by John Salt - Last Updated July 2021
Thinking of taking up the fun, fascinating and rewarding hobby of RC helicopters, or just want to learn more about them?
If so, you've come to the right place. A website dedicated to helping people new to the hobby in a friendly, inviting and informative manner. Let's start having a little "RC Helicopter Fun!"
I've been flying, instructing and introducing newcomers to RC (radio controlled) helicopters for over 30 years now, and I've seen many advances in this fun and engaging hobby in that time. The single biggest one is the hobby is no longer a super expensive, difficult, and elitist form of RC flight like it once was.
There are RC helicopters now for every budget and ability, in a vast array of types and sizes. RC equipment has also improved immensely and has never cost so little.
In short, there has never been a better time to take up the hobby.
Unlike most RC airplanes, radio controlled helicopters don't need a large mowed or paved runway.
Helicopters (helis) take-off & land vertically, so any open area will do.
This freedom of taking off & landing anywhere is what first sparked my interest in radio controlled helicopters. CONVENIENCE sums it up best.
It's still the number one benefit for so many of us in the hobby. Whenever you have a desire to go flying, it can be as simple as walking out into your yard or big empty field with heli in hand, to get some time on the sticks.
This is a HUGE time saver over having to cart a bunch of RC gear out to a distant & often crowded RC flying field when you don't have the time.
What about flying during rotten weather?
It's no problem when you have a small micro electric indoor RC
helicopter to fly in your own home or at the office.
Radio controlled helicopters also teach you a great deal about rotary flight in its many forms which for many of us, are the most fascinating aspects of radio controlled helicopters.
It's the only RC hobby that equally combines all aspects of RC into one: Aeronautics, Mechanics, & Electronics.
The number and specific types of radio controlled helicopters available these days is quite overwhelming. All have pros and cons, and all offer their own unique levels of fun, challenges, and rewards.
The best news for you...
The cost of RC helis and equipment has gone down over the past decade, while
the technology keeps improving as does the usability.
There is one down side to this huge selection of radio controlled helicopters when first getting into the hobby... Information overload.
Unless you have some basic facts and understanding, you likely won't choose the best RC helicopter for you.
This usually leads to frustration, crashing, and discouragement.
I know many folks who gave up with RC helis before ever getting to experience the thrill and pure joy of piloting one. They simply got in over their head without understanding the basics first, and even more fundamentally, didn't have anyone to help them.
Provide you with Detailed Information & Knowledge, to answer your many questions & get you off on the right foot. Right stick actually :-)
Saving you time, money, and frustration.
I follow a "teach a man (or woman) to fish" philosophy on this website, just as I do while instruction one on one.
It would be much easier of course to just make a few quick heli recommendations, followed by an insincere "good luck, don't let the browser window hit your backside on the way out."
You won't get that here.
I want you to have brilliant fun in your RC helicopter journey so you will passionately want to stick with the hobby for years to come. In short, the same help and advice you would get if you joined an RC helicopter club and were getting an instructor's help.
A large collective pitch aerobatic 3D or scale RC helicopter may have been what first got you interested in checking out this hobby. You have to enjoy learning with these types of radio controlled helicopters. It can take years to become proficient - that's all part of the fun.
They come all built (RTF - ready to fly) and are fairly easy to fly for kids and adults alike.
These are a good starting point for most folks who have never flown an RC heli before.
I wanted to make those distinctions crystal clear so you understand there is a big difference between these various types of radio controlled helicopters...
They are all completely different machines.
From aerobatic 3D to scale, big turbine to small micro sizes, Collective pitch (CP) RC helicopters are the ultimate expression of fun & achievement in our hobby; they are what most people aspire towards. They are challenging and immensely rewarding; rarely will they ever get boring.
So why is collective pitch so challenging?
CP helicopters (model and full size) are not positively stable; meaning they are unstable, especially while hovering.
Hovering a collective pitch RC heli is similar to balancing on a big ball. This is why the collective pitch RC chopper is more difficult than other RC vehicles.
You are constantly making multiple control corrections simultaneously to keep a heli stationary, in a state of hover equilibrium.
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!" Certainly not far off the mark...
Joking aside, these constant & multiple control corrections connect you to your collective pitch helicopter like no other RC vehicle. You're totally focused and "immersed in the moment."
It's such an engaging hobby in that respect. Life's problems disappear while you are flying a CP heli because you are so focused and concentrating intently. No question that is why I
(and I hope you as well), love flying collective pitch - it's our escape. Exactly what a hobby should provide.
Please don't dismiss collective pitch because it seems hard or even impossible at first. Think back to when you were first learning to ride a bicycle; one of the most exciting and fun things most of us can remember from our childhood - same idea here (less the scraped knees and elbows).
Also like riding a bicycle, once
you learn how to hover a collective pitch radio controlled helicopter,
you'll never forget! I still remember the day I had my first successful hover many years ago. It was an amazing feeling and experience. The continuous control corrections become second nature, you
don’t even realize you're doing them (subconscious/muscle memory).
After trying and trying with short little hops off the ground, which slowly become longer and longer in duration, something clicks.
Your brain gets it and you are immersed in RC euphoria as you see your helicopter hanging in the air under your full control.
You're on cloud 9 for days. You have to keep flying & practicing, getting better and better.
Every day you go out flying, you can't wait to get back out flying again to chase that sensation. To think... "I'm actually hovering & flying this thing around under my full control!" It's a feeling & sensation that's hard to describe; but it's something most of us experience with every one of our helicopters.
A natural high occurs and yes, you are usually addicted to the hobby at this stage :-) Having more and more fun every time you go out, and perhaps dreaming of one day (with countless hours of practice), becoming a pro RC helicopter aerobatic 3D champion.
hard to resist the challenge, performance potential and overwhelming
feeling of accomplishment offered with collective pitch RC helicopter flight; not to mention the awesome sound the larger ones produce.
It is after all the closest most of us will get to piloting a full size helicopter. We have the same primary flight controls as the big birds do.
Micro sized collective pitch radio controlled helicopters have also revolutionized the hobby because of their low cost. They are just as challenging to fly (more so actually); but don't think you have to spend a couple thousand dollars like we once had to when first getting into the hobby.
There are decent little ready to fly micro collective pitch helicopters for under $150 dollars these days.
Besides the flying fun, is the technical fun of understanding and maintaining a collective pitch RC helicopter. For many, that's the most rewarding aspect of this hobby; I fall into that category myself.
Collective pitch RC helicopters have taught me and many others so much about aerodynamics, physics, mechanics, and electronics (in a very fun way I should add) over the years, and I'm still learning new and fascinating stuff almost daily.
That aspect of the hobby alone is somewhat priceless, and the older I get, the more I appreciate its everlasting value.
Are you still with me?
If so, it's a safe bet to say you likely already have a healthy interest in this hobby. I hope the rest of my site will further help "fuel" your RC heli interest into a full blown passion!
The navigation bar on the top of the page has all the main RC heli topics with sub navigation drop-downs.
If you find the information useful and helpful, feel free to bookmark this site, Face-it, Tweet-it, link/share the pages, or subscribe to my "Heli Blog". Tell your buddies & get them into the hobby as well.
The world needs more good & responsible RC Helicopter Pilots :-)
If you have questions, contact me through my contact page.
Wishing you good success & happy flights...