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Author Topic: How about RC heli flying?
Member # 4696

posted 05-26-2000 03:33 PM     Profile for Mongoose69   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I was looking into getting a remote control helicopter and i read some stuff of simulator software you should use to learn how to fly a heli. Well how would a game like Comanche Hokum compare to flying a RC heli? Think you could learn from a game how to fly a RC heli?


Posts: 34 | From: | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged

posted 05-26-2000 04:45 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Flying an RC heli is quite a bit different from a sim of a fullscale heli.

RC helis are way quicker and vastly overpowered in comparison, and the viewpoint (non-cockpit view) is of course different.
Don't let that put you off though. The quick & overpowered bit can be a good thing, the external view may be a tricky thing at first.

Flying fullscale sims will teach you the basics of heli flying, and you can try out some external views for the RC point-of-view using the 'drop camera' in EECH. E.g. try flying a figure 8 in front of the drop camera, and you may appreciate what RC will be like.

RC helis are tricky at first, but it's perfectly doable and certainly fun and satisfying. Go for it! :-)

RealFlight from Greatplanes is a good RC sim, or so I hear (going to get it myself).


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Member # 3982

posted 05-26-2000 06:32 PM     Profile for Leaky   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
RC helicopters are actually a little more unstable due to their size and higher thrust to weight ratio. Luckily, RC pilots "cheat" a little buy using gyros and computer radios. In my opinion, these factors actually make an RC helicopter closer to a fly-by-wire helicopter.

A couple of suggestions:
If you are sure that you wish to get into RC helicopters and are willing to invest a little extra money, then I would suggest getting a larger helicopter (60 - size). While it will cost more it is much easier to learn with due to the larger size. Also, invest in a descent helicopter computer radio. Finally, get a piezo electric gyro (get a heading hold gyro if you are will to spend a little extra) - they are less "jittery" and consume less power. Also, a carbon fiber frame is better then a metal frame, but it will cost more.

If your are not sure if RC helicopters are something you really want to do (and invest in) than I would suggest visiting a hobby shop that specializes in RC aircraft and purchase a fully assembled and configured helicopter. If you want to build your RC helicopter yourself but want something a little easier, the Raptor by ThunderTiger ( may be a good compromise.

You can teach yourself RC helicopter flying as long as you stay close to the ground. The most common mistakes for beginners are tail-boom strikes (backing the tail-rotor into the ground), which has a tendency to total the tail rotor blades. Not really a big deal but you might want to purchase extra tail rotor blades.

In either case, an RC simulator is probably a good idea. The RealFlight simulator by GreatPlanes ( is very good.

This page has many good links (some are dead though)

Have fun!


Posts: 38 | From: | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 325

posted 05-28-2000 02:25 PM     Profile for Barron   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I agree with most of what's been said here except that I strongly feel that a smaller heli is better to start off with. A 60-size heli has around a 62" rotor that turns at a tip speed of close to 200mph. This is an intimidating piece of hardware that is much more prone to cause you to lose you cool when something happens that you don't expect. Additionally, 30 size helis are much easier to build and maintain. Your biggest attributes to be successful with R/C choppers is having intimate knowledge of the mechanics and having patience. You must treat your machine with TLC as you would a baby. Build the machine with the thought "If anything can go wrong, it will". Why, because helis are already hard enough to fly without you having a critical bolt come loose and ruin your day. That said, you find that all helis have problem areas unique to the particular model. Once you've discovered these you will find that maintenance of the machine will go way down because you will know what to look for vs. blindly looking everywhere for outages. Once in a great while you should do a complete inspection though.

Buy a commercial R/C heli simulator to learn to fly heli's. The sims we fly will not help you much.

I have flown helis for 9 years and competed in competitions up and down the US east coast. The best package I can recommend for you is a heli with a belt driven-tail rotor. Of all the helis I've seen crash due to a tail rotor failure, not one was a belt-driven type. I have been flying a belt-driven 30-size heli for 7 years and have never had a TR failure. My 30-size heli of choice is Hirobo's Shuttle ZXX (the high end version which even comes with a muffler). It will do anything you want (including inverted flight) right out of the box. For radios, get a Futuba 8ch heli version. Standard (BB) servos will work fine. For engines, the best performance, reliability and price balance goes to the O.S. Max 32H.
Notice how I keep stressing reliability. Because my intimate knowledge of the Shuttle and it's great design, I have not had a crash due to mechanical failure in the almost 4 years that I've had it.

