Electric quadcopters have been increasingly popular with the “drone” like version of the quadcopter. What is the difference between a drone and a quadcopter? Well, a drone technically is a quadcopter, however, the definition of a drone lies with its original definition of a “male bee.” In aviation, the word drone is used to describe a UAV or “unmanned aviation vehicle.” This term does closely describe popular drone helicopters that are being used for professional cinematography and imagery. The ability for this small aircraft to take perfect “still shots” is due to the fine engineering of the 4 rotor design used for its flight. The 4 rotor design serves as a more stable platform because having 4 rotors balanced with polar opposite sides allows the drone quadcopter to accelerate gradually; whether decreasing or increasing its altitude by evenly applying thrust to all 4 rotors at once. Therefore, this makes the best quadcopters a breeze compared to its cousin the helicopter because the balance of all 4 rotors gives the small aircraft more of a “hover” characteristic. The ability to hover at a steady pace along with better resistance to wind allows pilots to capture bird’s eye view angles with high definition cameras such as the Go Pro Hero. The next flight control that is need to adjust the yaw (propulsion forward or backward) is achieved by the pilot using the flight controller (used by a radio control, smart phone, or tablet) with the application of more power to 2 rotors with polar opposite ends. This application of the flight control will enable pilots to move the quadcopter to “back-up” or move “forward” in motion. The last major component of flight control for the quadcopter is turning. For successful flight and maneuvers, the quadcopter has to accelerate (move up or down), adjust its yaw (backward or forward), and turn (left or right). The flight control for turning the quadcopter is achieved by applying more thrust to just 1 rotor. Most quadcopters today are built with a 6-axis gyro. The gyro allows more of the micro version of the quadcopters to perform back flips, loops, twists, and other aerobatic maneuvers. With recent media coverage and breath taking viral images and videos from the “drone quadcopter kits” made by top brands such as DJI with their Phantom 2 vision, the surface has only been scratched for the limitless possibilities of capturing the Earth from an untapped angle. The DJI Phantom Vision 2 comes equipped with a full gps navigation system, high-definition camera, and smartphone/tablet applications. In addition, this small aircraft can still be flown with the gps navigation system in case the drone quadcopter gets lost in sight. There are several people who often question the legality behind this type of drone quadcopter but according the FAA, as one would expect, any small UAV or unmanned aircraft vehicle must be flown away from airports and around 100 feet from private property. However, the FAA is in the process of re-defining the laws of operating the drone quadcopters but they probably will not be full illegal to fly but restricted by the FAA’s rules.
Electric RC Helicopters are still a popular commodity upon the radio controlled small aircraft hobbyists. Although drone quadcopters are making a bigger splash in the rc aircraft world, the rc helicopter is actually is predecessor in the hobby. RC Helicopters were not rare to find in the “fuel” powered side of radio controlled airplanes and helicopters. When the “fuel” powered helicopters started to become unpopular, a new technology of powering a miniature or micro version with a lithium polymer battery opened up a new chapter for the hobby. The use of a lithium battery allowed rc helicopters to be designed on a smaller scale for better performance, maneuverability, and for transporting. The best rc helicopters today are also keeping up with the drone quadcopter with some of the helicopters being designed with a 3-axis gyro for improved hover stability and camera/wifi technology similar to the drone/quadcopter. For the type of model, Swann makes a great rc helicopter with a built-in camera. For performance, Blade, Walkera, and WLToys are also good manufacturers of the electric rc helicopter. The rc helicopters on the small scale come in micro and mini as well that are built “ready-to-fly.” The beginner operator of the rc helicopter should start with a 3 channel indoor/outdoor model. The indoor/outdoor hybrids are good for practicing indoors and taking outdoors with more weather variables for height altitude flights and performance maneuvers. For more advanced users, the 6 channel rc helicopters with 3d capabilities allow the helicopter to fly upside down, perform flips, twist, and more. It is imperative to have a stable frame and durable plastic parts. High performance 6 channel rc helicopters will eventually absorb heavy absorption from hard impacts outdoors. Some of the mini helicopters are being used by the military for surveillance areas that could potentially be dangerous to venture. Together, drone quadcopters and rc helicopters provide not only recreational enjoyment but they also serve as a platform for military intelligence and educational from technology schools such as MIT.