T Nation

RC Helicopters?

My son wants a RC helicopter for Christmas. I don’t know anything about them. Anyone out there with any experience with them? It will be his first, and I don’t know how much it will be played with, so I’m not looking to dish out too much money for one. It also has to be something that a 10-year-old can learn to fly. Thanks.

There are some Micro-RC Choppers that are small enough to be flown indoors and rugged enough for outdoor play. I got to fly some around the Brookstone store at the mall, and ended up buying a pair for my parents. About $30 a piece.

If the kid likes it, and it doesn’t fall by the wayside after a month’s play, or he dismantles it to see how it works, then take him to a specialty RC shop to look at the build it yourself kits. The real fun of RC is building, painting, and modifying your project.

We bought a couple of these as gifts… look pretty good.

http://www.sharperimage.com/us/en/catalog/product/sku__HT300CLR

Found them on sale here
http://www.herbergers.com/product/gifts/gifts+for+kids/sharper+image+helicopter.do

[quote]malonetd wrote:
My son wants a RC helicopter for Christmas. I don’t know anything about them. Anyone out there with any experience with them? It will be his first, and I don’t know how much it will be played with, so I’m not looking to dish out too much money for one. It also has to be something that a 10-year-old can learn to fly. Thanks.[/quote]

Micro helicopters were the craze for our office at the end of last year (can’t help it, work in an airplane company and fly RC gliders). I found them to be a good challenge to control. A starter micro helicopter with a Styrofoam body would cost anywhere from $20-30. It uses IR connection so the controller would have to have a line of sight to the plane (can’tflying around corners).

If he has fun with that, you can start taking him to hobby shop for bigger models. But, be forewarned, good RC helicopters can cost hundreds of dollars (and MORE!) and you can come with a pile of scrap parts after a bad crash. I’ve heard of people who come home week after week with $100+ in repairs for parts. So, the cost of the hobby can add up pretty quick.

Some of those mini helicopters are lame. The airhogs is cool but I got one and it was totally useless.

I have another called a Honey bee with a fixed pitch 4 channel, and it was really hard to fly. You need to be indoors over a pit of foam. The fancier ones are a going to be a bitch to learn and expect to crash a lot. I even practiced on a simulator for a week, but the real thing is a lot more unpredictable and unstable.

I hear the bigger ones are easier to fly, but they cost a lot more.

My 8 year old had one on his list…my brother-in-law got him one…not sure which one…under 50 bucks I’m sure…I have high hopes for it…but…my hopes are often dashed.

Thanks for the replies. I got to play with one of the mini airhogs yesterday and it seemed pretty cool. It’s seemed fairly easy to fly (though hard to actually direct) and handled a couple ceiling height crashes. It also only costs $25, so this might be the route I go. If it turns into something he really gets into, then we’ll look into nicer stuff.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
Thanks for the replies. I got to play with one of the mini airhogs yesterday and it seemed pretty cool. It’s seemed fairly easy to fly (though hard to actually direct) and handled a couple ceiling height crashes. It also only costs $25, so this might be the route I go. If it turns into something he really gets into, then we’ll look into nicer stuff.[/quote]

One thing that you can do to get the helicopter to move in a certain direction is to move the center of gravity slightly forward. This can be done by putting a little weight on the nose of the plane, like taping a penny or putting a thumb-tack. This will drop the nose of the plane down a little and make it fly forward, as opposed to hovering in the air.

[quote]Tony Hsiao wrote:
malonetd wrote:
Thanks for the replies. I got to play with one of the mini airhogs yesterday and it seemed pretty cool. It’s seemed fairly easy to fly (though hard to actually direct) and handled a couple ceiling height crashes. It also only costs $25, so this might be the route I go. If it turns into something he really gets into, then we’ll look into nicer stuff.

One thing that you can do to get the helicopter to move in a certain direction is to move the center of gravity slightly forward. This can be done by putting a little weight on the nose of the plane, like taping a penny or putting a thumb-tack. This will drop the nose of the plane down a little and make it fly forward, as opposed to hovering in the air. [/quote]

Yeah, I didn’t get a chance to do it, but that’s what the guy at the store told me to try.