RC helicopters have been a fairly popular hobby for many for a long time. They allow many to simulate what it is like to fly a real helicopter and can provide much enjoyment. While the complexities of an RC helicopter may be much less than their real counterpart, there are similar components and controls. For the purpose of an RC helicopter, there are five main components which are the main and tail rotors, swashplates, cyclical control, and collective control.
Attached to the fuselage, the main rotor consists of two or more blades and is what enables the lifting power of the RC helicopter. This amount of lift is dependant on the inclination angle of the blades, as well as their velocity. Often, the RPM of the main rotor ranges anywhere from 1500-3000. By increasing the main rotor’s pitch, increased push and lift force can be achieved. The tail rotor is also important as it is what keeps the helicopter from spinning around in circles due to the force of the main rotor. By increasing or decreasing the thrust of the tail rotor, one can then steer the helicopter.
The swashplates are important as they are what translate the flight control input for the main rotor of the RC helicopter. A swashplate consists of two discs, one that is stationary and another that is moving. With cyclical controls, the swashplate can be tilted in any direction, as well as up and down through the use of collective controls.
Cyclical control allows for the helicopter to have 360 degree movement through the tilting of the oscillating plate and separately elevating the rotor pitch. The helicopter will begin to tip towards the direction of the side that has the lowest altitude. Collective control, on the other hand, changes the rotor blade pitch in unison to the same degree. The RC helicopter’s radio transmitter is able to control and translate the cyclic and collective movements.
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