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Model Helicopter Aerobatics

Guest P.A.

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Yeah it's real. The power to weight ratio is in no way realistic for a helicopter and it can definitely do all of those things. I was flying them for a while till they got expensive when I pushed the envelope, but believe me, it was nothing like that after a few months flying!


Per hour it costs more to fly an RC chopper than a 4 Seat Jabiru from my experience.


Crashes generally cost around $180 - $250 each.


IF you are lucky and I say IF you are lucky, you might get away with a set of main blades ($75 for carbon ones), plus the centre bolt thing in the middle, for around $10, then a re-balance over about 20-30 minutes and you're up and running. If it's worse, the main shaft around $15 and an hours work, then you've got the rear tailboom for $30 and the list goes on when things start to go wrong. Fuel is around $10 per litre and if you're doing a few sorties non-stop you're looking at a couple of litres on a full charge.


I used to land mine next to the car / charge box and refuel with the engine running and get going again so I chewed a lot of fuel, probably 5-6 tanks per session minimum.


It's great fun, but like a real plane you are limited a little by the weather and even moreso for places to fly. I once flew in a local surburban park but found that it was frequented by people walking their dogs. At one stage I was hovering with only an hour or two on the clock at about 5 ft when I had a dog come along underneath trying to bite it in the air. I was lucky I didn't chop it's head off.


All good fun though, just expensive.



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Like I said in a previous post, I downgraded to a Bell 47 Twister.




It looks small and p*ssy, however it has all of the real controls of a model chopper and flies pretty much identically. They are around $200 in most good hobby shops. Spare batteries are $35 and you probably only need 2 total. Controller uses 8 x AA's. It takes about 10 battery charges to be able to hover and a charge lasts around 10 minutes or more (you're not necessarily flying all the time so you might get 15 mins or so. You can charge one while flying, it's about an hour to charge. Some come with a 240volt charger and some don't, check the kit, worst case another $15.


Trust me, you WILL enjoy flying this machine. It's strictly indoor only unless there is nil wind outside.


I can take off from the kitchen bench, land on a table / chair, fly around, land in someone's hand, or even on someone's head with near perfect precision.


I know I'm sounding like a salesman however I really do think they are great. 6 guys at my work bought one each when they saw me flying around inside with mine. There are Army Medevac and Navy versions available too and you can use them in mode 1 or mode 2 (with the throttle on the left).


Let me know if you want to see more, I might be able to make a video and post it.



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To add to that, I recently did a kind-of a TIF in an R44. Instructor in the front and GF in the back (she was a little concerned!)


The only chopper experience I have had is my model chopper so I definitely knew what the controls did, however I told the instructor that I would probably struggle to anticipate when things would go wrong. Apart from my model time, I have over 1,000 hours in fixed wing in my log book.


Seems my thoughts were correct and I did struggle to anticipate problems, but that being said I knew how to quickly correct my mistakes and get the machine flying again.


First off I was handed the cyclic (front, back, left & right), then the rudder which was fairly easy and finally the collective (up and down).


Taking off was no problem and hovering wasn't a major drama, however a prolonged hover did get difficult because of anticipating movement was difficult. We were hovering at one stage with a 10 knot wing up the tail and it wasn't causing too many dramas as you just correct by constantly pulling back on the cyclic.


Transition to forward flight and climbing was a short and easy involuntary action! so we were off in the circuit. No problems there, radio call and descend parallel to the runway. Turn to cross runway and a clearing turn left then right and cross the runway to the helipad. Gently lower down and the problems begin.


Instructor said to gently release collective to land however I was getting within about 1-2 feet of the ground and it wouldn't go any further because of the ground-effect. Each time this happened, concentration was lost and we were all over the place. So climb 10 ft, re-settle then head down again. After several times I gave up and he landed, only for me to realise that I had to actually push down on the collective to make it land so as to overcome the ground effect. Probably should have been explained better. Oh well.


Had a landing taken place more like a plane where I could gently skid to a landing there would have been no drama's I suspect.


So aside from landing being a tad difficult it was a great experience. Luckily I didn't pay, however at around $1,000 an hour it's out of my league, but that being said the feeling of climbing vertically out of the tightest of landing spots is really something that you need to experience to believe.



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