Let’s face it, flying radio controlled RC model helicopters is a blast. Regardless of your age or income, you can find a cool heli that can do some impressive things in the air. If you’re just starting out with this hobby, make the most of it by learning about how your RC helicopter works.Probably the first question that pops into your mind is, “How does an RC helicopter fly?” Start by thinking of your rotor as a simple propeller. When that propeller is precisely level and horizontal to the ground, it will make your heli rise straight into the air. If you then use your cyclic controls to tilt your propeller forward just a bit, your machine will still rise; however, it will also move forward. The same will happen if you tilt it backwards or to the side if you tilt the control to the right or left. These backward, forward, left and right movements are known as pitch.
There are two basic types of RC model helicopters. On collective pitch models, the main rotor blades get pitched collectively at the same time. In the cyclic pitch variety, each rotor blade gets pitched individually. The angle or pitch of each rotor blade is changed as it makes one revolution or cycle, enabling you to vary the level of thrust to move the helicopter in any direction you want.
There are several parts that work together to make these amazing little machines fly. At the heart of your helicopter is the main rotor. This is the workhorse of your RC plane that enables it to lift into the air and remain there.The swashplate is what makes it possible to control your helicopter and send it in all different directions. This mechanical system joins the non-rotating systems that control the heli to the rotating control portions of the main rotor head. In effect, the swashplate transforms the non-rotating cyclic controls into rotating cyclic controls. On a collective pitch RC model helicopters, the swashplate is also capable of moving up and down to change the rotor blades’ pitch, all at the same time. Think of yourself as a military general and your heli’s swashplate as the colonel who will carry out your orders.No swashplate can translate your orders without the help of the motor. This is what runs your heli and keeps it in the air by powering the main rotor.