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How to Fly a Remote Control Helicopter

Updated on December 28, 2012

How to fly your r/c helicopter.

When I was a kid I could only dream of such a toy. A fully controllable 4 channel radio controlled helicopter with lights and rotors and blades, holy cow!

I would never have gone to school again. I would have been the worlds best indoor r/c helicopter pilot this side of the Mississippi. I know this scenario to be true as I bought one for my son's seventh birthday this past year. It was all he could think about.

I would be lying if I didn't admit I became quite addicted to it myself. We had landing competitions, take-off competitions, try to avoid hitting mommy competitions, and yes she was hit a couple of times mostly by me. This is another great thing (not the death look) when you get hit by the thing; it doesn't really hurt, they are relatively safe probably because they are so light-weight. Now I'm not saying you should play Kamikaze with your little brother, however I've seen it done, harm free. The rotor blades do spin at a very high RPM however they are made of a soft plastic that does not hurt too bad when it hits you.

The durability of these little things is as remarkable as the accuracy of their flight. I've witnessed the device hit ceiling fans, lights, ceilings, chairs, tree limbs, the baby, the four-year-old, and mommy; the thing still flew like a champ. I do need to say however they do have their limit. My son's r/c helicopter now sits on the shelf never to be flown again.

I found it much easier to fly the toy radio controlled helicopter inside the house in a large room. Flying out-doors is possible however the slightest breeze can take the toy in directions you may not want it to go.

The battery charge is also quite impressive in most cases the charge was complete in less than 15 minutes. Flight time was about a third of that at 4-5 minutes. You can charge some models with a USB cable and some models re-charge with a regular plug in the wall and yet some others have the capability to do both.

What are 2, 3, or 4 channel r/c systems?

Depending on how many channels your system has will give you certain functionality. The video example was a 4 channel system that gave control on each axis of both control sticks each stick of the hand-held controller served two purposes.

A two channel system may only control one function on each stick of the hand-held controller. For example a 2 channel system may control altitude with the left stick and rudder control on the right stick.

When selecting a radio controlled helicopter be sure of how many channels the unit has. Remember the more channels, the more functionality of the unit.

A 4 Channel R/C Unit

Right Stick Controls:

  1. Left to right ailerons move helicopter left or right as a unit.
  2. Up and down elevator pitch helicopter forward or backward to create forward or backward motion.

Left Stick Controls:

  1. Up and Down controls throttle speed and altitude.
  2. Controls rudder spinning clock-wise and counter-clock-wise.


No matter what type of model remote control helicopter you buy, you will have a lot of fun both learning how to fly and then becoming an expert. They are a great rainy-day toy for both young and old.

You can almost buy them anywhere. They have become so popular even home improvement stores are putting them on their shelves for the holidays. The average price is about $30-$40 bucks, however I have seen them as cheep as $15. Beware however, the cheaper models are not as functional and may not perform as well as the higher priced models.

©2013 Steve West. Not to be duplicated without written consent of content author.

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      Tina Truelove 5 years ago

      A few years ago, my brother-in-law bought two remote control helicopters, one for each of his daughters. When we arrived at his house on Christmas Day, my nieces were anxious to show us their new treasures. After a little food and fun, my brother-in-law talked his youngest daughter into allowing him to go outside and fly her helicopter. She had not yet had a chance to get out with it. My brother-in-law lifted the toy up pretty steadily. Then, his intention was to fly it out the drive-way a little bit and then return it safely to the ground and return the control to his bright-eyed daughter. However, when he tried to direct it southward, he somehow lost control. The more he tried to bring it back, the higher in the sky it went. He began manipulating buttons like crazy, but the thing had a mind of it's own. It flew high and higher and then took off south and out of sight. My husband helped his brother search for the thing for quiet some time before they found it a few miles down the road in someone else's back yard. It could never be flown again either. My niece forgave him once she got a new helicopter, but my brother-in-law has not been allowed to touch that one.

    • Steve West profile image
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      Steve West 5 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

      Hello Faith Reaper it was so nice to see your comment. Thank you for visiting as you always do. You have been in my thoughts and prayers daily. I hope you are feeling well and that you are enjoying that grand-baby. Steve

      PS I hope you understand all of these crazy titles you see coming from the apprentice group is because we have to use those exclusive titles only. booooooo

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Very useful hub here, as one actually can get harmed if one does not know the appropriate manner in which to operate to enjoy this hobby. My brother loves remote control planes and helicopters, but he also flies real helicopters too, just for fun, as he is a planetary geologist. Great to publish this right before Christmas, as these are getting more and more popular.

      Voted up +++

      In His Love, Faith Reaper