A Basic Introduction to RC Helicopters
Shopping for an RC helicopter can undoubtedly be an intimidating task. In the most basic form, RC helicopters can be placed in one of two categories: Hobby-grade or toy-grade. Both forms of helicopters are marketed towards different crowds, but all have the same purpose. They are toys and meant to have fun with. This article will go over each type of helicopter and help you decide which type is best for you based on experience, cost, flying locations, and many other factors.
Aren’t they all toys? What makes a “toy-grade” different from a “hobby-grade” RC helicoptershelicopter?
Well, surprisingly, there are quite a few differences that you’ll most certainly want to be aware of before you invest in your first helicopter. To begin with, toy-grade helicopters tend to have a foam exterior. This is to make them more durable for entry-level flyers and children alike. Very few if any parts on these have parts that can be replaced or upgraded. Often times spare propellers will be included should the originals be damaged in a crash, though this is something worth looking into before you make a purchase. As for the electronics, what is included is what you’re stuck with. They will often come with multiple channels—or bands—radio systems so you can fly more than one at a time, but some cheaper models will not support this.
Toy-grade helicopters are not without their benefits. The foam exterior and simplicity is great for beginners to the hobby. Most toy-grade’s aren’t as powerful so it’s easier to remain in control of the machine at all times. Finally, one of the major selling points is their price. Toy-grade helicopters can be found at almost any toy or large retail store, and can be as inexpensive as $15.00 US!
In conclusion, toy-grade helicopters can be just as much fun as hobby-grade with a much lower price tag and more durable design. Fantastic as they are for beginners, they may be lacking for the power-hungy intermediate or advanced user who has been flying for a while. As a first helicopter, toy-grade is certainly the way to go.
If looking for a bit more performance out of your helicopter, hobby-grade may be the best option. Recommended for more advanced users and adults, hobby-grade copters are typically upgradable and have replicable parts. Unlike toy-grade, when parts break it’s easy to buy replacements and be back in action. They can even upgrade them if desired; faster motor, better radio/receiver, stronger parts.
All of these benefits typically come with a slightly larger price tag; though will be well RC heloworth it for more advanced flyers. Another important note to consider is the electronics inside. Hobby-grade copters often have digitally proportional speed controllers for precise control, gyroscopes for added balance, and upgradable batteries for more power.
Most toy-grade helicopters tend to be micro or mini, allowing safe indoor flight, but hobby-grade helicopters can be much larger. While there are also micro sized copters, the size options are truly endless.
While each type has its pros and cons, there is always a helicopter to suit everybody’s needs. It’s crucial to research before going ahead and investing. Read descriptions carefully, check out video demonstrations, and most importantly see what others have to say about the products first.
So which type is for me, again?
Still confused? Don’t worry. Once you get a helicopter the fun truly begins. Below is a quick guide to follow to see which time of helicopter would best suit your needs. This is just a recommendation but it should be pretty useful to help identify what type of user you are.
original content by Aaron Freyer.