Why would you want to take up the hobby of flying RC helicopters? Three words sum it up...
"FUN", "FASCINATING", & "REWARDING"!
That is after all what most of us are looking for in a hobby. An activity to free your mind from the "day to day"; yet is engaging & fun enough to keep you interested - hopefully for many years to come.
I have been flying/addicted to radio controlled helicopters for over 25 years and have seen so many advances in this fun hobby. Perhaps the biggest one is this hobby is no longer a super expensive, almost elitist form of RC flight like it once was. There are RC helicopters for every budget & ability these days. There simply has never been a better time to get into "RC helis"!
No Runway Required
Unlike most RC airplanes, radio controlled helicopters don't require a large mowed or paved runway; they take-off vertically so any open area will do. That freedom of taking off from practically anywhere is what originally got me interested in radio controlled helicopters, and is still the number one benefit for me that remains to this day. At the other end of the spectrum are small micro electric indoor RC helicopters that you can fly in your own home or at the office. Add in the amazing fun factor and it is easy to see why RC helicopters are such a popular choice for so many people.
I built and maintain RC Helicopter Fun.com to help answer many common questions related to this relatively "technical hobby". From toy to turbine, micro to multi-rotor; information, advice, tips, recommendations, and guidance to help you succeed and avoid many of the common mistakes and pitfalls so many experience when first starting out.
The number and specific types of radio controlled helicopters available these days is overwhelming.
The best news - the cost of RC helicopters has actually gone down over the past couple decades (in some cases very substantially) while
the technology keeps improving as does the usability; introducing so many more people to this
There is a down side to this huge selection of helis – information overload! Unless you have all the facts and understand some of the technical aspects of this hobby, you will not choose the best RC helicopter for you.
This leads to crashing, frustration, and perhaps ultimately in giving up with RC helis before ever getting to experience the thrill and pure joy of flying one. I know so many people who have been down that road. Unfortunately, there is also a good deal of junk out there that will add to these frustrations!
My goal is to give you all the tools (information & knowledge) to get you off on the right foot. You will save time and money... but above all have FUN!
There is little doubt that large, single rotor collective pitch hobby grade radio controlled helicopters remain to be the most complex and most difficult RC vehicles to master.
This is not true of RC toy helicopters, and various micro size hobby grade coaxial, fixed pitch, and even micro collective pitch helis that have been "hovering" up all over the place.
There are also the newer Quad Rotors (also called Multi-Rotor and incorrectly drones) that have sophisticated electronic stabilization systems and very few moving mechanical parts for those of you who are not much into "wrenching".
I have sections of this site devoted just to RC Toy helis, Micro Coaxial helis, Quad/Multi Rotor, and Micro Single Rotor Fixed Pitch Helis – yep, they’re all fun and fairly easy to fly for kids and adults alike. These newer forms of RC helis along with hassle free clean electric power, on board video cameras, and even inexpensive high output LED's for night flight illumination are some of the main reasons for fast growing popularity in this "addictive hobby".
I wanted to make those distinctions very clear so you understand there is a big difference between these various types of radio controlled helicopters - they are all completely different machines and fly very differently from one another. A little homework on your part is therefore needed to make an informed decision on which is the best match for you or someone else if you are thinking of giving one as a gift.
Yes, collective pitch RC helis are both challenging and very rewarding. In my experience with pretty much everything in life, "challenging" and "rewarding" are inseparable; the
easier the challenge, the less rewarding it is (and vice versa). This is why collective pitch remains to be the holy grail of all types of RC rotary flight.
So why is CP so challenging?
Single rotor collective pitch helicopters (model and full size) are unstable - at least when hovering.
Hovering a collective pitch RC heli is kind of like balancing on a big ball. This is why the collective pitch RC chopper is more difficult than other RC vehicles - you are always making control corrections to keep it somewhat stationary. I call this "active piloting".
This might make you ask "how on earth can that be fun or rewarding, this guy must be as unstable as his helicopter", right? Ask my wife, she may well agree with you.
Joking aside, these constant control corrections connect you to your helicopter like no other RC vehicle because you're totally focused and "immersed in the moment".
I personally enjoy activities that have me so focused and engaged, I don't have the time or room in my head to think about all the other BS going on in the world and in my life. Unfortunately, there are only a few activities in my life that provide that fun escape route. I get it while skiing or kiteboarding, and I certainly get it when flying a collective pitch RC helicopter and even while building & setting one up. It's a totally immersive hobby in that respect and there is no question that is why I still love flying collective pitch to this day - it's my escape!
Please don't dismiss collective pitch because it seems hard at first; once you learn how to hover a collective pitch radio controlled helicopter, you'll never forget! The control corrections become second nature, you don’t even realize you're doing them.
I can still remember the first day I learned to hover all those years ago. It is the same feeling you get when learning to ride a bicycle or any other seemingly impossible balancing act.
After trying and trying, something just clicks. Your brain gets
it. You're on cloud 9 for days. You have to keep flying &
practicing, getting better and better. A natural high occurs and yes,
you are becoming addicted. Many who get bit by the RC heli bug in the
simpler or easier to fly versions, eventually want to give single
rotor collective pitch a go. It's hard to resist the challenge, performance
potential, and overwhelming feeling of accomplishment offered with this
form of RC flight. It is after all the closest most of us will get to what it's like to pilot a full size helicopter.
Bored of your quad/multi rotor? I can't blame you, flying them is about as challenging and fun as watching paint dry. Give collective pitch a try and get excited about rotary RC flight again!
My Passion, My Addiction...
Of course hovering is just the first step, the fun is just
beginning – wait till you do your first loop or roll. Yes – now the
adrenaline really starts flowing. In addition to the flying fun is the
technical fun of understanding and maintaining a RC heli; for many, that
is the most rewarding aspect of this hobby, I fall into that category
Electrical & Mechanical Components Inside a Typical Collective Pitch RC Helicopter - Lots to Learn but Crazy Cool!
The video below was submitted by one of my loyal web visitors and shows off just how fun and addictive this hobby is! Thanks Erik :-)
TIME TO START
I have arranged the navigation bar in a logical progression of
beginner information down to more advanced material. If you have some
experience with RC Helicopters already, by all means click on a topic
that interests you or perhaps consider contributing your own thoughts & articles to help others out.
If you find the information useful and helpful, feel free to bookmark this site, Face-it, Tweet-it, Plus 1-it, share the page, or subscribe to my "Heli Blog".