary depending on the type of RC helicopter and features you choose. However, the investment is worth it, as the joy and thrill of flying an RC helicopter cannot be underestimated. From solo flying to competitions, there are numerous ways to enjoy flying RC helicopters.
There is no doubt that flying RC helicopters is a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you’re looking for an entertaining pastime or a new challenge, RC helicopters can provide the excitement and thrill you’re looking for. Just remember to prioritize safety at all times and enjoy the experience.