The first time I heard the term gyro system in relation with an RC helicopter I thought it referred to the coaxial main rotor blades, so for a long time before starting this website whenever I saw a coaxial RC helicopter it was a gyro heli for me. This misconception came from one guy who was selling these toys at the mall, and when I asked about the “Gyro” label on the box he told me that. Of course now that I’m writing this site I know that this was a lie, I think that the guy’s intention wasn’t to lie to me, but since he wanted to sell something he just came up with the best he could think. The other funny part of the story is that I actually believed him, and as I told you, I lived with a misconception about these devices for about two months.
What I want to do here is not just tell my stories about these toys, but also I want to share real information so these kind of things never happen to you, it is incredible how far can people go with the sole intention of making some money, this guy told me a lie about an innocent product, a toy, but what if my question would have been about a medical product or medicine? That is why I now take informed decisions all the time and if after two or three consecutive questions about the product a seller starts to have second thoughts, then I go to the internet and get second opinions, and for today’s article I want to talk about the gyro system of an RC helicopter.
What is a gyro system?
Contrary to what I was told, after researching a bit I found that a gyro system is a little box that is installed on the RC helicopter. This little device is required to ensure the stability of the RC heli, and the way it works is by correcting any attempt of not commanded movement of the helicopter to spin around its vertical axis which is the axis of the main rotor blades.
Why would the RC helicopter spin around the vertical axis?
There are some factors that provoke the helicopter to spin around the main rotor blade axis, but the main one is something called torque reaction, and as a result of this torque reaction the helicopter will tend to spin in the opposite direction of the main rotor blades. This torque reaction is a natural force created by spinning main rotor blades. You can see the image in order to get a better idea of what I am talking about. (The image is my representation of an RC helicopter by the way)
Now, when the helicopter is on the ground there is no problem, because the friction force of the landing skid with the ground will counter act the torque reaction, but once that the helicopter takes-off then there is nothing preventing the helicopter to start spinning. Here is where the gyro system takes control and counter acts the torque reaction, providing a stable flight and a very responsive helicopter. Nice isn’t it?
How does the gyro system look like and where it is located inside the RC helicopter?
Typically the gyro system is a small box that is mounted on the RC helicopter structure; this little box is a piezo-electric component that is connected to the tail rotor servo and the tail rotor receiver channel, this way the gyro controls the tail rotor, and what it does is to activate it to counteract the torque reaction force and thus stabilize the helicopter.
The mounting can be anywhere inside the RC heli, but typically they are located on the back end of the helicopter’s cockpit.
What would happen if the Gyro System fails?
Without a gyro system flying an RC helicopter is almost impossible, and it is mandatory to have these devices in good shape; in case that yours is faulty replacing it is not difficult. I must say that if you don’t have experience doing this the best way to go is with a local hobby shop, they can definitely help you with that. Just get the same gyro model for your helicopter and after installation it should be perfect!
To your flight success!