How to Buy an RC Helicopter – A Useful Guide for Novices


It can be tough as well as fun to operate an RC (Radio controlled) helicopter. According to hobbyists, a long time is needed to learn how to use these devices and maintain them properly. While many of them can handle these crafts in a skillful manner, some are not too familiar with technologically advanced gadgets. Naturally, it is important to choose the right remote-operated copter as per skill level and experience – in order to make the process enjoyable.

Buyers can get an appropriate copter for their own use by considering essential factors, such as size, channels, pitch and power source. Being familiar with RC copters of various types of build sizes available can assist you to search copters according to their own needs. These copters can be availed from vendors who specially offer these products. Lots of vendors also offer these copters for sale through websites such as eBay.

RC Helicopter – Main Points You Need to Consider

Remote Controlled helicopters consist of numerous components, and are complicated aerial vehicles. However, you do not have to know about the internal parts and should instead consider various main points such as the following:

Source of power

These copters make use of either an internal combustion or an electric engine.You need to understand the variations between these engine types and the differences existing in each engine category. This will help you to know about the engine specs that you should look for while trying to buy an RC helicopter.

Internal Combustion

RC helicopters powered by gas are not as common as those which run on electric power, but offer good enough performance. Such copters draw power from an internal combustion engine which burns air and fuel to produce power. The quantity of air displaced by the engine decides the engine power, with higher air displacement being equal to higher power which is determined in hp (horsepower).

Remote controlled copters powered by internal combustion engine make use of glow fuel that comprises of nitromethane. Due to this reason, a lot of hobbyists describe these gadgets as nitro C helicopters. A glow plus is heated up by a battery, and the heat is used to burn the air-fuel mixture in the engine for purpose of internal combustion. The fumes resulting from this procedure is exhausted by a muffler.

RC copters powered by gas offer the same span of flight as offered by those consisting of electric engines. The quantity of glow fuel available compared to engine size decides the time span for which remote controlled helicopters can fly before recharging is needed. For example, a small-sized engine comprising of a bigger fuel tank is supposed to offer more flight time.


Lots of remote-controlled helicopters draw power from an electric engine. Companies that make these kinds of copters specify the power of the engine in terms of watts. The higher watt consumption by the engine, the greater is its power.

These devices are usually equipped with a rechargeable battery which offers the electric power. The battery is generally lithium polymer or LiPo, nickel-cadmium or NiCAd or eithernickel-metal hydride or NiMH. All of these batteries are equipped with cells, and each cell can produce a specific amount of electricity in volts. While per cell of nickel-based batteries offer 1.2 V, LiPo batteries offer 3.7 V per cell. Naturally, LiPo batteries offer a stronger electric power than similar-sized nickel-based batteries are able to do.

Some of these batteries have higher stamina than others, and a higher mAh or milliamp hours suggest that the battery will be able to last for longer duration in between charges. The electric engine size also decides how fast the battery power goes away. More powerful engines drain battery power faster than small-sized ones. Remote Controlled helicopters with electric engine are able to fly for a maximum of 2 minutes before batteries require recharging again. However, most copters can fly for less than 10 minutes with the battery charged up just once.

Remote Controlled copters with electric engines use a brushless or a brushed motor. Brushless motors have a fixed magnet rotor which can get electric current without any requirement for brushes. Brushed motors make use of carbon brushes in order to supply electric current to the rotor of the motor. Brushless motors last longer as replacement of brushes, which tend to wear out with passing time, is not needed. On the other hand, brushed ones come with a lower price tag and are naturally commoner in electricity operated RC copters designed for beginners.


While looking for perfect RC copters, pitch is another essential factor that has to be considered. Buyers can select from collective-pitch and fixed-pitch copters.

Fixed Pitch

On Remote Controlled copters with fixed pitch, there is no change of angle of the primary rotor blades. Tweaking the angle of these blades can assist fliers to lift and even lower their copters without changing the rotating speed of their blades. As there is no change of angle of fixed-pitch rotor blades, fliers should rather concentrate on reducing or increasing the rotational speed in order to lower or raise their copter.

There is lag time between the moment of increase of the rotational speed of the blades and the moment when the copter starts lifting. The response time of the fixed -pitch RC copters is less than that of collective-pitch ones. However, the former can be controlled more easily – which makes them perfect for those who have started using these copters only recently.

