RC Helicopters – Basics and Specialist Applications



The hobby of building and flying remote control (RC) helicopters is a very broad and exciting one. It has seen a sharp increase recently in popularity, due to small electric RC helicopters being mass produced for beginners, and those new to the market. These typically fit in the palm of your hand, are easy to fly, and a crash nine times out of ten will not result in any damage. An example is the Blade MSR micro RC helicopter. It has similar controls to the full scale RC helicopters, but at a much cheaper cost. Whilst they do not share the complexities of their bigger brothers, they are an excellent introduction to the sport, and will make the pilot eager to progress on to more rewarding RC helicopter projects.

If you are serious about getting into the sport, and you have a slightly larger budget, a 500 size electric remote control model, or a 30 size nitro helicopter is ideal for learning on. In the 500 range, the Align T-Rex 500 is an excellent choice, or for nitro, the Thunder Tiger Raptor 30. These are now several feet in length, and several times more expensive. However, due to their increased size they are much more stable in the air while flying and less effected by wind and weather conditions in general. A new pilot will want to have training under carriage fitted to the RC helicopter to increase the models footprint on the ground. Tuition from a local club or flying field will also go a long way in your progress of the controls.

A Helicopter has five main controls. Throttle, rudder, pitch, aileron and elevator. The elevator produces the forward and backward motions, while the aileron moves the helicopter from side to side. The rudder is responsible for spinning the helicopter about its axis. Finally, the throttle and pitch combined produce the lift, or if flying in fast forward flight, the speed of the RC helicopter. It takes many hours to learn to balance all of these controls on the radio transmitter. Some of the major radio control equipment manufacturers are Spektrum, Futaba, JR and Hitec. A remote control helicopter simulator is an excellent solution for practicing, whilst inside on a rainy day. It will also save you from an expensive crash. The most recommended is Phoenix flight simulator. It caters for fixed wing and rotary aircraft, and includes training methods to perfect your skills.

At the upper end of the RC helicopter market, we move on to specialist areas. These include high performance 3D helicopters for aerobatics. Very large scale helicopters, usually incorporating mini turbine engines, for very realistic flight sounds. Aerial photography platforms to allow video to be recorded of the surrounding areas. Whatever route you take through this fun and exciting hobby, you will not be disappointed. There is never a dull moment when flying RC helicopters, and the enjoyment for the sport will only grow as your skills progress, and you move on to bigger and better electric or nitro helicopters.



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