Radio Control Society Of Marine Park
Brooklyn, New York - AMA Charter #466
I want to welcome you into the great hobby of R/C Helicopters. In this section I will try and help in the selection and setup of your heli. I donít claim to know everything there is, but I did pick up a few things in my 10 years of flying helis. Lets start off with your selection or help you make up your mind in picking one in this confusing world we live in.
There a many different brands and types of helis to choose from. I am not going to get into detail of each brand but describe the types. There are basically 2 types of helis, 30 size and 60 size. This was once the only decisions you needed to make. Since 30 size refers to engine size you can bet its cheaper to buy, and to run. The 60 size of course has a larger engine and larger blades, thus costs more to buy and more on fuel consumption. Nowadays we have 30 size helis along with a new 46-50 size class. We also have 60 size helis with 75 and 90 size engines mounted in them. These newer helis have much better power then the older 30-60 size. Some newer helis come as a 30 and can be upgraded with minimal work and parts to a 50 size with just a few dollars. This goes the same for some 60 size helis. This helps in keeping costs down while in the learning period and can grow with your abilities. As far as a selection in brands, I can not tell you which to buy but can give you some insight on the brands I have flown and used over the years.
Lets start off with some basic heli items needed to fly these little devils.
For starters and I mean starters, You will need a good starter with either a special wand attached or a cone on the heli.
You will also need a good gyro. A gyro keeps your heli from spinning around its axis. There are many types out there, The older Ball Bearing type, Piezo type, and the newer Heading Hold Type. There many differences between all these type and to tell you about all of them will take a long time and all you really need to know is The newer HH is the best way to go. This doesnít mean a piezo is not good, it is. So it depends on your budget.
A Pitch Gauge is also needed to setup your helis main blades.
Blade Balancer will make sure you donít have any unwanted shakes in the heli.
You will need a good Heli radio and receiver. I say heli radio because most radios transmitters are for plank flyers (YUCK!) and do not have mixing capabilities needed to operate a heli. I fly Futaba and always have. The newer radios have both heli and plank software so you can do both. The only difference is the switch positions needed for certain functions on a heli. This I will get to on a later date.
With the radio comes the servos, receiver and battery. Basic Helis use 5 servos:
Some use more, for the same function. Ex:3 servos for the aileron and elevator instead of two! This depends on the heli you are flying. Some say its better , some say you donít need it. Lets leave it at that for now.
R/C Helis are operated by our transmitters 2 sticks. In the U.S.A most of us fly with the left stick controlling rudder, throttle and collective. The throttle and collective operate on the same stick movement, Left stick-Up-Down. Thatís where heli mixing comes in. The same stick controls rudder, left stick-Left-Right. The right stick controls the swash plate, which controls bank left, bank right, forward and backwards, YES BACKWARDS. Try that all you plankers!!!!! So you see there is a lot of co-ordination going on with helis.
If I didnít scare you off yet lets get on with this. A heli wont fly unless its setup properly. There are a few factors regarding setups. These will determine how the heli reacts to your stick inputs. If you follow your manual, your heli will have a basic setup to help a beginner learn to fly. As you progress you will need different setups to let the heli do what you want. I donít like teaching people this way. I believe in a technique called the Mike Mas setup. I am not going to get into detail about who he is, you can find info on the net regarding him. I will say this, his setup will allow you to setup any heli in the future the same way over and over. Our helis lift off the ground by adding collective or pitch to the blades. A positive pitch lets our helis lift off, if not inverted. While a negative pitch lets it come down. Gravity also does that for us but its not to fun when this happens.
Most beginners learn by using a +10 to a -3 setup. While this is fine for learning it can lead into problems. For one, you will need to setup different settings as you fly and learn aerobatics. If you setup a positive pitch of about 10 degrees and a Negative pitch of 10 degrees with 0 degrees in the center you will always know where 0 degrees is on the stick. You will also not need any other setups in the future as this will allow any aerobatic flying. Remember: THESE ARE NOT TOYS !!!!!!!! Always treat them with respect and have someone who knows what they are doing help while you learn to fly them. They need a lot of room while you are learning, and should never be flown in public places. They can and will get out of control if you donít know what you are doing.
Well thatís it for know. Brian K
Copyright © 2006
Radio Controled Society Of Marine Park