Congratulations on your decision to buy a remote controlled (RC) helicopter. It’s a fun and rewarding hobby that offers countless hours of entertainment. Whether this is your first time piloting one, or if you’ve been flying them for years, you’re sure to appreciate the unparalleled level of freedom offered by RC helicopters. However, to fully enjoy this hobby and everything it has to offer, you’ll need to choose the right RC helicopter, starting with the size.
RC Helicopter Classes
The size of a typical nitro or gas-powered RC helicopter is usually measured in class, some of which includes 15 class, 30 class, 50 class, 60 class and 90 class. The class number is referenced to the size of the helicopter’s engine, measured in cubic inches. For instance, a 30 class nitro-powered RC helicopter will boast a 0.30 cu in engine, whereas a 90 class RC helicopter will have a 0.90 cu in engine. Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that larger engines (or higher class) are capable of delivering greater power and speed.
What About Electric RC Helicopters?
For electric RC helicopters, understanding sizing can be a bit more difficult. This is due to the fact that electric engines are less powerful than their gas counterpart, and therefore the classes don’t equal the same power output. Take a 600 class battery-powered RC helicopter, for instance. When compared to a gas or nitro-powered model, it’s roughly the same size as a class 60. The bottom line is that you need to factor in whether the RC helicopter is electric or gas-powered when choosing a class/size.
Micro RC Helicopters
If all of these “classes” and “cubic inches” are too confusing, you can base your decision simply on how the RC helicopter looks in person. Micro or mini RC helicopters have become a popular choice among beginners and seasoned RC hobbyists alike, and for good reason: they are easy to fly, durable, lightweight, and incredibly small (hence the name).
These copters are larger, but because they have four propellers, they tend to be more stable and easier to fly than other RC helicopters. Once you have your flying skills mastered, they’ll provide lots of enjoyment. Some of the better models can also hold cameras for great aerial photograpy.
Quadcopters are more expensive, starting from about $100, with some models costing into the thousands. However, they are well worth the money when you consider the fun you’ll have, and their other uses, such as aerial videos and pictures.
Big or Small
So, should you choose a big or small RC helicopter? It really depends on your personal preferences and what you are hoping to achieve. As previously stated, large RC helicopters typically have greater power output, which means more speed – something that most RC hobbyists crave. The downside to large-sized RC helicopters, however, is their susceptibility to damage. Because they are so heavy, there’s a greater risk for damage if you accidentally crash it.
You can also expect to pay more for large RC helicopters. Granted, there are affordable models available in both types, but the smaller models tend to cost less.