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Can An RC Helicopter Fly Upside Down?

Flying an RC helicopter is a fun and exciting hobby to have and flying an RC helicopter upside down is even cooler. With this thought, you might be wondering if that is really possible.

Can an RC helicopter fly upside down?  An RC helicopter can fly upside down, but it isn’t easy and requires quite a bit of practice and precision on the controls. First, you have to get the RC helicopter upside down and then you have to control it while it’s upside down.

If flying an RC helicopter upside down sounds like an amazing feat to accomplish, check out what I found out about the skill.

Can an RC Helicopter Fly Upside Down?

We’ll talk a little more about  RC helicopter basics, but first, let’s get to the real question. Is it really possible to fly an RC helicopter upside down without crashing it? As we briefly discussed above, RC helicopters can fly upside down but it’s not exactly easy.

Flying an RC helicopter upside down wouldn’t be nearly as cool if all it required was a push of a button. What it actually requires is: 

· Getting the helicopter into the correct position

· Getting it upside down with perfect precision

· Controlling it once it is upside down

Before we get into how to do this fancy pilot trick though, let’s talk about why an RC helicopter can fly upside down and a real helicopter can’t (or at least very rarely does and then only for a moment.)

The easiest way to explain why an RC helicopter can fly upside down is to start by explaining why a real helicopter can’t. 

Why Can’t a Real Helicopter Fly Upside Down?

All aircraft are able to fly by generating lift. This is an upward force that keeps the aircraft, including helicopters, in the air. Helicopters generate lift through their rotor blades, which spin at incredibly high speeds.

The rotors push air down, which keeps the helicopter up and while in theory, a helicopter may be able to fly upside down for a few seconds, but it cannot maintain that position. Take a look at a few of the reasons why this just isn’t doable in a real helicopter:

· Joint isn’t strong enough

· Rotor blades flex

· Engine isn’t designed for it

· Flight controls aren’t designed for it

Let’s take a look at how each of these factors contributes to a helicopter’s inability to fly upside down.

Joint Isn’t Strong Enough

There’s a joint that connects the rotor blades to the helicopter. This joint is designed to support the weight of the rotor blades; the weight of an upside-down helicopter would be too much for this joint. It would need to be redesigned and strong enough to handle the entire weight of the helicopter.

Rotor Blades Flex

The next problem is that the rotor blades of a real helicopter are designed to flex with each blade having the ability to move up and down. 

When a helicopter is flying upright, the blades bend away from the cockpit. If you were to fly the helicopter upside down, the blades would bend into the helicopter and chop up who knows what.

Engine Isn’t Designed for It

A real helicopter’s engine is not designed to fly upside down. Once the chopper turned upside down, the fuel and other lubricants would not necessarily be channeled to the proper locations. This could cause many problems. 

The engine would need to be redesigned so that everything went where it was supposed to go even when the helicopter was upside down.

Flight Controls Aren’t Designed for It

Finally, there are no controls in a real helicopter that allow a pilot to tilt the blades of the helicopter down. This would need to be done in order for the helicopter to produce lift in the proper direction.

Those are all the reasons a real helicopter cannot fly upside down. Now, let’s get to the reasons why an RC helicopter can do the amazing and fly upside down.

Why Can an RC Helicopter Fly Upside Down?

It’s all in the swashplate. Really, the key reason an RC helicopter can fly upside down is a simple device called a swashplate. This device is like a communication port between the body of the helicopter and the rotating blades of the chopper. 

The swashplate has two main parts:

· Stationary swashplate

· Rotating swashplate

The stationary swashplate tilts in any direction and can also move vertically. The rotating swashplate is mounted on the stationary one and rotates.

The swashplate can change the pitch and roll of the helicopter, which means it can change how the rotor blades are angled. This means when the helicopter is upside down, the rotor blades are angled in the opposite direction than if it was right side up, therefore allowing the RC helicopter to fly upside down.

OK, before we get too far into piloting, let’s cover some basics about RC helicopters and how they fly.

How Does an RC Helicopter Fly?

Let’s start by clarifying exactly what type of helicopter we’re talking about. An RC helicopter is not one your 6-year-old son flies around the house that runs on a few AA batteries.

An RC helicopter is a radio-controlled (RC) model helicopter that is capable of some pretty dynamic moves. RC helicopters are similar enough to real helicopters that they operate at high speed and can actually cause pretty severe injuries if you’re not careful.

RC helicopters are generally powered by one of the following sources:

· Nitro fuel

· Electric batteries

· Gasoline

· Turbine engine

Nitro fuel was the original power source of RC helicopters, but electric powered RC helicopters have become more popular. The only catch is electrically powered choppers can’t fly as long as those powered by nitro fuel.

RC Helicopter Controls

Although there is some variation when it comes to the controls, most RC helicopters have at least four controls. The controls are as follows:

· Roll

· Elevator

· Rudder

· Pitch/throttle

Construction of RC Helicopters

RC helicopters are usually made from one of the following materials:

· Plastic

· Glass-reinforced plastic

· Aluminum

· Carbon fiber

The rotor blades are generally constructed from one of the following resources:

· Wood

· Fiberglass

· Carbon fiber

RC helicopter pilots usually buy the helicopter as part of a kit. These models can take anywhere from 5 to 20 hours to put together. Just because it’s a model helicopter doesn’t mean it’s like a toy. The models actually have many moving parts similar to those of a real helicopter.

Putting together and flying RC helicopters is complex enough that most people join a club so they can seek out help from more experienced RC helicopter pilots.

So, you’ve got the basics down. Now, for a step-by-step guide about mastering upside-down flight. 

Flying an RC Helicopter Upside Down 

Now that you know why an RC helicopter can fly upside down, let’s talk about how to accomplish the skill. First, you’ll need to have mastered the basic skills of flying your RC helicopter. Once you have that done, follow these steps:

1. Use your controls to lift your helicopter up to hover about 5-feet above the ground. Make sure you can hold the hover then increase the altitude.

2. Move the cyclic stick on your controls forward and increase your speed to get the helicopter to begin to make a loop. 

3. Continue to increase your angle, and your RC helicopter will begin to roll forward while increasing altitude. 

4. Move the cyclic stick further forward, and your helicopter will flip.

5. Move the throttle down as your helicopter flips. You want to hit mid-throttle at the exact point your blades are horizontal to the ground.

6. Move the throttle stick slightly down to create the negative pitch necessary to keep the RC helicopter upside down.

7. Use the rest of the controls in the reverse of normal to fly your RC helicopter. For example, to turn right, push the cyclic to the left.

Here is an awesome video explaining more in depth how to fly your RC helicopter upside down no matter how inexperienced you are.

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Now, you can amaze all your friends by taking your RC helicopter out and flying it upside down. Just remember always to make sure the area around your helicopter is clear to avoid any injury.