The Quadcopter/Multicopter has been gaining a TON of buzz and popularity in the last few years. It is now cheaper than ever to buy a Quadcopter that boasts easy to fly features which goes hand in hand with its ability to take amazing photographs and videos. With that in mind, the quadcopter/multicopter isn’t the only type of flying device that is available in the market. There are planes and there are helicopters. Both of these have been around for a while and have a large number of enthusiasts all around the world. In this short post, we’ll be looking at some of the similarities and differences between these types of flying machines and what you can hope to get from each. Here you go, the RC quadcopter vs helicopter vs plane comparison :
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RC Planes are amazing and fun machines, ideal for a relaxing flying experience. If you are looking to soar the heights and fly long distances, planes are for you. They are also easier to fly for the beginner pilot especially because it offers much more stability relative to Helicopters and most Quadcopters at least initially, which is typically good for learning. The only exception to this would be the skill required to properly take off and land without damaging the plane. It shouldn’t take that long to get used to it though, and so, as far as easiness for flying goes, a plane is still great.
However, a plane’s relative ease of flying and stability comes with a trade off with precision. Relative to other types of flying machines, a plane offers much less manoeuvrability. If you want your machine to perform acrobatics and want to have the flexibility of flying acrobatically within short range distances including but not limited to moves involving backward, side to side flight, flips and other 3D moves, you might want to go for a helicopter or a quadcopter. Even though it is very possible to do stunts and acrobatics with an RC plane and can offer a unique experience in that aspect, they are better suited to flying fast, high and going long distances with relative ease.
If you are looking forward to taking TONS of pictures and videos with your flying machine, the plane may not be for you either. Though the plane may possibly be the most responsive of all three devices, it simply lacks the manoeuvrability and precision to be able to use it as your primary photography device. With that said however, you definitely can get some amazing high altitude shots and video with the plane, as evident from the video above!
RC helicopters are another type of awesome little flying machines. It typically has a steeper learning curve than the plane but once you manage to learn how to operate them, you can have tons of fun with it! With an RC helicopter, you have plenty more manoeuvrability compared to an RC plane. RC helicopter also tend to have higher flight times than your average quadcopter due to lesser number of motors.
Especially if you love short range stunts and moves, Helicopters are ideal. Crashing an RC helicopter is much more likely as a beginner than an RC plane though, so it is best to be careful. It can also be pretty expensive to repair your machine. However, if you were to compare a helicopter with a low budget quadcopter without the stabilization features, a helicopter would be easier to control, especially due to lesser number of control channels. A helicopter would also be more responsive.
As far as photography and video is concerned, RC helicopters wouldn’t be your best pick either. Though it offers better manoeuvrability and flexibility than RC plane, a helicopter does not offer as much stability for the machine as a whole and a stable centre of gravity for the camera, which would be attached to it. It is still possible (with proper camera placement) to take photography and video with the helicopter, there is no denying that:
I admit I may be a bit biased here, but the quadcopters/multicopters are simply the most amazing of all three types. A decent quadcopter offers the best of both worlds – the stability of an RC plane and the flexibility and excellent manoeuvring capabilities of the RC helicopter. This makes it not only easy for the beginner, but an excellent machine for a variety of purposes in the real world including but not limited to security, surveillance, photography, agriculture and so on.
Quadcopters are getting extremely popular and cheap these days. A good quality quadcopter with stabilization features, camera and FPV can be bought for as low as $300 today, offering excellent manoeuvring and easy flying. If you love short range stunts, 3D flying and acrobatics, today’s quadcopters are built with excellent features for this as well. Quadcopters are also cheaper to repair than helicopters if you go down crashing, especially if you are comparing machines in the cheaper end of the spectrum.
RC quadcopter IS the way to go, if your primary purpose is to take photography and video. Most quadcopters released today offers excellent photography and videography features which are simply hard, if not impossible to find in RC planes or helicopters released today. If you ask around for what is the best flying device for photography and video, you’d probably get responses in favour for models from DJI (though these can get a bit expensive). A quad can hold the camera very well in its centre. This, coupled with its stabilization features for the machine as a whole and auto adjusting features for the camera, makes it the best model for photography and video.[table id=1 /]
That’s what I think folks, there is no denying that I might have my own personal bias imbibed within this comparison. I’ve tried my best to be as objective as possible, but I simply find the quadcopter best for my own enjoyment and purpose. In the end, I think it mostly boils down personal preference. What do you think is the best flying machine for you? Also please bear in mind that this is far from an all-inclusive information for comparison! Please let us know if there are any parameters missing! Comment away!