Peter "PgPetike" Szabo
29 January 2023
This page contains personal opinions, speculations. The content may not reflect the views of those subjected, it may be in error of fact or draws a wrong conclusion.

Do grams really count?

There are pilots to whom grams count. And there are situations when grams count. But this question is much more exaggerated, than it should be. This is the personal opinion of an average RC helicopter pilot: mine.

Do grams really count?

15 grams lighter helicopter counts when you are flying a very lightweight one - for instance a microhelicopter. But let's admit that the vast majority of RC helicopter pilots will never be on that level, where the weight really matters. Of course, I don't mean significant difference, because 1kg more or less in 700 class matters indeed. But 1-2 or even 5% weight difference between two similar models is nothing for everyday modellers.

Everyday pilots should rather ask that: which one is more reliable, more affordable. Because this is what really counts. 50-100 grams weight difference on a 500 class is just close to nothing. You are flying way above the ground, you never ever fly piro tic-toc even if you want, because average pilots can go out flying on only the weekend - when there's no rain, tornado or any form of Armageddon out there. For most of us these serious disputes about these weight differences are nothing else just storm in a bowl. What really counts, how the helicopter behaves, what it can give you as enjoyment. As long as it's okay, nobody cares the weight.

Yes, there are situations when even a gram difference can count, even for you. Yes, it's important, the helicopter is 249 or 251 grams, because this difference separate a toy from a model in most of the countries (120g in Hungary). Yes it counts, when you check your insurance coverage, and it's stated, your model cannot be heavier than 5kg. 4999g is still fine, 5001g is not. Apart from these cases I don't see any situations, when couple of per cent total take-off weight difference seriously important to everyday us (by the way, this should be called take-off mass, because weight is measured in Newton whilst mass is measured in grams by SI definitions).

And yes, there are the pro pilots flying just above the ground, feeling all tiny differences, and for them the mass/power ratio is important. For them 15-30 gram difference can separate the failure from success. But most of us will never be a Kenny Ko, a Sakkarin Kongthon or a Kan Poonnoi either, not to mention classics like Tareq or Alan Szabo Jr. And this remains true even if your family name is coincidentally the same as the last one's - like in my case.

For us, it should be much more important that we need to enjoy the flights, we need to enjoy ourselves, and we will make decisions based on personal preferences, budgets, possibilities and so on. I bet, the total take-off mass is one of the last aspects.