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Choosing The Best RC Helicopter - For You.

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Choosing The Best RC Helicopter - For You.
By Larry H. 2 months ago 3884 Views No comments

There are few things in life more thrilling than an epic RC heli flight. Factor in the adrenaline and fear as your beloved heli dares terra firma to reach up and slap your machine from the sky, and every flight (both weak kneed beginner and seasoned veteran alike) equates to epic moments of RC bliss that keep us all begging for just one more flight. And it's usually that last flight that ends in doom, but let's just keep things on the sunny side today.

When choosing your very 1st heli, or replacing that crumpled mess that vaguely resembled something capable of breaking free from the pull of gravity, choosing a helicopter can be somewhat vexing with as many choices that are available today. From price points, brands, size ranges and capabilities, it's an amazing time to fly RC helis. But, it can take some effort sorting through the mix to find your next perfect machine, which is where our journey begins.

As a way to help navigate some of the waters when it comes to purchasing an RC helicopter, we have laid out some basic info that we hope will clear the way to your next best flight. If you're a seasoned pro, this may be redundant at best, but there are still many pilots out there that are always in search of a helping hand. If that person is you, check out the info below, and we wish you the best of luck on your next heli endeavor!

Skill:

Skill level determines a great deal when it comes to heli flight. If you are brand spanking new to helis, the last thing you want to do is drop $2k on a 700 sized beast and take flight. Not only will the build be near impossible for a 1st crack, but if flight were attempted, we are talking about some serious heli carnage - with the possibility of injury or death. No laughing matter, and a bit inconvenient, if you ask me. And believe me, you will fight back tears (or rage; your choice, of course) when you see such massive amounts of time, effort and cash wad itself up in epic heli style, leaving you with a mix of carbon fiber & aluminum chaos as you stare blankly at the ground. In short, we have some better options you may want to ponder before you pull the trigger on a new kit.

If you're taking your 1st swing at the heli side, RTF (Ready to Fly) and BNF (Bind and Fly) are your new best friends. RTF kits are pre-built and fully set for flight - just charge and you are airborne. As for BNF kits, these require a transmitter of your choice with just a bit of basic setup before the rotors start turning. Even more, the RTF / BNF scene typically offers helis that have built in stability or learning aids to help get you off the ground, and most important of all, back on the ground in one piece - or a few select and fairly easy to locate pieces. Best of all, these kits are usually lower in cost, cheaper to repair, and will allow you to learn without some serious pain to your wallet and heart.

Budget:

This is usually where the buck stops - quite literally. Budget determines nearly everything in our lives, and outside of a Visa induced spending spree that will most certainly haunt you like a specter from the grave, choosing the right heli will come down to an affordable choice that works for you, your wallet, and most importantly, your better half. If you don't have a better half, count this as practice.

Choosing your own personalized electronics to match your heli is great, but it gets expensive & complex - quickly. This does not apply to RTF & BNF kits, as these kits come with everything you need. But in the kit based world where you are choosing your 1st kit helicopter to build and fly, choosing the correct setup is paramount, and even greater, you want to make sure you're ready to take that step as well.

If you want to save some cash and still end up with a sweet machine, combo packages are the way to go. Manufacturers that combo their helis with pre-packaged electronics not only save you cash, but they save you time as well, as the manufacturer has chosen the exact components that fit the build. This makes matters easy, quick and much less painless when it comes to the final tally. It also saves you some serious headaches, as choosing the correct motor, ESC, flight controller and more can add some serious levels of confusion to the mix.

Budget not an issue? Woo hoo! If there is ample green available, the options become quite vast, and quite enjoyable, indeed. You can now browse the boutique brand names and custom build your machine in style, choosing the best components that fit your flying style. From servos, motors, ESC's and more, building up your machine with hand selected electronic components allows you to choose the very best to help you customize your machine for maximum levels of power and performance. Yes, it will cost you, but the rewards in flight should help repay some of that debt with some ultra sweet heli thrills.

Size:

From micro to massive, helis have a vast array of sizes available, offering the ultimate in choice. With larger helis, costs increase, so the budget factor swings into play here as well. Things to keep in mind are visibility, as larger helis are easier to see at a distance. Location of flight matters as well, as flying a 700 sized beast on your back porch plays right into the hands of natural selection at work. Complexity is also a factor to think about, with some larger helis requiring (2) batteries for flight, receiver packs, high output charging systems and greater levels of maintenance.

Smaller helis tend to cost less, require a bit less maintenance, and when crashes occur, they tend to have fewer parts to repair due to less overall mass. Smaller helis tend to be less stress inducing due to their size, and also due to the fact that they typically choose to not murder their operator when all goes terribly wrong - quite the bonus. However, smaller helis can be a bit of a pain to work on when it comes to fat fingers and tight spots, so this may be something to think about if you're a bit ham handed on the rebuild side of things. And although not common across the spectrum of helis, smaller machines can be a bit gremlin like with certain setup issues, such as tail wags, vibration, etc., which may require a bit more patience on the setup side.

Brand:

Brand loyalty goes a long way, but don't be afraid to step outside of the box. From SAB, Align, Oxy, Mikado and more, there are multitudes of helis to choose from - all having their own style, capability and unique designs. Some of these brand names add tremendous value based upon their combo layouts, whereas other brand names have a 100% focus on custom builds for more advanced pilots that demand premium levels of flight performance. In the end, be sure to check your options, compare machines and choose the best fit for you, as every brand has unique offerings at different levels of price, size and layout. All in all, find what fits your situation the best, because your best path to success is maximized when you choose the right heli, versus the heli that makes you drool - which is a bit gross, and bad for heli electronics.

Setup:

This is a big one. If you are fairly new to the heli scene, make sure you are prepared for the setup work that will need to be invested into building your heli right. Because nothing flies worse than a poorly setup helicopter, and if you don't get it right, it will end in tears quickly. Best bet is to stair step your way to success. If you have been flying RTF's & other pre-built helis and are ready for a new challenge, a kit based helicopter is a great next step. If you have never picked up a transmitter before, a RTF / BNF solution is your ticket. Base your decisions upon the above info, and you should find that perfect kit that will keep you coming back for more.