Soon after I posted this, it was pointed out that a similar question exists. That other question answers most of mine. I shall leave this here as a stub. That way it provides a pointer to the other question and, importantly, my title contains all the keywords 'model', 'quadcopter','helicopter' and 'scale up' whereas the other question's title (Why haven't quadcopters been scaled up yet?) is less comprehensive and therefore less searchable.

Model helicopters were on the market for many, many years before quadcopters.

Presumably most of the engineering bugs had been removed by then as well as control issues.

Suddenly along comes the new kid on the block and it's all change.

Related questions

  1. Why are model quadcopters so popular in relation to model helicopters?

  2. How come the same reasons don't apply to full-size helicopters and quadcopters? Why don't we see search and rescue quadcopters and personnel-carrying quadcopters?

  • $\begingroup$ At least the second question is answered here $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2015 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf Hmm - yes. That is very similar. I'll read that one and see if it answers my question. Then I'll decide whether to edit/delete mine or not. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2015 at 9:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Quadcopters have brought a whole new world to the new Rc market. I have one and a rc helicopter and like the quadcopter more. My Dad said that he loved the way it manuveured, and that might be why they are more popular because they can perform manuveurs that an RC helicopter cannot. RC helicopters don't have good range and don't fly very well, but with certain quadcopters you can fly it up to 5,000ft in the air and most of them have an attached camera so you can get incredible views. Also honestly the quadcopter is better looking than the rc helicopter, it looks more stealthy. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Oct 21, 2015 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ That's interesting about the range. I don't think that was covered in the other question. I wonder why the range should be so different. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2015 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


Cheap MEMS gyroscopes have been on the market only since maybe 10 years. Before you needed more bulky and expensive gyros. Also, cheap and powerful micro controllers which can process the sensor data quickly enough and can control the speeds of the four motors to stabilize the quadcopter have only been available recently. The third recent innovation was more gradual, but also the storage density of batteries was not available maybe 20 years ago. With modern LiPo batteries you can have flying times of several minutes where NiCd batteries only gave you a fraction of that time for the same mass.

For your second question: The reason is similar to why birds have not been scaled up to carry humans, like horses do. This answer should give a good explanation.


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