3 Types – Which One is Right For You?
There are 3 types of remote control helicopters you should be aware of. Choosing the one that is right for your needs and skill level, will reduce frustration and increase the amount of fun you have flying.
The 3 types of RC helicopters described in this article will be Fixed Pitch, Collective Pitch, and Co-Axial Rotor.
Fixed Pitch – Pitch refers to the angle of the helicopter blades. So fixed pitch means the blades stay at the same angle. They never change their position (other than rotating around). This means that all the lift has to come by changing the speed of the rotor, with your controls.
These helicopters are good for beginners. They are easier to fly and maintain. However they are slower to respond to control commands, and you can’t do tricks.
The larger a fixed pitch helicopter is, and the more it weighs, the harder it will be for it to lift up or lower. Wind will also effect these copters a lot because the rotor speed is slow. Your tail rotor will also have to work harder to make up for yaw motion (side to side or twisting movement).
So usually these are smaller helicopters that you fly indoors. You probably won’t see many large RC helicopters that are fixed pitch.
Collective Pitch – these are helicopters where the blade angle can be adjusted. This means you can make the helicopter lift just by adjusting the blade angle, without increasing the rotor speed.
So by increasing the speed and the blade angle at the same time, your RC helicopter will respond much faster. This also allows you to do advanced maneuvers and aerobatics.
You can do flips and fly upside down. These helicopters are also better for flying outside, because they can handle some wind.
However, collective pitch copters are more expensive and require more skill to fly. They are also mechanically complex, and may be require more setup and maintenance.
You have to learn how to hover. With a fixed pitch heli, hovering should be easy, and the copter will stay stable flying indoors with no wind.
With a collective pitch, you may get frustrated trying to keep the copter stable. It may be a slow process, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
Then as your skills increase, you can do tricks.
Co-Axial Rotor means there are actually two main rotors and blades, mounted one on top of the other. They have a common center (are concentric), but spin in opposite directions.
Having these two main rotors, gives you a lot more lifting power.
These helicopters don’t have a tail rotor. The tail rotor keeps a helicopter from spinning out of control. With two main rotors spinning in opposite directions, a tail rotor isn’t needed. But the two blades still have to spin at the same speed.
When you use the controls to change the speed on one of the rotors, this causes the nose of the helicopter to point in a different direction. If you get a 6-channel helicopter, you can turn in almost any direction you want.
Once you have a little practice, these helicopters are easy to master.