Sponsored in part by...
Visit my Facebook
chopperaddict , R/C, helicopter ,
trex , interceptor , int400 , blade 400 ,
training , repairs , setups , sales ,
information , tips & tricks , help
custom builds , scale builds ,
spare parts , tutorials , info ,
align , t-rex , kds , copterx ,
copter-x , alien command ,
Helicommand , Flymentor ,
auto pilot systems , radio setup ,
kit building , Upgrades ,
hover training , setup training ,
Flight training , Phoenix training ,
HeliArtist , painting , detailing ,
Not sure where to start here, but I have added this page to the site
to allow me to put down my thoughts and musings on all things
helicopter connected (or maybe not sometimes) and that don't really
fit in to the site layout in any other place.
I hope that some of you will have a browse thru here from
time to time to see what is on my mind, you never know, you may just
find something interesting ?
Moderators interfering in the
helicopter help forums January - 2010
Hopefully, many of you that are reading this know who I am,
and that I spend a lot of my time in the beginner and setup forums
of various forums. I do this solely to TRY TO HELP newer pilots who
are struggling to understand about RC helicopters, along with quite
a few others who do exactly the same.
I also introduced this (my own) web site, at totally my own
cost, to try to help these new pilots out even further, and based on
the feedback I have received, that has certainly proved to be the
case. However, I am sure that most people today realize that
running web sites that include large downloads such as my training
tutorials are costly in terms of the bandwidth used by each copy
that is downloaded. We all have to pay for bandwidth
eventually, and in my case, right now, I need to provide a minimum
of 15GB per month to keep the site alive. This is liable to grow,
and therefore so will my costs
However, I was amazed this weekend to have been asked NOT
TO INCLUDE my WEB SITE in my Forum SIG LINE as "someone"
apparently considers that is being too commercial.
Yes, it is very true that I do now offer some selected
items for sale, and the small profits made from those sales help to
pay the monthly bandwidth costs, and other costs involved in keeping
the web site up to date and growing with information.
I must say I have the found the "order" to remove
mention of my web site from my SIG line to be offensive in the
extreme. If people do not know about it, they cannot find the
tutorials, and many have told me how useful they have been to them,
so the moderators are damaging the new pilots by restricting the
information we try to help them with.
Surely, as is the case with me, a forum poster is not JUST
posting to generate sales with sales advert style posts etc, but is
truly helping out other pilots, forum moderators should not be so
biased as to assume that my web site is the same as other web sites
that are totally commercial in their intent.
Someone, for their own reasons I am sure, clearly objects
to the fact that I am able to obtain heli parts and even kits at a
small discount, despite the fact that the truth is that those
supplies actually come from the helicopter supplier who runs the
forum I am talking about, and they were very willing to help me out
when I first approached them.
The costs of flying helicopters
Having recently been commissioned to build
a wonderful McDonnell-Douglas 900 NOTAR helicopter based on the
VARIO kit, which will be over 6 feet long, it set me thinking about
the costs of building/flying RC helicopters.
Most of us fly something like the Esky Belt
CP, or Trex 450, CopterX 450 or similar clones, and in the larger
nitro market, the Trex 500-600 and Raptors come immediately to
mind. These ARTF kits come in at anything from ~£200 up to
maybe ~£700, plus radio and servos etc quite often.
I believe that most RC helicopter
pilots/owners are over 20, and many, like myself, are still doing
doing it, and loving it, at ~65. We do not mind the costs,
although we certainly complain from time to time, but we probably
only spend an average of ~£500 per year on the hobby after the
So what is it that makes some of us want to
spend out £3,000 - £4,000 for a helicopter ?
I know for sure that I WOULD DO SO, if I
could justify that sort of expense, but sadly that price range is
beyond me. You all know what I am talking about of course, the
very large multi bladed Vario and similar kits that take at least 3
months to build, you need a trailer to take it to the field, and at
least one other body to help you load and offload it and prepare it
What is the attraction of these 6 foot +
Well, to me at least, one of the major
things I like about them is the satisfaction of building them as
well as you can. They are certainly not simple, and require a
good workshop, plus various skills many other modellers may not
have. However, the joy of watching something of this size take
shape in your hands is totally unbeatable.
The maiden flight is another true
high. Can you imagine having to setup a 5 bladed head using
electronics to control the pitch and phasing each rotor blade
separately ? To see one of these lift of with the tracking
spot on and hover there in front of you is a wild high.
So why do I fly smaller helicopters myself
Well, cost is the first factor, I cannot
afford Vario kits and the stuff that is needed to go with them,
although I will freely admit I would love to own (almost any) one of
these beasts myself.
The second is "horse for
courses". I REALLY LIKE FLYING SMALLER HELICOPTERS,
solely because I can pop them in the trunk of the car, scoot off to
my flying area anytime, and fly off a few batteries, and I am very
definitely a "pig in s...t" when doing so.
To me, all the different types of
helicopters provide their own particular challenges, both in
building and maintaining as well as in flying them. We can all
choose the type of helicopter that best suits our pockets and our
targets in flying.
The really important thing I guess I get
from this particular rambling of mine is that no matter what type of
helicopter we can either afford, or maybe want to afford , or maybe
it's just the helicopter that we feel suits the style of enjoyment
WE WANT from our helicopters.
