How to Make a Working Model Helicopter

Radio controlled helicopters introduce the aerodynamics of rotor aircraft.
rc helicopter image by Greg Pickens from

Building a working model, radio-controlled helicopter provides an introduction to the flight principles behind rotor aircraft. During the building process, learn about the lift, yaw and roll involved with the helicopter. When beginning a hobby in radio-controlled helicopters, it is advisable to start with a Level 1 model to avoid frustrations and then advance to more technical helicopter model kits. Helicopter model kits are available at most toy and hobby shops.

Set out all parts of the model kit on the work bench. Set the instructions in a location you have easy reference to, such as a cork board in front of the work desk. Separate the pieces of the kit according to their purpose. For example, set all fuselage pieces in one area and all tail rotor pieces in another.

Assemble the fuselage first. The fuselage is the foundation for the rest of the craft and the part to which all other portions are attached. By completing the fuselage first, you gain a visual reference to the other pieces of the kit. Cut off intricate pieces from the parts plates with the hobby knife and trim down plastic shards. Glue the pieces with toothpick tips or small brushes.

Construct the tail and tail rotors. These are placed onto the end of the fuselage and are crucial to the flight of the helicopter. Double check all moving parts and connections to the tail rotor. The tail rotor stabilizes the helicopter and prevents it from turning along with the top rotor.

Put the top rotor together and then assemble onto the fuselage of the helicopter. You now have a full visual of the helicopter.

Place the engine into the fuselage top. Follow the engine testing procedures prior to placing in the helicopter. These entail running it on a work stand and ensuring it is working properly.

Connect all moving parts to the engine. Check the rotor movements.

Things You'll Need

  • Model epoxy
  • Toothpicks
  • Work bench
  • Magnifying lamp
  • Glue brushes
  • Clippers
  • Hobby knife
  • Model clamps
  • Helicopter model kit