How to Set Up an RC Helicopter's Paddles & Blades

Written by larry simmons
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How to Set Up an RC Helicopter's Paddles & Blades
The paddles and blades of an RC helicopteer must be set up properly prior to its first flight. (helicopter image by Albert Lozano from

The pitch of an RC helicopter's blades and paddles is a crucial component in the flight characteristics of the helicopter. Without sufficient positive pitch, the helicopter cannot fly at all, while too much pitch decreases your ability to control the vehicle in flight. Even an uneven pitch with one bar providing more pitch than the other can cause problems with the helicopter flying uneven. The pitch is mainly controlled by the position of the throttle on the remote transmitter, but for the most efficient flight control, the blades and paddles must be correctly set up using a pitch gauge.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • RC helicopter
  • Spare flybar
  • Rubber bands
  • Pitch gauge

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the main and tail rotors from the motors of the helicopter. Level the flybar in place, the smaller bar that sits horizontally above the main rotors with the paddles attached at the ends. Take a spare flybar and place it vertically with one end against the installed flybar and the other against the horizontal chassis bar of the helicopter. Attach rubber bands to the spare bar at both points to secure it in place.

  2. 2

    Turn on your RC transmitter and the radio receiver on the helicopter. Do not start the helicopter motor. Move the stick of your throttle on the transmitter to the midpoint level. Place a pitch gauge onto the centre of the main rotor blade, so that the top line of the gauge is parallel with the flybar. Read the pitch of the blade, and note it.

  3. 3

    Compare the pitch reading with the suggested pitch of the helicopter manufacturer. If the pitch is within suggested limits, then the helicopter paddles and blades are set up correctly. If not, adjustments will need to be made.

  4. 4

    Turn the control link, the metal poles that connect the boxlike rotor assembly on the blades to the blades themselves, to adjust the helicopter's pitch. Adjust the pitch until the reading matches the settings suggested by the manufacturer.

  5. 5

    Add pitch to the helicopter blades by turning the control and adding length to the link between the rotor assembly and the blade. Remove pitch by making the control link length shorter.

  6. 6

    Repeat the measurement and adjustment process for the second rotor blade.

  7. 7

    Reduce the throttle control on the RC transmitter and turn the transmitter off. Disconnect the battery from the helicopter receiver, remove the pitch gauge and spare flybar, and then disconnect the battery from the helicopter. Reattach the motors to the blades to complete the set-up process.

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