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For an RC helicopter to fly and function at its best, the blades need to be tightened the right amount. For anyone who has an RC helicopter or is thinking of getting one, it is important to know what to do if the blades are too loose or too tight so that necessary adjustments can be made in case your RC helicopter is not flying smoothly.
How tight should RC helicopter blades be? RC helicopter blades need to be tight enough so that they hold still when the craft is tilted sideways, and loose enough so that the blades fall downward only when shaken once strongly in the same sideways position. They should not be able to spin around loosely on their own, yet they should be moveable by hand. When flying, the blades of the RC helicopter should spin perpendicular to each other in a straight line, without bending or wobbling.
For many people, flying RC helicopters is an enjoyable hobby. The various looks, sizes, shapes, and models of these aircraft offer an array of experiences, some taking place indoors and others outdoors. It is important to know how to maintain these small aircraft so that they can function the way they were designed to, in turn providing fulfilling experiences for RC helicopter users and enthusiasts.
How Tight RC Helicopter Blades Should Be
RC helicopter blades need to be tight enough to maintain a steady motion and direction as the craft flies through the air. They should allow the body of the helicopter to fly smoothly, without shaking or moving erratically.
Problems arise when the blades are not perpendicular to one another, are bent, or when the blade grips–the metal parts that connect the blade to the rotor–are not bolted in at the right level of tightness.
By adjusting the blades as well as the blade grips, the tension changes accordingly, enabling the RC helicopter to fly more smoothly and without “wobbling”. To see how tightening the blades helps to fix a wobbling helicopter check out this video below.
The Blades of an RC Helicopter
RC helicopters, depending on the size and function, can have anywhere from two to seven blades. The blades of the RC helicopters, if purchased intact, are generally already bolted in at the optimal tightness based on the length and weight of the model aircraft itself.
Are Your RC Helicopter Blades Tight Enough?
Before getting to know the controls and flying the craft, it is best to make sure the blades are good to go. To do this, consider the steps below:
To test if the blades are tight enough:
- Hold the RC helicopter in your hands
- Move the blades manually so that they are directly across from each other, forming one line from the front of the craft to the back (this works for double-bladed helicopters only–if you have a craft with more blades, simply try keeping the blades across from each other as best you can)
- Slowly tilt the helicopter sideways so that both the body and the blades are parallel with the ground
- See if the blades move downward at all during this process
If the blades do not move, then that is a good sign that they are tight enough.
To test if the blades are loose enough for the necessary mobility:
- Hold the RC helicopter sideways with two hands
- With a swift and strong motion, jolt the craft up and then down quickly
- See if the blades turn downward at all during this process
If the blades shift downward without being loose, then that is a good sign that they have the right amount of mobility necessary.
If the blades in the above steps move too loosely or don’t move much at all, then that is a telltale sign that the tightness of the blades needs to be adjusted by tightening or loosening the bolts of the blade grips.
Below is a video showing how to perform these steps with various RC helicopter sizes.
Blade grips are the metal parts of the RC helicopter that connect the blades to the main rotor. The grips are attached to the top of the shaft, and the blades are bolted into the grips. The bolts can be adjusted to enable a tighter and more perpendicular blade hold, or a loosened and more loose hold.
Blade grip sizes vary depending on the size of the blades as well as the RC helicopter itself. If the tightness of the blades is the main problem with not being able to fly the helicopter smoothly, then adjusting the blade grips usually resolves the issue.
Different Sizes of RC Helicopters Require Different Blade Tightness
This video, also linked under the “Blades” section of this article, depicts some of the different sizes of RC helicopters. As mentioned in the clip, the blades of the various sizes and models require different levels of tightness as they carry different weights.
The bigger and heavier the model, the tighter the blades. As there is no set numerical description for how tight or loose the blades need to be, it is best to play it by ear and adjust accordingly to whichever model you have.
Here is a list of the various sizes/classes of RC helicopters:
- Micro (100-200 size)
- Small (200-350 size)
- Medium (350-400 size)
- Large (500-700 size and up)
Inside vs. Outside RC Helicopter, Wind, and Blade Tightness
Depending on the size and type of RC helicopter, it is considered either an inside or outside craft. This can have a major impact on the level of tightness the blades require to fly since there is generally much more wind and airflow outdoors (for obvious reasons).
The micro size (100-200) is generally seen as the best model for indoors; therefore, due to its size, weight, and minimal access to wind, it will most likely require a normal level of tightness in the blades to provide optimal function.
The larger models, ranging in size from about 300-700 and upwards, are mostly meant for outdoors (sizes around 300-350 may be considered for indoors as well). Since they are both larger and are built to face more resistant airflow, the overall bodies, as well as the blades of these models, are heavier.
The heavier blades require tighter bolts attached to the blade grips to make sure that they maintain proper form and function when flying.
Safety of Blade Tightness for Other RC Helicopter Functions
Aside from obvious reasons for having just the right amount of blade tightness on the RC helicopter (to have a fantastic flying machine, of course!), there are also other uses for this type of model aircraft which require taking precise measures to ensure proper functionality. Some RC helicopters are used as makeshift drones by the police or private investigators. Other types of RC helicopters are used for filmography and/or photography.
Though recreational usage of RC helicopters still generally outweighs commercial usage, it is important to know whether a model aircraft may be used for any other purposes as well. If you think you might want to give filmography of scenic hillsides a try, for example, it is important to make sure that your craft is in good working condition before getting started.
Flying an RC helicopter in a controlled environment, whether indoors or outdoors, is very different from flying the same aircraft in an area where other people may be involved. Making sure the blades are tightened at the right level is key to ensuring a safe, enjoyable, and successful experience.
If All Else Fails
If tightening or loosening the bolts of the blades onto the blade grips does not enable for a smoother and more controlled flight of the RC helicopter, it would be best to contact the manufacturer and/or read the safety instructions on the insert included in the box. If those are long gone, you can find most user manuals online.
It is advisable, in general, to do research on how to use RC helicopters for commercial purposes, before getting started. Knowing how to adjust the tightness of RC helicopter blades can provide the safety, trust, fulfillment, and joy that comes along with flying these incredible remote-controlled aircraft.