RC Helicopters: Starting out and how to avoid failure!

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RC Helicopters: Starting out and how to avoid failure!
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I've been involved in aeromodelling since a very young age and now I'm approaching 50, I decided to dabble with RC helicopters. I found a 2 channel electric heli in my front garden which must have flown away! No-one claimed it so that is where my recent interest started. My Uncle in the US worked for Sikorsky Helicopters for many years so I've had an interest because of that and my Grandfather was a Pilot in the RAF from 1919 till the late 1950's.

Many people who start flying fixed wing aeroplanes start out wanting a Spitfire or similar! If they don't heed the advice of "experts" they are very likely to fail. With helis the same is true. I picked up a lovely 6 channel electic heli on a local market (£15 secondhand) which is capable of inverted flight etc. Knowing how difficult it is to master it's waiting for me to gain some experience on something more stable before I try it.

I bought an excellent electric Helicopter from Ebay for under £50 the: Syma 9077 Co-axial Rotor 3 channel helicopter

This heli has two main sets of rotor blades with two motors. The rotors are contrarotating which helps to cancel out the torque reaction and stops it spinning. The tail rotor is horizontal and acts like the elevator on a fixed wing aircraft. Everything you need comes with heli except AA batteries for the transmitter. It has flashing LEDs on each side of the canopy, a blue one on the tail and one on the "fly bar" these are useful for orientation purposes and I imagine allow you to fly at night too.

It must be one of the most stable heli types to fly as my first attempts were very successful. After a few attempts at taking off in my kitchen and living room which showed me that you need a fair bit of space to avoid collisions with the furniture I took it to a local park. There was a slight breeze which to this probably 20th scale model was quite a strong wind.

After my initial takeoff reaching a height of 6 feet or so I found that it was easy to control..until it went out of radio range and the motors cut! It's a good thing that it fail safes to prevent flyaways of course and luckily the ground was soft so the landing caused no damage. I then unfurled the receiver aerial full length and did a range check which I should have done at the start. The range with the furled up RX aerial was only about 10 metres, with it outstretched well in excess of 100 metres.  Being only a small helicopter it doesn't need a huge amount of range because it very quickly gets very small to the eye in the air and it's best to keep it reasonably close, but 10 metres is not enough if it gets caught by a gust of wind.

My advice so far is this:

Always do a range check before taking off.

Don't fly until the battery is so low that the motors cut

If you know nothing about helis have a look on youtube as there are many videos by experts who have explained them well, or failing that read a book on them!

Good luck and remember There are old Pilots and bold Pilots, but no OLDBOLD Pilots







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