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C4 - GENERAL - What size of helicopter should I buy to learn with ?

This is a question that many people thinking about trying to fly a radio controlled helicopter ask me...

The first thing to consider is that the small contra rotating helicopters that you can buy very cheaply will NOT teach you to fly "proper" R/C helicopters. What I mean by "proper" is a helicopter that uses collective pitch control to make it move in whatever direction you want it to go.

Equally, those slightly larger helicopters that have a small motor to drive the tail rotor are also unsuitable for learning to fly a helicopter.

That means that you need to be looking at an electric powered helicopter of at least 400 size (as they are known). There are several 400 size helicopters available, probably one of the best known being the E-Flite Blade 400.  Slightly larger helicopters are called 450 size, and include a vast range of different makes such as the Esky Belt CP, the Trex 450 and all it's clones, and CopterX 450 variants.

If you are brave, you could go for a 500 size helicopter, but quite strangely, the sizes of the actual helicopters do not bear much relationship to the size quoted. A 500 is considerably larger than a 450, and is also a lot more expensive.

One of the things I always tell new pilots is that it is wroth while buying the best radio equipment that you can afford, as this is the key to making a helicopter fly nicely for a learner pilot.  Radios such as the Spektrum DX6i or DX7, Aurora and JR Propo all fit this class very well.

Please bear in mind that learning to fly a collective pitch helicopter is NOT EASY, and you WILL have some crashes along the way, so be prepared to take some time, and spend some more money on crash repairs, before you will manage to master the controlled hover, which is essential as the very first stage of flying these wonderful but challenging machines.



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