Remote Controlled Helicopters: Finding the Right Model for Your Skill Level

By Seth Bracken
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Flying a remote control helicopter is an attractive hobby for the young and young at heart. Whether you're giving a gift to a child or starting a new hobby for yourself, finding the right remote control helicopter can be daunting. The price range runs from around $30 to more than $500. Not all the RC helicopters are created equal, though, so finding the right radio controlled helicopter for your skill level and desire shouldn't be too difficult. Some of the best models include the Parrot AR.Drone, Syma RC Helicopter and Syma Chinook Helicopter.

Size is the first factor to consider. Larger models often provide more power and speed. Some have very attractive features, such as spotlights and innovative designs. You will have to make some sacrifices when you go with a large copter. You won't be able to fly it indoors quite as easily, which is one of the best ways to learn to fly. Also, flying indoors allows you to practice and play during all four seasons in a better-controlled atmosphere. You won't have to worry about weather conditions such as wind and rain.

The next factor to consider is the type of flying you're looking to do. For some people, it's all about speed. They're ready to sacrifice everything to go fast. Others want to be able to perform tricks and stunts. Still others are looking for basic flying without too many challenges or too much of a time investment.

If you're looking for a stunt flyer, a small single-blade helicopter is usually the best option. Often, these are labeled mini helicopters. They can fly inside and perform all kinds of stunts, including barrel rolls, loop-the-loops and upside-down flying. However, you'll sacrifice some control and balance that some of the larger models provide.

If you're looking for a basic helicopter that is simple to fly, consider remote control helicopters with a gyro stabilizer. This is an extra bar, which is usually located along the top of the helicopter, helps balance the weight. This makes flying so much easier and takes a lot of uncertainty out of the equation. However, you'll sometimes sacrifice stunt options and even some amount of speed with a stabilizer.

Another factor to consider is a ready-to-fly (RTF) helicopter kit. For many remote control helicopter enthusiasts, building the model helicopter is part of the fun. Building your helicopter yourself does not always make it cheaper, though, and it introduces some variables into your creation's flight capabilities.

Last, consider some of the design and construction features. Most remote control helicopters have external coverings and hard plastic polymer frames. It's important to have an RC helicopter with solid construction because it's likely that you'll crash your helicopter from time to time. You need a model that can take a hit and keep on going. Also, there are futuristic designs, military designs, classic designs and many more. Find an aesthetic that speaks to you and that you'll enjoy flying for hours on end.

Operating a remote control helicopter doesn't need to be difficult or intimidating. Just use our guide to help you find a model that fits your style and flight plans.

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Science Tech » Robotics & RC » Remote Control Helicopters Review » Remote Controlled Helicopters: Finding the Right Model for Your Skill Level