Traditionally, most pilots agree that helicopters are the single most challenging R/C models to build and operate. They’re mechanically complex. They require you to master two distinctly different skills, forward flight and hovering. And to pilot them successfully, your FULL attention is required.
However, flying helis is becoming easier than ever. Recently, manufacturers such as Heli-Max™ have made some impressive advances to give more hobbyists a better shot at getting a heli in the air and keeping it there. Pilots new and old alike will find that their helis, like the Axe CX Nano 2.4GHz, are ultra-durable and easier to fly than an airplane. It, along with many other Heli-Max helis, offers dual counter-rotating blades, which eliminate the natural tendency helicopters have to spin – so even beginners can enjoy smooth, successful control their first time out!
And if you’re looking for more exciting ways to fly, remember to also visit our airplane and flight simulator sections, where there’s no shortage of other exciting ways to become airborne!
What Can an R/C Helicopter Do?
The answer is, just about anything that involves flying! They’ll hover in one spot. Fly backwards and sideways. Do pirouettes while in forward flight. Perform stall turns, loops, rolls, standing loops and rolls (a loop or roll with no forward speed)…even fly upside-down and hover while only inches off the ground. Let’s see an airplane — or even a full-size helicopter — do that!
In normal forward flight, an R/C helicopter flies at about 40-50 mph on average and 1 to 1,000 feet high.
Choosing A Heli
There’s never been a better time to find a heli that’s just right for you. Today’s nitro (glow engine-powered) helis include .30-, .50- and .90-size models — and thanks to advances in batteries and motors, choices in electric helis are at an all-time high. They’re as clean and quiet as ever. Properly set up, a heli with a brushless motor and light, high-capacity LiPo (Lithium-Polymer) battery will actually outperform a nitro machine in both flight time and performance. While both are available in Kit and ARF (Almost-Ready-to-Fly) forms, almost all RTF (Ready-to-Fly) helis are electrics. RTFs are a huge convenience, especially for new pilots: it’s not only assembled, but almost all required items are included!
Controlling Your Heli
Though heli radios look like airplane radios, there are some very basic differences. For instance, most heli-capable radios include special mixing functions to simplify set-up, perform aerobatics and fine-tune performance. But the bigger difference between them is the number of control channels. Some sailplanes require just two; many airplanes can get by with four. Most helis, however, require at least five and sometimes six.
- Left-Right Cyclic (Roll) - Makes the heli lean or tilt to either side.
- Fore-Aft Cyclic (Pitch) - Moves the heli forward/backward. Push forward to move forward. Pull back to go backward.
- Throttle/Collective Pitch - Controls engine speed and/or makes the heli go up or down.
- Tail Rotor Pitch (Yaw) - Changes the heli’s direction by moving the nose left or right.
- Gyro - Tail rotors can be hard to control, even for experienced modelers. Most pilots and manufacturers recommend using a gyro (scope) to help the yaw axis.
How do you know what helicopter model to choose? Below are some proven optionsmodels that customers have told us gave them an excellent start in the hobby.
Thunder Tiger Mini Titan E325 2.4GHz ARF Super Combo
Looking for a heli that's capable of extreme aerobatics and 2.4GHz-equipped? The Mini Titan E325 Brushless 3D 2.4GHz Super Combo is for you! Features a TS6 2.4GHz radio system, brushless power and a 120° eCCPM control system, plus an exclusive trim scheme and decals.
Heli-Max Axe CP EP 2.4GHz RTF
The Heli-Max Axe CP EP 2.4GHz RTF stands out — it's packed with your most-wanted features, including a simplified rotor head, LiPo battery and 2.4GHz radio. The powerful 380-size main motor and radio components are installed inside a durable rigid plastic frame. Even training gear is included!
Heli-Max 1SQ Quadcopter
Only Heli-Max could bring you a super-stable four-rotor helicopter small enough to fit in your hand, but stable enough to be flown in light winds. The triple-axis gyro system of these helicopters gives them exceptional stability in flight. The RTF version comes ready to fly today. Or fly with your own radio with the Tx-R and AnyLink.
We Make It Easy
The MD-530 packs the spot-on appearance of a full-size heli into a super-small package. This machine is easy and fun to fly, with a flybarless fixed pitch rotor head and TAGS (Triple Axis Gyro Stabilization) for smooth, steady flights. The all-assembled heli comes with a 2.4GHz radio, LiPo battery and charger to get you off the ground today.
Tower Hobbies is the Choice!
More modelers buy their helicopters and accessories from Tower Hobbies than any other supplier in the world. We have a great selection, the best service and super-low prices. When you do decide which rotary bird is for you, order it from Tower Hobbies!