October 1, 2023


Just Do Automotive

Getting Began with Helicopters: 10 professional suggestions it’s good to know

11 min read

Each RC mannequin helicopter pilot began someplace, and it doesn’t matter what your expertise degree, there’s at all times one thing new and thrilling to study. Piloting a heli could be a whole lot of enjoyable and really rewarding, however with out correct coaching and information, it may be very irritating (and costly). Of all RC actions, helicopters have the longest and steepest studying curve. The guidelines and strategies on this article will assist shorten the curve and are additionally good reminders for skilled pilots as effectively.

1. Decide the Proper Helicopter

The recognition of RC helis has resulted from the number of fashions in all sizes from tiny electrics to large nitro and gasoline-powered fashions. Usually this may be bewildering for the novice to determine on a primary heli. Many pilots begin with a coaxial rotor mannequin, which could be very steady and helps with hover orientation. They’re comparatively cheap and sturdy, which makes them good for novices. The small fixed-pitch fashions have much more maneuverability than the coaxial fashions and current a bit extra of a problem. These fashions are an amazing introduction to ahead flight and are an amazing orientation help that may assist in the subsequent step. These are additionally perfect for the RC airplane pilot who needs a heli to alter issues up a bit with out investing rather a lot.

Most heli pilots aspire to mastering the collective pitch outfitted helis because of the unsurpassed maneuverability and aerobatic capabilities they possess. These are essentially the most advanced and difficult of all of the RC helis. For the pilot with earlier RC expertise who’s keen to study concerning the appropriate setup, a collective pitch mannequin is sensible. The alternatives listed below are large and the primary query is what measurement is greatest to study on. There is no such thing as a appropriate reply and every pilot must determine which is greatest for him. The small 450-size fashions made well-liked by such fashions because the Align T-Rex 450 are comparatively cheap, simple to assemble (and restore) and fly effectively. Bigger helis, electrical (500, 550, 600 or 700 class) or nitro (30, 50, 60 or 90 class) are costlier to fly and keep, however are simpler to fly. Their bigger measurement and mass make them extra steady, in a position to deal with extra wind and make for simpler orientation. For studying, the essential mannequin will maintain you challenged and save a bundle of cash. However, if it’s good to purchase a transmitter, purchase the perfect you may afford since it’ll final by means of many helis and its options will can help you progress to greater ranges.

Model Airplane News - Membership | Getting Started with Helicopters: 10 pro tips you need to know

A management rod-length gauge makes it simple to provide similar linkages.

2. CCPM vs. Mechanical Mixing

Standard collective pitch helis with mechanical mixing, use three servos to function the first flight controls; elevator (fore and aft cyclic), aileron (left and proper cyclic) and pitch. The servos transfer the swashplate by means of a system of pushrods and levers and works very effectively. Cyclic-Collective Pitch Mixing (CCPM) additionally makes use of three servos for the flight controls, however they’re immediately linked to the swashplate normally organized at 120-degree intervals. The radio, which should be able to CCPM, makes use of software program to maneuver the three servos within the acceptable route. This technique requires fewer elements than the standard system and since all three servos are used to maneuver the swashplate concurrently, there’s extra management authority.

Good-quality digital servos are advisable. The servos have to have their management throws matched in order that there isn’t any undesirable management enter. For example, if a collective enter is given and one servo has a lesser or better throw than the others, the swashplate will tilt because it rises or lowers introducing an undesirable cyclic enter. Each methods work very effectively for each the novice and knowledgeable.

Model Airplane News - Membership | Getting Started with Helicopters: 10 pro tips you need to know

On your heli to function easily, it’s important to use a balancer to verify the rotor blades don’t trigger vibration.

3. Important instruments

Listed here are some important instruments that you could be want to purchase along with the same old assortment of screwdrivers and pliers.
● Good-quality metric hex drivers. Don’t skimp right here as low-cost hex wrenches can strip bolt heads resulting in frustration.
● Ball-link pliers to forestall harm to the hyperlinks throughout set up and elimination. The curved selection is essentially the most helpful.
● Pitch gauge for setting the collective pitch. Some kits embrace a template you should use, however you’ll finally want one.
● Blade balancer to steadiness the principle rotor blades. All helis profit from balanced blades which reduces vibration.
● Soldering iron for electrical helis for attaching connectors.

