1. Toy (single rotor and coaxial)
2. Micro Coaxial Hobby Grade
3. Quad Rotor / Multi Rotor
4. Micro Single Rotor Fixed Pitch Hobby Grade
5. Single Rotor Collective Pitch Hobby Grade (micro up to monster)
Havoc Toy Helicopter
Toy radio controlled helicopters are exactly that, a toy. They are very basic and inexpensive. The controls are limited and not precise, but they are still loads of fun and easy to fly.
A toy RC heli can take quite a bit of abuse from crashes or from hitting objects. If you just want to get your feet wet and find out if you even enjoy controlling a small flying device by radio control, then a toy heli is a good starting point. I have a section devoted to toy RC helicopters - click here if you wish to learn all about them.
Micro Coaxial Hobby Grade
Micro Coaxial Radio Controlled Helicopter
Micro Coaxial hobby grade radio controlled helicopters are the next step up in complexity, cost, and control ability. First off, hobby grade generally means there are individual parts on the helicopter that can be purchased from a hobby shop and replaced separately.
This means when you crash or break something, the heli is not junk, you simply purchase a new part/s and your bird is good as new. The other benefit with hobby grade is that replaceable parts allow you to upgrade certain components to get better performance. A toy heli on the other hand comes as is, and if it breaks, that is the end of it.
Micro coaxial hobby grade RC helicopters, also called dual or twin rotor helicopters start introducing real helicopter control - up, down, turn, forward, backward, sideways movement and of course hovering. Micro Coaxials are almost as easy to fly as a toy radio controlled helicopter but they are larger in size and mass. This means if you crash one, you may break or damage a part. The good news as I mentioned above, is you can fix it very easily yourself.
If you already know you will enjoy flying a radio controlled model, and want good control over your RC helicopter, a hobby grade micro coaxial is a great way to start out. They are best for flying indoors, but a nice calm day outside will provide a nice flight as well. I have a section devoted to micro coaxial RC helicopters - click here to learn all about them.
RC Quadrocopters, Quad Rotor, Multi Rotor Radio Controlled Helicopters
Quad Rotor Radio Controlled Helicopter
RC Quadrocopters/multi rotor are the latest development in radio controlled vertical lift platforms that are able to take off vertically, hover, and fly in all directions. As the name suggests, there are 4 (or more) propellers arranged in a cross type configuration.
I built a page devoted to multi/quad rotors if you don't know much about them. They do make a very good first RC helicopter if you want an easy to fly RC aircraft and don't really care about it looking like a conventional helicopter design.
Micro Single Rotor Fixed Pitch Hobby Grade
Single Rotor Fixed Pitch Radio Controlled Helicopter
These little micro single rotor heli's are the next step up from the micro coaxials. They are slightly harder to fly than the coaxials, but with the same self stabilizing 45 degree flybar placement, they exhibit similar levels of self correcting stability that is offered in the toy and micro coaxial variety.
These little birds essentially bridge the gap between the lower performance micro coaxials and the higher performance single rotor collective pitch helis. If you know you are going to like this hobby - these are a wonderful little heli to start out on. I'm really impressed with the Blade mSR and the Blade 120 SR (both those links take you to reviews I did on them).
The latest and greatest Blade 200 SRX , takes micro single rotor one step further offering electronic flybarless stabilization with recovery mode making it even easier to recover from mistakes at the flick of a switch. Coupled with a coreless tail motor to keep up and powerful enough to even perform some simple aerobatics; The Blade 200 SRX could perhaps be considered one of the best micro fixed pitch RC helicopters to hit the market in past few years for those who feel they need some time on a fixed pitch single rotor before diving into collective pitch.
Single Rotor Collective Pitch Hobby Grade
Collective Pitch Radio Controlled Helicopter
Now we get into real helicopter control, amazing performance potential, increased complexity, and cost. The majority of my web site is focused on single rotor collective pitch RC helicopters because there is so much to learn about them, the equipment required to fly them, and of course how to fly them.
On that note, let's dive into the complex, but fun world of single rotor collective pitch radio controlled helicopters. I usually get these four questions while I'm out flying more than any others:
1. What Does It Cost?
Probably the single most common question I get asked is – "How Much Does A radio controlled helicopter Cost?" What most people don’t understand is the helicopter is just one part of it.
A better question is "How much does it cost to start flying hobby grade RC Helicopters?" There are several items you need to get before you can start flying, and usually these all have to be purchased separately (once you progress past the micro sized ready to fly helicopters).