When you are confined to a wheelchair there are not that many things that you can really enjoy doing easily.

One really fun thing / hobby is model aircraft, or Helicopters in this case! Its very easy to build, learn about and fly model helicopters from a wheelchair.

I have always flown model aircraft since I was a kid. Including turbines and pulse jet powered planes.

Transmitter boosted with 4x the range

The one shown here is a T-REX 500 by a company called Align.

There are a few different versions of this helicopter and this is the top of range ESP with all the goodies.

It includes carbon blades, many upgraded metal components, decent servos, brushless motor, Speed controller etc (except for the tail – rudder – servo which is not included).

It is an advanced 3D (VERY aerobatic and powerful) electric helicopter. Although is equally as good to learn on as well so don’t worry. Parts are always available quickly (yes you will break it a lot!) and easily online and usually next day.

The T-REX 500 (and all Align helicopters) is unbelievably well designed and engineered with the majority of the parts being either carbon fibre or C.N.C. machined alloy.

How they make and sell this for the price still baffles me. The wonders of mass production. You will also need a Battery (Lithium Ion Polymer) and a Radio Control transmitter / receiver and suitable charging equipment

Batteries have come a long way over the past few years, allowing the kind of incredible performance that was just not possible in the past.

There are usually local model shops, and local clubs that can advise, help and have some experienced pilots to help you to begin with.

We have a big sports hall to practice hovering and to set up and trim the bigger helicopters. And fly outdoors weather permitting.

We use the same sports hall to fly small helicopters every Sunday night. Ask around because there will be something similar happening near you.


As you can see there’s some serious engineering in these small helicopters. Bigger view of the Rotor head

Even the tail rotor and gearbox has 10 ball races and a mass of C.N.C machined parts and carbon fibre…

I use this JR 12X transmitter although its real (original) use and the reason it was bought was to control my powerchairs remotely so I could build unreal modified powerchairs for this website!

And control them with some safety and advanced interference rejection. But now its ideal for this job too!

This transmitter has very advanced programming capability, which is great for helicopters, but even better for controlling and fine tuning powered wheelchairs which is why I have it. Its expensive, much cheaper solutions are available that are perfectly adequate for model helicopters.

The Align range of model Helicopters is available in many “sizes” with each one being about twice as big as the one before it.

The Align T-REX 250 is the smallest and tiny. Its ideal for indoors in a sports hall where its small size is a perfect match. Too big for in your house though unless you are amazingly good! Its also cheap, with small batteries too (batteries are expensive) so easy to afford those and you will need a few spare ones.

Crashes are cheap but you need good eyes and tiny tools. It can be flown outdoors but needs calm days and it is so small you better have good eyes.

The Align T-REX 450 is also pretty small. Its an odd size that is a bit too big in a sports hall unless its a very big hall or you are a very accurate 3D pilot…

Or its a bit small when outdoors and easy to get disorientated. So it kind of does both in a fashion. Batteries are much more expensive and you will need a few.

The Align T-REX 500 is a lot bigger (shown on this page) and only hovering and setting up is practical or safe in a sports hall. At least by me…

Of course there are people that can do 3D aerobatics in a tiny sports hall with a T-REX 500 but they are very good and very brave!

Outdoor is really what its for and even some noticeable wind isn’t a problem with this heli, and its big enough to see. Batteries are of course much more expensive yet again.

At around the 100 UK pound mark for a good one. And you need some spares since it discharges them faster than you can recharge one…

Align T-REX 600 and 700 are even bigger and require ever more expensive batteries and spares when you crash! But easier to see and can fly when its progressively more windy.

The batteries can be hundreds of pounds a set when you get to this size of helicopter even though the other parts are not very much more expensive.

Which you choose, or prefer depends on your wallet, the places you have to fly it, and your abilities..

Personally I have a 500 for outdoors. But a tiny ready to fly one (not shown here) for use in the house for practice and in the pub for a laugh…

So get yourself down to your local model shop or shop online for a T-Rex helicopter!