Traditional Helicopter – Suggested Parts List

Electronics Including Autopilot

An ArduPilot supported board with GPS and external compass.

RC helicopter frame

ArduPilot supports single rotor with conventional or direct drive tail, tandem rotor, or collective pitch quad-rotor helicopter frames.

The program can be configured to fly flybar or flybarless, with CCPM swash mixing or single-servo (H1) swash types. The system has flown helicopters ranging from micro size with a Pixracer to large piston and turbine powered machines.

8-channel Transmitter / Receiver

Your transmitter & receiver must support minimum 8 channels (elevator, aileron, collective pitch, rudder, flight mode, tuning knob, auxiliary function switch, throttle hold).

Use of electric and engine governors

If you intend to use any Copter flight control modes other than Acro and Stabilize, it is recommended that the speed controller you purchase for an electric helicopter have a governor mode. For piston and turbine engines a governor is required. This is because Copter will be controlling the pitch of the main blades automatically along with its internal throttle control system. The throttle curve in ArduPilot will be used for fallback and feedforward for piston and turbine engines in the event the governor fails in flight, and for faster governor response on high collective pitch loading.

For electric helicopters ArduPilot will set the throttle for the ESC governor to hold the headspeed constant at all times.

Digital servos

You should use digital servos instead of analog. Digital servos have much faster response time, more accurate positioning, and your helicopter will fly much more accurate and stable with digital servos.


There are no special requirements for flight batteries. However, as a general rule, it is safer if you can have a separate motor battery and radio battery on electric helicopters. Electric motor power systems can have very high power draw in helicopters. Having separate batteries will prevent “brownout” of power to the flight electronics.