Understanding RC Helicopter Channels

In an RC helicopter, channels refer to the different actions by the transmitter on the helicopter Typically, the transmitter assigns each channel to a specific control, like throttle, pitch, yaw, or other auxiliary functions. The number of channels determines the various actions that can be controlled.

Here are some common functions that the channels control:

Throttle: The speed of the main rotor blades, determines how much lift and therefore altitude the helicopter has.

Aileron (left/right movement): Tilting along the helicopter's longitudinal axis, causing the helicopter to roll left or right.

Elevator/Pitch: Tilting along the helicopter's lateral axis, causing it to move forward or backward.

Yaw (turn): Allows the helicopter to turn and face left or right.

Collective Pitch: Tilting the main rotor blades collectively, affects the helicopter’s overall lift and descent.

All RC helicopters have a channel controlling the throttle. The control of other channels depends on the overall number of channels and the helicopter model. More advanced helicopters may have additional channels for more nuanced control and features.

2 Channel Helicopters – For Small Kids

These are ideal for young children flying RC helicopters for the first time as they are very easy to fly. They offer only the most basic functions:

Most 2-channel helicopters are designed to fly forward, going in straight lines. They are fixed-pitch and co-axial dual-blade helicopters, simplifying the flying experience. Though they offer limited control, it makes them a good starting option for novices.

3 Channel Helicopters – For Beginners

3 channel helicopters are the most common RC helicopters that you will find today, especially for beginners of all ages. Their functions usually include:

Syma S107 and Goolsky S107G are two popular 3-channel models. They have an extra layer of control with the Elevator function, enabling forward and backward movement, allowing them to hover in one place. Again, these are easy to fly, making them perfect for beginners who have mastered basic throttle and yaw controls.

There are also 3.5 channel helicopters that are essentially 3 channel helicopters with an additional feature, often related to more nuanced control of the tail rotor or a simple light function.

4 Channel Helicopters – For Advanced Beginners and Intermediate Pilots

4 channel helicopters are a significant upgrade from 3 channel, making them suitable for intermediates who have had practice or training with a beginner helicopter. The functions they offer usually are:

In addition to the functions of a 3 Ch model, these helicopters offer much better maneuverability because of the additional rolling left/right controls. They can be either fixed pitch or collective pitch. GoolRC C129 and WLtoys K200  are a couple of good examples.

6 Channel Helicopters – For Advanced Fliers

6 channel helicopters are usually collective pitch, allowing for full 3D flight maneuverabilities, including inverted flying, rolls, and loops. Along with throttle, yaw, elevator, and aileron, you get control over the pitch of the main rotor blades and often a gyro and other stability adjustments.

For seasoned pilots who want to fine-tune their flying experience, helicopters with 6 or more channels are ideal. These models offer the highest level of control and the ability to perform advanced aerobatics.

Advanced 7 Channel Helicopters – For the Seasoned Pros

Finally, you have the 7 Channel helicopters that offer all the controls of a 6 Ch with channels with even more customization and fine-tuning. These additional channels are typically used for specialized adjustments and advanced fine-tuning, providing the highest level of control and performance.

These models are best suited for experienced RC helicopter pilots looking to push the boundaries of RC helicopter flying.

Best RC Helicopters for Beginners

RC helicopters can undoubtedly offer a rewarding and skillful flying experience. But choosing the right model can be confusing for many newbies. We have made it simple for you by listing the models that are tried and tested.

Our criteria are fairly simple as well. These helicopters are mainly fixed pitch – with one exception, which is collective pitch – which are easier to handle for beginners, both young or old. Secondly, they come ready to fly out of the box, with no assembly required. And lastly, they are easily portable so you can carry them where you want. So, let’s fly in!

 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall for Beginners: GoolRC C129 RC Helicopter

Best for Young Kids: SYMA Remote Control Helicopter, S107H-E

Best for Learning 3D Flying: Blade Nano RC Helicopter S3 RTF

 

Our Reviews

 

DEERC DE51 Remote Control Helicopter

 

 

SIZE: 9.8 x 2 x 5 inches | WEIGHT: 10.9 ounces | CHANNELS: 3.5 | GYRO: Yes

 

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This is a solid, kid-friendly RC helicopter packed with fun. It’s one-key take-off/landing mode and gyroscope make it easy to fly and handle. Mainly designed for indoors, it has the usual flying time of 5-8 minutes but the two batteries help prolong the air time.

