When I started learning about drones, I usually got confused with many things, such as drones and RC helicopters. Both devices were equipped with almost similar appearance and technology. However, when I searched about the differences between a drone and an RC helicopter, there were major differences between them. Here are my findings about these two famous modern inventions to help you choose the right one for your needs.
What is the Difference between a Drone and an RC Helicopter?
A drone is an autonomous device featuring cameras, GPS, and advanced functions. An RC helicopter is a radio-controlled device with simple functions.
This is just a brief comparison between the two. These two innovative gadgets serve totally differently. From flying to advanced features, drones, and RC helicopters are made for different purposes.
How Does a Drone Work?
A drone, also known as a quadcopter, is an unmanned flying robot that is controlled using a remote and a ground cockpit system. Drones fly autonomously using a waypoint navigation system and onboard GPS.
Drones are manufactured with lightweight, composite materials to improve their maneuverability. These materials make them durable enough to withstand high speeds and altitudes.
Another prime purpose of such material is that it helps to reduce vibrations and noise during flights. The center of the Ariel vehicle contains the sensor and onboard navigation system.
A drone is referred to as a quadcopter as it has four arms with a propeller attached to each one. The drone is set in motion by four rotors. Two rotors move clockwise, whereas two are anti-clockwise.
Drones are aerodynamically unstable and need a flight computer to change the propeller’s RPM to convert input commands into desired directions.
A drone moves in any direction for 10-20 minutes at a time with the capacity to hover in a single place. Drones are used for aerial surveillance, disaster relief, motion picture filmmaking, and recreation.
How Does an RC Helicopter Work?
An RC helicopter is a type of aircraft with radio-controlled technology. It is different from an RC airplane in design, construction, and aerodynamics. RC helicopters are available in different designs based on maneuverability. Remember, the more maneuverable the design, the more difficult it is to fly.
An RC helicopter flies like a full-sized helicopter, but they are controlled from the ground rather than inside the aircraft.
There is a ‘stick’ (cyclic pitch control), a throttle, and a ‘lever’ (collective pitch control) that helps RC helicopter ground pilots maneuver it, such as spinning, hovering, or flying backward.
Compared to other aerial vehicles, it takes serious practice and skills to fly RC helicopters.
RC helicopters fly up to 15 minutes at a time and have a top speed of up to 100 mph, with an average of around 45-60 mph. RC helicopters are used for low-altitude aerial filming, photography, inspection, or observation.
Is a Drone or RC Helicopter better for Beginners?
Drones are better for beginners than RC helicopters as they offer easy-to-control and handle a balanced flying experience.
Are Drones Easier to Fly than Helicopters?
Drones are more stable than helicopters and easy to fly. It is one of the main reasons why drones are better for aerial photos or videos compared to RC helicopters.
With improved stability, they offer better control over the device for easy maneuverability and control.
RC helicopters lose their balance and may tilt to one side. That’s one notable reason why RC helicopters are harder to fly compared to drones.
Do RC helicopters and drones have similar battery life?
RC helicopters have better battery life compared to drones. Drones have shorter flight times (around 20-30 minutes) due to the power demands of advanced features like cameras and stabilization. RC helicopters offer longer battery life, averaging 10 to 20 minutes per flight.
Is a drone or RC helicopter good for indoors?
RC helicopters are more suitable for indoor flying than drones. The smaller size with simpler controls makes them a better option for confined spaces. Drones, with larger dimensions and potential for collisions, are challenging for indoor flying.
Do Drones perform better in the rain than RC helicopters?
Drones do not perform well in rain compared to RC helicopters. Most drones are not water-resistant, and moisture can damage sensitive components. RC helicopters have better tolerance than drones. However, make sure to keep both away from wet conditions to prevent damage and ensure safety.
Jose E. Johnson is a true tech prodigy whose lifelong passion for technology and gadgets has blossomed into remarkable drone expertise. From the moment he laid eyes on his first electronic toy as a child, Jose was captivated by the limitless possibilities of innovation. As he grew, so did his fascination with cutting-edge tech, leading him to become a bona fide drone expert. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Jose delved deep into the intricacies of drone technology, amassing a wealth of technical knowledge and hands-on experience. Now, he shares his wisdom through insightful drone reviews and invaluable tips for fellow enthusiasts, making him a trusted source in the drone community.