Where do you start? Seriously…WHERE do you start?
That’s actually one of the first questions people ask right after they ask you if they can try to fly yours.
They see someone flying one and it looks like so much fun they want to jump right in.
Poor bastards have no idea what they’re getting into.
Start small and work your way up or go for the gusto right outta the gate?
Another good question. Generally, the rule of thumb I like to follow is fly what you can afford.
If you think about it for a second, getting into the hobby by purchasing a Ready To Fly (RTF) model is just part of the expense – and a small part at that.
So what do you need to fly a model helicopter?
Here are the very basics
1. The helicopter itself
2. A radio. Often referred to as a transmitter or TX
4. Battery Charger
6. A willingness to endure long hours of bewilderment, suffering and failure.
The Helicopter Itself
There are three basic paths to follow described here:
Ready To Fly (RTF)
This is really a misnomer. There are NO, and I repeat NO ready to fly helicopters. Regardless, a RTF helicopter comes with everything you need to get off the ground. Usually a battery or two, low grade radio, a battery charger and a few spare parts – which you will undoubtedly need.
Bind and Fly (BNF)
BNF models assume that you have a radio and all you need to do is bind your radio with the model and you’re off. Some come with a receiver, some not. The receiver gets the signal from your radio and transmits those signals to the various heli components to make it respond to your stick inputs.
Build Your Own (BYO)
There are thousands of ways to build your own model and many people prefer to start this way. The learning curve is greatly accelerated, you get to learn about each and every part that goes into your model and you get to select the quality of those parts. For my money, this is the way to go.
Radios are the heart of the hobby and range in price from under a hundred to over a thousand. A good radio has multiple channels and multiple model memory. The radio transmits your stick inputs to a receiver mounted in the heli. The receiver in turn transmits the signals to the components in the heli (motors and servos) that make the heli react. But what do it mean?
3-, 4-, or 6-channels
The channels refer to the amount of control you have over the model.
3-channel radios offer control over the throttle or a main motor that controls the speed of the main rotors; control over the YAW or the ability of the heli to turn left or right on a horizontal plain; and control over a tail mounted rotor that allows the heli to go forward and backward. This is the simplest of all the radios and is usually associated with toy grade helicopters.
4-channel radios offer control over the throttle or the speed of the main motors; control over the tail rotor that allows the heli to turn left or right on a horizontal plain (YAW); control over the a swash plate that allows the heli to ROLL left and right and to PITCH front and back. So Throttle, Yaw, Roll, Pitch.
Since this site is constantly changing and growing – I’m adding info everyday – you’ll always run across something like this. I apologize for the inconvenience.