The altitude hold feature, two-speed mode and LED lights add to the overall appeal. And a metal build keeps it fairly durable in case of collisions.

 

Remote Control Helicopter for Kids with 30Mins Flight

 

SIZE: 11.7 x 3 x 1.6 inches | WEIGHT: 1.44 ounces | CHANNELS: 3.5 | GYRO: Yes

 

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A great little RC heli that is easy to fly, even for the younger ones. It has a one-button take-off, a range of LED lights (that you can change mid-flight) and a rugged, alloy body that holds up well even after many crashes.

It is an indoor toy that can also be flown outdoors, has a decent flying time and comes with two batteries that are easy to switch out. The remote control is easy to handle as well.

 

SYMA Remote Control Helicopter, S107H-E

 

SIZE: 8.6 x 1.5 x 4 inches | WEIGHT: 12.3 ounces | CHANNELS: 3.5 | GYRO: Yes

 

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This is an awesome, easy to fly RC helicopter toy for all kids and beginners. It is about the same size as many others that we have on this list but the controls make it probably the easiest to learn to fly. It has all the bells and whistles that you would expect such as one-touch controls, LED lights, gyro and altitude hold mode.

But the overall quality that you get is superior in many ways. It is lightweight and durable with a metal build that is backed by good customer service. The manufacturer, Syma, is a reputed brand and you will not be disappointed with this RC gem.

 

Blade Nano RC Helicopter S3 RTF

 

SIZE: 10.3 x 10.1 x 3.6 inches | WEIGHT: 1.13 ounces | CHANNELS: 6 | GYRO: NA

 

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This is a great option for those wanting to get into learning 3D flying. It is a highly maneuverable, ready-to-fly (RTF) model that can offer first-timers an introduction to collective pitch RC helicopters. Easy to get the hang of, it has three flight modes that can be more fun than the others on our list but is better suited for older beginners.

It is a powerful machine with a quick-response radio controller that will have you performing stunts in no time.

 

GoolRC RC Helicopter, WLtoys XK K127

SIZE: 13 x 10.3 x 3.5 inches | WEIGHT: 1.4 pounds | CHANNELS: 4 | GYRO: Yes

 

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A great value-for-money helicopter option for beginner pilots. It has a responsive radio controller that makes it quite easy to learn to fly for both young and old, and it can manage crashes well.

This 4-channel model comes with a 6-axis gyro that does a good job of keeping it stable and can be awesome fun flying in the yard. If you are looking for a good all-around toy, it will not disappoint you.

 

RC Helicopter, S37 Aircraft

 

 

SIZE: 18.5 x 3.26 x 7.8 inches | WEIGHT: 7.5 ounces | CHANNELS: 3.5 | GYRO: Yes

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If you are looking for a larger helicopter for your kids that you are in luck. S37 is easy to learn to pilot and is more stable than many other toys out there. It is also relatively better suited for outdoor flying than others on our list because of its size.

Make sure to get extra batteries for longer flying time and fun. Overall, this 18” RC helicopter from the Syma stable delivers well on its promises.

 

GoolRC C129 RC Helicopter

 

SIZE: 12.17 x 9.57 x 3.5 inches | WEIGHT: 1.57 pounds |CHANNELS: 4 | GYRO: Yes

 

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A powerful little 4-channel helicopter that will keep you entertained for hours. It is fast, more maneuverable than 3.5 channel helicopters and each battery can last upto 10-15 minutes. The usual features, like one-key take off, altitude hold and gyroscope are all part of the package.

What makes it stand out is its power, speed and responsiveness along with a decent controller range. This an excellent option for those who may be planning to move up to collective pitch helicopters next.

Before we conclude, a word of caution: When flying with very young kids, it is always advisable to do so under adult supervision. Crashes and collisions are par for the course when you are learning to fly, so be extra careful when flying indoors. And take extra care around plants and animals, particularly outdoors.

Conclusion

The best RC helicopters are often those that suit your needs the most, there’s no one size fits all. It will depend on factors such as where you plan to fly them, whether you are looking for a model for a younger or older beginner and your budget. We hope you liked our suggestions and we wish you happy flying!