Collective Pitch

As compared to fixed pitch copters, the primary rotor blades present on copters with collective pitch are able to change the angle. This helps lift and lower the copters as well as change their angles without any adjustment of the rotor speed. As the rotor blades are able to change the angle fast, operators can control collective pitch copters in a precise manner. This reduces the lag time between button presses on the remote and operations of RC helicopters. Collective pitch copters are also able to perform various maneuvers than those with control-pitch, although they need fliers to be more skilled. Naturally, such copters are more suitable for fliers with greater experience level.


Generally, RC copters offer 2 – 6 channels although some come with more. Each of these channels stands for one of the functions of the copter.

  • Throttle refers to the speed of spinning of the primary rotor blades.
  • Yaw refers to the turning of the nose of the copter to the right and left.
  • Elevator helps the main rotor to get tilted, so that the copter can move ahead and back.
  • Aileron helps tilt the main rotors so as to allow the copter to move right or left.
  • Collective helps adjust the main rotor blade angles to raise and lower the copter.
  • You can also find many other channel options, such as gyro stability adjustments.

The greater the number of channels in an RC copter, the greater is the challenge to maneuver it. Newbies may think of beginning with a 2-channel or 3-channel device and start using more advanced copters as they become experts with the channels that are available. 5-channel copters are not too common, as companies usually design those with 6-channels or higher in the collective-pitch segment.  Irrespective of how many channels are chosen by customers for their copter, the transmitter than comes along with it needs to offer at least the same number of channels.


You can find RC copters to fall into any of 4 categories on the basis of size. These are:

  • Micro
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Micro copters come with a main rotor of less than 15-inch diameter. On the other hand, small ones come with a main rotor of 15 – 24 inch diameter and medium ones boast of a 24 – 3 inch rotor while large ones have main rotors more than 30 inches in size. The helicopter body has to be proportional to the main rotor blade diameter. For beginner fliers, smaller copters are often more suitable. Those who wish to fly RC copters in indoor settings need to use micro models. Copters of large sizes frequently offer longer flight range, and some of these can also fly 1 mile away from transmitters.

How to Purchase RC Helicopters According to Type of Build?

RC helicopters are usually offered by sellers in varied build types. The build types actually indicate the level of assembly in the copter. Customers need to be familiar with various build-type standards in order to decide how they should look for remote controlled copters.

Ready to Fly

These copters come with all that buyers need in order to start flying them right after taking them out of the package. The copters come assembled completely with the motor installed already, and it is available with a transmitter. It is a perfect option for buyers who need to buy components separately or do not wish to assemble components.

Almost Ready to Fly

These come with the mainframe as well as the ancillary components, although not all the small parts which help the copters to operate. This type of build may come with a receiver, servos or gyrco or minus one or more of these. Buyers can also buy a receiver separately.

Bind and Fly

It is about as much complete as a ready to fly model. The primary variation from ready to fly copters is due to the fact that these do not come with any transmitter.

Custom Built

Lots of remote operated copter users like to assemble their own gadgets. Customers can indeed construct their custom helicopters by buying separate components and assembling them. With adequate components from a trusted source, buyers can customize their vehicle in many ways.

How Can You Purchase an RC Helicopter on Online Stores?

You can find many hobby stores and shopping websites, both local and overseas, offering remote controlled helicopters. You may simply type your query into the search bar to be found on these stores and find copters with the bells and whistles you are looking for. If you are looking for a copter with 5 channels, you have to enter proper search terms such as “C helicopter 5ch rtf” and find a copter consisting of 5 channels. When you get the search results, select the categories associated to the copters and make sure that the listings are associated to your queried term.

How to Choose the Best Sellers on Online Stores?

You need to find vendors who are known for the best customer service. Most online shopping stores have feedback sections for every seller name given in listings. You can click on these and check the comments and ratings to understand whether or not the seller is a good one to buy from. The general comments and feedbacks can help you a lot in making up your mind.


To sum up, it can be quite a pleasurable hobby to buy and maneuver an RC copter. Due to the numerous types of features that these come with, experts as well as beginners love to fly such aerial vehicles. While those experienced at using remote operated helicopters have exact knowledge about the things that they should look for, newbies and beginners need some amount of guidance regarding the same. If you are a beginner, you need to have some understanding about the varied features of these vehicles, including size, channels, pitch and power source. This will assist you in understanding about the type of models that you should buy according to your level of skills. Having proper knowledge about varied kinds of build models can also help you in deciding about whether you should go for complete copters, choose a customized one or build one yourself with assembly parts from veritable sources. Many consumers lack the idea and knowledge about the things that they should look for in RC copters and end up making purchases blindly, only to suffer later. This is something that you should avoid at all costs.