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Radio Controlled Model Helicopters - Coaxial RC Helicopters First?

Just beginning your flying career? Once you start researching the world of radio controlled model helicopters one of the first questions you will probably ask is should I start with one of the many great-looking coaxial rc helicopters or immediately go for one of the single-rotor machines?

My own recent research when I started out gave me no clear direction as there were different opinions even amongst the experienced trainers. However, eventually I decided to play it safe and start off with one of the quality coaxial rc helicopters.

Why? Well, firstly coaxial radio controlled model helicopters are cheaper, and I wasn't sure how far I wanted to take my new hobby. Secondly, my local hobbyshop advised me that coaxial rc helicopters are easier to master for a newbie, because the twin, counter-rotating rotors make them inherently stable.

After a few weeks of flying what do I advise? I would say if you want to first make sure this radio controlled model helicopters hobby is for you, then coaxial rc helicopters are excellent to master the basics of rc helicopter controls.

Just make sure you get a proper hobby-grade coaxial with a swash-plate tilting rotor, and not one of the "toy" helis with the horizontal tail rotor!

The guest article below should shed more light on the basics of radio controlled model helicopters...

Flying Radio Controlled Model Helicopters 101

By Joseph Jackson

Recently I got the question, "Where do I get parts if I crash my helicopter?"

It's a good question, but I don't recommend you buy a radio control helicopter believing you're going to crash it the first time you fly. And I don't think it wise to start your first flight by seeing how much scattering effect RC helos have on clouds either.

Learning how to control a helicopter is a learning curve that stands uniquely apart from any other radio control vehicle. A radio control airplane comes in for its landing in a glide-type path, moving horizontally, and you usually set it down on landing gear so it rolls to a stop once you contact the ground. (Or you brake it to a stop on planes that have braking systems.)

RC Helicopter Controls - Unique

But you don't land a helo that way. Sure, sometimes you're slipping sideways as you approach the earth, but helicopters have no wheels to absorb some of the impact. When you land that remote control helicopter, you land it... or crash it.

For you first-flight RC helicopter pilots, I suggest a focus on basic helo flying lessons. Get a list of the basic techniques, slowly learn them in their proper order, and practice each technique until you find a comfortable skill level with that technique. Then start working on the next technique.

You can get an RC flight simulator, and learn to fly your model with a computer too.

Of course, your best option is take lessons from a skilled and experienced radio control helicopter pilot. If you know experienced RC helo flyers, ask them for some pointers. Most hobbyists eagerly help novices get started.

If you don't know anybody try searching online for local radio control hobby clubs. Every year here in Indianapolis, either in March or April, the annual radio control submarine regatta is a feature on the television news. RC flying doesn't get that much attention, but plenty of radio control model clubs are around. I don't believe Indianapolis is unique in that respect.

If you can't find anyone for one-on-one training, do a self-study. It'll take longer, researching the information and studying it. But the opportunity to learn is there.

Once you set up your RC helo, practice flying at low altitudes. I'd say not higher than 5- or 6-inches off the ground. Don't go any higher than that.

Get comfortable with hovering. When you're skilled enough to hold the helicopter in position for minutes at a time, start practicing slow side slipping. Get a feel for controlling your helicopter, and build your confidence.

Radio Controlled Model Helicopters - Practice landings

Then practice landings. Pulse your helo to prevent a crash. Increase altitude, and then decrease altitude. Alternate the increase, then decrease action, each time coming a little closer to the ground on the decrease cycle.

If you do crash from 5- or 6-inches high, you won't do a lot of damage to your aircraft. And you easily replace broken rotor blades on most helos. The manufacturers often include spare rotors with the helo in case you break one, or they make replacement blades available online.

The main thing is learning your flying techniques slowly. You'll begin "feeling" your controls and master the art of RC helicopter flying quick enough if you ease into the learning curve.

The payoff for all that hard work is total thrill as you graduate to flying more complicated radio control helicopters.

Oh yeah, and pleasure when you see the amazed looks on the faces of the people around you.

Joseph Jackson provides information for learning and pleasure to help improve his reader's quality of life. He also searches for, and makes available, products that improve the enjoyment of his playtime activities.

For more stuff on radio control helicopters visit Joe's remote control helicopters website. To see a variety of other remote control toys visit

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- RC Helicopter Radio Controls - How Do They Work?
- RC Coaxial Helicopter: Pictures of First RC Helicopter Controls Lessons
- Radio Controlled Model Helicopters - Coaxial RC Helicopters First?