Are you're thinking about which r/c helicopter to buy your hubby or son (or wife/daughter!)? If the person you are buy for has not flown a model helicopter before then this is the article for you. So what is the best radio controlled helicopter for you? Well there is no easy answer to that question, so please read on;
Small Electric Counter-rotating blade helicopters
The tiny counter rotating helicopter - Blade MCX
The Larger counter-rotating Blade CX2
This style of helicopter is a very popular beginners model, mainly because they tend to be cheap and very easy to fly. Many of them can also be flown indoors however with exception of the very small version such as the Blade MCX (shown in Fig.1) the air disturbance the helicopter causes can make it difficult to fly if flown in a typical sized room (e.g. 12ft x 12ft). Therefore the larger counter-rotating helicopters are better suited to flying in calm conditions outside. It is not advisable to fly the very small helicopters such as the Blade MCX outdoors, since even the lightest of breeze where you would consider there to be no wind can uncontrollably carry the helicopter away.
An example of full sized R/C Helicopter - the Knight 50
An owner and his Knight 50
Whilst the counter-rotating helicopters are great for the beginner because they teach the basic concepts of control they do not prepare you for flying a typical full size radio controlled helicopter. There is a high degree of skill required to hover a full size r/c helicopters and therefore whilst their counter-rotating cousins are relatively safe and great fun for flying round the dinning room on Boxing Day they provide only very basic control skills.
Small Electric R/C Helicopters
Something more advanced is the Hirobo Quark SRB. This is a fixed pitch model and can be flow both outdoors or in a large room. I have flown one of these models in relatively high gusts and they are suitable for the beginner to fly outdoors in calm weather. These helicopters use foam blades which break easily so make sure you buy plenty of spares, or Boxing day could be frustrating. The Quark is more difficult to fly that a counter-rotating helicopter and it maybe worth buy a set of miniature training skids to reduce the number of broken blades. However this model is quite expensive starting at around £320 including the transmitter, or £280 with no transmitter.
There are many other small helicopters but a lot of these can be very difficult to fly for the absolute beginner. It is always best to seek independent advice before buying.