Helicopters Part 2


In part two we will look at larger model helicopters suitable for use outdoors only. I will start with larger electric models before covering internal combustion (I/C) models.

Electric Helicopters 500 size and above.

The range of larger electric models is quite small. Most of the major manufactures offer electric versions of there normal range.

The biggest draw back to big electric helicopters is the cost of batteries. A Lithium polymer battery for a T.rex 450 (see part 1) costs as of May 08 25.00-40.00 depending on make and supplier. A Lithium polymer battery for a T.rex 600 (see below) costs as of May 08 150.00-250.00 depending on make and supply.

However Lithium polymer battery prices are dropping rapidly. You can now buy a pack for a T.rex 600 from Hobby City for under $135 about 80.00.

My own approach to larger models has been to make use of the battery packs from my fixed wing fleet. For my larger fixed wing models I have standardised on the Hyperion Litestorm LVX 3700 mahr  by using 2, 3, 4 & 5 cell packs you can put these in series to fly models with any combination from 6 - 12 cells. I will do the same with electric heli's.

I think there are only three large electric heli's in the club (may 08) but there are more on the way.

Left top my own brand new Raptor E550 first flew Sunday 4th May. Flies on 5 Litestorm 3700 mahr cells for about 8 minutes.

Below Keith's Align T.rex 600 CF without canopy, note large 6 X 5000 mahr cell courtesy of Hobby City.

I set up and test flew this model, then went home and ordered one.

Adrian had a fly a few weeks later, he also wants one!


Helicopter powered by internal combustion (glow) motors for use only outdoors.

The range of IC helicopters is vast. There are the "mainline" suppliers being Thunder tiger with there range of Raptors, the Japanese's companies of Hirobo and Kyosho are still producing models and even Align now moving into the I/C market.  There are many more suppliers to numerous to mention so I will stick with those I have pictures of and that members are flying. 

Note, nobody actually makes a training helicopter. Most helicopters make good trainers it is how they are set up that makes the difference. Generally the smaller size helicopters are used for training as they are cheaper to run in terms of fuel and spares.

I/C helicopters are generally defined by engine size. 30 (5cc), 50(8.5cc), 60 (10cc), & 90 (15cc) being the most common. Traditionally the 30 was a good starting point but more modern thinking is to start with a 50.


Most models sold as 50's are actual upgraded 30 size airframes. the basic airframe is often the same. However the cost of buying the upgrade parts can be quite high so why not start with a slightly better machine. Have a look on E.bay and see how many Raptor 30's there are for sale compared with other Raptor models (50,60 & 90).

Big Warning!

Having mentioned E.bay I have to have a bit of a rant about it

Please ask advice before you buy on E.bay. Most of the models sold second hand on E.bay are there because the person selling didn't know what he was buying, don't become part of that chain.

Yes there are good bargains to be had on E.bay. There are a few very good models sold, you can tell these from the price they reach. Please ask advice, other members and myself have all to frequently been ask to sort out and fly E.bay specials, sorry life's to short.

End of rant, climb off soap box.

The larger 60 size heli's are also disappearing simple because they are not being fitted with 90 size motors to give outstanding performance. These models are not really suitable first models.


A Quintet of I/C raptors from the top anticlockwise.

Paul Niblet's, Chris Rennie's, Darren's, Mark Burnham's and Phil's.

Not sure which are 30's and which are 50's as they all look the same.

But very popular.

Right Keith's Hirobo Shuttle Sceadu, with training stabilisers fitted.

Below Brian Bevan's vintage Hirobo Shuttle circa mid 90's.



Right another vintage helicopter the Kyosho Concept 30 SRX. Again circa early nineties.

Despite my rant against E.bay these older machines are kept going by spares and airframes bought on E.bay, there are bargains if you know what you are looking at.

Below, bang up to date a Align T.rex 600 Nitro. This time Align have brought out the "dogs do-dars" in I/C heli's.



Although there are many larger helicopters, 90 size and above I have not included them as they are not normally considered as suitable for beginners.


Rotary winged models not Helicopters.

Auto gyros, conventional (electric motor propeller) at front non powered rotor, roll and pitch control by tilting head.

Below a Rotorshape Autogyro, which flies superbly.



Gloucester Model Flying Club