Quadcopters, also referred to as quad-rotor helicopters, are multi-rotor designs that generate lift with four fixed pitched rotors/propellers. ;e rotors are powered by electric motors (one per rotor) positioned on the end of rigid booms that support a center pod or structure platform, which houses and supports the battery, radio, control board, and power systems. For control, the thrust of the rotors are adjusted collectively as a group, to produce lift for hovering. For side to side and fore/aft maneuvering, the on-board controller adjusts the speed of the motors to vary the torque and lifting forces to produce cyclic response using a 4-channel transmitter. Some form of integrated, on-board stabilization system gives quadcopter models their pilot-friendly flight stability. RC multi-rotor helicopters have been around for a while and they enjoy continued popularity. ;e first-generation designs were strictly kits built around generic control boards and were fairly large, using motors and electronics originally meant for RC airplanes. ;ere are also all sorts of configurations to choose from. ;ey can be tricopters and the most popular, quadcopters, as well as hexacopters and even octocopters—the main di;erences being the number of motors, rotors, and their on-board controllers! ;e newest generation of multi- rotor quadcopters are extremely easy
;e next generation of RC fun!
By the Electric Flight crew Photos by Hope McCall
Editors’ Picks Quadcopter Roundup
to fly and are available from micro and
medium sizes, ready to fly in five minutes,
to kits for the advanced RC experimenter
who wants all the parts and electronics
to do it themselves. For this Editors’ Pick
Roundup, we’ve collected some of the
most popular to highlight. If you’ve been
thinking about switching from fixed-wing
flight to multi-rotor fun, then this article is
a great place to start.