Where to Begin with Choosing Your First RC Helicopter
To begin with – a typical and best RС helicopter for beginners does not exist! It is rather a personal decision, which depends on many factors. The search for a perfect RC helicopter for beginners is sometimes very difficult. Let’s see in brief the initial doubts you may encounter:
- As a beginner you have to acquire technical knowledge first
- You don’t know yet whether this hobby is the right thing – and nobody wants to spend their money in vain
- Wrong choice can spoil the real understanding if heli can become your hobby. Then you waste time and money and gain no pleasure
- Often completely unfit helicopters are praised as suitable for beginners, the dealers just want to sell and forget
In our review we have tested and selected those which are suitable for the entry level enthusiasts, good in quality and reasonable in price.
6 Best RC Helicopters for Beginners – Overview & Rating
|E-flite Blade mCX2|
|Blade 70 S RC Micro Helicopter|
|Blade Nano S2 Ultra Micro RC Helicopter|
|Cheerwing S107 Mini RC Helicopter|
Best Larger Scale
|SYMA Helicopter S37|
Best Gift for Kids
|SYMA Mini Helicopter S100|
Best RC Helicopter for Beginners – Buyer’s Guide
What to Consider when Buying an RC Helicopter?
The design, type, size and also quality of a helicopter are very important factors with a great influence on the purchase and later on necessary repair costs. These factors also have a strong influence on the flight stability and thus the difficulty of flying
There are 3 types of construction: Coaxial, Fixed Pitch and Collective Pitch Helicopters.
Coaxial Helicopters are not more than toys. They are very inherently stable and have no adjustable rotor blades. The lift is changed with the rotor speed. Often they have only a 3-channel control. If you are thinking about changing to other helicopters later on, you should definitely buy a 4-channel RC helicopter.
How a Coaxial Helicopter Works
Such a helicopter has two sets of main rotors, one mounted above the other. The rotors spin in opposite directions to one another and cancel reactive torque naturally produced by a spinning object, like it happens to a single main rotor helicopter. No torque – no tail rotor is needed. This is the reason why flying such type of helicopter is easier. This is also the reason, why it is not so fascinating, as single rotor helicopter have more advanced flying and aerobatics.
Fixed Pitch (FP) Helicopters do not have adjustable rotor blades. The lift is also controlled by changing the speed of the rotor blades. They are, depending on the installed technology, a little bit more difficult to fly and the higher quality FP helicopters are also noticeably more expensive than coaxial helicopters.
Collective Pitch (CP) Helicopters correspond in their function to piloted helicopters. One can no longer speak of toys here. These helicopters are often very powerful. They are usually flown with a constant rotor speed and the lift is controlled by adjusting the angle of attack of the blades. It is a fully functional single rotor RC helicopter. It is very rewarding to fly such a one, but starting out with an easier beginner rc helicopter is much better.
Helicopters with combustion engines make a lot of noise and are not suitable for beginners. Furthermore, today’s electric helicopters have a lot more power than before, and then many with combustion engines. So electric heli is the first choice for beginners.
Small helicopters have advantage of lower price for spare parts if broken. But they are also more exposed to wind and repair work, which often becomes a test of patience due to their small size.
Larger helicopters cost more, including spare parts, but at the same time they have a higher flight stability and are less affected by wind. Larger helicopters are potentially more dangerous, because they can undoubtedly cause noticeable damage to people, animals and surrounding objects.
A larger model is always recommended for outside, as it is less affected by wind. However, a flight simulator or flight training is obligatory before flying as a beginner. Most of the larger helicopters are only available as a kit, so it requires some craftsmanship and expertise to build such a helicopter. We recommend RTF (Ready-to-Fly) Helicopters for the beginning.
Quality is a very important factor, no matter which design or size you choose. Quality has its price! Cheap plastic does not last long. Poor quality of workmanship means bad steering behavior. Servos with plastic gears break down quickly, often during flight. Only high quality rotor blades with optimized center of mass have a low pitch and thus optimal aerodynamic behavior. Saving here may spoil the pleasure of flying.
