The word “quadcopter” refers to a four-winged aircraft. A quadcopter is a more advanced form of personal helicopter, with four rotating rotors instead of the traditional two. The term “quad”, a combination of “quads” and “copter”, first came into use in 1940. Since then, there have been numerous advancements to this design.
The quadcopter is used for a wide variety of applications in today’s world, from filming to remote operation and hobbyist recreation. In the past decade alone, remote operation and consumer grade flying craft have become quite popular. For example, some RC helicopters are used for indoor hobbies such as painting or cleaning; other popular usage is in the military, surveillance and aerial industries. These uses provide a unique opportunity to build cutting-edge technologies that reduce risks and give enthusiasts greater satisfaction.
Quadcopter have many similarities to a helicopter, in terms of basic functions such as rotor blades, drive, elevator and control surfaces. However, it is also important to note that their lift capacity is notably different. In a helicopter, the rotor blades allow lift and its overall length is directly related to its lift. In a quadcopter, the lift is generated by its four rotors and its overall length is unrelated to the lift capacity. Quadcopter have a propeller at the rear, which propel it forward by spinning the rotor blades.
There are two main types of quadcopter helicopter designs. The first is the single-blade design. This is usually a smaller version of a helicopter, with two or four rotors (the same as in a remote control model). It is generally considered an ideal platform for hobbyists with a limited amount of time and skill to dedicate to building and controlling a quadcopter. However, it is also the most fragile design and may suffer damage easily. A single blade may break off during a crash and might cause the aircraft to stall or become difficult to control.
Another type is the double blade (or triple blade if there is more than one blade). These designs achieve greater maneuverability because of their ability to spin. The term “quadcopter propellers” describes these props and their ability to spin. When this prop moves, it exerts a continuous spin on the rotor shaft, thereby imparting an additional force to the propeller blades. This additional force allows the quadcopter to move faster and farther.
The prop used for most RC airplanes is made from either a single or two-blade prop, whereas helicopters are generally powered by a battery of one or two lithium batteries, attached to an electric motor. Prop shafts are typically made from either carbon fiber or aluminum, with the former having the advantage of greater stiffness. Carbon fiber is said to be more durable than aluminum, although experienced RC pilots do not always agree.
RC helicopters often have three main propellers, although this is not the case with most quad copters. Typically, the outside propeller rotates in an upward direction. On some models there is also a mid-air caster that is used to assist in taking a stable flight and for landing. Most RC helicopter props are made from either fiberglass or carbon fiber, with the former being stronger and more resistant than the latter.
There are actually five types of helicopter blades, each of which rotates in a different direction. These include counter-clockwise rotation, anticlockwise rotation, clockwise rotation, perpendicular rotation and a unique “X” shaped pattern. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Rotors can be mounted on top of the vehicle, on either side, or at the bottom.