*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Having an RC helicopter can lead to tons of fun outdoors, whether you’re taking it for a leisurely flight through the park or attempting to do some out-of-this-world tricks and flips. One common question that comes to mind, though, especially for a new RC helicopter owner, is whether they can fly upside down.
Can an RC helicopter fly upside down? Some, but not all, RC helicopters can fly upside down. The RC helicopter should be specifically designed to handle inverted flying and have a rotor blade that is crafted symmetrically to handle the load. The RC helicopter will also need the correct collective pitch range and power to weight ratio to fly upside down successfully.
If you are curious about whether your RC helicopter can fly upside down or want to know the reasoning behind it, read on to learn the four primary reasons why a helicopter is able – or not able – to fly upside down.
The Four Reasons an RC Helicopter can Fly Upside Down
Some helicopters look as though they can join the circus. With their ability to fly upside down and do a ton of impressive tricks, like looping through the air, they are quite a sight. On the other hand, some helicopters fall straight to the ground with a simple attempt at inverted flying. There are four main reasons why some RC helicopters can fly upside down.
Collective Pitch Range
Perhaps the most significant impact on whether your RC helicopter can fly upside down is the aircraft’s collective pitch. The collective pitch is essentially how many angles of attack you can produce using your rotor blades, as mentioned in the article “Collective Pitch Vs. Fixed Pitch Which is Best for You?” by John Salt.
When you are flying your RC helicopter right side up, you will be switching the operating stick to either half or full stick. This can go all the way up to +12. When you’re in a simple hovering position, your stick will be at around +5.
But what happens when you try to fly your RC helicopter upside down? Well, if you are attempting to go upside down in the hovering position, then you will end up with -5 pitch, and your RC helicopter will likely fall to the ground regardless. However, some RC helicopters will allow you to pull the stick down to -12 pitch and be able to create a positive lift and fly inverted.
This is not possible for all RC helicopters, though. Many RC helicopters do not utilize collective pitch in any way, and the rotor blades will flip upside down with the aircraft and drag it to the ground. There is no chance of these helicopters being able to fly inverted, even if you try and switch the stick down.
Power to Weight Ratio
Your RC helicopter must also have the proper power to weight ratio to successfully fly upside down. This is most commonly found in smaller RC helicopters, as they are designed to be more lightweight than full models and produce a plethora of power.
When the weight is evenly distributed throughout the RC helicopter, the power will allow the operator to fly upside down successfully. It also provides for intriguing loops and spins that might be more challenging in other types of RC aircraft.
At this point, you might be thinking, “But I have seen full helicopters make loops before!” and you would be correct. Full helicopters can do loops and rolls in the air, but they aren’t done by flipping the RC helicopter upside down immediately.
Full helicopters do not have the correct power to weight ratio to fly upside down or do rolls whenever the operators feel like it. These larger models will only be able to loop or roll after they have built up enough energy and are high enough in the air to be able to take a dive and gradually make their way into a loop or roll.
If you’ve never seen a full size helicopter do a loop then you have to check out this video from a 2018 airshow.
Rotor Blade Design
Another critical aspect to pay attention to is the design of your RC helicopter’s rotor blades. When the rotor blades are designed to be completely symmetrical – meaning they look the same on the top and the bottom – then they will be able to produce lift whether your RC helicopter is at +10 or -10.
Unfortunately, not many RC helicopters utilize symmetrical rotor blades. This is simply because they are paying closer attention to ensuring that the RC helicopter has a proper lift. This is especially important for larger-sized RC helicopter models. The rotor blades will likely be bent or flexed in strategic places to ensure maximum lift when upright.
Last but not least, an RC helicopter should be specifically designed to handle flying upside down. Many details should be crafted into an RC helicopter with inverted flying capabilities.
Some of these details include:
- A fuel and oil system that can handle going upside down
- A motorhead that can handle and support the weight of the helicopter
- A compact, lightweight construction that allows for equal power to weight ratios
- Symmetrical rotor blades that won’t bend in the opposite direction when flying invertedly
- Made with solid, yet lightweight materials such as composite.
Without a proper design, the helicopter will not be able to fly upside down. Not only will it fail, but it could cause potential damage to certain parts of your helicopter since the weight can’t be adequately distributed, and there is far too much weight being placed on sensitive areas of the RC helicopter.
Manufacturers know when crafting whether they want the RC helicopter to fly upside down. If you are planning to fly your RC helicopter upside down, it’s crucial to find a helicopter that has inverted flying capabilities. As we mentioned earlier, this will likely be a smaller RC helicopter with a symmetrical rotor blade.
The video below shows a great visual representation of how RC helicopters can fly upside down.
If you’re looking to get your foot in the door with inverted flying, we recommend starting with the Blade 230 S V2 RTF RC Helicopter. This easy-to-use and fully loaded RC helicopter comes with a wide range of benefits, including:
- A fully assembled collective pitch which is necessary for inverted flying.
- Designed with a rough, sturdy, and durable composite airframe that is surprisingly lightweight.
- It provides the ideal level of maneuverability, so the owner can quickly learn how to perform aerobatics as well as inverted flying.
- With the uniquely crafted SAFE technology, the integrated progressive flight mode system grows with you while you hone your skills. Start with beginner moves and work your way up to intermediate and advanced maneuvers.
- Easily return to the level altitude at the simple push of a button.
- The ready-to-fly version includes everything needed to start flying right away.
If you’re looking for an RC helicopter that can grow with you and allow you to perform plenty of fun and unique maneuvers without spending $$$$, then we recommend you get your hands on this RC helicopter. It’s great for beginners and novice flyers alike and will provide you with hours of endless fun as you learn.
Not all RC helicopters can fly upside down, but many of them can. As long as the RC helicopter is designed with collective pitch range capabilities, has the proper power to weight ratio, and the helicopter and rotor blades are designed correctly, the aircraft will be able to handle inverted flying with ease.