More on Helicopters Scale for Beginners
If you buy a large scale helicopter as a beginner, you have already made the biggest mistake in your hobby! That would be just like buying a truck to learn how to drive a car – preferably with a trailer! 😉
A large scale heli is not very suitable for learning to fly. It is heavier, more expensive, much more complicated to fly and also more vulnerable to wind. Even if you have the goal to fly a scale helicopter once, you always start with a trainer and never with a scale helicopter.
Small mini helicopters, which fit in the palm of one hand, are not easy to control in windy conditions and are therefore more suitable for flying indoors. Small helicopters are often offered as coaxial or FP helicopters. This distinguishes them from their CP relatives, but at least the control of the helicopters with 4 or more channels is the same as with CP helicopters.
The coaxial helicopters are rather to be classified as toys with a low fun factor. In comparison to coaxial helicopters, fixed pitch and CP helicopters are more difficult to fly. Mini helicopters are recommended for beginners. In the segment of mini and micro helicopters the company Blade/ Horizon Hobby plays an important role. To a certain extent, mini helicopters are damage resistant. This means that they usually survive light crashes without major damage. Mini helicopters can also be approached without a flight simulator or without attending a flight school.
Mini- and Micro Helicopters
If you have already gained some flight experience on a simulator or with small mini-/micro helicopters, then one of these classes would be the next possible and logical step for beginners. But controlling the helicopter with the remote control should already be mastered without mistakes! Otherwise a rude awakening might be imminent!
It is not very recommendable for beginners to start right away with a large model helicopter. In principle, this is possible, but attendance at a flight school or guidance of an experienced RC helicopter pilot is then an absolute MUST!
Which Helicopter Brand to Choose?
Not everything that looks like a helicopter flies well! But even if it flies well, what about the spare parts supply? In the field of mini and micro helicopters the brand Blade is a good choice. Spare parts are available almost everywhere. For the larger model helicopters, the selection is somewhat larger.
Tips for Beginners
- Take the help of an experienced RC helicopter pilot, or visit an RCl helicopter trial course or a helicopter flying school
- Buy a helicopter flight simulator in advance to practice before you buy an RC helicopter
- When buying an RC helicopter, look for quality and feedback, and don’t just look at the price
- Try to understand and question the technology. Only knowledge and practice will make you a successful pilot.
The investment into a helicopter simulator and flight training for beginners always pays off. If you have the opportunity to attend a model flight school, you should definitely do so! You can’t get more safety, realism and practical value! Once the new helicopter has broken down, it is too late.
RTF (Ready-to-Fly) Helicopters
So a beginner helicopter should fly out of the box, i.e – charge the battery, and let’s go! If you are a beginner or switching from coaxial helicopter to agile RC helicopters, it is better to take an intermediate step and choose an (intermediate) model first, which is well suited in terms of size, cost and tolerance for pilot steering errors.
With no exaggeration flying an RC helicopter is much more difficult than it looks. Coaxial Helicopters are not very agile, hardly to get out of the horizontal position and due to the low mass and power relatively hard to break. However, we always recommend a model with good-natured characteristics for beginners. The flight characteristics are mainly determined by the relevant settings in the transmitter, the helicopter and the flying system. As a beginner you are often overwhelmed with the settings of an RC helicopter.
If you have carefully studied all the above, you will understand that for a beginner it does not really matter which RC helicopter you buy, provided the quality is ok. Rather it is important to prepare well for your first own flight with the and to get support to understand the technique and the special features.
If you just want to have a look around, or want to shorten the long winter evenings, buy a coaxial helicopter – maybe even a mini fixed pitch helicopter. If you have fun with it, then you want more, that’s for sure.
You can start with CP helicopters immediately, provided you have the appropriate support and good preparation, or you can take the longer route of entry with smaller coaxial and fixed pitch helicopters, before advancing to the CP helicopter league. Both ways are possible, both ways can bring a lot of fun and finally it is also a question of the available financial budget, how to get into the top class of model sports. With a small budget, it is better to buy one size smaller, but always high quality!