Why Do RC Helicopters Usually Crash?

Most of the time, pilots know that their RC helicopter is going to crash moments before it does. There are several reasons as to why RC helicopters crash.

Common Causes of RC Helicopter Crash

Crashes are a part of the RC flying hobby, so it’s important to understand what causes your RC helicopter to crash most often if you’re a hobbyist. Crashes can happen even if you’re a cautious pilot and only fly within your skill or comfort level.

Low Receiver Battery Voltage

This has to be the most frequent cause of RC helicopter crashes. An experienced pilot will know that checking the RX battery before every flight is an essential step.

False peak detection while you charge your NiMH battery packs is a real problem. This can lead to your fuselage taking severe damage and costing you hundreds of dollars in repair as well as tens of hours wasted. All it takes to prevent this is an easy voltage check that’ll only take less than half a minute.

Before every flight, make sure you check your RX battery voltage, especially if you’re using NiMH packs. If you’re flying electric-powered helicopters and have several packs, make sure you use a fully charged one.

Mechanical Faults

Your RC helicopter has many mechanical parts that can stop working or malfunction at any time. Normally, these are the parts that won’t show a fault until the crash actually occurs. There are some parts that you know aren’t working, but you ignore them all the same.

Parts such as autorotation bearing are the parts that you will most probably ignore, especially if you don’t perform auto flights. This is a grave error as these are the parts you need in case of an emergency.

Mechanical faults are very common in RC helicopters. Most of the time, they’re the ones that lead to RC helicopter crashes.

The worst thing is that you can’t do anything about it once you realize a part is faulty and the helicopter is already in the air. All you can do is try to land the helicopter safely and fix the faulty part.

If you know there’s a mechanical fault in your RC helicopter, make sure you get it fixed. Even if you think the fault is minor and won’t hamper your flight, it’s better to get it fixed instead of taking the risk.

Pilot Mistakes

Mistakes made by inexperienced pilots lead to some of the worst crashes (or the best, depending on how you look at it). Even the experienced ones can make such errors in judgment and crash their RC helicopters. For example, engaging the wrong throttle is a very common mistake that many RC pilots make.

If you mistakenly engage your helicopter’s throttle hold while it’s 20 feet in the air, the rotor maintains energy long enough so that the throttle hold can be turned off and you can get the RPMs back. Even if that doesn’t happen, you can make a soft landing by performing an average autorotation.

If you’re new to flying RC helicopters, make sure you know all the controls before you start flying unsupervised. Even after you think you’ve learned how to fly your bird, you’ll make mistakes.

They say the best way to learn a lesson is from your mistakes, but in this case, it’s better to learn before your mistakes unless you have several RC helicopters to spare.

It’s important not to hit the wrong toggle switches. The type and model of RC helicopter also influence how often it’ll crash, so make sure you have the best one. Check out the best RC helicopter reviews.

What to Check After a Crash?

After the crash occurs, you’ll want to check the main mast and feathering spindle. Make sure the fly bar is straight, and the paddles haven’t been twisted. It’s also important to check if the blades have taken any damage or if the main gear has lost any teeth.

If the crash was tail-first, make sure the tail shaft is still straight. The tail boom should also be straight and the belt tension should be correct.

Make sure that ball links or other control linkages haven’t come off. You can do this by twisting the main blades in the opposite directions and if they move, that means something has come loose.

If you fail to check your RC helicopter properly after a crash, it can lead to excessive vibrations or worse, loss of control or disintegration of the helicopter due to extreme vibrations.


When things are going sideways, you may have more than one option as to how you deal with the situation. In such a situation, it’s imperative that you quickly assess all options and decide which one will cause less damage to your RC helicopter.

Once you’ve analyzed the situation, commit to your choice quickly as the situation will only get worse if you take longer to decide.

Most RC helicopter crashes occur because the pilots tend to get airborne too quickly or keep flying even after a failure. Making a hasty judgment call is surely going to get your bird crashed.

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