ChopperAddict's Hints & Tips

   

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HOW TO - Track the main blades

There are actually 2 different types of tracking, static tracking and dynamic tracking

STATIC TRACKING

This is a very simple task, but one that is well worth doing.  

 First place the helicopter on a nice flat standing area. Then take a ruler or similar, and spread the rotor blades out so they form a nice direct line along the head, as if you were preparing for flight. Now turn the rotor head until the blades are out to the side of the helicopter at 90 degrees.  Place the ruler against the very back outer corner tip of the blade, and note the measurement from the ground to the blade.  Repeat for the other blade.

Hopefully both should give virtually the same reading.  If not, then something is wrong, and needs to be corrected.  First of all, try pulling the lower blade up gently and re-measuring both, as this can settle it in the damper rubbers. If it settles to within 2mm or so that is fine.

If not, there are two things that may be causing the problem.  The most obvious one is that the mainshaft is bent, so check that if you have not already done so.  The second one is that main hub that holds the head onto the mainshaft is not on totally straight.  On larger helicopters, you can often adjust this, but on the smaller helicopters, such as the HBK2, Belt CP, Blade 400, Trex 4xx etc you do not have that option as they are usually held on to the mainshaft with a single bolt (often called the "Jesus pin" for obvious reasons - if it comes out in flight)

You can try loosening this slightly, and adjusting the head position to get the blades level, as there is always a certain amount of movement on the mainshaft due to the poor manufacturing tolerances used.

If you can move the head and get the static tracking right, re-tighten the "Jesus Bolt" as tightly as you can, to try to stop it moving again.

DYNAMIC TRACKING

This is a relatively simple task, but it does require that you get your eyes at the SAME LEVEL EXACTLY as the rotor blades, and those rotor blades are going to need to be spinning at at least 50% throttle, which is around 1000 rpm, which means the tips are going to be moving at 100mph or so.

There are a great many stories recounted in the RC helicopter world of main blades flying off, tail blades flying off, nuts or bolts that have been lost or dropped inside suddenly being thrown out by the high revving main gear.  These have resulted in some very serious injuries, and it is just not worth taking the risk

So, first of all, ALWAYS ensure your helicopter is firmly fixed to something heavy that it cannot possibly try to lift off.  

Do not just use the skids to tie it down with, they are normally only held on with 4 small screws, and can loose grip quite easily. Get something like some short rubber ties with hooks on the end (like used to hold stuff on a bike saddle bag or similar) and pass at least one OVER THE FRAME or through it to be really sure.

Then carry out ALL the steps in the first (starting up) tip, and arm the helicopter normally.

PUT SOME SAFETY GLASSES ON - You can buy them from any hardware store for a very few pounds or dollars, and they can easily save your sight, which is priceless

Stand as far away from the helicopter as is reasonable while still letting you perform the tracking, and SLOWLY spool it up to 40% throttle

Keep below the arc of the main blades at ALL TIMES unless you are actually looking at the tracking  at the tips.

If you do need to stand up straight - DROP THE THROTTLE RIGHT DOWN AGAIN.

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