RC aircraft factories are beefing up basic designs to increase the selection’s marketability.
China makers of hobby-grade RC aircraft are concentrating R&D efforts on beginner’s models.
Considering buyers remain budget-conscious despite the gradual economic recovery, manufacturers are keen on strengthening the quality and performance of these toys in the low end and midrange.
In line with this initiative, suppliers are incorporating new materials to enhance durability. For instance, fiberglass and carbon fiber are now employed in the fuselage rather than metal alloys or plastic. This not only improves impact resistance but also increases flexibility.
Moreover, factories are upgrading speed controllers to 40A and above variants. These have better heat-dissipating qualities that will help prolong the unit’s life span.
To boost flying time, companies are adopting large-capacity 2,200 to 3,000mAh batteries. RC helicopters with 3D maneuvers running on 2,200mAh power cells are said to operate three to four minutes longer than those incorporating regular 2,000mAh kinds. The latter lasts only two to three minutes in the air.
Further, these starter models come with 4 to 6-channel transmitters. Some designs are also capable of moving forward, backward, up, down, left, right and even upside-down.
Alternatively, a few specialized makers continue to create high-end versions, leveraging advanced features to justify elevated prices. Most releases are gasoline-powered and built larger to accommodate oil reserve requirements.
Quoted above $100, the units can perform flight tricks and simulate realistic action.
Products & Prices
Most planes have fixed wings and operate on three to six frequencies. Those with three channels can accelerate, and move up and down, while units capable of 4-channel transmission boast aileron controls for side-rolling motion. Moreover, 6-channel toys come with added features such as landing and spraying functions.
The RC aircraft are available in plastic or wood. The first is often in EPS, EPP or EPO, and measures 50 to 80cm long. The majority is battery-powered and priced from $50 to $400. Gasoline and nitromethane models start at $150.
Wooden releases adopt balsa, pine, paulownia or plywood. The toys are usually heavier and larger, spanning at least 80cm. A good number run on nitromethane or gasoline.
Compared with RC airplanes, RC helicopters boast more flight functions and even come in replica designs. As such, there is a greater demand for choppers, which account for 60 percent of output in the line.
The most basic units have nylon, ABS or metal alloy fuselage housings, two or three servos, and one or two gyroscopes. Carbon-brush and brushless motors and speed controllers are used.
Releases generally adopt 4 to 6-channel systems with a 300 to 800m range. The products can also move forward, backward, up, down, left, right and upside-down. These are between $30 and $150.
Upscale RC aircraft utilize brushless motors and speed regulators. They are capable of aerobatic motion and boast a transmission distance of at least 1,000m. Further, LED screens are employed on the handheld controllers.
Quoted from $151 to $300, midrange models are mainly almost-ready-to-fly or kit versions. Releases are available in nylon, EPS, EPO, carbon fiber and fiberglass. Measuring 30 to 60cm, these versions adopt 7 to 9-channel transmitters, at least three servos, and two or more gyroscopes.
High-end designs are often professional and competition-grade kits. Users can assemble and customize toy parts freely. Units are 60 to 80cm long and utilize stronger fiberglass and carbon fiber materials. The 9 to 14-channel control system also has an anti-interference function. The products reach $500.
China is the largest global manufacturer of hobby-grade RC aircraft, exporting 90 percent of its total yield. About 60 to 70 percent of output caters to beginners, including users just above 12 years old.
Amax Toys & Model
Model: Helios 450V3
Model: Helios 500
Koko Technology Ltd
Koko Technology Ltd
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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