4. Throttle and Pitch Curves

Ask 10 skilled heli pilots and you’ll in all probability get 10 completely different solutions as to the perfect setup. The target of a correctly setup collective is to keep up a relentless head pace all through the collective vary when in idle-up or stunt mode. A linear pitch curve usually utilized in 3D aerobatics can have about 10 levels of detrimental pitch with the left stick lowered, 0 levels at heart stick and about 10 levels at full throttle. This ends in hovering with the stick at about 3/4. Some pilots want to flatten the curve the curve across the hover to make the collective inputs much less delicate.

Throttle curves work hand in hand with the pitch curve to carry a relentless rotor pace. A typical radio can have a three-position swap often called “idle up” swap. The “regular” place is used for engine begin and hovering. The engine is at idle when the throttle stick is totally lowered and normally about 90 % for full throttle. For the 3D setup, full throttle is about at full detrimental and full optimistic pitch settings utilizing a “V” formed curve. The underside of the curve is the bottom throttle setting. A 3rd curve usually employed is for conventional aerobatics akin to loops and rolls. For this curve, the throttle is about in order that the pitch vary is from about -5 to +10 levels. Final is the throttle maintain swap which permits the engine to go to idle whereas the collective pitch is managed by its curve. That is for working towards auto-rotations.

By utilizing a pitch gauge and the radio’s programming the preliminary values are arrange. These might want to tremendous tuned within the air. For instance, if the rotor “bogs” or slows down at full collective, then the utmost pitch setting is simply too excessive. Newcomers solely have to concern themselves with the “regular” throttle and pitch curves. A throttle governor or rev limiter will robotically maintain the specified rotor pace for you, however it’s best to nonetheless know the fundamentals of setting throttle curves.

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Standard mechanical mixing for collective-pitch helis should be arrange correctly for optimum efficiency.

5. Set it up Proper

In the event you’ve chosen a ready-to-fly mannequin there’s normally little or no setup concerned. A kit-built heli will should be arrange correctly and it helps you probably have an skilled heli pilot look it over and enable you. Most collective pitch fashions could be set as much as be docile or aggressive relying on the collective and cyclic pitch vary. For these simply beginning out limiting the collective from 0- to about 5-degrees will assist tame the mannequin down and stop uncontrolled climbs and descents. As you get higher, simply improve the pitch vary incrementally till the total worth is obtained. Verify the controls for correct route. Shifting the cyclic stick proper ought to tilt the swashplate to the precise and shifting the stick ahead ought to make it tilt ahead. The tail rotor and route and gyro perform additionally should be checked. Getting the proper management instructions for a CCPM heli generally is a problem the primary time, however when you research the heli and radio guide it’ll develop into clear. Use excessive care when establishing an electrical heli. Ought to the motor begin unexpectedly damage may end up in addition to harm to the heli and surrounding objects. I like to make use of a separate battery pack and disconnect the pace management to forestall this. Disconnecting the motor pinion can be efficient.

Model Airplane News - Membership | Getting Started with Helicopters: 10 pro tips you need to know

Trendy programming makes establishing (and adjusting) pitch and throttle curves rather a lot faster than earlier than.

6. Use a Simulator

Simulators are nice studying instruments if used correctly. Since it is possible for you to to make use of it from preliminary hovering to essentially the most superior 3D strikes, sims are a wonderful funding. A flight sim pays for itself in lowered crash elements. RealFlight (towerhobbies.com) options a number of helis to select from. It has life like surroundings and flight traits. Not solely are you able to select from amongst all kinds of helis, however you may as well change the setups to see what the results on the heli are. Sims needs to be used at the side of real-life flying for greatest outcomes. Observe and ideal the maneuver you might be engaged on with the sim after which exit to the sector. It will enable you get the stick patterns in your reminiscence and assist your motor abilities. Whereas all of us wish to go wild on the sim, observe prefer it was an actual mannequin and do your greatest to keep away from crashing.