Whatever our reasons they continue to give
us endless hours of enjoyment in many different ways,
and there is always a challenge we haven't yet faced up to, either
in flying or building,
that will always keep our interest in RC helicopters alive
Scale -v- Pod & Boom (What
I think about current flying techniques)
Another topic that is close to my heart is flying scale
helicopters. There is something magic to me in managing to get
an RC helicopter of whatever size to fly in the same manner as real
This means really nice gently take offs, usually a slow
pirouette to check for other traffic in the vicinity, and then a
gentle climb out at something approaching scale speed and climb
It is amazing just how hard it is to do this type of flying
successfully and well, as you require the skill and ability to hover
very well indeed, without changing altitude, and to do so in ground
effect a lot of the time. Equally, try flying a SLOW figure 8
at scale speed as if you were piloting on of the Police Air Support
helicopters performing a search for someone in fields and
woods. True air speed would be 10 knots or thereabouts.
I have found that this is one of the hardest and most skilful bits
of flying to learn to do properly, as maintaining the same altitude
and performing Figure 8's at this sort of forward hovering speed is
really not easy.
Equally, the approach and landing should be prototypical,
as I am sure you will agree, you have very probably never seen a
real helicopters thunder in flat out, stop at 200 feet, and then
hover down to the ground.
A good helicopter landing involves a carefully calculated
angle of approach to the intended landing spot, with a gentle slow
down to the hover at about 15 feet or so. Then quite often a
slow pirouette to check again for conflicting traffic, and a gentle
descent to the helipad in one smooth movement.
While in Florida in the States, I was fortunate enough to
be able to watch the Medivac Bolkow come and go from a parking lot
right next to my apartment. This parking lot was only just
about large enough, and for some of the time, was also surrounded by
power lines on poles at around 25 feet up.
These medivac pilots would come in during day or night,
make a wonderful slow, 35 degree approach in, and then bring the
helicopter to a dead hover at 40 feet. The winch man hung out
the side to let the pilot know where the wires etc are and the pilot
then gently adjusted his position over the parking lot and dropped
the helicopter down so gently in between all those power
wires. One touch and guess what...
I take my hat off to the skill of those pilots, they are
just brilliant, as are our own SAR and medivac pilots as well.
Now you do not have to have a scale heli to
fly your Pod & Boom like it is a scale helicopter, just the will
to want to try and achieve that level of precision in your
helicopter flying. A P&B can do exactly the same as a
scale model, although to me most scale builds are typically heavier
and therefore have rather more stability in the air, especially in
the stable hover.
P&B's however are great for flinging around the sky a
bit at times when you just
want to let off some steam, and I often do exactly that, taking a
Belt CP or my CopterX 450 SE V2 and doing some really rapid
circuits, Figure 8's, stall turns and Immelman turns. They are
also great to watch afterwards if you have a Fly-Cam mounted on
I often wonder, watching others fly, if they ever think
about flying their helis under some level of real control. The
typical club pilot seems to like to pop it off the ground rapidly up
to 3-4 feet, check it's tracking etc out, and then thump the
throttle up and the nose down and scream away as fast as the heli
can fly. Equally on the helicopters return, it is brought down
from height pretty rapidly to about 20 feet And then dropped to the
ground in a vertical hover. Nothing very classy in that to my
I just wonder why flying clubs do not provide a suitably
sized Helipad, and insist that the helicopter pilots at least use it
for all their take off and landings. This would perhaps focus them
on at least trying to make more elegant arrivals and departures ?
As for 3D, well, I won't comment, but I am sure you can
guess from my views above what I think about that style of
What do RC helicopter pilots do in
the Winter in cold countries such as the UK
As all of us that live in the UK know only too well, the
weather is a constant source of irritation for us, being beautiful
when we are at work, and downright terrible at weekends etc, when we
have the chance to fly our precious aircraft.
We also suffer from this clock changing process that means
we loose any chance of flying after work, as it is dark by 4-4:30pm.
So, back to my question, what do we RC pilots like to do in
the winter, when we CANNOT FLY OUR AIRCRAFT.
Well, in my own case, I guess I am lucky, as I also
thoroughly enjoy building, repairing and setting up helicopter of
all different types. That is the reason I run my free Heli-Hospital,
as there are always pilots who need some help to get their
helicopters to fly correctly, and of course, the only way that is
ever going to work is if they are setup correctly from the
I also undertake larger helicopter builds, such as the Schweizer
300 I built some time ago, and my current large aircraft project, a
6ft long Vario McDonnell-Douglas 900 NOTAR helicopter powered by a
.70 OS motor, and running a 5 blade scale head.
I also have an Esky Kob Co-Ax (honest) which I like to take
up into the master bedroom, as there is lots of room up there, and
then loon around with it. Nose in practice etc.
I also enjoy flying real (GA) aircraft, mostly single
engine types such as Cessna, Pipers etc, whenever I get the
opportunity, but I have to rely on other people who own such
aircraft to offer me a seat.
So if anyone out there wants a
co-pilot (license lapsed currently) with 1500+ hours P1
and is around the Blackpool area, please do get in touch with