Once you've learned to hover with the machine pointing away from you. Learn to hover with it facing you. This is one of the most dangerous times during your advancement because; during a panic you will move the collective forward. When behind it the machine will fly away from you but with you in front of it... ouch!! Only when you can rotate the heli slowly (called pirouetting) with you standing static should you try to get into forward flight. Trust me on this.

I built (in about 18 hrs) a heli (Shuttle ZXX) for someone and stood with them during his first outing with it. I told him to first learn to control it by sliding it, then short hops.. increasing time until he could maintain a hover. He came out to the field about 4-5 times a week (every day practice of 30 minutes you make you progess more quickly than say, flying every weekend for 3 hrs). In one month he was completely at ease with hovering. In 4 months he was into forward flight doing loops and rolls. He had no experience with anything else R/C controlled and had no sim experience but he was patient. Learned to crawl well before learning to walk. I only mention this to you to let you know that you can learn to fly one. Many (wife, R/C plane and car guys, etc.)will tell otherwise.

I can go on and on but I'll stop here.

Barron out

[This message has been edited by Barron (edited 05-28-2000).]

Posts: 392 | From: Greenville, North Carolina, USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 4696

posted 05-28-2000 08:53 PM     Profile for Mongoose69   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Those starter rc heli kits cost around 500$ though. I'm not sure how interested I would get into the hobby for that investment. It would be cool to fly it around my campus though.=) How much does it cost to maintain a heli?


Posts: 34 | From: | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 325

posted 05-29-2000 05:27 AM     Profile for Barron   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Thought you had an idea of what it would cost... here are the figures based on a good 30 size package. You can probably save 100-150 off this price but you will spend more than that by having to buy the upgraded parts and possibly spares from crashing due to cheaper parts' failure. Generally, you will regret it by not having bought the upgraded package.

Heli 30 size - 400
Engine - 150
Gyro - 100
Radio w flight pack - 400
Ground support gear - 100
Fuel (1 gal.= 2hrs flight time) - 20.00 gal.
Normal maintenance cost figured on by-the-book assembly and no crashes (not what I use): $30/month.
Note that this an average.

What's most likely to be damaged in a crash close to ground:
Rotor blades - 60
Tail rotor blades - 5
tail boom - 15
Main shaft - 10
Tail shaft - 10

For a large heli multiply startup cost by 2x and repair cost and fuel by 3x.

Before you spend any money on this, I suggest you buy "Ray's R/C Heli Manual". This is the bible of R/C helis and will give you insight on what's expected in this hobby.

Barron out

[This message has been edited by Barron (edited 05-29-2000).]

Posts: 392 | From: Greenville, North Carolina, USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 4996

posted 06-02-2000 04:47 PM     Profile for colin111   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
i have been flying model helis for the past 12 years and after repeted coments of go on buy a futura etc futura being a large 60-70 size heli i am still flying my space baron enforcer which i hav flown for the past 6 years at a total cost of around 400 or $600
including fuel and a repair of 300 and it still out performs any heli on the field and being small i can fold the blades away and put it in the boot (trunk) of my car with no problem it does everything i would ever ask of it 3D inverted flips roll buzsaws anything i want so i hav never seen the need to spend more money on a large heli if you buy a good hi-end 30 size heli with a good gyro CSM are good and cheep and i would recomend an OS engine for reliability (mine has had over 20gal of fuel through it and still produces a head speed of over 2000rpm)and that will do from beginner up to 3D flight also i would advise you to go along to a local club and ask advice pilots will be more than happy to help with inital setup and training as we all started somewhere and most of us that had to learn aloan wish they had a buddy box (training aid alowing an instructor to take control of the model in an emergency)to save on cost of tail booms blades and main blades!!! but if you percivere it is an exelent sport if you want a taster have a look at curtis youngbloods video or website at hope this helps to encourage you anyone can do it if i can good luck .

Posts: 1 | From: | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged

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