7. Grasp the hover

Studying to hover is just like studying the way to experience a motorcycle—seemingly unimaginable at first however simple as soon as discovered. Simply as most of us began with coaching wheels, coaching gear for helis serves the identical goal. You could not assume you want them, however they’ll save your heli from a tip-over which is able to trigger harm and gradual your progress when you repair your heli. Listed here are a number of tricks to pace your progress:

● Place the heli about 15 toes from you with the tail towards you. This manner, the cyclic inputs will match the stick actions in relation to you. For example, a left cyclic enter will financial institution the heli left and a ahead enter will tilt it ahead.
● For the primary makes an attempt, simply get the heli gentle on the skids and provides light inputs to maneuver the heli round.
● Observe quick hops of some seconds near the bottom and ease the heli again down. Enhance the time as your abilities improve.
● Proceed working towards at a low altitude of beneath a foot till you may maintain the heli in a single spot with out main deviations for a number of minutes.
● Enhance the altitude in one-foot increments and land when you really feel the heli is getting uncontrolled.
● As soon as you may hover comfortably at eye degree it’s time to take of the coaching gear. The coaching gear provides stability so it would be best to begin at a low altitude to get the texture of the added responsiveness.
● Observe different orientations akin to side-in and nose-in. These are difficult however required for superior flight.

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Utilizing the right instruments makes establishing your heli’s linkages simpler and extra exact.

8. Preflight Checks

A helicopter has many shifting elements that may loosen or break with out you understanding it. Earlier than the primary flight of the day, a radical preflight just like what a full-scale pilot does can forestall a crash or incident.

Here’s a minimal of what to test:
● Ensure the proper mannequin is activated within the radio’s mannequin reminiscence.
● Ensure all batteries are totally charged.
● Do a variety test if it’s the mannequin’s first flight or hasn’t been flown shortly.
● Verify for correct management route and no binding.
● Verify all ball hyperlinks for safety.
● Verify for correct tail drive belt stress.
● Verify important and tail blades for correct tightness and no harm.
● The primary rotor ought to spin with out binding.
● Verify cover for safety.

9. Correct Upkeep

Common upkeep will improve the heli’s lifespan and it’ll run just like the proverbial well-oiled machine.
Here’s what needs to be executed on a routine foundation:
● Lubricate the swashplate and ball bearings with a good-quality lubricant akin to Tri-Stream lube obtainable at bicycle outlets.
● The primary rotor blade thrust bearings needs to be cleaned and greased not less than at first or finish of the season. In the event you do a whole lot of flying, it needs to be executed each 50 flights or so.
● Verify all of the fasteners for tightness. Take away, clear and add thread locker to all these which might be free.
● Completely clear the whole heli together with the gears.
● Look carefully for small cracks, particularly on graphite or carbon-fiber fashions that might progress.
● On nitro fashions, change the gyro tape if it got here in touch with nitro gasoline or exhaust.
● Verify ball hyperlinks to verify they don’t seem to be too free. Exchange any which might be.
● Put after-run oil into the engine’s consumption or exhaust.

Model Airplane News - Membership | Getting Started with Helicopters: 10 pro tips you need to know

Studying the way to hover is among the most necessary issues to do. Every flight begins and ends in a hover.

10. After a Crash

Crashes could be attributable to pilot error, mechanical or radio issues. An excellent behavior to get into is to hit the throttle maintain swap to decrease the motor or engine rpm earlier than affect. Having a set of spare elements available can be a good suggestion. Helis are identified to do the “Funky Hen” if the engine (or motor) remains to be working and may’t be shit down with the radio. For nitro helis, the perfect strategy is to seize the top and pull the gasoline line. Electrical helis current a extra severe menace if the LiPo flight pack turns into overheated and catches on hearth. Right here the perfect factor to do is pull the battery connector when you really feel it’s protected to take action. Subsequent, flip off the radio to forestall additional harm to the servos.

At this level, rigorously decide up all of the items which typically could be fairly a distance from the crash web site and take stock of the foremost objects. This isn’t the time to troubleshoot the radio since you might do extra harm if one thing is certain up. Once you get again to your workshop, totally clear the mannequin and assess the harm. If you’re doubtful about any of the elements, change them. Verify the operation of all of the servos and hear for uncommon noises which may point out a stripped gear. Make sure you test the remainder of the radio system as effectively. Usually the harm will not be as dangerous because it initially regarded and as soon as repaired, will fly simply in addition to it did earlier than!


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