From an aero-engineering perspective, RC helicopters are amazingly sophisticated machines, able to execute tricks and stunts, movements and maneuvers that far surpass the performance capabilities of “real” helicopters. But learning to control a hobby-grade RC copter isn’t something that happens overnight; it takes practice and persistence to acquire the tools to be successful, and novices are well advised to seek the assistance of an experienced pilot and to utilize training aids such as flight simulators. While it’s true that helicopters are the most difficult to master of all RC aircraft, it is equally true that they are the most rewarding and exciting to fly.
Many beginners opt to start out with electric-powered helicopters, as they are not so expensive and less difficult to operate than nitro models. Electrics are also more environmentally friendly—they don’t cause noise or emission-related pollution—and easier to maintain. Improved technology has resulted in smaller, lighter, more powerful batteries and longer flight times per battery charge. New, coaxial rotor designs provide increased stability and greater ease of control, significantly shortening the learning curve for those just learning.
While electrics have come a long way in recent years, most serious enthusiasts still consider nitro-powered models to be the ultimate in RC helicopters. Running on a mixture of nitro or glow fuel, they are noisy, messy, and expensive to purchase and maintain but in return offer a higher degree of realism and for some a more challenging experience than electrics. If you want to get flying as quickly as possible, without a major investment of time and effort, you can always start off with an electric model and move on to nitro helicopters as you hone your skills and gain confidence. However, many RC pilots begin on and stay with electrics, for some or all of the reasons previously mentioned.
If you’ve been thinking about getting into RC helicopters, there has never been a better timer than now, in terms of availability of models and affordable prices. Do conduct a little research before you buy; the internet is a great resource, as are magazines for hobbyists like “RC Heli” and “Rotary Modeler.” And when you’re ready to start shopping, you’ll not only find the best selection but also the most competitive prices online. What are you waiting for? Get started and get flying!
Electric RC Helicopters
ALIGN T-Rex 250SE Super Combo
ALIGN T-Rex 450 Pro Super Combo
VEMOM Beacon 4-CH w/2.4GHz RTF
RC Planes and Copters.com