I love writing about a wide variety of things, from the fascinating to the absurd.
With the advent of lightweight lithium polymer batteries and powerful yet tiny motors, the genre of mini remote-control model helicopters is available for a cheap price (as low as $25 in the US). They can be found in mall kiosks, Best Buy, and similar electronics stores, as well as toy stores and many other outlets. However, the cheapest stuff may not be suitable for you. This guide will explain all the buzzwords, and what to look for when it comes to buying such RC helicopters.
Pro-hobby RC Heli Sizes
Pro-hobby RC helicopters generally are classified by either blade length or engine size.
For example, for a pro-hobby electric RC helicopter, you will often see the word "500 class". That means the rotor blade is roughly 500 millimeters (mm) in length though it can include blades that are shorter. The actual main blade size can vary slightly due to different blade tip designs.
For the pro-hobby grade helicopters with glow (i.e. nitro) engines (see "Classify by Engine") the size class is based on the engine displacement (i.e. how big are the cylinders). These engines are tiny. For example, a "class 30" nitro engine would have a displacement of 0.3 CI (cubic inches). Nitro engines can go up to 90 (0.9 cubic inches). They do not correspond directly to rotor blade size, but here's a rough translation table (it can and often do vary).
|Nitro Class||Nitro Size||Rotor Size||Electric Class|
Types of RC Helicopters
There are three ways to classify RC helicopters: engine, size, and sophistication.